Monday, March 2, 2015
Blog Page 158

The news isn’t exactly hard to keep up with these days, because there isn’t much of it, but that didn’t stop us from digging up some good stuff to pass along this weekend:

  • The Vikings seem to have a thing for tall defensive backs these days.
  • A look at what undrafted quarterback James Vandenberg might bring to the #3 quarterback competition.
  • The Vikings finalized their agreement to play at TCF Bank Stadium and there are some interesting details regarding the situation.
  • Nick Reed may not have lasted long with the Vikings, but that hasn’t stopped him from having a bad ass career path.
  • A year after “experts” failed to give the Vikings a chance at the playoffs it appears they are now gaining some respect.
  • An old cohort of mine is now running Vikings Gab.  Congrats to Chris Boynton 0n his new gig.
  • A look at how the post-Draft depth chart is shaping up at the linebacker position.
  • Cris Carter has finally been voted into the Hall of Fame so we are now left to wonder who the next Viking to receive that honor will be.
  • Count Governor Mark Dayton as one of the clueless who think the Vikings weren’t justified, in terms of football reasons, to draft Chris Kluwe’s replacement.
  • Rick Spielman recently said Christian Ponder deserves as much credit as Adrian Peterson in the franchise making the playoffs last year.  Seriously.  He said that.  With word.  From his mouth.  And he wasn’t drunk.
  • The Vikings have 39 players on their roster right now that they drafted which ranks 7th in the NFL.
  • Linebacker Michael Mauti has a lengthy history of dealing with injury, but so does Vikings trainer Eric Sugarman.
  • The Vikings have started yet another community oriented campaign called “WE DAY.”
  • Rick Spielman is making it clear that he expects Ponder to make a big jump this season.
  • Vegas is not being kind to the Vikings when it comes to predicting their 2013 chances.
  • If the Vikings had their own “Mount Rushmore” who would you put on it?
  • And now, here it is, your moment of Zen:

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Once again, infamous reader “Tomb” is back with some spontaneous satire.  Considering this week saw The Onion try to lampoon Chris Kluwe, only to be out-Onioned by Kluwe himself, the timing fits.  Yeah, slow news week.. Enjoy!

the Tombion: All the satire, none of the originality.

Rick Spielman Reaches Uncomfortably Far Across Table to Pass Christian Ponder Ketchup.

Eden Prarie—At a team luncheon, Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder quietly asked for someone to pass the ketchup. Though three people were positioned close enough to the bottle to be able to comfortably and easily provide it to him, Rick Spielman abruptly leapt up and extended ridiculously far across the table to grab the bottle and send it Christian’s way.

“I’ve been to plenty of these luncheon deals,” an unnamed source proffered, “but I’ve never seen anybody pull anything like that. I mean, the guy was up on his tip toes. We’ve all heard rumors about Al Davis; that he’d actually get up on the table on all fours to reach for the ketchup, but I’ve never actually seen it, so this, to me, ranks as the biggest reach I’ve personally witnessed.”

Spielman reportedly did not, however, reach for the check.

 

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I showed up to Middletown High School this morning about an hour ahead of schedule.  As I pulled into the main entrance there was artwork on the fence surrounding the school’s track that read “WELCOME BACK CRIS!!” with the two exclamation points fitting perfectly with the excitement I felt about today’s events from the moment I set foot in the parking lot.

The Middletown Middies had decorated the front door with purple balloons, which are the school’s color, but fit great with Cris Carter’s Hall of Fame career with the Minnesota Vikings.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance were honoring Carter as a part of their “Hometown Hall of Famer” program that celebrates the roots of the greatest players, coaches, and contributors with special community events and plaque dedications.  I was thrilled to get the press release and invitation to the event and even more thrilled when I realized I was going to be able to attend.

When I walked through the front door of the school I checked into the front desk.  The lady asked who I was and when I told her she grabbed a list of names that said “VIP’s” in bold letters at the top and quickly scanned it before looking at me sheepishly.  I had a slight moment of panic, hoping she had another list that said “Hack Bloggers” at the top, and that I hadn’t wasted a day off and four hours of drive time for no reason.

She was nice enough to let me through and directed me towards the modest gymnasium that was filled with purple balloons, a purple stage, a “red carpet” that was actually purple, and purple chairs.  It was also full of people wearing the previously mentioned VIP badges, cameramen, and a power suit or two.  I quickly planted myself against the nearest wall, close to the back of the room, and just started observing.

I listened to a group of men standing near me, who I later found out were some of Carter’s old buddies from school, talk about their time playing football together.  I was amazed at how well they remembered every last detail; who was lined up where, who got out in front with a lead block, and which guy got knocked out on which play.  Almost every time Carter’s name came up in the conversation the words “reversed the field” were used immediately in front of the word “touchdown.”

After taking in as much of that conversation as possible, I wandered about for awhile, admiring the equipment and professionalism that NFL Films brought to the event along with some of the other big-time news outlets that were setting up to cover the occasion.  Somehow, the iPhone and pencil I had in my pockets made me feel like perhaps I had underdone it a bit.

