Friday, April 29, 2016

by -
4
Image courtesy of Vikings.com - Modified

Our Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings take the field Sunday vs the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Hall of Fame Game, kicking off what hopes to be 27 straight weeks of football for our favorite team in Purple (do the math). I chimed in with a quick episode recapping a few training camp stories and what I’m going to be looking for Sunday in Canton.

Other “Win one for the Mick” Talking Points Include
• Donald Trump & Mike Priefer both want to “Build a Wall”
• Props to Mick Tinglehoff
• We’re luck to have Paul Allen, Pete Bercich, and Greg Coleman
• The Mike Wallace Bowl?
• This ain’t your father’s Steelers team
• Training Camp quick hits
• Is Anthony Barr’s knee a concern? Should #VikingsTWitter freak out?
• Teddy Bridgewater gun slinging YOLO style Tuesday night
• Teddy has love for Stefon Diggs. Will they see the field together Sunday?
• If NFL coaches were earning $10 a game + a ham sandwich, Mike Zimmer would still be coaching
• Top 5 Guys I’ll Be Watching Sunday (Besides Waynes & Diggs)
-Danielle Hunter (aka Michael Johnson 2.0)
-Eric Kendricks – Can he win the Mike?
-MyCole Pruitt – My new boo (Sorry, Chase Ford)
-Jerick McKinnon – Lighting to Adrian’s Thunder?
-Gerald Hodges – Can HE win the Mike?
• Big shoutouts to our listeners and extra props to our internationals!

All that and other “Green Jacket, Gold Jacket” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

by -
5
Image courtesy of Chris Price

As of today, the 2015 Vikings roster looks talented enough to compete with any other NFL team, but it may also come down to whether or not they are deep enough at key positions.

As the injury concerns continue to sneak up on us, as they tend to do this time of year, perhaps the most worrisome involves Anthony Barr and the knee that cut his rookie season short last year.

According to Scout.com, Barr is being held out of training camp practices due to inflammation in his knee.

Barr started camp doing conditioning work only as he was just working his way back from injury, so the most recent setback is particularly frustrating to everyone involved.

Carl: Wide Receiver
Specifically, Stefon Diggs pushing for slot and punt-return duties. The Vikings are deep at the receiver position, which means there is plenty of competition in a crowded group of pass catchers. Fifth-round pick Diggs has put together a solid camp and is poised to unseat fellow receiver Jarius Wright and punt returner Marcus Sherels for future playing time.

Mike Wallace hasn’t ran more than 100 routes out of the slot in a single season in his career, so with the release of Greg Jennings (who saw plenty of action from the slot last season), it’s likely Diggs, Wright and Adam Thielen who will continue a great battle for coveted slot position reps.

Diggs turned in one of his best performances under the lights on Saturday night at Blakeslee Stadium catching two touchdown passes. The Vikings have also given Diggs some work as a kick and punt returner in camp, after he posted impressive numbers as a return man at Maryland.

Mike Priefer has said Diggs is catching punts better now than he did in college and looks forward to giving him more opportunities as a returner.

Diggs is explosive and can get up field in a hurry once he touches the football. He is a lightning-in-the-bottle type of playmaker who could conceivably take a pre-season punt to the house and turn the pressure up on Vikings’ all-time leading punt returner, Marcus Sherels.

by -
7
Image courtesy of vikings.com

Driving home from Mankato on Sunday evening, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the Vikings were stronger at linebacker than they have been in years.

This might seem obvious, considering the team has invested consecutive early round draft picks on the position group, but I give equal credit to the development of players like Audie Cole and Gerald Hodges.

Over the course of two practices, I counted 5 different linebackers get significant time with the first team defense. The shuffling at the position should give the Vikings an advantage, no matter the down or distance.

by -
2

Training camp is one of my favorite times of the year. It signals the nearing of the regular season, but it’s also a fun atmosphere of seeing new players, different ideas and position battles iron themselves out in a much less pressured situation. This year, I’m spending a week in Mankato, and it’s been a great experience to watch how things have progressed. Here are just a few of my reactions to camp so far:

1. I’m still an Adam Thielen fan
I’ve liked Thielen for the past two years, but this time at camp just solidifies in my mind the threat he really can be if utilized effectively on offense. Thielen has already been used on special teams and I expect to continue seeing Coach Priefer do that; however, I’m really hoping to see him get a chance as a more regular receiver as the season gets underway. Sometimes I think people forget about how fast he is.  The Minnesota native is incredibly quick, a solid route runner, and has been making some impressive catches at camp. During Monday afternoon’s full-pads practice, Thielen was all over the field (in a good way) and caught at least one reception of each of the four quarterbacks. I can’t wait to see how he can be used when the regular season kicks off.

2. I’m still not a Matt Kalil fan
I just can’t get over how much I’m frustrated by Kalil and his lack of production. Granted, I will say that I’ve seen him putting in quite a bit of extra work with assistant offensive line coach Hank Fraley. So, I can’t give a poor grade on effort, at least in that sense. I don’t know if it’s a mental thing, a coachability issue or just lack of talent, but there is still much left wanting from Kalil. He’s still unable to hold guys at the line, and if we’re seeing these issues during camp I don’t have high hopes for them being any different during the year.

3. Adrian Peterson is picking up where he left off
It’s so great to see Adrian Peterson back on the field without all of the drama. I will admit, I had no interest in having Peterson back on the team. In many ways, I was ready to see Minnesota trade him and move on. Being at camp, though, it’s hard to not get excited about the potential the Vikings have with a top running back returning to the lineup. Peterson looks as physically fit and ready to compete as ever. One of the biggest perks of having AP in my mind is the amount of pressure that he will take off Teddy Bridgewater. Although Peterson is obviously nothing new to Minnesota fans, Bridgewater has not been able to play a season with him and experience the difference it will make.

4. Tyrus Thompson is better than expected
Sixth-round draft picks don’t always make the team, but in this case I feel confident that Thompson will have a spot on the roster. The unofficial depth chart released Tuesday slated Thompson as backup right guard behind Harris, and he has also gotten a few reps at tackle with the threes. There have been some ups and downs as there always are with rookies, but overall Thompson is playing with a lot more strength and wherewithal than a sixth-round option. In my mind, the Vikings got a steal and Thompson will develop into a bit part of the Vikings’ roster.

5. There are still questions surrounding linebacker
In all actuality, I think the Vikings have more depth at the linebacker position than they do in a lot of places. The question, however, remains which rotation will work the best for Minnesota. I’ve seen some good things from Audie Cole, who snagged a pick Tuesday evening, I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Gerald Hodges so far, and of course you have Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks and veteran Chad Greenway. In all honesty, the biggest disappointment–which I would never have predicted–has been Barr. He seems to be struggling to be 100 percent healthy, and he also looks heavier than last year … and not in a good way. Barr doesn’t seem to have the same hard-working attitude he carried last season, and that worries me. At the end of the day, it will be interesting to see which LBs start and who lines up where.

 

Get Social

2,858FansLike
379Subscribers+1
7,382FollowersFollow