Thursday, January 19, 2017

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Photo courtesy of vikings.com

Long time linebacker Chad Greenway has agreed to return to the Vikings on a one year deal.

Greenway’s return to the team leaves very little question about the Vikings ‘starting’ three linebackers entering the final month prior to the 2016 NFL draft.

favorite first round memories
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The 2016 NFL Draft is less than a month away, making now the perfect time to reflect on prior draft day experiences. To celebrate the peak of the offseason, I’ve asked the Vikings Territory team to share their favorite first round memories and recall the one moment in Minnesota Vikings draft history that stands out in their minds.

What’s your favorite Minnesota Vikings draft night (Round 1) memory?

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As a three-year starter for the Fighting Irish, Nick Martin boasts impressive leadership, intelligence and toughness that general managers and offensive line coaches covet at the center position. Martin, a two time team captain, made all the protection calls and consistently put his unit in the best position to pick up stunts and blitzes. Martin also offers position versatility with starting experience at both guard positions.

Nick Martin | Center, Notre Dame

Measurements

Height – 6′ 4″
Weight – 300 lbs.
Year – Senior.

At First Glance

Notre Dame Offensive Lineman Of The Year.

Rimington Trophy Watch List.

Lombardi Trophy Watch List.

Projected Round:

2nd Round

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SEC Conference

The NFL Draft: the consistent, inescapable exercise of trying to predict the future. Determining how college kids will react to becoming overnight millionaires and being thrust into foreign locker rooms with men a decade their senior who will probably haze and/or ostracize them for a month or two. The psychological part alone is enough to make it a crapshoot—forget everything else.

But, hard as it may be to accurately foresee who will excel at the next level, that of course won’t stop NFL teams—or us—from trying. The Vikings will continue to do their due diligence leading up to next month’s draft, but in the meantime, I like to look at trends when it comes to which players succeed and which don’t. Lately, it’s been the correlation with college conferences I’ve been focused on; mainly, how big is the difference between power five and mid-major conferences when it comes to developing top-tier NFL talent, and which conference produces the most “good” players?

So, behold, a limited and unscientific, but hopefully somewhat enlightening study. I looked at the first round of every NFL draft in a ten-year span, from 2004-2013, and noted every player that had made at least one Pro Bowl, and which college conference that player came from. A few notes on the process:

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Chad Greenway's Last Hurrah
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Jared Allen ended his illustrious career by riding off into the sunset. Hussain Abdullah, a former Minnesota Vikings safety, announced his retirement via Instagram, citing his “personal health” for the sudden departure. Players hang their cleats up for different reasons, whether it’s injuries, a lack of motivation, or a feeling of peace after enjoying the game of football for so many years.

Given that the average career lasts just 3.3 years, it’s amazing that so many players, like Adrian Peterson and Terence Newman, continue to play into their 30s. Retirement after so many seasons is expected, and often, necessary; when a player doesn’t have “it,” it’s time to move on. That’s the name of the game — or business — that is the NFL.

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