Monday, August 3, 2015

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The Minnesota Vikings made their most surprising selection at the end of the third round in Georgia Southern running back Jerick McKinnon.

McKinnon was drafted before other talented backs including Devonta Freeman, Dri Archer, Ka’Deem Carey, and Lache Seastrunk. Those players Minnesota passed up on and the expected landing spot of McKinnon generated the surprise.

The uncommon athleticism of Jerick McKinnon seems to be the sole reasoning for the selection, at least from what Rick Spielman was quoted as saying post-draft: “He had one of the most interesting workouts I’ve ever seen in the Spring…they worked him out as a running back, as a punt returner, and a defensive corner. He was just from an athletic standpoint too good to pass up, too explosive of a player.”

McKinnon’s role as a wishbone quarterback for Georgia Southern (with cameos as a running back of sorts) makes him more of a mystery than Spielman lets on. He was certainly productive on the ground, totaling 3899 yards on 6.3 yards per carry and 42 touchdowns during his college career.

mckinnonstats

Statistical totals mean less from a system so unique. So without further ado, let’s get to the meat of Jerick McKinnon as a running back and how he fits with Minnesota.

Per Chris Tomasson at the Pioneer Press, investigator Chris Madel says only one more interview needs to be conducted before they can write their report and release the results of their investigation. From there it should only take ten days, according to Madel, to determine whether or not special teams coach Mike Priefer created a hostile work environment for former punter Chris Kluwe or engaged in the alleged homophobic behavior while Kluwe was on the team.

Should the investigation find against Mike Priefer, he will likely be fired and the issue put to rest. Otherwise, Kluwe will likely retaliate (Chris Kluwe has indicated multiple times that he and his lawyer, Clay Halunen, would sue the Vikings if the investigation concludes differently from Kluwe’s allegations).

In order to save myself the keyboard strokes, a recap from the update published back in April:

Kluwe initially publicized the allegations that Priefer said, with hostile intent that, “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows,” on December 2nd in a Deadspin piece.

He further claimed that general manager Rick Spielman and then-head coach Leslie Frazier discouraged him from speaking out on social issues and had an unproductive meeting with team player development director Les Pico about Priefer’s comments shortly before being cut in May.

Priefer has vehemently denied Kluwe’s allegations, and kicker Blair Walsh—while not denying the allegations—spoke in favor of Priefer and defended his character shortly after Kluwe’s allegations were made public.

Since publishing that piece, I was able to talk to someone familiar with these kinds of proceedings in order to get a feel for how likely a suit would be should the investigation go south for Kluwe and the investigators find in Priefer’s favor.

 

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Welcome to my first installment of what I am hoping to be a regular feature here at Vikings Territory.  Essentially, “The Other Guys” is an effort to take a look at the other teams in the NFC North and see what is happening with them.  After all, they are enemy number one, and our success can often directly correlate with their failure.

DETROIT LIONS

It sounds like the acquisition of Golden Tate had more to do with his talents as a wide out than what he can offer on special teams.  Only Dexter McCluster saw more punt returns last season than Tate did, but he has already conceded that the position still belongs to incumbent Jeremy Ross.  Additionally, Reggie Bush likes to think he has “graduated” from his return duty days and doesn’t plan on picking that habit back up anytime soon.  The news about Ross and his stronghold on the return man gig in Detroit is perhaps the first position battle in the league to sort itself out this offseason.

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The Star Tribune has a great piece on the Super Bowl LII bid that the Twin Cities put together and what the NFL demanded of the various bid groups before they could truthfully compete for the right to host the Super Bowl.

Before listing what the NFL required of the host committee, a few things should be noted:

  • The host committee only agreed to accommodate a “majority” of the demands
  • US Bancorp will pay $30 million of the cost of the accommodations that would normally be public costs
  • The host committee believes that the whole of the cost of these accommodations will be met privately, at no cost to the city
  • It’s still kind of shady because the city did not see the demands that the host committee agreed to
  • My guess is that the city will likely be in talks with the host committee to determine what they will and will not accommodate
  • What they end up agreeing to will likely end up being exactly the same as what they would have agreed to if they could have seen the demands
  • I still don’t like it because the city should, as a rule, see what is being agreed to on their behalf

The Star Tribune has the entire set of demands listed on the article linked (if you’ve hit your limit on articles viewed, just view the article in “privacy mode”), but the demands are 150+ pages. Instead, you can look below at what the Strib ID’d as the most interesting requirements.

 

Excuse the headline.

Per TMZ Sports, which has had an unfortunately greater presence in the last year and a half of sports reporting, Jerome Simpson performed 135 hours of community service.

The only reason this is interesting is that he was only required to perform 120 hours by court order following his 2013 DWI arrest in November.

Simpson’s community service consisted mostly of speaking to children at the P.E.A.S.E. Academy, a high school geared towards kids struggling with addiction. The director of the program said Simpson went “above and beyond” for the kids, and it seems like he genuinely loved the work that he was doing for them.

Simpson was sentenced to community service for violating the terms of his parole (in Kentucky). He will remain on parole until 2016.

I think fans were a little surprised that he was kept on the roster after his DWI—me included—but I think it will help more than hurt that he’s on the roster in 2014.

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