Blog Page 131

The Vikings have had a pleasantly quiet offseason, with nobody really being “that guy,” but Thursday’s news of DeMarcus Love’s four game suspension for violating the NFL’s policies against performance enhancing drugs is somewhat of a damper.

“I’m really hurt about it,” Love told Access Vikings after Thursday’s practice.

He should be.  Love was selected by the Vikings in the sixth round of the 2011 Draft, but was inactive throughout his entire rookie season, and then was placed on injured reserve for all of 2012 with a torn pectoral muscle.  This latest setback could very well spell the end of his run with the Vikings and could possibly end his career before he ever got to play a single snap.

“He won’t be on the field with us, won’t be able to practice with us, won’t be able to play with us,” Leslie Frazier said of the situation. “So that can’t help your development if you’re not on the field. But while he’s here, we’re going to work as hard as we can to help him come along.”

There as certainly no guarantee that Love would have made the final roster heading into September before this suspension, even with depth somewhat lacking at offensive tackle, as he was truly considered a “bubble” player that needed to have a good training camp as recently as yesterday.  It is for that reason, however, that I think Love’s chances of being a Viking in September may have actually been helped by the suspension.

If the Vikings are awarded a roster exemption during Love’s four game suspension then the Vikings would have very little, if anything, to lose by keeping him around until week five of the regular season.  They could push the decision to keep him or not off until he is eligible to return, which would be after four weeks of football have been played and four weeks of injuries have been sustained.  If the four weeks is up then they could easily part ways with him and his $550,000 salary.

If the Vikings don’t get a roster exemption and he still remains on the roster then that is a sign that the team both believe in his abilities as a player and also believe that his remorse over this situation is genuine.

“I was shocked, man,” Love said on Thursday. “I’ve never cheated and never will. Not intentionally. Unfortunate it’s something I can’t change. It happened. It didn’t work out in my favor and so I’ve got to face the consequences.”

He knows that the suspension could be detrimental to his career, but hopes that his tale will be one of caution to other players on the Vikings roster, at the very least.

“One thing about it is it’s bad for me,” he said. “But it also gives other guys a heads up so they know that you really have to watch what you put in your body. Because whatever it is, they’ll find it. And you’ll eventually have to pay for it.”

Love was given the same “heads up” when Kevin Williams had to face a two game suspension in 2011, Love’s rookie season, for the whole StarCaps saga.  That apparently wasn’t enough to keep Love from making a similar mistake.

The Vikings now, more than ever, have a glaring vacancy at the backup tackle position.

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Training Camp 2013 Cordarrelle Patterson
Photograph Credit: Chris Price

This fairy tale seemed more like a nightmare back on March 11th when playmaker Percy Harvin’s glass slippers were left behind in exchange for three draft picks. Credit GM Rick Spielman for turning a pumpkin patch full of draft picks into a magical New York night that not only landed the Vikings two defensive gems but also uncovered Cinderella in the process.

Cordarrelle Patterson, the 29th overall pick also known as “Flash”, is a fan favorite in Mankato. His golden colored dreadlocks hanging from under his purple helmet is a camp fashion highlight even a story book princess would envy. Patterson’s dynamic athletic highlights on the practice field are also wowing the eye of the beholders in Minnesota. Between his one handed grabs and his incredible ability to change direction and make defenders look silly, fans have plenty of reasons to cheer and not give another thought to Percy Harvin.

Okay, laughing about a guy’s painful injury and pending surgery is classless.  I just can’t help but think that Rick Spielman, who has never shown us anything to suspect he can be classless (right Antoine?), at least grinned a little as he laid his perfect head of hair on his pillow tonight.

News has broken that Percy Harvin, recently traded to Seattle for a bunch of draft picks, will require surgery on his torn labrum and is likely going to miss significant time this offseason.  The news will calm the nerves of some Vikings fans who felt Cordarrelle Patterson was not an adequate replacement for Harvin, while also making Spielman look like a damned genius.

