Wednesday, September 2, 2015

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Vikings have a number of young bright spots on their defense these days, but Harrison Smith is right up at the top of the list, and he wants everyone to know he loves playing in Minnesota.

Smith is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is scheduled to carry a cap hit of $2.271 million if he doesn’t get a new deal. A new deal is a real possibility, however, as Smith has met and exceeded expectations since Day One of his Vikings career.

“I have no intentions of going anywhere else,” Smith said this weekend. “I’ll just let [my agency] handle it. I’m just here to play football and we’ll see what happens.”

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

A quick look around the NFC North to see what is happening this time of year regarding our worst enemies:

CHICAGO BEARS

The Chicago Bears have had a very tumultuous offseason thus far, but even more turnover is surely on the horizon, and it could involve some of their biggest names.

Right now, it seems to be a hot topic to wonder about the future of wide out Brandon Marshall whose career has seen him playing the position better than anyone at times, while he also became a distraction with off-field issues.

Michael C. Wright of ESPN makes a solid observation about new head coach John Fox’s resume. Fox oversaw feisty wide out Steve Smith in Carolina, who even threw punches at teammates, and still managed to get great things out of Smith and others. It seems unlikely Fox will balk at the idea of coaching a personality like Marshall’s.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Marshall leave our division, however, as I still see him as being one of the best at playing the position. Josh Robinson is probably another guy that would like to see Chicago get a little thinner at wide receiver.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

[Note:  This segment is a part of a position-by-position look at what the Minnesota Vikings might be inclined to do during the 2015 free agency period.  This is the fifth article, focusing on the specialists.  In case you missed it, feel free to check out the quarterbacksrunning backs, tight ends, and the fullbacks are here.]

The Vikings are likely to see some movement this offseason when it comes to their key player on special teams.

To start, however, we should look at the one guy who seems about 99% safe in terms of job security. Kicker Blair Walsh is coming off of a down year in terms of consistency, but his body of work as a whole makes him more likely to get an extension this year than get replaced, by a long shot.  Walsh is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is scheduled to have a cap hit of only $689,483.

At age 25, it would take a huge fall from grace for the strong-legged Walsh to be considered anything other than our guy in the present, and well into the future.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

When it comes to discussions of the “greatest Vikings of all time” there is little argument against Alan Page.

The man just continues to impress with anything he does, even with his Hall of Fame NFL days way in the rear-view mirror, and now he will be beginning another chapter of his ridiculously productive life.

Page will be forced to retire from the Minnesota Supreme Court in August, according to the Star-Tribune, due to an age limit imposed on members of the court.  Page will be turning 70 and will have served 22 years on the highest court in the State.

Page was the first African-American member of the Minnesota Supreme Court and is well known as a champion for equality and justice. He says that his retirement will bring a renewed focus on his philanthropy, and possibly even a little downtime.

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For this week’s Vikings Fan Spotlight, we’re highlighting not just one person, but an entire bar!

Welcome to Cap City Tavern, located in Denver, CO.

Cap City originally opened in 1999, but Dino McTaggart, the bar’s current owner, purchased the establishment in 2008.

Interestingly enough, McTaggart did not start out as a Vikings fan. Rather, he was born and raised in Cleveland and considers himself a Browns fan “deep down in [his] soul.” Before you write him off, though—McTaggart quickly became a Vikings supporter.

“I became a Vikings fan the day Minnesotans started walking thru the door at Cap City, and I fell in love with the people who come in each Sunday to cheer,” McTaggart said. “Everyone who comes into Cap City on Sundays is here to watch football, but even when the Vikings aren’t winning, [the fans] are here to see each other and to get just a little bit of what they’re missing from home […] as I call it, ‘Minnesotan Love.'”

So how did a bar in the heart of Colorado come to be a “Vikings bar”?

When the local Vikings watering hole went out of business in 2010, McTaggart created fliers advertising “Denver’s Newest Vikings Bar”—slowly but surely, Vikings fans from all over found their way to Cap City.

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