Friday, July 31, 2015

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Soon you’ll notice a “fantasy projections” page now at Vikings Territory at the top (UPDATE: It’s up at the top now!), which is my attempt to provide preseason predictions for every relevant fantasy player in the league. As with most projections out there, there’s a strong statistical approach with rigor and history applied, followed by completely subjective modifications that ruin the whole point of rigorous statistics. Even more precariously, the statistical approach is relatively untested and openly experimental.

I wouldn’t necessarily stake my fantasy league on these projections if I were you, but I think it’s a good experiment to see if a game script-centric approach is one worth pursuing. If you don’t want to read the thoughts behind the process, just take a look at the projections for quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends directly. They should change as the offseason progresses. There’s going to be some interesting numbers in there. If anything seems off, it’s probably misperception on my part, but I’ll just blame the model.

 

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Some aren’t giving the Vikings a chance in 2014.  Some think they immediately make the jump back into contention.  Regardless of how you think they will do, the fact of the matter is that their first order of business has to be winning football games in the NFC North.  Here is our weekly look (after taking a week off) around the net at our greatest foes.

GREEN BAY PACKERS

There is no doubt that the Packers want to retain their ultra-productive wide receiver Jordy Nelson.  Nelson is 29 years old, entering a contract year, set to make only $2.55 million in 2014, and is clearly a favorite target for Aaron Rodgers on a weekly basis.  The running theory seems to be that Green Bay would like to extend Nelson this season, instead of waiting until next offseason, as they also have to get deals done with others such as Randall Cobb.  Nelson is likely the first domino that needs to fall before Ted Thompson can start working on the rest of his list of pending free agents for 2015.  Vikings fans (and defensive backs), of course, wouldn’t mind seeing Nelson’s extension hit a snag or ten between now and next March.

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IMG_3646A number of you have been following me since my very first posts at Vikings Gab over five years ago.  If you have been, then the nature of this post will not surprise you in the slightest.

Many of you are new to Vikings Territory due to our recently expanded roster of writers, however, and may not be familiar with me or much of our history. In short, every year at about this time we try and use our little corner of the internet to make a little bit of a difference out there in the real world in the form of a fundraising effort for a meaningful cause.

In the past we have supported numerous educational and athletics programs across the country, via the great website DonorsChoose.org. We tried to help a pair of our readers head to Haiti not long after the country was devastated. In general, we will gladly promote great causes throughout the year, as it becomes apparent that a certain fight is something our readers care about as a whole.

As summertime got underway, with VT’s popularity and traffic taking an obvious and substantial leap, I started to wonder what heights our next charity drive might be able to reach. I wondered how our new readers would react to our annual efforts.  I wondered how it might coincide with Arif’s efforts to raise funds so that he can cover the 2014 training camp for us.

One thing I didn’t wonder about, though, is what we were going to be fundraising for.  My mind has been made up on that for quite some time. This year’s fundraising efforts are a lot closer to home for me than I’ve ever attempted in the past, but if you all knew Dakota Schonlau I have no doubt you would understand why I have chosen her and her family.

So, allow me to introduce you.

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The Minnesota Vikings made an anticipated offensive guard selection by drafting Stanford’s David Yankey in the fifth round.

Yankey was widely regarded as the standout performer on the supremely talented Stanford offensive line from each of the last two seasons. He started at left guard in 2011, was moved out to left tackle and did a fine job in 2012, then moved back inside to left guard in 2013.

A dud of a showing at the Scouting Combine has been pointed to as the reason for Yankey’s slide to the third day of the draft. He did forego a year of collegiate eligibility after all. The reasons must go beyond just below average athleticism.

Without further ado, let’s dig into why Yankey received all kinds of plaudits as a collegiate player and even as a prospect but also why he may have ended up so far down the draft board.

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When the Vikings drafted running back Jerick McKinnon in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft, they knew he held a lot of potential. And he’s living up to their expectations.

McKinnon is already gaining a lot of recognition, including most recently from star RB Adrian Peterson. When Mr. All Day himself calls you out as a solid player, that has to feel good.

According to the Star Tribune‘s Master Tesfatsion, Peterson named Georgia Southern alum as one of the guys impressing him the most this offseason.

“[McKinnon]’s pretty impressive and there’s not too many guys who impress me like that, especially rookies coming in,” Peterson said. “He’s been able to do some real good things in the offense, picking it up well and just his running style.”

You can bet McKinnon does not take this caliber of praise lightly. “When you’re learning from the best in the game, you really just got to take on everything and everything he says you got to listen to,” McKinnon said. “I just got to feed off him and all it to my game.”

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