Sunday, November 29, 2015

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[Note:  This segment is a part of a position-by-position look at what the Minnesota Vikings might be inclined to do during the 2015 free agency period.  This is the third article, focusing on the fullbacks.  In case you missed it, feel free to check out the quarterback preview here and the running backs are here.]

If there was any real potential for drama at the fullback position this offseason, it was pretty much erased when Jerome Felton made it clear that he would be opting out of his contract. By doing so, he will sign with a team that almost certainly will keep him on the final roster, something that could be in question with the Vikings despite his status as a Pro Bowl caliber player.

The Vikings will gain about $2.5 million in cap space with Felton choosing to leave and have Zach Line waiting in the wings to pick up the slack.  Tight end Rhett Ellison is also equipped to take some fullback snaps if needed.

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Our weekly look around our Division and some of the headlines produced by our greatest enemies:


We like to hate on the Green Bay Packers on these pages, and for good reason, but I have to give Packers cornerback Sam Shields credit for admitting that they were the beneficiaries of a very dubious postseason call.

Shields, in an interview with ESPN, admitted that Dez Bryant made the catch that has been at the center of a playoff controversy that could only be outdone by some deflated footballs. Shields was covering Bryant on the fourth down play that handed the Packers a chance at the NFC Championship Game.

“It was a catch,” Shields conceded recently.  “But the new rule and at the last minute what happened, that’s what the refs came up with. I never said he didn’t catch it. He made a helluva catch I was in great coverage. Like I said, it was good on good and he came up with the catch.”

In the end, Shields’ statement means very little, as the referees still reversed the call on the field that a catch was made and the Cowboys turned the ball over on downs.

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**ANNOUNCEMENT: Vikings Territory will be down from Friday, January 23rd to Sunday, January 25th.**

Vikings Territory was launched in late September, 2011. Since then, we are very proud to say we’ve come a long way. Our readership has steadily grown, we’ve added a stable of talented, young writers, we’ve been invited to attend training camp and even recently adopted our own podcast. We’re proud of what we’ve built here with help from all of you. More exciting is what the future holds for Vikings Territory. We know that 2015 is going to be a huge year for us – and we have a big announcement to kick things into gear.

Very shortly we will be launching a new and improved version of Vikings Territory. Our current site, while filled to the brim with glorious content, isn’t a suitable vessel, if you will. Other than just looking outdated, it isn’t a responsive site that adjusts to whatever device you use to consume your Vikings News and Opinions (phone, tablet, etc.) It isn’t visually engaging and it doesn’t really foster the exploration we want our readers to experience. Finally, it doesn’t promote a community of passionate Vikings fans as well as we’d like it to.

The new site coming to you soon will do this and more.

Unfortunately, we will have a slight downtime while the new site is being launched. Starting this Friday at about 9:00 AM Central, Vikings Territory will be down. The new site will be live Monday morning for your viewing pleasure.

Although it’s a slow time of the year and there isn’t a ton of new, breaking news, you can follow @vikingterritory on Twitter for current updates as well as all our other writers (included at the end of this post).

We’re excited for this new stage at VT and appreciate the patience while we work to make sure you all have the best site possible.


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Tommy Mason, the first player ever selected by the Minnesota Vikings, has died at the age of 75.

The Vikings released the following statement: “The entire Minnesota Vikings organization is saddened by the loss of Tommy Mason. As the team’s first-ever draft pick, Tommy played a significant role in the history of the franchise. After spending six seasons with the team, he remained a part of the Vikings family, appearing at multiple events over the past several decades. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mason family at this time.”

Mason was a Louisiana native who attended Tulane, where he had racked up 1020 rushing yards and 527 receiving yards in his three years there and led the SEC in rushing yardage and rush yards per attempt his senior year, and was 6th in the NCAA (first in the SEC) in yards from scrimmage. The Vikings weren’t the only ones to draft Mason, who was also drafted second overall in the AFL draft by the Boston Patriots and by the Ottawa Rough Riders. Mason would go on to attend three Pro Bowls for the Vikings and represent them on the All Pro team once, averaging 4.4 yards per attempt and 55 yards a game in those three years. He was a big asset in the passing game, with 30 yards over the air a game in the same time span.

In those years, the draft would be haphazard. Many teams didn’t have scouting departments, instead relying on the data in forms filled out by the prospects themselves. They installed many prospects in hotel rooms and the ones they didn’t they called to make sure they didn’t sign with the CFL or AFL. Mason’s first contract with the Vikings awarded him $12,000 a year, large at the time because he was drafted by two other leagues. The Vikings still tried to game the draft, however, and leaked that they were willing to trade Mason and some picks for a quarterback. The Vikings didn’t, and selected Fran Tarkenton in the third round.

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Purple For The Win Podcast

[Note this is a cross-post from Purple FTW]

Vikings football never sleeps. Perhaps that’s why we’re 0-for-4 in the Super Bowl as sleep deprivation can be a mother.

Purple FTW has had a nice little break since the Vikings season ended (Insert – “Your team didn’t make the playoffs joke here”). But it’s high time to get back at it. The NFL is now a year-round league, ipso-facto this mom & pop podcast is now year-round too.

So we’re back on the weekly schedule.

This Thursday January 22nd, we’ll get a live report from the Senior Bowl with our man Luke Inman. He’ll point out a gem or two that Wheelin’ & Dealin’ Rick Spielman should keep his eye on for The Draft.

After that, new episodes will drop every Tuesday evening starting on the 27th. Most shows will feature a guest interview, although some weeks it’ll just be me mumbling on about how we need a true free safety so Harrison can spend more time down in the box where he’s best utilized.

Upcoming Episodes
• JAN 22nd (PM) – Senior Bowl Fiesta with Luke Inman
• JAN 27th – Adam CarlsonThe Viking Age & Purple People Podcast
• JAN 29th – Super Bowl Preview Special
• FEB 3rd – Andrew Renschen – Writer for First Round Grade
• FEB 17th – Christopher Gates – Founder of The Daily Norseman
• FEB 24th – Lindsey Young – Vikings Territory
• MAR 3rd – Free Agent Target Special

• APR 28th – Official Draft Preview
• MAR 5th – Draft Recap – WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE??!?

Also the plan is to do several LIVE shows from Mankato during training camp. Come to an arrangement with a local watering hole, plop down the gear, and have our favorite guests stroll into the Purple FTW! Thunderdome at their leisure to drop some nuggets about our 2015 Vikings. I’d also love to meet the awesome fan(s) of our humble podcast.

Bottomline is The Dirty Man is back for the offseason and looking forward to the most anticipated season that I can remember in my Vikings fandom. 2015 is gonna be a helluva ride. #GoalSantaClara



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