Tuesday, February 9, 2016

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

I’m starting to get that “kid on Christmas morning” feeling as the 2015 NFL Draft is slowly sneaking up on us. I am as excited as anyone for Spielman Claus to put some new toys under little Mikey’s tree this year.

We have big festivities planned this year, with an NFL Draft Live Blog scheduled to cover every last trade and pick throughout Draft Weekend. I’ve even heard rumors that Vikings Territory will have boots on the ground at Winter Park and will be hosting some live reactions to all the action courtesy of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

Be sure to check back often for all the details, but you can certainly plan on making us your one-stop shop throughout Draft Weekend.

In the meantime, speculation season is in full swing, and tonight I’m taking a look around the web to see what everyone else is saying about the Vikings this time of year.

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Game of Thrones is back and is a BIG deal. I’m the only person on Earth who isn’t obsessed with the show, but that won’t stop us from talking about it in a Vikings capacity for SEO purposes! Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson) of The Daily Norseman rejoins the podcast to talk some GoT, Minnesota Vikings draft, and his latest piece casting members of the Purple as characters from the George R.R. Martin masterpiece.

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Week 5 Green Bay 2014 by Matt Engstrom
Week 5 Green Bay 2014 by Matt Engstrom

The fifth season of HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones premiered last night, but even Tyrion Lannister can’t replace the Minnesota Vikings on Sundays. For fans of the show, “Winter is coming” has become a rallying cry and popular meme that embodies the success of the George R.R. Martin adaptation.

For those not engrossed by “A Song of Fire and Ice”, the tales of Westeros pale in comparison to the drama that surrounds NFL Draft season. I’ll stop talking “geek” and get straight to the point, though — “Draft Day is coming”, and soon, Rick Spielman will have to make a decision with the 11th-overall pick. Brace yourselves, Vikings fans.

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Here’s what’s happening around the rest of the NFC North:

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I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I’ve had Marcus Mariota as the Buccaneers top choice and #1 pick long before NFL Networks Mike Mayock moved him ahead of Jameis Winston in his latest mock.

“The two biggest negatives to me about Winston are the on-the-field interceptions and the off-the-field trust factor,”  Mayock told the Daily News last week.

Yes, I’m sticking with Mariota at #1 in my latest mock, especially after Winston’s former attorney now claims that the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner isn’t ready to be an NFL player “off-the-field”.

I’m also sticking with DeVante Parker to the Vikings at 11, not only because the Vikings need to make sure Bridgewater has a true #1 wide receiver, but it also opens the door for the Vikings to trade Cordarrelle Patterson and get back into the first round to grab a player they covet. In my mock update, it’s CB Byron Jones that they target. Be sure to checkout Jackson McIntire’s scouting report on Jones here.

Byron Jones Scouting Report

[NOTE FROM ADAM: This scouting report is a guest post from the very talented Jackson McIntire who is making his Vikings Territory debut through this article. Please give him a big welcome and be sure to follow his work at The Viking Age and on Twitter.]

Each and every year there are a couple of prospects who look like men amongst boys at the NFL Combine and force scouts and analysts alike to go back and take a second look at their film. Over the past few years, a few prospects who drastically helped their draft stock due to a monstrous Combine performance are Stephen Hill, D.J. Hayden, Dontari Poe, Desmond Trufant, Martavis Bryant, Dri Archer, and Aaron Donald. This year, the two biggest standouts were UConn cornerback Byron Jones and Georgia receiver Chris Conley. The former is an interesting story.

After starting for two years as a safety for the Huskies, UConn lost both starting cornerbacks Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Dwayne Gratz to the NFL, forcing head coach Paul Pasqualoni to switch Jones’ position and help fill the vacancy. Prior to Jones’ stellar Combine, I had briefly watched some tape on him, but ultimately decided to leave him just out of my top 50. After witnessing Jones nearly jump out of the building, both vertically and horizontally, I needed to go back and take a second look. After watching tape on a few of his games, I was thoroughly impressed. Often times a player will excel at the Combine only to boast underwhelming film, but Jones was able to break this trend.

In this article, I will list Jones’ measurements as well as his Combine numbers and collegiate production, provide a thorough breakdown, give a pro-player comparison, detail where Jones fits in with the other cornerbacks in this draft class and explain his fit in the Minnesota Vikings defense.

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