Thursday, October 27, 2016

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Originally recruited to play tight end, Clemson University guard Eric Mac Lain isn’t your prototypical offensive lineman. A 2011 high school graduate from North Carolina, the 6’5″, 245-pound prospect was the 6th-ranked tight end in the country and a top-60 national recruit, per Rivals. He redshirted as a freshman at Clemson, but played 38 snaps at tight end and 10 snaps at tight end in 2012. By the time 2015 rolled around, Mac Lain had started just one game for the Tigers.

That lack of experience didn’t prevent Mac Lain from becoming a leader for the Tigers, though. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney praised the left guard for his leadership, on an off the field:

“Eric has been an unbelievable leader. He took Mitch Hyatt under his wing, a true freshman left tackle, getting Guillermo back, Ryan Norton battling through injuries, Joe Gore, Maverick stepping in, Crowder, all those guys, they’ve been incredible. It doesn’t matter who we’ve played, they have been incredibly consistent,” Swinney said, per the Clemson Insider.

After making the full-time switch to left guard, Mac Lain anchored a unit that helped the Tigers rush for more than 3,000 yards this season. In the National Championship Game, the offense racked up over 500 yards against one of the country’s best defenses. Mac Lain’s proven he can make a position switch at college football’s highest level, which should make him an intriguing prospect in the middle-to-late rounds of the 2016 NFL Draft.

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Randy Moss dazzled Vikings fans every time he stepped on the football field in a purple jersey and now his son will be catching passes for a Division I college football program. Thaddeus Moss made his announcement via Twitter that he has committed to play football for the Wolfpack of North Carolina State.

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That’s right, the “Sleeper Sunday” segment is back! Every Sunday between now and the 2016 NFL Draft we plan to add to our Scouting Report list by strictly focusing on lesser-known prospects that the Vikings might target in 2016.

Sound a little but like we’re taking long shots? Probably so. Last year, however, our own Austin Belisle nailed a Day Three selection of linebacker Edmond Robinson. This year we’re hoping to at least double that success!

For Vikings fans that happened to catch the East-West Shrine Game on Saturday, I’m hoping this first “Sunday Sleeper” is now a somewhat familiar name, because the Vikings could certainly use an upgrade at punter and Drew Kaser fits the bill.

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Kendricks tongue
rookie linebacker Eric Kendricks

Vikings Territory asked, and the readers spoke; in this series of articles, the team will announce the winners of our fan-voted awards, from the Minnesota Vikings’ MVP of 2015 to the Special Teams Player of the Year. Today, a look at the Rookie of the Year, as voted by you, the fans.

Eric Kendricks, LB — Minnesota Vikings

For players in the NFL, success requires exceptional talent, smart coaching, and a little bit of luck. In linebacker Eric Kendricks, the Minnesota Vikings got all three.

The talent was evident this season, as Kendricks started 11 of 14 games for the Vikings and was the first rookie to lead the team in tackles (105) since 1961. The fact that he was coached by Mike Zimmer is an added bonus; the 37-year coaching veteran is renowned as one of the league’s best defensive minds. And the Vikings were lucky to land Kendricks in the second round (45th-overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft.

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