Archive for the ‘Minnesota Vikings’ Category
The most over-hyped story in the NFL offseason has been the drama whipped up by Ben Dogra, Adrian Peterson’s agent. It surpasses the hyperventilation surrounding Chip Kelly trading up to the 2nd pick to draft Marcus Mariota. While it’s possible that one of those trades happens, the chances that both things happen are about as likely as Kate Upton proposing to me.
I get it that Dogra is representing his client. That’s his first responsibility. Rick Spielman’s first responsibility is to build a championship football team in Minneapolis. The best way to do that is to give Teddy Bridgewater a bunch of weapons who can score from any place on the field. Putting Adrian behind Teddy is a major step in that direction. Putting a rejuvenated Mike Wallace on the outside is another positive step in that direction.
That isn’t to say trading Adrian is foolish. It’s saying that it’s foolish unless Spielman gets a king’s ransom for Peterson. Earlier this week, former Colts GM Bill Polian quantified what a king’s ransom would be if he were the GM. When asked what it’d take, Polian abruptly said “multiple number ones”, as in more than 1 first round pick. I totally agree. I don’t think it’s likely that there’s a team out there willing to pull the trigger on that type of trade but that’s the starting point for the Vikings.
If I’m Rick Spielman, I wouldn’t trade the best running back in the game for a second- or third-round pick. The other GM would hear me start laughing if he offered that type of compensation. I’d point out that, despite Dogra’s daily protestations, Peterson is still under contract for 3 more years.
Frankly, I’d tell Dogra that there isn’t a trade market out there and that his client’s only option for playing this year are with the Vikings. Honestly, I’m certain that Dogra knows this. There just aren’t many teams that can fit Peterson’s $15.4 million cap hit into their budget and pay the Vikings enough in talent and/or draft picks.
The Cowboys can’t afford that capwise, especially after signing Greg Hardy to rush the passer. They’d have to give up their first round pick this year plus either Zack Martin or the Cowboys’ 2nd round pick. There’s no way the Cowboys would do that.
The Cardinals have the flexibility capwise but they’d have to give up the 24th pick in the draft plus Tyrann Mathieu and a second day pick to get Peterson.
The bottom line is simple. The Vikings hold all the cards in this. Either Adrian plays for the Vikings or he retires. Considering the fact that Adrian can make $40,000,000 over the next 3 years, I just don’t see Peterson walking away from that payday.
The other factor that hasn’t been talked about by the media is the fact that Adrian watched Teddy last year. He was impressed with Teddy. Why wouldn’t he want to play for a team that’s on the verge of becoming a legitimate contender in the NFC North? That doesn’t mean I think the Vikings would win the Division this year if Adrian returns. I’ll say, though, that they’d have a pretty strong shot at it their first year in the dome.
The DFL’s most trusted ally, other than Alida Messinger and the public employee unions, are the environmental activists. For all the things that the DFL does to help the DFL environmental activists make life miserable for blue collar workers, you’d think they’d get a pass on things. Apparently, the environmental activist wing of the DFL didn’t get the memo:
Adding bird-safe glass to the Minnesota Vikings’ new stadium could add as much as $60 million in extra costs and delay construction by six months, the chairwoman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority said Friday.
Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen gave the estimate in response to complaints that the clear glass planned for the $1 billion downtown Minneapolis stadium would pose a threat to migratory birds, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.
First, this is what environmental activists do. They make things up, then talk about the potential for crisis. This is fiction. Second, if this was a legitimate problem, which it isn’t, who cares?
Why should the Vikings have to spend an additional $60,000,000 to prevent birds from flying into the new Vikings stadium? Why should they have to wait an additional year to move into their new home? Most importantly, why didn’t these environmental activists mention this when the blueprints were first released in May of 2013?
If there was a Republican governor and Republican-picked chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, they’d tell these environmental activists to take a hike. What’s better is that organizations like Minnesota Citizens for the Protection of Migratory Birds wouldn’t have standing to proceed with a lawsuit because they can’t show how they’d be harmed.
