Saturday, December 3, 2016

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The Minnesota Vikings added to their haul on Friday by signing free agent tight end Brian Leonhardt, according to his Twitter account.

Leonhardt turns 26 in April and is listed at 6′ 5″ and 255 pounds. He is a native of Minnesota and played his college career at Bemidji State University.

The deal is of the one-year variety and totals $600,000 without any guarantees attached to it, according to the Pioneer Press. This presumably makes Leonhardt an insurance policy, or even a short-term solution, in the event that tight end Rhett Ellison starts the 2016 regular season on the PUP list.

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A Pharoh Cooper scouting report with a Minnesota Vikings focus.

[This Pharoh Cooper Scouting Report, with a Vikings slant, has been provided to Vikings Territory by Draft Season. Be sure to check back for more and also be sure to visit Draft Season to quench your NFL Draft thirst. All previously published scouting reports can be found by clicking here.]

Pharoh Cooper | WR, South Carolina

Measurements

Height – 5’11”
Weight – 203 lbs.
Age – 21 yrs.

At First Glance

2015 All-SEC First Team

Projected Round:

2nd – 3rd Round

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Andre Smith Signs With Vikings
Ex-Bengals offensive tackle Andre Smith signs with the Minnesota Vikings.

Former Bengals offensive tackle Andre Smith tweeted this morning that he has signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings. Smith, who was also meeting with the Arizona Cardinals, said in his tweet that the contract is a one year deal.

The Vikings hosted Smith for a visit this past Sunday but were not able to come to an agreement during his stay, leaving many wondering whether or not a deal would get done. Head coach Mike Zimmer knows Smith well from his time in Cincinnati and this signing is another example of his desire to add players he’s already familiar with from his time with the Bengals.

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Out with the old, in with the new

Vikings' starting offensive line
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Competition is the name of the game for the Minnesota Vikings, who completely revamped the look of their offensive line this offseason. Last year’s unit, which featured rookie right tackle T.J. Clemmings and reserve center Joe Berger, was a ramshackle bunch of pieces playing out of position.

Mike Harris, traditionally a tackle, was thrust into the lineup as a right guard. Brandon Fusco, the right guard of old, was forced to move to the left side of the line. And Clemmings, no matter how much of a “steal” he was in the draft, clearly wasn’t ready to take the reigns from an injured Phil Loadholt.

Heading into 2016, a pivotal year for the Vikings, general manager Rick Spielman took measures to prevent another disaster up front. His free agent signings — an re-signings — signal an emphasis on protecting third-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and solidifying one of the team’s weakest links from 2015:

  • Re-structuring right tackle Phil Loadholt and retaining left tackle Matt Kalil — consistency and continuity at the tackle position can’t hurt, right?
  • Re-signing right guard Mike Harris, who is expected to compete with Brandon Fusco for starting duties next season
  • Signing free agent left guard Alex Boone, who will step in immediately next to Matt Kalil
  • Bringing in free agent right tackle Andre Smith for a visit — the former Cincinnati Bengal is reportedly deciding between Arizona and Minnesota for his next contract

With all of these changes, moves, and potential signings, Spielman is fostering a competitive environment in Minnesota. Presumed starters today may end up on the bench tomorrow; it’s a guessing game at this point of the offseason. And that’s why I asked the VT team to make their best guess and predict the Vikings’ starting offensive line come Week 1. Who will rise and solidify a spot as one of the top-five?

It’s Week 1 of the 2016 regular season. Who is starting on the offensive line for the Minnesota Vikings?

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Is the NDSU offensive tackle a fit for the Minnesota Vikings?

[This Joe Haeg Scouting Report, with a Vikings slant, has been provided to Vikings Territory by Draft Season. Be sure to check back for more and also be sure to visit Draft Season to quench your NFL Draft thirst. All previously published scouting reports can be found by clicking here.]

Joe Haeg | OT, NDSU

Measurements

Height – 6’6″
Weight – 304 lbs.
Age – 23 yrs.
Hands – 9 5/8″
Arms – 33 3/4″

At First Glance

2015 MVFC All-Conference Team

Projected Round:

4th Round

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