Monday, September 26, 2016

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Michael Caputo | Strong Safety, Wisconsin

As a three-year starter for the Badgers, Michael Caputo served as the heart of a stout and stingy Wisconsin defense. Caputo takes pride in his intensity and tackling ability and it shows on the football field. Caputo put his skill on display in the 91st East-West Shrine Game picking off a pair of passes, including one from former Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave, and logging three tackles en route to claiming defensive MVP honors helping the West claim a 29-9 victory.

Vikings 2016 Record Predictions
Vikings Wall Collection - by Matt Engstrom

Matt Engstrom Sidebar AdIt’s been a while since we’ve posted some new Minnesota Vikings illustrations from our very talented, resident illustrator Matt Engstrom. If you remember, after the 2014 season, we posted a library of incredible drawings that documented that year’s games. Today, we’re happy to add more to our collection of Matt’s work after he graciously “opened his vault” and shared it all.

Matt’s illustrations are able to say so much with so little. He’s able to capture the entire spectrum of emotions we feel as Vikings fans through the adventures of the Vikings character he created.

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Vikings Territory
Sam Neumann
Sam Neumann

When the Minnesota Vikings stole Lindsey Young away from us by offering her, you know, money… we thought we might have to just call it quits, turn off the lights, and lock the doors behind us.

We didn’t, though, and as of today I’m happy to let you all know that we are officially back up to full strength.

Please join me in welcoming Sam Neumann to the family here at Vikings Territory and learn more about our free agent acquisition after the jump.

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More than just Jim Kleinsasser 2.0

Minnesota Vikings tight end Rhett Ellison is a key contributor
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Rhett Ellison tries to stand up, but his right knee won’t let him. One step, and the leg gives out. Something’s wrong. Seriously wrong.

There’s a little over 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game, and Teddy Bridgewater throws a pass to Ellison out of the backfield. The tight end turns upfield, but Green Bay Packers linebacker Nick Perry pulls him down from behind. His right leg gets stuck in the ground and suddenly “pops.” It’s a torn patellar tendon, an injury that’ll keep him down for at least six months.

Down, but not out. That’s because Ellison represents every cliché in the football book; tough, gritty, hardworking, reliable. An injury is just another obstacle, much like the defenders he meets in the trenches or safeties swarming to tackle him down the field. It’s Ellison’s job to recover and make it back onto the field this offseason, and it’s a job he’ll gladly accept.

No matter what the Vikings have asked of Ellison, he’s done so without hesitation. Line up in front of Adrian Peterson as a fullback? Check. Spilt out as a slot wide receiver? Check? Contribute on every special teams unit? Check. He’s the Swiss Army Knife in Mike Zimmer’s pocket, and the tool these Vikings will need in 2016. Set to become a free agent this March, Ellison deserves one more shot in Minnesota, whether fully healthy or not. Without him, the Vikings are another crucial piece away from the Super Bowl.

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The Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama is one of the biggest events of the NFL draft season showcasing the best senior NFL draft prospects. This week’s practice and preparation leading to Saturday’s 2:30 pm ET kickoff was well represented by hundreds of scouts from across the country. While splashy skill position players like North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz and Ohio State WR Braxton Miller grabbed headlines for the North squad, it was Eastern Kentucky DE Noah Spence and Louisville DT Sheldon Rankins on the other side of the ball who created a buzz for the South.

A great week of practice in front of scouts is the best way for a player to boost their stock, but making plays in the game is also a good way to get notice and move up draft boards.

Based on the Vikings three primary positional needs, here is a list (in no particular order) of prospects to watch in todays all-star game.

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