It’s poetic justice that the political party that specializes in doing special favors for special interests is getting hassled by their most special of special interest allies.
Pat Kessler’s Reality Check on Jeff Johnson’s latest ad is a step down for Kessler. On the positive side, he got this part mostly right:
The ad takes some tough shots at Gov. Mark Dayton and, unexpectedly, the owners of the Minnesota Vikings.
It’s classic political mudslinging, but there is some truth to it, as it counts down the missteps of a Governor who Johnson says is “incompetent” and who the new ad calls “unaware.”
“Unaware of bonuses for his failed Obamacare bureaucrats,” says the ad, as the words “Unaware Mark Dayton” appear on the screen. “Not even knowing what’s in the bills he signed.”
The ad accurately quotes Dayton saying he was unaware of MNsure bonuses, unaware of a farm equipment tax in a 2013 tax bill and unaware that personal seat licenses were included in the Vikings stadium bill.
It’s offensive to hear Kessler characterize the ad as mudslinging. It isn’t a stretch whatsoever to say that Gov. Dayton is incompetent. It’s verifiable that he’s admitted that he wasn’t aware of major provisions in the biggest bills Gov. Dayton has signed.
It isn’t mudslinging if the ad uses verifiable information. It’s hard-hitting but it isn’t mudslinging. If Gov. Dayton didn’t want to see these things highlighted, then he shouldn’t have made these dramatic admissions. Gov. Dayton made some major mistakes. Jeff Johnson’s ad just highlights that.
That wasn’t the worst of Kessler’s segment. Check this out:
But the ad strays from the truth when it smears Dayton and team owners Mark and Zygi Wilf, linking the Vikings stadium deal and the Wilf’s legal troubles. “Half a billion taxpayer dollars to the Wilfs after they committed civil fraud and racketeering,” says the ad, with grainy black and white video of Dayton and Vikings team owner Zygi Wilf.
That’s at least MISLEADING and borders on false.
Approximately $500 million is the amount taxpayers forked over to build the $1 billion stadium after the Minnesota legislature passed and Dayton signed the bill into law. The Wilfs put up the other $500 million.
What’s misleading, Mr. Kessler? Did the state of Minnesota commit to paying approximately $500,000,000 of taxpayer money to build the stadium? That’s easily verifiable. It’s in the bill. This isn’t difficult to verify it. The state of Minnesota committed to paying that money while the Wilfs were defending themselves in a New Jersey court on charges of civil fraud and racketeering. That statement is also accurate.
If both those statements are accurate, how could they border on being false? The simple answer is they can’t. True statements can’t border on being false. Still, that wasn’t the low point of the segment. This is:
The Minnesota Vikings strongly objected to the use of their team owners in the Johnson ad.
“We’re extremely disappointed that Jeff Johnson would stoop to this level,” said Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley. “The ad is reckless. The Wilfs have made substantial contributions to this community and this state. What Jeff Johnson has done is not consistent with Minnesota values.”
Mr. Kessler, Reality Check is about checking facts, not about sharing opinions. Quoting Lester Bagley in the article is totally inappropriate, especially considering the fact that he contributed to Gov. Dayton’s campaign. Furthermore, Bagley serves the Wilfs, nobody else. What qualifies him to speak on what Minnesota values are?
Finally, this was disgraceful, too:
A spokesman from Dayton campaign Linden Zakula said, “It’s not surprising to see a desperate attack from a candidate so far behind. Commissioner Johnson offers no real ideas to improve education, create jobs, or help Minnesota families. It’s easy for Commissioner Johnson to be against everything when he, himself, proposes nothing.”
My question for Mr. Kessler is straightforward. Did the Dayton campaign pay for this campaign ad? Inviting the Dayton campaign spokesman to take a cheap shot at Commissioner Johnson during a factchecking segment is totally unprofessional.
Calling accurate statements “bordering on false is disgusting. Allowing outsiders to level cheap shots at a political candidate during that factchecking segment is utterly unprofessional. Kessler should be ashamed of himself.
