Tuesday, July 7, 2015

When the Minnesota Vikings selected Virginia Tech defensive back Antone Exum with the 182nd pick in the 2014 NFL draft, some pundits said he just might be the steal of the draft.

Justin Cates, Associate Editor of SB Nation’s Gobbler Country who covers the Virginia Tech Hokies, said Exum is a first or second round talent but injuries dropped him into the final day of the draft.

“Exum’s natural fit is at safety, though he played well during his junior season at corner. He likes to hit guys and he has good ball skills, but he proved to be a little too stiff compared to the top corners in the game. Look at Kendall Fuller’s hips and then watch Exum and you will see what I mean. Still he’s a safety that can cover and he’s a pretty good tackler who can help in support against the run.”

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With great popularity comes great responsibility… or something like that.

For whatever reason, the NFL seems to be a mainstream battleground for social debate fairly constantly these days, and this offseason seems to really be amassing the headlines of this nature.  Whether it be the wrongful termination accusations of Chris Kluwe, the domestic abuse case with Ray Rice, the draft placement of Michael Sam, the double standard that exists between player and owner conduct, or the offensive nickname of one football franchise.

As far as I can remember, I have never once written about that last topic, as the Washington Redskins nickname is not really Vikings related and this is a Vikings blog.  Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum found an intelligent way to raise awareness of the issue in Minnesota, however, and dropped a call for action squarely at the feet of Vikings owner Zygi Wilf.

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Our weekly look throughout the NFC North at what is the hottest topic for each of our foes:


This is the time of year when overreactions to OTA’s are a dime a dozen.  Out of Green Bay, however, one rookie is making clear strides towards an unlikely landing spot on the starting roster.  With Jermichael Finley still looking like a giant question mark, and Andrew Quarless reeling from an injury, third round selection Richard Rodgers is turning heads in Green Bay.  We all hope that Mike Zimmer can fix a lot of things on this Vikings defense, but in the recent past they have struggled to match the size and athleticism presented by opposing tight ends, and Rodgers seems like the type of guy that could feast against a Leslie Frazier defense.  If you are looking for a late-round fantasy sleeper, however, being a potential starter in Green Bay’s offense can’t possibly be a bad thing.

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By now, you’ve probably seen the news that Christian Ponder isn’t taking too many snaps at quarterback compared to Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater. In most reports, Ponder takes a back seat to Cassel and Bridgewater. Bridgewater has passed the ball a few more times, but it seems clear that Cassel is the presumed starter heading into camp.

All quarterbacks have been given impressive control at the line of scrimmage, which is nice but perhaps irrelevant to the battle at hand given the fact that the system is new for everybody.

In talking with Dusty on my podcast at the Daily Norseman, he stumbled upon an idea that I didn’t think too critically about until I listed to the podcast again: the process by which coaches assign reps for quarterbacks.


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According to a June 18 article by the Pioneer Press‘ Chris Tommasson, former Minnesota Vikings guard Steve Hutchinson hopes to return to his old stomping grounds. This time, as a scout.

The 36-year-old currently lives in Wayzata with his family, but he says they will move to Nashville next week to be near relatives. Hutchinson would like to serve as another pair of eyes for promising athletes in the southern region of the States.

Hutchinson said the following:

“I’ve been talking a little bit with the Vikings about potentially scouting a little bit […] I’ve got to get settled in down there first and see what the lay of the land is. If they need a presence down South or something, depending on what they might need my skill set for [we might make a deal]. But it’s nothing that’s set in stone right now; it’s kind of just talk right now.”

The guard told Tommasson that he has spoken with Vikings general manager Rick Spielman and assistant general manager George Paton, and the possibility is there.

Hutchinson played in Minnesota from 2006-2011, the Vikings acquiring him as a free agent from the Seahawks. During his time with the Vikings, Hutchinson joined four Pro Bowl squads—he is a seven-time Pro Bowler overall.  2009 proved one of the guard’s strongest seasons in Minny.  He started every game, blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher for the ninth time in his career and was part of a 475-yard offensive output against Dallas that was the second-highest total in Vikings playoff history.

In 2010, Hutchinson suffered a broken thumb. The injury sidelined him, snapping his 123-game starting record. Hutchinson played only 11 games that season before moving on to Tennessee for one year before retiring.

According to Tommasson, Hutchinson visited the Vikings minicamp Wednesday to say goodbye to some in the organization. He said “it’d be cool” if he rejoined the team in some capacity.

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