Friday, January 20, 2017

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That’s right, the “Sleeper Sunday” segment is back! Every Sunday between now and the 2016 NFL Draft we plan to add to our Scouting Report list by strictly focusing on lesser-known prospects that the Vikings might target in 2016.

Sound a little but like we’re taking long shots? Probably so. Last year, however, our own Austin Belisle nailed a Day Three selection of linebacker Edmond Robinson. This year we’re hoping to at least double that success!

For Vikings fans that happened to catch the East-West Shrine Game on Saturday, I’m hoping this first “Sunday Sleeper” is now a somewhat familiar name, because the Vikings could certainly use an upgrade at punter and Drew Kaser fits the bill.

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Kendricks tongue
rookie linebacker Eric Kendricks

Vikings Territory asked, and the readers spoke; in this series of articles, the team will announce the winners of our fan-voted awards, from the Minnesota Vikings’ MVP of 2015 to the Special Teams Player of the Year. Today, a look at the Rookie of the Year, as voted by you, the fans.

Eric Kendricks, LB — Minnesota Vikings

For players in the NFL, success requires exceptional talent, smart coaching, and a little bit of luck. In linebacker Eric Kendricks, the Minnesota Vikings got all three.

The talent was evident this season, as Kendricks started 11 of 14 games for the Vikings and was the first rookie to lead the team in tackles (105) since 1961. The fact that he was coached by Mike Zimmer is an added bonus; the 37-year coaching veteran is renowned as one of the league’s best defensive minds. And the Vikings were lucky to land Kendricks in the second round (45th-overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

In the NFL, durability can equate to millions of dollars for any individual player, and durability can directly correlate to the win-loss ratio of any franchise. The rash of pectoral injuries really gained notice after a July injury to cornerback Josh Robinson and the Vikings have decided to part ways with strength coach Evan Marcus this offseason.

The move has been confirmed my multiple outlets, including Viking Update, and marks one of the first instances where a Mike Zimmer hire has not panned out the way he had hoped.

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When it comes to the forty yard dash, former Northern Iowa wide out Terrell Sinkfield is either a myth or a legend, depending on your level of skepticism. The Vikings signed Sinkfield on Friday and, regardless of your opinion on his reported 4.19 second forty yard dash time in 2013, there is no denying that they have added some serious speed by doing so.

The Minnetonka native is listed at 6′ 1″ and 192 pounds and has experience running the ball, as a return man on special team, and also as a pass catching deep threat.

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