Technorati: Pat Kessler, Reality Check, Media Bias, Mark Dayton, MNsure, Performance Bonuses, Vikings Stadium, Farm Equipment Repair Sales Tax, Dayton Campaign, DFL, Lester Bagley, Zygi Wilf, Mark Wilf, Civil Fraud and Racketeering, Jeff Johnson, Political Hardball, Unaware, MNGOP, Election 2014
This afternoon, the Minnesota saw the difference that a great quarterback makes. This afternoon, Teddy Bridgewater became the face of the Vikings, running for a touchdown while completing 19 of 30 passes for 317 yards. This was the first time a Vikings quarterback threw for 300 yards since the year Brett Favre took the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game.
Bridgewater’s play, though, wasn’t the only noteworthy accomplishment for the Vikings’ offense. This was the first game the Vikings quarterback threw for 300 yards, a Vikings runner ran for 100 yards and a Vikings receiver got more than 100 yards receiving in the same game since Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson and Sidney Rice turned the trick against Detroit on 11/15/09. This time, Touchdown Teddy threw for 317 yards, Jerrick McKinnon ran the ball 18 times for 135 yards and Jarius Wright caught 8 passes for 132 yards.
It’s gotta be intimidating for the Packers, the Vikings opponent this Thursday, to think that the Vikings offense cooled off in the second half because they still gained 207 yards in the second half. The Vikings gained 351 yards in the first half.
For the second straight game, the Vikings’ opponent threw tons of exotic blitzes at Bridgewater. For the second straight game, Bridgewater handled it like a veteran. It’d be wrong to highlight the fact that Bridgewater had tons of time thanks to his offensive line playing their best game since 2012. Then again, Atlanta’s defense will never be mistaken for the original Steel Curtain defense led by Jack Lambert, Mean Joe Greene, LC Greenwood and Mel Blount.
The offensive line of Kalil, Johnson, Sullivan, Ducasse and Loadholt dominated Atlanta’s defensive line. McKinnon gained an average of 7.5 yards per carry. Matt Asiata scored 3 rushing touchdowns, with McKinnon and Bridgewater each scoring a rushing touchdown, too. The Vikings gained 241 yards rushing on 44 carries. That’s a 5.5 yard per carry average.
I’d be surprised if this wasn’t a hellish week for Atlanta’s D-Line. They were dominated. They got manhandled. They forced 2 punts the entire day. Atlanta’s defense gave up 558 yards of total offense while letting Jarius Wright had a career day receiving and Vikings receivers seemed to be open all day.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk briefly about the Vikings defense. Statistically, it wasn’t a great day. They gave up 411 yards of total offense. They gave up 2 explosive touchdowns in the third quarter. Still, they turned up the heat when they needed to. Rookie first round pick Anthony Barr called the defensive signals today while finishing with 5 tackles and the Vikings’ only sack. After spending lots of time in Coach Zimmer’s doghouse in the preseason, third year corner Josh Robinson essentially finished the game with a great interception down the sideline. Harrison Smith finished with 5 tackles, too, and a 4th quarter interception of Matt Ryan.
Atlanta has too many weapons to be stopped. Still, the Vikings came up with the key stops when they needed them.
It’s too early to make predictions about how many games the Vikings will win this year now that the Bridgewater Era has started. It isn’t too early to say, though, that Rick Spielman, Mike Zimmer and Norv Turner are putting this team together the right way. Turner’s offense looked positively explosive today. Zimmer’s defense played hard-nosed football. They were opportunistic, too.
Finally, the Vikings have a new face of the franchise in Teddy Bridgewater. What’s fun to watch is that the game seems to play out in slow motion for him. It’s also fun to watch his arm talent, too. Teddy’s the real deal.
It is an awful situation. Yes, Mr. Peterson is entitled to due process and should be “innocent until proven guilty.” However, he is a public figure; and his actions, as described, are a public embarrassment to the Vikings organization and the State of Minnesota. Whipping a child to the extent of visible wounds, as has been alleged, should not be tolerated in our state. Therefore, I believe the team should suspend Mr. Peterson, until the accusations of child abuse have been resolved by the criminal justice system.
