Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Monthly Archives: February 2014

It seems like the NFL Draft should be just a week or two away. At the very most a month… But May 8th? The agony! It feels like it’s a lifetime away. So, to pass the time, we speculate. We try and predict the decisions of32 NFL franchises when they are on the clock. Of course, we’re always far, far off from what actually transpires. In fact, I went back and looked at my mock from last year… Want to know how many selections I got correct?

Not a single one.

That’s okay, though. I was in good company… Well known draft expert Mel Kiper didn’t have one correct pick in the first round either. (Technically, Kiper did mock Patterson to the Vikings, just at the wrong spot. He also mocked Eddie Lacy to the Packers but, again, at the wrong spot.)

Mike Mayock? We all know Mayock is one of the best in the biz. How many picks did he get right? Well, he hit on like five or six. But, I mean… This is what this guy dedicates his entire year to.

Truth is, there are just far too many variables to consider, things that change, trades, smoke screens, etc. to get anywhere near accurate with these kind of draft predictions. Nevertheless, they are incredibly entertaining because they simulate the possibilities of what could be come May 8th. The young stars who could potentially take your favorite team to the next level.

I have the honor of getting things started this offseason here at VT with my first mock of the year. While it was fun, I’m sure there will be a bunch of changes in the following months. As you’ll see, I have the Houston Texans selecting quarterback Blake Bortles with the first overall pick. This may come as a disappointment to some as it seems Bortles has become a favorite amongst Vikings fans at the eighth overall pick. Bortles to the Texans just seems like a good possibility, though. Although raw, I think Bortles athleticism, size and raw talent is probably intriguing to Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien. O’Brien also got to see what Bortles is capable of first hand when Penn State was beat at home by the Bortles-lead UCF Knights 34-31. Bortles has the potential to be the prototypical quarterback quite a few franchises will be looking for. Franchises that are drafting ahead of the Minnesota Vikings.

Continue on for the rest of the picks in the draft along with some analysis of how and why selections were made. Of course, would love to hear your thoughts on the Vikings selection and your own predictions on how everything will transpire. Enjoy!

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The recent fallout in Miami is a sober reminder that the NFL locker room is not immune to drama, nor is it exempt from workplace misconduct being investigated and punished.  One giant monkey on the back of the Vikings organization continues to be the investigation into the allegations made by punter Chris Kluwe against Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer.

There are many reasons for an individual to note the outcome of the investigation when the time comes.  When you narrow the interest down to just the football ramifications, however, there are no positive outcomes likely.

If the investigators deem that Priefer, General Manager Rick Spielman, Owner Zygi Wilf, or the Vikings organization as a whole are indeed guilty of bigotry and workplace misconduct then heads could roll at Winter Park.  This scenario played out (or is playing out currently) in Miami and it isn’t pretty.

This is the point in the offseason where the coaching ranks have been pretty well picked over and trying to replace a guy like Priefer, who even Kluwe admits is a very good special teams coach, would almost certainly result in a lesser on-field product.  That type of scenario would certainly hinder the team’s chances at success in 2014.

The NFL just completed one of its most misunderstood, but widely covered offseason events, the NFL Combine. Sure, the Combine features some of the most talented athletic bodies in the world competing against each other in feats of strength, speed and endurance. But any front office executive that isn’t lying to you will tell you that the most important event at the Combine is the medical evaluation. Or hold on, it’s the interviews. No, no… it’s the illegal tampering and soft free agent bargaining.

My sources tell me all three things are in fact the single most important thing.

At the very least NFL Insiders want to say that the Combine contains many an event that hardly reaches our eyes and rarely reaches our ears. Some of this is just because NFL Insiders see value in being Insiders, and there’s nothing cool about being an Insider unless there’s information they have that you don’t. But most of this is true, which means that it’s inevitable that rumors leak out and speculation runs wild.

Given that nearly everybody has a vested interest in lying to the public when it comes to football (or at the very least, they think they do even when they don’t), a lot of these rumors are bunk. People who are well within the know can be reliable when it comes to how they acquired the knowledge they peddle, but may not be reliable  in terms of how honest they are or what they choose to hold back.

That said, the Combine has produced quite a few rumors that we can speculate on, many of which may impact the Vikings.

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For most of the postseason, the consensus big board on the drafted quarterbacks has mostly oscillated between a Big Three and a Big Four, where Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles would round out the top of the quarterback class and Derek Carr would occasionally be included.

This is generally common practice for the NFL draft, as usually talent evaluators agree on who is in the top tier and who follows immediately afterwards, with 2013 as a big exception.

But for this year, it looks like draft evaluators are far more split on the subject than they have been on the past, and while rumors of Teddy Bridgewater’s unstable place at the top of the board have been persistent, never has there been this much indecision when it comes to QB rankings. Tony Pauline of Draft Insider reported through Walter Football’s Combine rumors (thanks to the Daily Norseman for this tip) that there’s been a shakeup in what we perceived to be the Top Four:

In conversations here in Indy it’s apparent the quarterbacks stack up 1) Blake Bortles, 2) Teddy Bridgewater, 3) Derek Carr, 4) Johnny Manziel on a number of team boards.

But Pauline isn’t the only one.

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Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk is reporting that the salary cap will increase from $123 million to “more than” $132 million (speculated to potentially reach $135 million), which is more than the $130 million reported last week. That $130 million was a surprise, because it is a greater cap than what was reported in December. That report in December was an increase from a report earlier in the same month that increased the projected cap from $123 million to $126.3 million.

The most interesting impact is that delay in the “true” cap number may end up helping NFL teams, intentionally or not.

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