Friday, May 29, 2015
Blog Page 111

As we have mentioned a number of times, it has been a great honor to be invited to take part in the Vike Fans audio previews of the coming season.  Tom Moore and the gang have one heck of an operation going over there and we encourage you to check them out on a regular basis and also register for their forums to join in on their many, many discussions.

Last in the series, but certainly not least, are these two great season preview segments from VT’s own Lindsey Young and Carl Knowles.  Lindsey is on offense and Carl is taking the defense.  Enjoy!

With five days to go until the season opener, it seems like the Vikings have finalized their practice squad, changing a few things from initial reports along the way. As it stands, the practice squad looks like the following:

Player Position
Mike Remmers OT
Joe Banyard RB
Chase Ford TE
Kain Colter WR
Donte Foster WR
Chris Greenwood CB
Zac Kerin C
Justin Trattou DE
Isame Faciane DT
Austin Wentworth OT

Since it was last announced, the list has two new additions: Chris Greenwood, a cornerback from the Detroit Lions and Austin Wentworth, who was in camp at offensive tackle and before being cut in favor of Mike Harris, was the backup tackle—a fact that worried more than a few Vikings fans. Kendall James’ status as a draft pick didn’t protect him, and it looks like the Vikings are relatively happy with the developmental corps they have at cornerback to move forward.

Chris Greenwood is a cornerback out of Albion College, drafted in the fifth round of the 2012 draft. Appealing are his measureables—he’s a 6’1″ corner with decent length (31.5″ arms, which are just above average for a cornerback), a 40-yard dash time between 4.38 and 4.41 at his Pro Day, and incredible explosion (an astounding 43″ vertical leap and 133″ broad jump). With that are above-average agility scores (6.99 three-cone and 4.15 short shuttle) and a good bench press for his size (16 reps).

His play at Albion didn’t match his measureables—an issue for a DIII athlete—and he was relatively slow to gather, plant and drive. His East-West showing wasn’t great, and he mistimed jumps, gave up separation, and couldn’t keep up at the breaks, showing limited fluidity. A lot of this could be resolved by sinking lower in his backpedal, but he’s certainly a project. At his best, he reacts well to receivers and gets his head turned around in man coverage while also reading the quarterback with good anticipation when in zone. He has shown flashes of elite explosion, but those are more evident in the weight room than the film room.

The rest of the practice squad you’ve become familiar with, so there aren’t many new faces to talk about. Two players from last year’s practice squad made the team this year (Adam Thielen and Rodney Smith) and others were in good contention to (Justin Trattou, Kevin Murphy and Joe Banyard) while Chase Ford figures to make the roster at some point this year.

The practice squad will change throughout the year. Of the eight who made the practice squad on the initial cut last year, three were promoted (Rodney Smith, Joe Banyard and Chase Ford), one found himself on another roster (Everett Dawkins), and another was cut (Travis Bond). There were five new faces on the practice squad by the end of the year, and one of them (Justin Trattou) was himself promoted.

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The Vikings open the 2014 season with a much-anticipated matchup against the St. Louis Rams.  The time to obsess only over our Vikings roster is over and we must now be aware of the teams that stand between us and the 2014 playoffs.

With the opener almost upon us, I asked Nathan Kearns to answer a few questions about the Rams and what we can expect to see.  Nathan is an Editor over at the Ramblin Fanas well as a die-hard Rams fan, and helps us understand our first real enemy of 2014.

I asked Nathan to make a prediction at the end of this, but first he was kind enough to answer five questions about this Rams team:

1.  Sam Bradford’s situation is unfortunate on so many levels, and even fans of other teams can sympathize with him and the Rams organization, but what can we expect to see out of the Week One passing attack with Shaun Hill at the helm?
Pop in a tape from Week 8 through Week 17 of the St. Louis Rams 2013 season and you will get a pretty solid idea. Much like when Bradford went down last season, Jeff Fisher and company will revert back to a conservative offense that relies heavily on the running game. Shaun Hill is a more accurate thrower than Kellen Clemens, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rams take a few more shots down the field. However, for the most part, it will be a run-oriented offense, with a mix of play-action and short throws to move the football down the field.

If you missed parts one (rookies), two (fantasy) or three (roster cuts), be sure to check them out. Brent LaBathe talked with Tom about the Vikings new set of coaches and what that may mean for the Vikings. Adam talked about his vision for the site and what’s next, as well as his prediction for 2014.

Tom has conducted interviews with Hall of Fame players and interviewed nearly every member of the Twin Cities media. It’s an honor for us to join that group.

On Aug. 31, the Vikings claimed former Minnesota Gopher MarQueis Gray off waivers when he was released by Cleveland. Gray immediately took to social media, announcing the news to his Twitter followers:

Despite growing up in Indianapolis, the Twin Cities have become home for Gray.  His wife, stepdaughter and twin sons live in Minnesota, so returning to play for the Vikings is a dream come true for the 24-year-old.

At 6’4″, 240 lbs, Gray proves an extremely versatile player. He played both quarterback and wide receiver while at the U of M, and he was listed as a tight end upon his transition to the NFL.

Gray stepped into a full-time QB role as a junior in Minnesota. In 2010, while still splitting time between positions, Gray started seven games at WR, grabbing 42 catches for 587 yards and five touchdowns. In addition, he tallied 119 rushing yards on 23 carries. Gray demonstrates strong athletic ability for his size. At the 2013 NFL Combine, Gray logged a 4.73-second 40-yard dash, coming in as the fourth fastest QB.

Gray signed with San Francisco as an undrafted free agent, working out as a half back before moving to tight end. He played preseason with San Fran before being cut and then picked up by the Browns. Gray spent the 2013-14 season in Cleveland, in which he got six carries and two catches in 12 games.

If the Gophers alum sticks to the TE position, he will fall into third string behind Kyle Rudolph and Rhett Ellison.

Minnesota released linebacker Larry Dean and offensive tackle Austin Wentworth to clear roster room for Gray and tackle Mike Harris, waived by the Chargers.

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