An announcement came over the loudspeaker releasing students from class.  Pretty soon the Middies cheerleader squad was front and center, the pep band was warming up, and students began to fill the bleachers.  They filed in until the gym was filled to the max. The event was preceded by a very enthusiastic pep rally and I decided to step into the hallway to see if I could get a better vantage point from another entrance.

In the hallway was where I first saw Carter, standing in a stylish tan suit talking with somebody with NFL Films hovering around to catch every move.  I stood there for a moment and my immediate impression of him, a man I had never met before, was that he is a professional entertainer to the Nth degree.  If today was any indication, I suspect that Carter goes through life displaying the impeccable blocking and open stance that would make the most refined Broadway actors at least a little bit jealous.  Running routes and being in front of a camera aren’t the same thing, but Carter has clearly mastered the latter just like he had the former.

We continue to formally introduce you to our newest Vikings with our in-depth series.  If you missed the one on Sharrif Floyd then click here and you can click here for the article on Xavier Rhodes.

Up next is Tennessee wide out Cordarrelle Patterson who we identified as a possible Vikings target back in January.  Shortly after that article came about, Patterson began to skyrocket in terms of his perceived draft stock.  Despite growing concerns about his lack of experience, football intelligence, and general maturity, Patterson remained near the top of his class and was one of only three wide outs selected in the first round.

CORDARRELLE PATTERSON, WR, TENNESSEE

ATTRIBUTES

Height:                   6′ 2″

Weight:                  216 pounds

Arm Length:         31 3/4″

Hands:                   9″

COMBINE RESULTS

If Patterson’s game tape hadn’t caught the attention of NFL front offices, then his performance at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine should have done the trick.  Despite his size, Patterson was clocked as the sixth fastest wide out in the forty yard dash.  He also tied for the fifth highest vertical jump and the sixth longest broad jump.  As was expected to be the case, however, Patterson’s athleticism could not mask some inconsistencies in the positional drills.

Forty:                      4.42 seconds

Vertical Jump:      37″

Broad Jump:         128″

The Vikings were among the teams that met with Patterson at the Combine, and there are mixed reports about how well his interviews went, but we do know that he scored an “11” on the Wonderlic test which has led to the “dumb” label being applied often and heavily by anyone with access to the internet.  Patterson, however refuses to accept that label and has a simple answer for why we shouldn’t be concerned about it.

“You can’t judge anything on the Wonderlic,” Patterson said plainly. “That has nothing to do with football.”

Keyshawn Johnson also scored an 11 on the Wonderlic, prior to being the #1 overall pick of the 1996 NFL Draft, and he came to Patterson’s defense prior to the Draft.

“If somebody is using the Wonderlic to determine if a player can play football, then the scouting department needs to be checked,” Johnson said.  “…But I played 11 years, and was always accused of being one of the smartest players on the team.”

The Vikings have concluded their rookie minicamp, and the release of Chris Kluwe wasn’t the only roster movement of note, so here is what we know:

DURON CARTER:  I will be travelling to Middletown, Ohio today where Cris Carter will be honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance in his hometown.  As Carter speaks to a group of students, I would expect to hear him relay an important message that will draw on his experiences as a troubled young man that had to overcome numerous demons before becoming one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history.  His son, Duron, will also have to overcome his fair share of adversity if he wants to have a successful NFL career.  It appears that the Vikings will not be offering the younger Carter a contract after he tried out with the club over the weekend.

BRANDON KEITH:  The 28 year-old tackle was a seventh round selection of the Arizona Cardinals in 2008.  He started 20 out of 26 possible games as a Cardinal, but knee injuries derailed his career and he sat out the entire 2012 season.  Keith was reportedly at the Vikings minicamp on a tryout basis, but the Vikings signed him to a contract, as announced on Monday.  Keith is listed at 6′ 5″ and 335 pounds.

ADAM THIELEN:  The Minnesota State-Mankato wide out is 6′ 1″ and 192 pounds and also was signed to a contract after his tryout.  Last season, Thielen posted 74 catches for 1,176 yards and eight touchdowns.  Thielen, prior to the Draft, participated in a set of regional combines with hopes of catching the eye of an NFL scout or two.  At his pro day he ran a 4.49 second forty yard dash and could try to establish himself as a viable return man option.  A long shot to win a final roster spot?  Sure.  But he has already beat out some competition, as wide out Nicholas Edwards who was signed last week.  This is a significant vote of confidence for Thielen, however, as the Vikings gave Edwards a $5,000 signing bonus which is pretty high for an undrafted rookie.

ZACH LINE:  The ‘tweener fullback was signed as an undrafted rookie and the Vikings gave him the largest signing bonus of all the undrafted rookies.  He received an $8,000 signing bonus in exchange for his services.  If you think that the size of a signing bonus might be an indication as to how serious the Vikings are about developing these young prospects, 1500 ESPN has a full list of bonus amount which you can view right here.

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