Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Minnesota Vikings have unusually revealed that they’ve flagged eight prospects this year for worrisome tweets they’ve sent out during and after the season, and have compiled a report on sixty or so potential rookies who caught general manager Rick Spielman’s eye with their active twitter feeds.

All 32 NFL teams are available to the media on the first two days of the combine, usually with one member of the front office and coaching staff answering questions in a presser, and then making themselves to individual members of the media shortly afterwards.

For some front offices and coaching staffs—Jacksonville and San Francisco are good examples—are fairly open and willing to talk shop to a point. National media learns a lot more about their intentions and inner workings on these days and they generally are a fairly interesting bunch.

But for the most part, teams will clam up and be profoundly frustrating and useless. Often, the Vikings are one of those teams.

This year, however, Spielman expanded on a part of the evaluation process that has perhaps been the least opaque part of the Vikings draft strategy: character.

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Hello!

My name is Arif Hasan, and for some reason, Adam decided to ask me to be the Editor-in-Chief of his operation—an incredible honor and one I hope to pay back with quality content and curation.

As such, I figured I should introduce myself so that people know where I’m coming from and who I am.

To start things off, I should just begin with how I became a fan of football and the Minnesota VIkings in particular. My commitment to football has been fairly recent, and it wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I had ever thought about having more than a passing interest in football.

A few of my friends decided it would make sense to invite me into their fantasy football league, a decision of theirs I still don’t understand. After a few initial refusals, I relented and joined their league several weeks before the draft.

This was a bad decision for all parties involved.

I had an insatiable desire to win and in my drive to humiliate my (far more knowledgeable) friends, I stepped through the looking glass. It took me two years to make the championship game and three to win the league. I still have fond memories of Team DukeBasketball—so named because the owner I was up against in the finals was an ardent Jayhawks fan. It wasn’t as strong a roster as Gerhart of Gold, but it had more spunk.

Along the way, I turned from a casual Vikings fan to a dedicated one, and then an unreasonably committed one in the 2009 season.

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There is an old saying: “If you can’t beat ‘em, trick them into joining you.”

Or something like that.

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been neglectful of my duties here at VT of late.  I have all the normal excuses you’ve all heard from me before, and I won’t rehash them all right now, but I fear that life simply does not allow me the time to devote to writing that it used to.  This impacts the quantity, consistency, and quality of the work you all read on our pages.  Quite some time ago, I determined that this was unacceptable and something would have to change.

Talking about my gloomy forecast for our site with my trustee cohort, Brett, he said something to me this winter that stuck with me for quite some time.

“We need our own Arif,” he told me.

Brett was referring to powerhouse Vikings analyst Arif Hasan who most will recognize for his work over at Daily Norseman.  The statement stung a little bit, knowing full well that Arif was everything I wish I could be from a blogging standpoint.  His thoughtful, analytical, and informed onslaught of football articles had been pissing me off for quite some time… because there was no way for me to ever top it.

After our own version of Arif Hasan failed to materialize out of thin air, I decided to reach out to him, to see if he’d be interested in joining us here at Vikings Territory on a permanent basis.

He was.  And he has.

So, please join me in welcoming an incredible addition to Vikings Territory in Arif Hasan.

I am excited about the in-depth analysis and unique perspective Arif will bring to us here on a regular basis, but am also excited about what this means for the future of our site.  With Tom Pelissero no longer on the Vikings beat, I personally think we now have the best Vikings writer out there playing on our team, and that should instantly make Vikings Territory a premiere source for all things purple.

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Less than one month after giving Sidney Rice a Super Bowl ring, the Seattle Seahawks are expected to release their receiver (per NFL Insider Adam Schefter).

What are the chances that Minnesota looks at re-signing their former receiver for the 2014-15 season? Probably not very high.

Bringing Rice back would be an extremely risky move.  The Vikings are not in a position to make risky moves.

Rice signed a five-year contract worth $41 million with Seattle in July 2011. However, the 27-year-old has been hindered by injuries since joining the Hawks.

While the Vikings likely wanted to re-sign the receiver following the 2010 season, injuries were a concern even then.  Rice played only six games during his last year in Minnesota, and he underwent a microfracture hip surgery.  The recovery went well, though, and Seattle took a chance on the free agent.  After all, Rice was (is?) a guy with the skill set to succeed in the NFL.

 Patrick Reusse of 1500ESPN.com had this same idea in August 2013 when he compared Christian Ponder to other quarterbacks. Well, now it’s my turn to add two cents and lay some tracks down this Ponder path.

Rich  Gannon had a long 17 year career in the NFL as a quarterback largely due to his mobility and toughness. Ponder reminds me a little bit of Gannon in the fact that he can make plays on the run and doesn’t have the world’s greatest arm.

 Gannon didn’t play much during his first three seasons in Minnesota, but he became the Vikings’ starter in his following three seasons. Gannon was a serviceable quarterback for the Vikings, however his stats in his first 42 starts for the Vikings, Redskins and Chiefs combined were nothing more than average at best. In his first nine years in the NFL, Gannon was 21-21 as a starter completing just 56.6% of his pass attempts while throwing for 49 touchdowns and 44 interceptions with a quarterback rate of 73.8.

Like a fine wine that improves with age, Gannon transformed into a very good quarterback at the age of 32. In his last two seasons at Kansas City and his final six years in Oakland he performed at his best. During that time frame, Gannon had a 55-35 record completing 61% of his attempts and throwing 131 touchdowns with 60 interceptions. Gannon won the NFL’s MVP award in 2002 as he guided the Raiders to the Super Bowl and the top rated offense.

Can Christian Ponder develop into a great NFL quarterback too? If he can hang around the league long enough, I think he has enough skill set to be able to pull off a “Gannon like” MVP season at some point in his career. And as for now, it appears the Vikings want to hold onto Ponder for a little while longer. GM Rick Spielman said Friday that he is anxious to see how Ponder looks under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner this off-season. “Christian will be here; I don’t anticipate anything — him not being here,” Spielman said, via Master Tesfatsion of the Startribune. “Right now we’re looking at quarterbacks, so we would say we don’t have the position solidified. I know Christian does have the physical abilities to do it, but for whatever reason things haven’t come together for him.”

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