Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Monthly Archives: January 2012

On a positive note, the Vikings are entering this offseason with key veterans healthier than they have been in the recent past.

On a not-so-positive note, however, these veterans could be taking their good health elsewhere in 2012.

On Monday, Leslie Frazier showed excitement that starters Kevin Williams, Steve Hutchinson, and Anthony Herrera are entering the offseason without a need for surgery, something that has been a bit or a rarity for each of them of late.

“He is doing fine. From what I was told, he is past that concussion that he had,” Frazier said of Hutchinson, who was thought to be considering retirement, from the Senior Bowl in Mobile. “I know he wants to still play, at least that’s what he told me – he still wants to play.”

Kevin Williams had been battling a knee injury through 2011, and Anthony Herrera has had numerous injuries himself, but Frazier indicated that both are expected to be fully healthy when training camp rolls around.

“Knock on wood, first offseason in a while that he won’t have to be cut on for anything, so very, very encouraging that he can come to camp healthy. That would be great for us,” Frazier said of Williams. “… I was teasing Anthony Herrera, it’s a rarity to see him and Kevin not having any offseason surgeries. It’s a good thing. Neither one of them has to have an offseason surgery.”

In a lot of ways, the health of these veterans makes decisions on their futures as Minnesota Vikings all the more difficult.

Safety Husain Abdullah, who could possibly become a free agent in March, was also contemplating retirement because of concussions despite only being 26 years old.  Abdullah, however, has taken it upon himself to get advised by some of the best experts in the field and has been cleared to continue playing in the NFL, and he intends to.

“If I was going to make a big-time decision, I definitely wanted to go talk to them,” Abdullah said on Monday. “It was really educational and I did a couple tests and everything and they just kind of talked to me and helped me out. But they said my concussion was nowhere near as bad as I thought it was and it wasn’t career-burdening at all.”

Abdullah was approached by the Vikings about a contract extension during the 2011 season, but he didn’t want the situation to distract him at all and decided to forego the discussions until the offseason.  With the injury history building up, and a poor 2011 campaign, Abdullah may never get another offer from the Vikings now that Rick Spielman is in charge.

Leslie Frazier, however, was elated to hear the news that Abdullah planned to continue his career.

“Good for him. That’s good. Good. Good. Good. I know that that was a concern for all of us,” Frazier said when a reporter told him the news. “He’s a good player. He’s played well for us. It’s unfortunate we lost him this year to the injury, but he’s a guy that’s a good football player.”

Frazier indicated that he thinks Abdullah is in the Vikings plans for this offseason.

Williams, Hutchinson, and Herrera could force the Vikings to take a different approach, however, since they are all on the wrong side of 30 and come with significantly higher paychecks.

In the case of Hutchinson, age 34, he is entering the final year of his contract and is set to cost the team $7 million.  His play has decreased significantly since 2009, and this would be a hefty price to pay.  The Vikings, who are aiming to get younger, may have little choice to ask Hutchinson to take a paycut in his final year or be cut.  Hutchinson, who has really grown roots with his family in Minnesota, just might be willing to give the team a break if it means he gets to remain there.

Herrera, age 31, is also entering the final year of his contract which should pay him $2.65 million in 2012.  This isn’t a huge amount of money, but it is certainly more than his performances in the last two seasons are worth.  He is also a candidate for the chopping block.

Less likely to be going anywhere is Kevin Williams, who by all appearances is no longer the dominant force he once was, as his contract goes through the 2014 season.  His price tag is not a small one though, as he will make $7 million for each of his next three seasons under his current contract.  The Vikings, at this point, are probably hoping that Williams will simply rebound and play at the high level fans are accustomed to seeing from him.

So, with Adrian Peterson being the only Vikings player facing major surgery this offseason, the Vikings appear to be in fairly healthy shape.

The only question that remains is whether or not their good health will keep some of these guys from being jettisoned in an attempt to save cap space and get younger.

I want to take a look around the web at what others are saying about the prospects at the Senior Bowl practices, as well as the Vikings coaches who are in charge of the North squad.  Because Vikings Territory doesn’t actually have anybody at the, you know… Senior Bowl, I will be sure to link each note to its proper source.

