Wednesday, August 5, 2015

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[A note, there are a lot of GIFs. In this piece, it’s not as necessary to see them to get the point, but the post is better served with them than without]

Without question, Josh Robinson has been one of the worst cornerbacks in the NFL this past year.

It’s not a controversial statement, but even his biggest critics hold out hope for the young speedster from Central Florida. It’s a unique circumstance where a player finds himself maligned all season, but fans have a cautiously optimistic outlook on his future.

Robinson was miscast last year as a slot cornerback, required to defend space instead of the sideline. Often the optimism for Robinson stems not just from this fact (2013 was his first experience playing the slot), but also from the fact that Mike Zimmer, more than at any other position, is a defensive backs’ whisperer.

 

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LeGarrette Blount was arguably the most talented rusher in the 2010 draft class at the time and he arguably still is at the NFL level.  Punching out an opponent on the field, however, was one of a few reasons he went undrafted and had to watch teams trade around in the first two rounds to get the rusher they wanted.

One of those trades was between the Vikings and the Texans when the Vikings moved up to get Toby Gerhart.  In the moments following the draft there were unconfirmed reports that Blount agreed to an undrafted free agent contract with both the Vikings and the Niners, but he ended up signing with the Titans.  He then became the second undrafted rookie to ever run for 1,000 yards when he was claimed off waivers by Tampa Bay.

There were other character concerns surrounding Blount in Tampa.  There was a report of him leading an attack on a Bucs fan.  In 2013, the New England Patriots sent a seventh rounder to Tampa and added Blount to their stable of running backs where he flashed his usual toughness, but often got lost in the mix.

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As Arif pointed out today, the powerhouse analytics website Pro Football Focus released depth charts for NFL teams that used colors and their analysis to show where the talent was for each team.  They base their rankings off of their own numbers, and talent will always be something up for debate, but the Vikings actually fared pretty well.

If you look at their depth chart for the Vikings and compare them to the other NFC North teams (all the depth charts can be found here) you will see that the Vikings have more starters listed as being above the “average” category than any other team in the North.  I hate ever bragging about being some sort of offseason champion, but it is at least nice to see that someone is noticing we have a talented roster, and that evidence could lead to a quick turnaround.

How quick?  Well, you tell me.  Use our Poll of the Week to let me know just where you think the Vikings currently sit within their own division at the moment.

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Gradings company Pro Football Focus has released their projected depth chart for the Minnesota Vikings, and other than projecting rookie Teddy Bridgewater as the starter (which would be great), it’s not too different from the one I created a few weeks ago.

2014-depth-MINThey list their reasons for their colors at the piece they have up on their website.

For what it’s worth, I see Sullivan as an elite center, and Everson Griffen as at least a “good starter” if not “high quality.” Both Kurt Coleman and Jasper Brinkley as someone a little worse than what they say. Other than that, there’s a fairly large consensus between the two of us.

Linval Joseph and Phil Loadholt’s rankings are a bit more dependent on how you choose to isolate their categories. If Loadholt were compared to all right tackles, he’d be elite. If Linval Joseph were compared exclusively to 4-3 nose tackles, my guess is he’d be high-quality.

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The Vikings officially announced a partial training camp schedule, with players reporting to camp in Mankato on Thursday, July 24, and holding their first practice on Friday, July 25. Camp will break on Friday, August 15.

On August 2, the team will hold an evening practice, which will include a team introduction and fireworks.

This will be the 49th straight year the Vikings will have set up shop in Mankato for training camp.

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