However, I will not turn my back on the Vikings and their fans, as some have suggested. The Vikings belong to Minnesota – and in Minnesota. This has been the team’s only home; and our citizens, including myself, have been its most dedicated fans.
Like many of his worst moments, Gov. Dayton’s statement will give thoughtful people intellectual whiplash. First, he says that Adrian Peterson is entitled to due process and “should be ‘innocent until proven guilty.'” Next, Gov. Dayton said that the Vikings should suspend him until he’s had his day in court.
That doesn’t make sense. What happens if Peterson is found guilty? At that point, the NFL has the right, under its personal conduct policy, to tack on an additional suspension. That additional suspension might be indefinite, meaning Adrian Peterson will have been suspended twice for a single offense.
Actually, that might not be legal because of the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players’ Association. If that’s the case, Gov. Dayton might’ve just told the Vikings to ignore the collective bargaining agreement between the players and the owners.
I don’t doubt that Mark Dayton will react by saying that he didn’t know about the particulars of the NFL-NFLPA collective bargaining agreement. That’s shameful. This was a prepared statement. His staff should’ve done their research. They should’ve known about this provision in the NFL-NFLPA CBA.
The governor of a state should known what he’s talking about. Unfortunately, Gov. Dayton hasn’t done what smart governors have done. He’s shot his mouth off for political purposes, only to have to walk his statements back.
This afternoon, as with most afternoons, I DVRed NFL Live on ESPN. This time, I was disappointed with the demagoguery of Trey Wingo, the host of the show, and Jeff Saturday, one of the panelists on the show. As expected, their lede was the Vikings’ reactivation of star running back Adrian Peterson in the aftermath of Peterson’s indictment in Texas on charges that he abused his 4-year-old son.
During the Vikings’ press conference this afternoon, Vikings GM Rick Spielman faced a barrage of questions questioning how the Vikings could reactivate Peterson. During his press availability, Spielman explained that the Vikings had taken the weekend to gather additional information about Adrian Peterson and the indictment.
Despite that information, Trey Wingo declared that the Vikings reactivated Adrian Peterson even though they have the same information they have today that they had Friday. I might be missing something but I’m pretty certain Mr. Wingo couldn’t possibly know what information the Vikings had Friday, making it impossible for him to know if the information they have today is the same information they had Friday.
I’m more than a little skeptical about Wingo’s statement considering the fact that each NFL team has a sizable security staff. The joke within the NFL is that they have more contacts than the CIA. I’m unwilling to dispute that.
As bad as Wingo’s statement was, Jeff Saturday’s statements were infinitely worse. He said that the Vikings shouldn’t have reactivated Peterson because it was clear to him that Peterson needed to learn how to be a better man, a better husband and a better parent to his son.
It’s unacceptable for Mr. Saturday to not know what Adrian Peterson did long before the indictment was voted on. Had Mr. Saturday read Adrian Peterson’s statement, he wouldn’t have made such an assinine statement:
My attorney has asked me not to discuss the facts of my pending case. I hope you can respect that request and help me honor it. I very much want the public to hear from me but I understand that it is not appropriate to talk about the facts in detail at this time. Nevertheless, I want everyone to understand how sorry I feel about the hurt I have brought to my child.
I never wanted to be a distraction to the Vikings organization, the Minnesota community or to my teammates. I never imagined being in a position where the world is judging my parenting skills or calling me a child abuser because of the discipline I administered to my son.
I voluntarily appeared before the grand jury several weeks ago to answer any and all questions they had. Before my grand jury appearance, I was interviewed by two different police agencies without an attorney. In each of these interviews, I have said the same thing, and that is that I never ever intended to harm my son. I will say the same thing once I have my day in court.
I have to live with the fact that when I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury that I never intended or thought would happen. I know that many people disagree with the way I disciplined my child. I also understand after meeting with a psychologist that there are other alternative ways of disciplining a child that may be more appropriate.
