Monday, May 30, 2016

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The Minnesota Vikings could possibly start the season with six wide receivers, but that didn’t stop the team from adding depth to the position during training camp. According to their official website, the Vikings have signed former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ryan Whalen, bringing their roster total to the maximum of 90 players.

A sixth-round pick out of Stanford University in the 2011 NFL Draft, Whalen joins the Vikings as a free agent after three seasons with the Bengals. In his time with Cincinnati, Whalen appeared in 17 games, catching 11 passes for 80 yards before being released prior to the 2014 preseason. He also contributed on special teams — six tackles – and played in the team’s 2011 Wild Card playoff game his rookie year.

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The infamous deadzone of time between Saturday’s morning walk through and the Vikings night scrimmage is upon us. Luckily we have Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL) of Vikings Corner to drop some knowledge on us while we chill at the beautiful Boulder Tap House Mankato.

We jawed about shakeups on the offensive line during the morning walk through, anything learned from Adrian’s media availability, nuggets of info Mike Zimmer dropped during his press conference today, what to look for at tonight’s night scrimmage, and we do some way too soon projecting at linebacker, cornerback, and safety. Oh and MyCole Pruitt is my new man crush. #HeGotMikeTolbertLegs

All that and other “David Yankey is shaped like Gru” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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Poster being given away to #MoreThanWords donors.

Our last update on the #MoreThanWords campaign benefiting Chad Greenway’s “Chad’s Locker” program showed significant progress. The effort has yielded $3,609 so far, with Vikings Territory leading the competition between sites, and now we are following through on our promise to ramp up the effort even more.

People choosing to donate, and select Vikings Territory as their favorite site after placing the donation, now have the opportunity to win some Vikings swag!

I am giving away a Vikings game jersey of the winner’s choice (the $100 or less variety) from the Official Team Store, so if you win you will be notified via email and allowed to pick your player of choice. If all goes well, you will have your shiny new Vikings jersey before the regular season opener!

Also, Arif Hasan has donated a printed poster of Teddy Bridgewater (pictured above) to be given away to another lucky winner.

The rules are simple:

  • You will have your name entered into the drawing once for every $10 you donate on behalf of Vikings Territory. That means if you donate $100 your name will be entered into the drawing ten times.
  • If you have already donated to the cause your name will automatically be entered into the giveaway.
  • Vikings Territory’s staff members are not eligible to win.
  • Business sponsors of the fundraiser are not eligible to win.
  • The final day to donate will be August 22nd.
  • The drawing will be held on August 23rd. I’ll maybe even do a video of my kids picking names out of a hat or something and post the winners that way.
  • Winners will be notified by email.

We may add some more giveaway prizes as we get closer to the deadline to sweeten the pot.

In the end, we just want to see the effort hit the end goal of $10,000 raised and we appreciate everyone that decides to participate and donate!


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Purple FTW! has arrived in Mankato and we got football gurus Arif Hasan, Sam Ekstrom, & Luke Inman to join us LIVE at the Boulder Tap House to recap the training camp winners & losers so far, predictions on how the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings are rounding into form, and how they’re lining up headed into Saturday’s night scrimmage. I also explain my Matt Kalil pizza conspiracy theory… Also Mankato Trivia!

All that and other “cameo from the waitress” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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I was fortunate enough to visit Mankato for this first time this year to watch the Vikings Friday practice. It is hard to take away a lot from a single practice, but there are a few key observations that I wanted to note.

Wide Receiver Depth

It’s not a secret that the Vikings are better suited at wide receiver than they have been in recent years. I liked what I saw from Mike Wallace from a route running perspective. He’ll be a big upgrade in my opinion over Greg Jennings and shouldn’t struggle to get down field separation. He did have a few drops today, but nothing that would create a ton of concern.

Beyond Wallace, Charles Johnson continues to have strong chemistry with Teddy Bridgewater and looked better with contested catches on the few opportunities he had to show off that skill.

Looking at Patterson, Wright, Thielen and Diggs, there is little doubt why Norv Turner has said they will carry 6 receivers on the final 53 man roster. The Vikings are deep and talented at the position, which should serve well as the season grinds on.

Offensive Line Ups and Downs

A large focal point for the team has to be improved play from this unit. In 1on1 drills, there were some ups and downs, but I think they played better than they have in previous practices. Matt Kalil struggled to contain Everson Griffen on a handful of plays, but nothing overly concerning.

New left guard Brandon Fusco makes a difference on the left side, if you ask me. There was a notable play where Fusco was able to help Bridgewater avoid a sack with the precesence to understand where the line might have collapsed. Fusco on the left side will improve the protection on Bridgewater’s blind side.

John Sullivan looked great and should continue to anchor the entire unit. New right guard Mike Harris impressed me with his play for a guy who is new to the position at the professional level. A converted swing tackle, Harris has a lot of size to stack next to Phil Loadholt. This should help as he works against defensive tackles who are larger than the defensive ends he was used to going up against.

Defensive Unity

There were several plays where the defensive coverage in the secondary was very good. Terence Newman held up well and I wanted to keep a close eye on that knowing the importance of his role on this team.

Anthony Barr looked much more comfortable in coverage compared to a year ago. He made a fantastic play on a ball intended for Charles Johnson. Barr, who was covering the flat, was able to use his size to jump high and bat down a pass that should have cleared the linebacker level.

Eric Kendricks took snaps with the first team in nickle situations with Barr. Seeing the NFL has become a nickle or sub package league due to the high percentage of passing, Kendricks should get plenty of snaps in the regular season if he can prove to be trusted in these situations.

Xavier Rhodes is impressive. That’s all there is to say about that really. Going against Wallace regularly, Rhodes was able to man up in impressive fashion and keep Wallace corralled for most of the practice.

Defensive tackles Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd will be a great tandem in 2015 and really create problems in 1on1 drills and in combined team drills.

Rookies Making an Impact…So Far

As I noted on twitter, Danielle Hunter seemed to be the go to pass rusher on nickle situations on the left side of the defense. I’m surprised that Hunter seems to have already surpassed Scott Crichton as 2nd on the depth chart.

Stephon Diggs made the play of the day in my opinion, making a really nice catch on a pass from quarterback Shaun Hill. Draped by cornerback Marcus Sherels at the goal line, Diggs made a nice catch on a contested pass.

Diggs also seems to be in the running for punt returner. He catches the ball well and seems confident with understanding where he is on the field and where defensive gunners are in relation to himself.

Trae Waynes seems to be hanging in there and has been seeing time with the 1st and 2nd teams. Waynes moved around between the slot and outside cornerback positions and kept nice coverage on the plays thrown his way. I think there is still a lot of room for improvement, but I was encourage by what I saw – given, it was a small sample size.

Looking to Tomorrow Night

All in all, Zimmer seems to have full command of this team and I’m excited to see what more time in training camp will do in preparation for the regular season.

The Vikings seem to have a lot of fun things planned for tomorrow evening to celebrate the 50th anniversary of training camp in Mankato. If you are free, I strongly urge you to consider visiting. It is a lot of fun and the Vikings put on a good show when they practice under the lights.

I’ll be back in Mankato on Sunday taking another look at the team. I’ll have more notes to come!

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