  • Okay, we’ll start off by playing a little catch up.  Cornerback Josh Norman (Coastal Carolina) is 6’ 1” and 203 pounds, and managed to make a name for himself at the East-West Shrine Game played last week.  Here is an interesting interview with the small school prospect, and as I am writing this I am listening to Mike Mayock talk about how Norman could sneak into the second round and will likely be in the top 100 on every team’s draft board.
  • Here is a video, courtesy of Tom Pelissero at 1500 ESPN, of Leslie Frazier and Rick Spielman addressing their team on the night prior to their first practice.
  • Speak of Pelissero, he is under the impression that the Vikings are paying special attention to the wide receivers and the cornerbacks on their squad.  No real shocker there.  Why is he under that impression?  Because Frazier told him so.  “Corners, wide receivers — we’re going to take a hard look at those positions,” Frazier said. “We really need to get some help in that area, but we’re going to also look at the offensive line. There are some offensive linemen here we need to look at that may be able to help us, and even the linebacker position as well.”
  • Leslie Frazier says he is taking advantage of the Senior Bowl to treat it as a minicamp for his coaching staff.  He wants to work out the “kinks” which may, or may not, consist of having Mike Singletary and Fred Pagac return to the team in different roles than what they held last season.
  • Karl Dunbar was at the practice despite being unemployed after being fired by the Vikings.  New defensive line coach Brendan Daly is contrasting the laid back style of Dunbar by providing some fire.  “Lot of energy,” Frazier said of Daly. “Lot of enthusiasm.”
  • Offensive line coach Jeff Davidson is the only member of the Vikings coaching staff that is not present in Mobile this week.  He had hip replacement surgery on Friday.
  • When it comes to who looked the best wearing no clothes and being measured and weighed, look no further than Appalachian State wide receiver Brian Quick.  He measured in at 6’ 3.5” and 222 pounds, with 33.5” arms (which is long, by the way).  Quick is thought to be a mid-round prospect, but he could be a fast riser this offseason if his production matches his physical attributes.
  • Here are some more specifics on the results of the weigh-in process.
  • Normally I would be scouring the internet for information on which players the Vikings are meeting with in Mobile.  With the Vikings coaching this year, however, that list simply includes all the prospects playing for the North team and none of the players playing for the South.  For what prospects other teams are interested in, go ahead and click here.
  • There were mixed reviews of the defensive backs and offensive linemen playing for Frazier’s team in their first practice.  The wide receivers, however, all seemed to be impressive according to Walterfootball.com.
  • Sporting News gives you five guys that helped themselves on Monday and five more that hurt themselves.  Check out their report by clicking here.

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I apologize for my absence of late. 

I have been in a self-induced NyQuil coma for the last few days and every time I started to write a new post this is as far as I got:  “The Vikings are realllyoresfjlksdgjfdksl… Childress.”

Not sure what I was even going for there.

However, it is time to move on and this week will certainly have a Senior Bowl theme to it.  I plan on covering the events, including updates for how the Vikings coaching staff is faring in Mobile, in great detail.

Check back for updates, but in the meantime you can see Leslie Frazier’s opening address to his Senior Bowl team by clicking here.

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On a silly little side note (hey, Vikings news is pretty slow right now), yesterday via Twitter, Adrian Peterson announced, “So I’m thinking about changing my number! #28 has been good to me, but I think its time [to] switch it up!” Peterson then went further to think aloud, “I was thinking 21 or 23!”

No one is quite sure what sparked Peterson to come out and say such a silly thing. Maybe rehab has him going stir crazy… Regardless, Peterson immediately received tons of responses from fans exclaiming that he should definitely not change his number (not that the Vikings or the NFL would allow such a thing considering #28 is definitely the Vikings best selling jersey).

Personally, if Peterson, for some ridiculous reason, did happen to change his number, I think it would definitely have to be #24. What better number for someone who is known as “All-Day?”

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A few weeks into the offseason, the Vikings are done making personnel changes after hiring Alan Williams as defensive coordinator and Brendan Daly as the defensive line coach. Before I jump into more details about the two new Vikings coaches (although, one of them was previously a Vikings coach in 2006-08), below is a quick recap of the few changes that were made to personnel.

  1. Karl Dunbar is fired as defensive line coach.
  2. Vikings interview anyone and everyone for the defensive coordinator position (while Fred Pagac officially holds the position)
  3. Fred Pagac is officially demoted to linebackers coach
  4. Alan Williams and Brendan Daly rumors surface. Mike Singletary remains Vikings Assistant Head Coach.
  5. Alan Williams and Brendan Daly officially announced as defensive coordinator and defensive line coach, respectively.

The Alan Williams and the Brendan Daly signings should be no surprise as the Vikings, for the longest time, are apparently only capable of hiring friends.

Alan Williams was previously the Colts defensive backs coach for 10 years. For two of those years, Leslie Frazier worked with Williams (including the Colts team that won the Super Bowl in 2006-07).

Williams will have his work cut out for him as the Vikings tote one of the NFL’s worst pass defenses. Hopefully, with the addition of a long-time defensive backs coach, the Vikings depleted secondary will receive some attention this offseason and can come back as a stronger unit in 2012. The hiring of Williams ensures that the Vikings will remain a 4-3, Tampa-2 style defense as that is what Williams ran with the Colts.

Brendan Daly, who was an assistant defensive line coach for the Vikings from 2006-08, was hired back to replace Dunbar as the defensive line coach. He comes from being the defensive line coach with St. Louis Rams from 2009-11. It should be noted that Daly was with the Vikings as an assistant defensive line coach during a stretch of time where they were the NFL’s best run defense.

For my own personal opinion on the additions to the Vikings personnel, continue reading by clicking the button below.

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