I have learned a lot and have had to reevaluate how I discipline my son going forward. But, deep in my heart, I have always believed I could have been one of those kids that was lost in the streets without the discipline instilled in me by my parents and other relatives. I have always believed that the way my parents disciplined me has a great deal to do with the success I have enjoyed as a man. I love my son and I will continue to become a better parent and learn from any mistakes I ever make.
I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser. I am someone that disciplined his child and did not intend to cause him any injury. No one can understand the hurt that I feel for my son and for the harm I caused him. My goal is always to teach my son right from wrong and that’s what I tried to do that day.
I accept the fact that people feel very strongly about this issue and what they think about my conduct. Regardless of what others think, however, I love my son very much and I will continue to try to become a better father and person.
The panelists did their best to paint Adrian Peterson as just another Ray Rice. I take offense with that comparison. When video surfaced showing Ray Rice dragging his then-fiancee out of the elevator, he ran immediately to a diversion program in an attempt to avoid prison time.
That isn’t what a repentent man sounds like.
When Rice held his first press conference at the Ravens’ headquarters, he read off of cue cards. He did what his attorneys told him to do. People watching that theater knew that he didn’t mean a thing he said that afternoon.
Compare that with what Adrian Peterson did. Long before the spotlight shined on him, he sought help to correct behavior that he isn’t defending. He’s admitted, on his first attempt, that he hurt his son. He’s told us that he’s learned from his bad behavior and that he hopes to be a better man and better father going forward.
That’s what a man who’s repentent sounds like.
It’s time for Mssrs. Wingo and Saturday to take a deep breath and collect their thoughts, then think things through. They didn’t look good this afternoon.
I’m not defending Adrian Peterson’s actions. As I just said, Adrian Peterson isn’t defending his actions. I’m perfectly willing to let the legal process play out to determine criminal guilt. That’s fine for the legal process.
As for whether Adrian Peterson should sit for another 3-7 games, I’d just ask a simple question. Would suspending Adrian help him learn the lessons these blowhards think he should learn that they think he hasn’t learned? Finally, I’d ask Mssrs. Wingo and Saturday whether they thought a) Ray Rice showed even a tiny bit of repentence and b) Adrian Peterson showed true repentence.
The difference, in my opinion, is night and day.
Going into this season, lots of experts thought of them as one known quantity (Adrian Peterson) and lots of unknowns. While it’s foolish to make bold predications based on just one game, there are some things that’ve clearly changed for the Vikings, starting with their defense.
Everson Griffen replaced Jared Allen at right defensive end. Anthony Barr starts at the strongside linebacker, which allowed rookie head coach to move Chad Greenway to middle linebacker. Perhaps the most glaring difference compared with last year’s defense is the secondary.
Captain Munnerlyn was all over the field. Most impressive was his sure-handed tackling in the open field, although his coverage was pretty impressive, too. Josh Robinson had a difficult pre-season, missing time with injuries. Today, he got the Vikings’ first takeaway just before the half. Norv Turner’s offense quickly turned that interception into a spirit-killing touchdown with seconds left in the first half.
With a 13-0 halftime lead, the Vikings defense pinned their ears back and pressured the QB. For the game, the Vikings finished with 5 sacks, with Griffen leading the way with 2, and 2 interceptions. Harrison Smith picked off a pass that never should’ve been thrown, returning it for an 81-yard pick-six touchdown.
It’s hard telling whether the Vikings shut down a great offense of if St. Louis is mediocre offensively. I suspect it’s a little of both.
The Rams offense hasn’t produced during the Jeff Fisher era. Still, the Vikings did a bunch of things right today that they have a right to feel good about. They essentially shut down Tavon Austin, the 8th overall pick in the 2013 draft.