While we can allow ourselves to be mildly entertained by this saga, and perhaps even give Spielman an extra exuberant high-five, PFT reports it wasn’t quite the heist we think it was.  Well, it was, but it wasn’t on purpose.  They say that Harvin was “100%” when the Seahawks traded for him, and that the injury he now faces was a result of offseason workouts.

While Spielman may not have swindled Seattle, he did swindle Seattle… just in a more ethical way.  In the end, this trade could end up going into the history books with a similar stigma as the Poison Pill fiasco and Walker Trade, especially if Harvin is never again able to regain the spark he had for four years in Minnesota, which is entirely possible with an injury of this nature.

In all seriousness, we wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him back in action soon.  The Vikings play Seattle in Week 11, however, so maybe he should consider giving that labrum some extra rehab time and sideline himself until at least December.

Last week, prior to training camp commencing, the fine folks at DraftSeason.com asked me to participate in a little exercise along with a handful of other fine blogs.  The mission was simple:  Predict what the 53-man roster will look like after final cuts are made.

I’m posting my predictions here, but the final results that include all of the various roster projections can be found by clicking here.

A few things about my projection will jump out at you:

  • I didn’t give wide out Greg Childs or Michael Mauti the benefit of the doubt regarding their injury status.  Keep in mind, this was written prior to Mauti being cleared for practice.  Regardless, I just couldn’t pretend to be a doctor, and had to leave them off the list until they prove that they are not only healthy enough to play in the NFL, but talented enough, too.  They are both guys I root for, but they didn’t make my pre-training camp roster.
  • Of the blogs polled, I was the only one to give the third running back spot to undrafted rookie Bradley Randle.  You all have known my desire for the Vikings to have a dynamic scat back longer than the world has known who Barack Obama is, but I think his true value lies on special teams.  He can produce a big hit, which has already been on display in Mankato, and just seems to have a lot more upside compared to his competition.
  • I was also the only blogger to dedicate a roster spot to cornerback Bobby Felder.  I was relieved when the Vikings managed to sneak him onto the practice squad last year, as I felt he had tremendous upside, and I think his year of practicing with the team will pay dividends as he faces off against the likes of Jacob Lacey and Brandon Burton.

Anyways, here is my final (okay, not really final, I bet) for what the roster will look like on opening day:

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2013 Training Camp - Christian Ponder
(Photo by Chris Price.)

Vikings players reported to training camp this past Thursday and two days in we already have some catching up to do. Though the first two sessions were without pads, there are still some interesting notes from Friday and Saturday.

  • Let’s talk health first… Through the first two days of camp, the Vikings have emerged relatively unscathed. The biggest piece of injury related news was that nose tackle Letroy Guion was forced to leave the first day of camp with a right elbow injury. Guion, who is presently in competition for his spot with backup Fred Evans, had x-rays done that night to determine the severity of the injury. Luckily, the images came back negative and he should be participating again soon.
  • Now on to Christian Ponder as he has been the primary focus of media and fans the first two sessions. The word out of camp so far isn’t good for #7. Talk has been that Ponder has struggled early with accuracy and often checking down to his tight ends. Ponder threw an interception to Blanton in passing drills, an almost-interception on a pass to Greg Jennings which was dropped by Jamarca Sanford, etc… And apparently, struggles in the passing game continued into Day 2. It’s worth noting that the weather has been nasty at Mankato with some pretty strong gusts. Of his performance and the weather, Ponder told reporters, “The first day was tough with the wind especially… On certain throws, you try to [put] touch on the ball, and if you do that it’s gone. A couple hung in the air and the wind took them away and it looked like some bad plays. It’s going to happen.” Kevin Seifert of ESPN North notes that Ponder did have some nice passes if you’re a glass half full kind of guy.
  • Cordarrelle Patterson has already become a fan favorite at camp with a pretty nice sideline, one-handed grab.

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