Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Monthly Archives: June 2013

While other teams are dealing with murder scandals and bare-assed quarterbacks, Leslie Frazier’s Vikings are keeping things pretty quiet these days, which is every bit as important as it is boring.  Still, despite being in witching hour of the NFL offseason, there are some interesting notes from around the web to bring to your attention:

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It seems like just yesterday, even though it was quite some time ago, that 1500 ESPN provided an escape for Minneapolis sports writers that were likely feeling the pinch that came with being a part of a dying newspaper industry.  At that time, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune was riddled with annoying “innovations” such as premium content that you had to pay for and more pop-up ads than anyone cared to sit through.  These writers, such as long-time veteran of the beat Judd Zulgad, opted to jump ship and embrace the web and radio based content 1500 provided.

Now, one of 1500‘s best assets is doing the exact opposite, as Tom Pelissero is leaving the Vikings beat for a job with USA Today.

According to The Daily Norseman, Pelissero made the news official on Twitter, where Pelissero admitted that he will starting his new job next month.  Pelissero has since revealed on Twitter that he won’t have to leave his Minnesota home to take this job, but he will now be covering the NFL as a whole, instead of focusing solely on the Vikings beat.

While the news might make Jerome Simpson smile, as there will be one less douchebag hovering around his locker, I think I speak for Vikings enthusiasts everywhere when I say Pelissero’s absence will leave a huge void.  From his keen film analysis, to his unmatched wealth of sources, to his ability to obtain and analyze contract details like nobody else, us bloggers and fans will now have to work a lot harder to get the information we crave on a daily basis.

Pelissero has always treated yours truly very well and I wish him the best of luck in this new chapter of his career, but am also very hopeful that 1500 ESPN chooses wisely in trying to replace him.

[NOTE FROM ADAM:  In case you missed it, Lemke’s first bold prediction involved the safety position and you can read about it by clicking right here.  Enjoy round two!]

Many eyes will be on the suddenly talented group of Vikings wide receivers when training camp opens at the end of July.  With new faces like Greg Jennings and rookie Cordarrelle Patterson, along with familiar faces Jarius Wright, Jerome Simpson, and Pro Bowl MVP tight end Kyle Rudolph, fans have a reason to be excited about the passing game. After the probable four “locks” to make the roster (Jennings, Patterson, Wright, and Simpson), the competition becomes intense for the rest of the receivers as to who will still be wearing purple in September.

Joe Webb, Chris Summers, undrafted free agent Rodney Smith, and the hopeful success story Greg Childs will all have to compete for roster spots over the course of the season. Summers was picked up by the Vikings and placed on the practice squad in 2012 after being cut by the Chicago Bears. He is a long shot to make the team, but he has been making some noise this offseason, reportedly looking good in practices. Another long shot is undrafted rookie Rodney Smith out of FSU, however his height (6’5) and speed are both very impressive. I think the main competition will be between Greg Childs and Joe Webb, but even though the Vikings rarely keep more than five receivers, I think both will make the team.

To see Greg Childs come back after suffering an extremely rare dual knee cap blowout would be amazing, and it sounds like he will possibly be ready for training camp. Provided he’s ready and is able to play during the preseason, I think he’ll be another great weapon to add to the mix, and I don’t see how he couldn’t make the roster. I think Joe Webb’s role won’t be so much at wide receiver, but more of a special teams ace. Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer has already talked up the idea of using Webb on special teams as a punt returner, field goal blocking schemes, and even as a gunner on the punting team. I think his versatility as a receiver and special teams member will win him a roster spot, but honestly I’m just glad his days as a quarterback are over (for us anyways).

The topic of the week, which happens be literally the only topic of the week, is the decision of linebacker Desmond Bishop to choose the Vikings over multiple other offers.  Details of his deal have been revealed and it appears Rick Spielman signed a high-upside player to a very low-risk one year contract.  Bishop’s deal is reportedly worth up to $1.35 million, with playing time incentives built in, which is a bargain by just about anyone’s standards.  Even Erin Henderson, who Bishop is expected to force back to the weak side position, will make more money this season than Bishop.

So, despite the lack of experience in a 4-3 defense and his recent injury woes, I can’t see why anyone would have any issue with this signing.  Some might be expecting far too much from our new linebacker, but I just fail to see the downside.

Now is your chance to voice your opinion, however, so use the poll below and the comments section to let us know what you are thinking.

Immediately following the NFL Draft, no matter the year, fans eagerly fantasize about seeing what the new crop brings to the table.  This offseason, Vikings fans have been giddy about the prospects of the Penn State linebacker duo, consisting of Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti, and figured the relative lack of depth at the position would quickly see one of them forced into action.

They may end up having an impact in the NFL, and we all hope they are studs, but it now appears that their moment will have to wait for current group of formidable veterans to fizzle.

The strong side spot is manned by a Pro Bowl caliber talent in Chad Greenway, entering the third year of his $40.6 million contract, and that is unlikely to change barring an injury.

We entered this offseason unsure if unrestricted free agent Erin Henderson would be retained, but the Vikings showed confidence in his abilities by signing him to a two year deal worth $4 million.  They didn’t have enough confidence in his abilities, however, to keep them from signing recently released linebacker Desmond Bishop to a one-year deal.

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