Speaking of the 2013 draft, the Vikings got major contributions from 2 of their picks from that draft. Cordarrelle Patterson broke the game open with an electric 67-yard broken-field run. Turner lined CP up in the backfield on the play. After taking a pitch, he cut up field, breaking free 10 yards down the field. Once in the open field, he deployed the skills that make him the most feared kickoff returner in the game.
Going into the 2013 draft, the buzz was all about Tavon Austin. Cordarrelle Patterson was essentially an afterthought. Today, Patterson showed why that was a huge mistake.
Sharrif Floyd, the 23rd pick in the draft that year, also played well. He was an integral part of the Vikings dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
Matt Cassel was an efficient 17-for-25 for 170 yards with 2 touchdown passes, the first to Greg Jennings, the other to Kyle Rudolph.
It’d be a mistake not to credit the Vikings offensive line for playing a solid game. The Rams entered the game with one of the best defensive lines in football. Still, they weren’t much of a factor. When a journeyman QB finishes with a QB rating of 113.8 and the Rams give up 180+ yards rushing, that’s getting manhandled.
One last thing to talk about is how fundamentally sound the Vikings defense played. The Vikings’ tackling was solid. They pressured the Rams’ QBs all day. The Vikings secondary was opportunistic at times, but solid throughout.
Today’s game is a great start to Mike Zimmer’s head coaching career. Next week, though, they get to face the Patriots, who are coming off a stunning 33-20 defeat in Miami. Brady and the Patriots aren’t likely to be in a good mood so that’ll be a good test for the Vikings.
UPDATE: I went back to the Vikings-Rams stat sheet because I got to thinking about how little I noticed Robert Quinn. My memory served me well this time. Quinn finished with just 2 tackles and no sacks. This ties into how well the Vikings O-line played. Jeff Davidson, the Vikings’ O-line coach, must be pleased with their play.
For the game, the Rams much-celebrated defensive line got a grand total of 1 sack while giving up over 180 yards rushing.
Technorati: Minnesota Vikings, Mike Zimmer, Harrison Smith, Anthony Barr, Captain Munnerlyn, Matt Cassel, Cordarrelle Patterson, Offensive Line, Defensive Line, Norv Turner, Adrian Peterson, Season Opener
Blogging has been light the last few days because I watched (obsessed over?) the NFL Draft. I’ll admit that I’m a homer. That doesn’t mean I’ll just blindly trust that GM Rick Spielman and Coach Zimmer picked players that they couldn’t believe were still there. Still, Spielman has built some trust with his last 3 drafts.
Let’s see what others are saying about the Vikings picks, starting with LB Anthony Barr:
“He’s only been a defensive end for two years. He needs experience. When you watch the tape, does he look like Jason Taylor or what? There’s a lot of upside, and (new head coach) Mike Zimmer and his staff will get it out of him.” — Mike Mayock
Barr started his time at UCLA as a running back. The fact that he was a feared pass rusher the last 2 years tells me he’s got great natural talent but that he’ll become a great player with Zimmer’s coaching. NOTEWORTHY: Anyone that’s 6’5″ and runs a 4.6 forty is a freakish athlete.
“That (pro day) workout is something I’ve been fighting for a couple months now. His pro day didn’t confirm what I saw on the game tape. But he needs to get stronger. Bridgewater has the intangibles; he’s smart.” — Mike Mayock
Bill Polian, the guy who drafted Peyton Manning said that Bridgewater a) was excellent at manipulating safeties with his eyes” and that he was excellent with his pre-snap reads. Those statements tell me that Bridgewater a) is willing to work hard to be the leader of the offense and b) has the smarts to be a top quality QB. Finally, Bridgwater’s character is off the charts outstanding.
“This is a great fit for the Vikings. They believe in physical players and Yankey is a phone booth brawler. Trust me, I know (Vikings general manager) Rick Spielman and (head coach) Mike Zimmer, and this is the kind of player they bang the table for.” — Mike Mayock
Simply put, Yankey, barring injury, will be the starting left guard for the Vikings by midseason. He’s a Stanford kid so he’s smart. He’s physical and he’s played every position on the line except center. That they got him in the fifth round screams exceptional value.
