Sunday, April 26, 2015
Blog Page 128

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The Minnesota Vikings are hosting their rookie training camp this weekend, and several Midwest football players will get a chance to show what they have to offer. Five of these young men are represented by Greg Johnson of Origin Sports Management in Minneapolis:

  1. John Oyloe, DL  University of Mary (North Dakota)
  2. Michael Walker, RB — St. Cloud State
  3. Jeremy Reierson, TE — University of Minnesota, Duluth
  4. Seth Mathis, ILB — Bethel University
  5. Jon Wolf, QB/WR — Minnesota State University, Mankato

“We’re very excited that all of our rookie clients are in an NFL camp this year,” Johnson said. “Our five clients in the Vikings camp have been an extremely dedicated and hard-working group — training at ETS Gym (in Woodbury) and totally changing their nutrition regimen over the past four months. Their ready to take advantage of their opportunity.”

Current Vikings RB Zach Line personally recognizes the honor and significance of being invited to the training camp. He’s been there. In 2013, Line joined the rookie training camp weekend as an undrafted free agent; he proved to the coaches what he could bring to the table, and on Opening Day, Line was the only undrafted rookie from his class to make Minnesota’s roster.

Line experienced an initial shock and disappointment over not finding a team through the Draft, but he knew that wouldn’t be the end for him. “I knew I belonged on the field and had the ability and work ethic to play this game at its highest level,” Line said. “The draft is only the beginning. It’s not where you start   it’s where you finish!”

For Oyloe, Walker, Reierson, Mathis and Wolf, their journey begins today at the start of mini camp. For the next three days, these guys hope to show Minnesota that they have what it takes to make this team better.  As Line explains, the rookie camp puts young players on an even playing field and allows coaches to see which players are able to learn the playbook.

Line offers the following advice for these players:

“Accentuate your talents. Whatever it is that you are really good at do it really well every time. Coaches can then depend on you and find a spot for you. If you don’t have talent in other areas you need to be able to learn and not repeat the same mistake day after day. Put the draft behind you, check your pride at the door and play ball […] Once you’re on the field, everyone is an equal. Just because one guy was drafted does not mean he now has more power, more speed, or more heart than you. ‘You earn the right to play this game at its higher level on the practice field.’ Notice  this quote has nothing to do with the draft.”

***

To see individual articles on the five prospects, view upcoming Vikings Territory posts. 

 

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[NOTE FROM ARIF: I’ve asked Darren Page, lead scout at DetroitLionsDraft.com and contributor at the Bleacher Report (and avid Vikings fan) to give us comprehensive breakdowns on the Vikings rookies. He responded with incredible depth and thoroughness. You can follow him @DarrenPage15 for a stream of his football and non-football thoughts.

He and I would like to thank DraftBreakdown.com and acknowledge NFL Game Rewind for providing all the necessary visual data]

With the ninth pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Minnesota selected UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr.

Because he’s only played on the defensive side of the ball for two seasons, Barr is one of the most unique prospects in the entire draft class.  After struggling to make his mark as a running back through two seasons at UCLA, he made the switch to linebacker with the blessing of new head coach Jim Mora.

Barr took to his new position as a 3-4 rush linebacker immediately.  In a renaissance season for UCLA in 2012, Barr totaled 83 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, and 13.5 sacks.

His statistical outputs experience a slight dip in 2013.  He received far more attention from opposing offenses but was still productive.  66 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, and 10 sacks is nothing to scoff at.  Barr also forced six fumbles in 2013.

The way he developed into his role so quickly should speak to his ability to take to coaching.  Everything about what he’d been taught in football had gone out the window, and he applied his athleticism to a new position in a hurry.

Anthony Barr’s athletic traits are the most appealing part of his game.  That’s why he got drafted where he did.  Let’s take a look at how his athletic ability plays into his game and where he still comes up short.

 

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I’ve taken a stab at projecting a depth chart for the Minnesota Vikings, not as it stands now, but what I expect to see by Week 4 of the season, barring injury. To that end, I’ve decided to add color to it in order to give a snapshot of my opinion of each player. Each color is how I expect that player to perform for the year, despite the fact that I recognize many of the players will not make the roster—think of each player as being judged “if they made the roster.”

 

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With rookie camp around the corner and a number of undrafted free agents ready to show off and prove they earn a spot at camp (odds are a tryout will make a significant push and steal one of their spots). We don’t know much about them, but I’ve been able to watch something on all but two and have asked @FCSScout, Shaun DePasquale, to help me out with those two.

I ended up being more optimistic than is reasonable on this class, and called more to make the roster or practice squad than typicall do in a year, which is either bad for my evaluation skills or good for the Vikings’ UDFA pick up this year. In no particular order:

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According to the Vikings’ official website, the Minnesota Vikings have waived four players to make room for the undrafted free agents—curious mostly because they needed only to waive three in order to make the 90.

Those four players were running back Bradley Randle, linebacker Simoni Lawrence, offensive guard/center Josh Samuda and linebacker Terrell Manning. Of the four, only Manning had significant NFL experience, though not as a starter. He appeared on the rosters for Green Bay and San Diego prior.

Bradley Randle appeared in camp with the Vikings last year and quickly became a fan favorite. He, along with weakside linebacker Simoni Lawrence, both played in the CFL. Randle for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Lawrence for the Edmonton Eskimos and Hamilton Tiger-Cats. If Lawrence signs with another team, that would be the tenth team to employ him.

Josh Samuda from UMass would have been an interesting camp body, but suffered an egregious ankle injury in OTAs.

The reason they ended up cutting four instead of three is because the Vikings signed 16 UDFAs, not just 15: Travis Partridge from Missouri Western State was a late add to the UDFA slate.

**UPDATE: The Vikings have evidently not signed OL Austin Wentworth from Fresno State, per Chris Tomasson. They now have one open roster spot.

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