Sunday, December 4, 2016

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

When it comes to trades, the NFL is usually not known for these types of transactions as much as other professional sports leagues have been such as the NBA, NHL, and MLB. However, the league did have a total of 38 trades in 2015 before the start of the regular season that featured at least one player (not just draft picks) and that total is the highest it has been in the last three years.

In the last three NFL offseasons, there have been a total of 89 trades made before the start of that year’s regular season. The Vikings have been involved in four of those 89 trades, including three in 2015.

Will Minnesota and general manager Rick Spielman participate in any trades in this upcoming offseason? If they do, who has the possibility of leaving town?

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Should the Vikings trade Adrian Peterson
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

“Should the Vikings trade Adrian Peterson?”

If you identify as a Vikings fan, then the odds are good that you’ve been asked this question more times than you can count over the ups and downs of the last four seasons, give or take. I know I have.

The problem, however, is that most people asking that question are looking for you to answer in a concrete way. They want a “yes” or “no” answer that they can either agree with or scoff at. They want you to enable their ability to hit that “like” button or give you the old “thumbs down.” They are not looking for a thoughtful, nuanced answer. Ambiguity beyond a “for the right price” qualifier simply won’t be tolerated.

The problem, however, is that the answer to this particular question is so complex that a simple “yes” or “no” isn’t giving it the thought it deserves, and neither of those answers could possibly be concrete and true.

For the first time in his career, however, I am not at all hesitant in saying that the Minnesota Vikings should absolutely consider trading Adrian Peterson.

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Harrison Smith named to 2016 Pro Bowl
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

This is a post that should’ve been written after the 2014 regular season. And though it’s overdue, it’s no less deserved. As first reported by Darren Wolfson, Harrison Smith is expected to be named to his first Pro Bowl this week. ESPN’s Ben Goessling confirmed the report, making Smith the third Minnesota Vikings player represented in this year’s all-star contest. He’ll join Adrian Peterson and Everson Griffen in Hawaii next Sunday.

Goessling reports that two league sources confirmed Smith’s selection will be made official after tonight’s NFC Championship Game. Smith finished the season with 66 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and two interceptions in 13 total games. Though he missed nearly four games with a knee injury, Smith proved invaluable to Mike Zimmer’s defense. And even if his stats weren’t as eye-popping in 2015 as they were in 2014, Smith’s greatness didn’t go unrecognized by the NFL.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

In 2014, ESPN released a film that detailed the journey of former Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss’ to the NFL. ‘Rand University’ is one of many films to be released as part of the successful ESPN ’30 for 30′ documentary series.

The film appeared to give a unique, inside look to the struggles that Moss endured before he achieved success in the NFL. Recently, Moss revealed his own thoughts on the film and the people that took part in creating it.

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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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