Thursday, May 28, 2015

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One interesting little tidbit out of the earliest days of 2015’s practices is that one Vikings lineman has not only shifted positions, but he’s now playing on the opposite side of the line of scrimmage.

Undrafted last year, Isame Faciane was signed by the Vikings and defensive line coach Andre Patterson (who coached Faciane at Florida International) said he was among the top ten percent of defensive linemen he has ever worked with.

Now, however, it will be offensive line coach Jeff Davidson who tries to make an NFL player out of Faciane, it appears.

Faciane, listed at 6′ 4″ and 302 pounds, has reportedly opened organized team activities (OTA’s) at the right guard position which is a complete switch for him.

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Go Vikings.

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The silence has been broken.

Adrian Peterson, who will not be attending the Vikings’ OTAs this week, released the following statement to ESPN’s Josina Anderson:

“The reason I’m not attending OTAs has nothing to do with wanting to be traded. It’s about securing my future with the Vikings. It’s business, not personal and I understand that firsthand. Go Vikings.”

Earlier this week, reports surfaced that Peterson wanted to be traded from the team, and his sole purpose for skipping OTAs was to send a message to the franchise. Head coach Mike Zimmer received that message loud and clear, addressing the rumors after this morning’s practice.

“He’s really got two choices. He can either play for us, or he can not play,” Zimmer told reporters after the Vikings’ second OTA. “He’s not going to play for anybody else, and that’s just the way it’s going to be.”

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Football fans got a sense of Mike Zimmer’s no-nonsense attitude when the Bengals’ then-defensive coordinator appeared on HBO’s Hard Knocks in 2013; every sentence out of his mouth littered with four-letter words, every criticism on the field a jarring blow to a helpless victim’s ego. Zimmer isn’t an inherently nasty coach — every coach cusses and screams at his players — he’s a coach who expects excellence, commitment, and consistency from his players.

Before joining the Vikings, Zimmer was (and still is) one of the league’s most respected coaches. Players love him, respect him, and recognize his knowledge of the game. He treats them like professionals and holds them accountable for their actions, both on and off the field. Each player, from the team’s franchise quarterback to a  practice squad running back, is equal in Zimmer’s eyes. On Wednesday, after the team’s second OTA, Zimmer made that point abundantly clear to the absent Adrian Peterson:

Peterson, who has threatened retirement and refuses to participate in OTAs, is driving a stake through the brief relationship he shared with Zimmer last season. Zimmer, who is as blunt as coaches come, was visibly frustrated when talking to reporters this afternoon. In what has been a long, convoluted series of events, Zimmer did what he does best, making Peterson’s decision simple — play for the Vikings, or play for no one.

After the jump, a look at some of the best Vikings stories around the Internet:

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Can you spot T.J. Clemmings at right guard?

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Today’s big Vikings news, courtesy of CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, isn’t really news at all; Adrian Peterson has contemplated retirement. The disgruntled running back, who continues to dig in on the “trade me” stance, has reportedly considered such a move since landing on the Commissioner’s exempt list last year.

Surprising? No. Confusing? Yes — why retire at the height of your career, surrounded by the most talent in years, and set to make almost $13 million? Hollow threats, in my opinion. General manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer drew the line in the sand months ago, and they’ll remain behind it until Peterson returns. The only question remaining is; when?

Let’s forget about Adrian Peterson for a second, though, as many fans have already done just that. His positioning, his refusal to participate in OTAs, and his parrot Ben Dogra are distractions from what makes football so exciting: football! And earlier today, purple diehards around the country got their first taste when the Vikings took the field on a rainy, wet day in Eden Prairie.

This afternoon’s activities marked the start of Phase 3 of the team’s offseason workout program. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater spent the first OTA syncing up with his pass catchers and rookies tried their best to adjust to the speed of an NFL practice. One in particular, fourth-round pick T.J. Clemmings, enjoyed reps with the first-team offense. We won’t know how specific players performed until tomorrow, when media members are given access to the second OTA, but it’s an encouraging sign to see Clemmings rotating this early.

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Photo Credit: Lindsey Young - Modified

Intrepid reporter Lindsey Young (@LindseyMNSports) rejoins the show to talk Vikings OTAs, the latest Adrian drama (he’s gonna retire now? Dohkay), as well as her latest interviews with former Vikings head coach and garage sale legend Bud Grant, Polish phenom Babatunde Aiyegbusi, and superstar Andy Carlson!

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