Sunday, March 29, 2015
Blog Page 161

Remember how Jerome Felton’s DUI charges from last offseason just seemed to disappear?

Well, they’re back.

Felton eventually pleaded guilty to careless driving, a reduced charge, but that was his second offense which lands him in hotter water with the NFL.  Today, it was announced that Felton will be suspended for the first three games of the regular season.

Felton’s recent surgery meant he was sitting for the remainder of the preseason already, so now we know we won’t get Adrian Peterson’s lead blocker back until week four. 

The good news for Felton is that he already cashed in on last year’s Pro Bowl season by signing a three-year deal this offseason which will pay him $2.5 million in guarantees this year.  The good news for the Vikings is that this suspension is not the result of a new incident involving Felton.

If Felton’s suspension (and DeMarcus Love’s for that matter), come with roster exemptions then the Vikings will be able to store some “bubble” players on the active roster for an extended look until their veterans return.  In Love’s case, he may not return at all.

While it is unclear if Rhett Ellison will take over as the starting fullback, it certainly doesn’t hurt Zach Line’s chances of being on the opening day roster.  Line has two receiving touchdowns this preseason and has impressed overall.

For an offense that desperately needs a kick start, however, the news that Peterson’s trusted lead will miss three games is not welcomed.

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There are a ton of interesting storylines and position battles that hang in the balance of tonight’s preseason game.  Oh, and the Vikings are playing football.  That is why we are hosting a live chat tonight for discussion with fellow Vikings fans throughout all of the action.

You can CLICK HERE to join in on the conversation.

We’ll plan on getting started just before kickoff, but the new chat room is open 24/7 so feel free to join in whenever you like.

I’ll bring the lutefisk!

With two preseason games down, and two to go, I found myself considering a number of changes to my prediction of who would make the Vikings final 53-man roster.  The last time I wrote a prediction was just before the open of training camp and quite a bit has happened since then.  The players that made my previous cut, but no longer do, are marked with a strike.  The players that are new to my list are bolded.

Quarterback: Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, McLeod Bethel-Thompson

Analysis:  No changes here.  MBT solidified his spot above Vandenberg with a solid performance last week, while Vandenberg didn’t even see the field.  Bill Musgrave recently made some comments about Joe Webb that have me considering only two quarterbacks making the roster, leaving Webb as a last resort, but I think that approach would be too unorthodox.

Running Back: Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, Bradley Randle

Analysis:  That third running back spot is still a mystery because there are a few players, including Zach Line and Joe Banyard, that are making cases for themselves.  Still, I feel like Randle provides the Vikings with the most upside and some serious special teams value.  Randle is penciled in very lightly at this point, though.

Fullback: Jerome Felton

Analysis:  Felton’s recent surgery has many assuming Zach Line will be on the opening day roster, but he is expected to ready by week one and Rhett Ellison acts as a quality backup at the position.  I just don’t see the Vikings dedicating two spots to fullbacks.

Week three of the preseason always captures the attention of fans more than any other, even though week four tends to be make-or-break time for bubble players, because the first teams see their most extensive playing time.

As the Vikings prepare to play the Niners this weekend, after two very flawed games thus far in the preseason, I have a list of things I hope to see.  Here are the top five:

5.  Something, Anything, Out Of Ponder

On one hand, what Christian Ponder does in the preseason simply does not matter.  He’s the week one starter, barring injury or suspension, so how he plays impacts the depth chart very little.  Heck, if he lights it up in the preseason, it matters equally as little because what he needs to prove is that he can quarterback his team to wins on a consistent basis.  He can’t prove, at least to me, whether or not he is “the guy” during these preseason games.  He’ll have to wait until the regular season before he can make a real case for himself, or before critics can truly call for his head.

However, on the other hand, it sure would be nice to see him perform at a higher level than he has been.  A nice solid game out of him would go a long ways towards giving us some confidence about the pending playoff race.

It wasn’t the best of times for Head Coach Leslie Frazier as he addressed the media after a lackluster performance in the Vikings’ preseason game against the Buffalo Bills. Frazier was obviously not pleased with the outcome of the game, but as usual, he took the time to politely answer questions without throwing his team under the bus.

 I for one appreciate his eternal optimism and his unshakeable demeanor, and I can certainly see why players love to play for Coach Frazier. During the post game press conference, the even tempered coach even managed to crack a smile as he spoke about the game. 

 When Frazier was asked about how Christian Ponder looked, he said, “I thought he did some good things early. He was under duress right away but he battled and ended up making some plays. He had some drops that set him back a little but he didn’t lose his poise. He put together a nice drive that we had a chance in the red zone to get some points but came up short and had to settle for a field goal. But I thought for some extended time he did some good things.”

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