“Exum is a well-built individual, and showed good fluidity in pass coverage and also an ability to track the ball well. Exum was a highly regarded player two years ago, but suffered a knee injury playing basketball in January of 2013. Exum came back to play in the 2013 season, but only played in three games and did not play at the same level as the previous season.” — Gil Brandt
Exum played the side opposite Chicago first round pick Kyle Fuller when healthy. He’s considered to have great versatility because he can play in the slot in nickel packages or play safety. The other thing that’s worth noting is that he isn’t afraid to hit people in run support.
The Vikings did a great job the last day of the draft. Exum and Yankey are excellent examples of that but they aren’t the only examples of how Spielman worked the draft for maximum value:
Terrific size. Very athletic for a big man. Generally plays on his feet. Occupies blocks. Flashes the ability to lock out and reestablish the line of scrimmage. Has raw tools to work with. Scheme versatile. Solid personal and football character.
Draft Projection: Round 3
Anytime a team picks up a third round talent at a position needing depth in the 7th round, that’s an outstanding value pick. While it’s impossible seeing him beating out Vikings NT Linval Joseph, it’s easy to see him providing much-needed quality depth at the position.
Brandon Watts, OLB Georgia Tech:
Rare timed speed. Very quick to the perimeter and covers a lot of ground. Easily keeps stride with tight ends in the slot and offers solid man-coverage ability on backs. Can carry receivers vertically and buzz the flats. Lines up on the edge and offers some pass-rush potential. Is fluid and loose-hipped dropping into coverage.
If Watts makes the Vikings, it’ll be because he impressed on special teams. Still, this is a worthwhile pick because it’s a last round pick spent on a player who has the physical tools to work with.
Various websites have given the Vikings high grades for this draft class. They certainly sent a message to the NFC North QBs that they’d better prepare to get hit often under Mike Zimmer. They also solved their QB problems with Bridgewater. Finally, they stockpiled talent for their secondary in the 6th and 7th rounds, thanks in large part to the outstanding depth in this draft.
Let’s remember that Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman were fifth round picks for Seattle in years that weren’t half as deep as this year’s draft.
This draft, combined with the players the Vikings have picked in the first round in 2012 and 2013, will help the Vikings compete for the NFC North championship within 2 years. Let’s remember that Spielman picked franchise left tackle Matt Kalil and cornerstone safety Harrison Smith in the first round in 2012 before picking DT Sharrif Floyd, CB Xavier Rhodes and WR/KR extraordinaire Cordarrelle Patterson in the first round last year.
Now that the NFL season is down to the Super Bowl, the offseason has arrived for the other 30 teams. A major part of the NFL offseason, if there is such a thing anymore, is Senior Bowl week. The past few years, scouting was best broken down into sections, starting with the college football season, followed by the minor bowls, followed by the BCS games. Next up after that is the Blue-Gray Game, the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL, the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, IN, then the top prospects’ pro days at their college. This Saturday, they’ll play the Senior Bowl.
In addition to scouts descending on Mobile, lots of people who cover the draft converge to watch the workouts and report on who’s creating positive buzz for themselves. One of the people covering the Senior Bowl, as he’s done for years, is Scott Wright of DraftCountdown.com. Follow this link to read Scott’s daily reports from the practices. They’re some of the best in the business. Scott does a daily podcast from Mobile, too.
Thus far, Scott’s reported that Derek Carr, the top QB at the game, has stood out during the South squad’s practices and that Ra’Shede Hageman of the University of Minnesota has stood out defensively for the North squad. The reason I mention these players is because the Vikings need a new QB, just like they need to start restocking the talent on their defensive line. While it’s unlikely that they could get both of these players, rest assured that new Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer will be paying extra attention to these players this week.
Another sportswriter who’s covering the Senior Bowl is Viking.com’s Mike Wobschall. Follow this link to read Mike’s reporting from Mobile. Hint: Carr has stood out for Mr. Wobschall, too.
