Friday, December 9, 2016

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How have teams fared after moving into a new stadium?

US Bank Stadium opens in 2016
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The opening of U.S. Bank Stadium in 2016 provides a sense of optimism for the Minnesota Vikings. Standing nearly 30 stories tall and covering more than 1.75 million square feet, it represents a bright future for Mike Zimmer’s team; it’s a home that finally matches the Vikings’ recent progress on the field.

Designed as the epicenter of downtown east Minneapolis, it’s a fitting stadium for the Vikings and a welcome attraction for local Minnesotans. With a Super Bowl coming to Minnesota in 2018, U.S. Bank Stadium may become the first venue to host its own team in the big game in NFL history.

Looking back, 13 franchises have opened new stadiums since 2000, and each has done so with similar aspirations of success and revitalization. Under Zimmer, the Vikings have gone 18-14, all while playing outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium. Does history suggest their winning ways will continue, or does a move spell disaster for a team on the rise?

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keeping mike wallace
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Any way you look at it, Mike Wallace’s first season with the Vikings was a disappointment. He was acquired last offseason to be a deep threat for Teddy Bridgewater and, presumably, resemble a number one receiver. Neither really came to fruition; Wallace posted career lows in receiving yards, yards per catch, and touchdowns, and his longest reception was 34 yards. While he did find a workmanlike niche in the offense, there wasn’t a single game in which Wallace made a major splash. In all, it wasn’t the game-changing presence the Vikings had hoped for.

Wallace is signed through 2017, and owed $11.5 million each of the next two years. That would make him the fourth-highest paid receiver in the league for 2017—not exactly a slot that matches his production. For that reason, many Vikings fans are in favor of cutting bait and using the money elsewhere. However, there are plenty of reasons it makes sense to bring the speedy receiver back for 2016. Here are a few:

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Deiondre’ Hall split time between corner and safety collecting 82 tackles, 5.5 for loss, and three forced fumbles in 2015 for the Northern Iowa Panthers. He led the league with six interceptions as a senior, returning two for touchdowns giving him 13 career interceptions and a school-record four “pick sixes”.

Deiondre’ Hall | CB/S, Northern Iowa

Measurements

Height: 6-1 5/8
Weight: 192
Senior

At A Glance

2015 Missouri Valley Defensive Player of the Year. FCS All-American. Multiple MVFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

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Even in the aftermath of NFL football putting on the most popular one-night event of the year, we continue to get our daily reminders that football endangers the men that play it, coming in the form of revelations about the men that used to play it.

Last week, an autopsy confirmed that former Vikings linebacker Fred McNeill was living with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) before he died of Lou Gehrig’s Disease at 63 years of age last year. In an all-too-common tale from players of that generation, it has been made public that McNeill suffered from dementia in his later years.

Now, it is a living Vikings great that is making headlines for health concerns possibly stemming from his playing days.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Second only to the NFL Draft, the first week of the league’s free agency period is one of the most exciting parts of the NFL offseason each and every year. Sometimes it works out and other times it does not for a team and their expensive new player or players.

It is always fun for fans to hope that their team goes out and signs the top available free agents, but that is not always the best strategy for their favorite team. Some fans need to be more realistic when it comes to who they think their team could sign.

When the free agency period for this upcoming NFL year begins on March 9th, there will be a few players that could land with the Vikings. Who are some of the more realistic options in free agency that could fit with the team in Minnesota?

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