Finally, the Vikings are perfectly positioned for a quick turnaround. Whether that happens still remains to be seen. Still, they’ve got high draft picks in each round of the draft, plus a third round pick they got in the Percy Harvin trade with the Seahawks. Couple that with GM Rick Spielman’s stellar draft record recently and there’s reason for optimism for Vikings fans. (Yes, he made a mistake with Christian Ponder but he’s more than made up for that since by drafting Pro Bowl LT Matt Kalil, FS Harrison Smith, and Pro Bowl PK Blair Walsh in the 2012 draft, followed by drafting Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes and KR/WR extraordinare Cordarrelle Patterson in the first round of last year’s draft.
Other standouts from the Spielman draft classes include former Pro Bowl MVP Kyle Rudolph, DEs Brian Robison and Everson Griffen and RB Toby Gerhart. While it’s true that Griffen and Gerhart are eligible to become free agents this year, there’s no denying the fact that they’re top talents that Spielman found the last day of the draft.
That’s what separates good drafts from great drafts.
If you’re a football fanatic like I am, you won’t want to miss Scott’s and Mike’s reporting from Mobile.
Technorati: Senior Bowl, NFL Combine, Mike Wobschall, Scott Wright, NFL Mock Drafts, Matt Kalil, Harrison Smith, Blair Walsh, Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes, Cordarrelle Patterson, Everson Griffen, Minnesota Vikings, Rick Spielman, Mike Zimmer
According to this article, Gov. Dayton insists that he didn’t learn of MNsure’s problems and contract changes until after the launch:
Gov. Mark Dayton said Friday that he first learned at least six months later of controversial contract changes made by the state’s health exchange. He said he also didn’t know about the serious technical issues plaguing MNsure until after the exchange’s Oct. 1 launch.
First, it’s painfully obvious that Gov. Dayton floats through life oblivious to what’s happening around him. This crisis, Gov. Dayton insists that he didn’t know about the technical issues tormenting potential MNsure users or that significant changes of responsibilities had been made through new contracts with vendors.
This fits Gov. Dayton’s pattern of being ignorant of what’s happening around him. Gov. Dayton said he didn’t know that the Tax Bill he signed and negotiated included expanding the sales tax to farm equipment repairs:
He certainly didn’t mind signing the farm equipment repair sales tax increase into law. It wasn’t until he got to FarmFest that he reversed course.
That’s nothing compared with Gov. Dayton’s supposed surprise that the Vikings Stadium bill had a provision in it for the Vikings to sell personal seat licenses, aka PSLs:
“I strongly oppose shifting any part of the team’s responsibility for those costs onto Minnesota Vikings fans,” he said in his letter. “This private contribution is your responsibility, not theirs. I said this new stadium would be a ‘People’s Stadium,’ not a ‘Rich People’s Stadium.’ I meant it then, and I mean it now.”
By contract, seat licenses would be sold by the public stadium authority, which is run by one of Dayton’s former top staffers. Dayton said he would ask the authority not to sell seat licenses, and he plans to ask the Legislature, if necessary, to press his case and block their sale.
Nothing happened in terms of blocking the sale of the Vikings PSLs because Gov. Dayton didn’t have a political or legal leg to stand on:
The Vikings said in a statement Tuesday, Nov. 13, that they were disappointed with Dayton’s letter. The team said the letter “does not recognize a key component of the stadium agreement struck by the Vikings, state and local leaders this past spring.”
Gov. Dayton, that’s three strikes. Hopefully, this time next year, you’ll be out of office and a real leader will be in office, one who actually pays attention to the things he’s signing.
It’s pretty pathetic that Gov. Dayton signed the exchange into law, then ignored it after that. He wasn’t aware that data security wasn’t a priority with the MNsure board. He defintely wasn’t aware that changes had been made to the contracts involving the building of the MNsure portal.
Here’s the first thing I’m reminded of in reading the article:
Minnesota needs a leader, not a well-known figurehead. We definitely don’t need a modern day Sgt. Schultz. Unfortunately, we’ve got the latter, not the former.