Monday, May 2, 2016

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Antone Exum, Jr.
It’s no secret that the Vikings don’t have a hard-and-fast guarantee at safety other than Harrison Smith. Smith has been a top roster member since joining the team, and as long as he stays healthy, you know he’ll stay put in the starting lineup. Who will play opposite, him, though?

Although it looks like Robert Blanton is currently first in line as he got plenty of reps with the first team during OTA’s, Exum, Jr. had some impressive plays last season and could definitely be in the running to play across from Smith. I have some issues with Blanton’s tackling, and I wouldn’t say that he’s a shoo-in.


Zach Line

With Jerome Felton heading to Buffalo (I still wonder if he regrets that decision now that AP will be with the Vikings), Zach Line has a huge opportunity ahead of him. Line is currently projected as the starting fullback for Minnesota, and I’m a believer that he’ll be an excellent fit there. Line impressed me last season, continuing to work hard and fulfill whatever role he was given on the team, including practice squad. The Southern Methodist alum makes an impact at practice, and the Vikings are obviously confident in his abilities to slide into that main roster spot. If Line and Peterson can work well together and build some chemistry, this could be Line’s breakout season.

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In the world of Go Fund Me and whatnot, we are used to up-to-the-second updates at our fingertips, but the ongoing results of our “More Than Words” campaign are likely to come more slowly… in the form of weekly updates like this one. We appreciate your patience as we work to track all of the donations being made.

So, cutting to the chase, we are off to a great start and the effort has generated a considerable amount of buzz throughout Vikings nation. Even the great Fran Tarkenton gave the #MoreThanWords campaign a shout out.

The video above was produced by MakeYourName and sent to all of the participating sites to use in conjunction with our competition. Check out the video for an up close look at just what exactly it is that Chad Greenway does within the community and why we have chosen to support him.

Okay, and now for the early results…

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Please rank the players in the order you think they will finish. 

Adam: 
1. Adrian Peterson
Here’s a homer pick for you, and I’m okay with that. The last time I doubted Peterson, he shocked us all with his improbable return from injury and put up one historic performance after another. This year, after sitting out for a season by force and wanting to prove himself worthy of another contract extension, I would be terrified to be lined up across from him.

2. Eddie Lacy
This guy is a monster within an offense that isn’t even the primary threat within his own offense. Lacy’s talent and style of play, combined with a potent offense that can give him endless opportunities, makes him very dangerous at any point in any game. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him score twenty touchdowns in 2015.

3. Jamaal Charles
With the ability to be the most productive running back in the NFL, both as a rusher and pass catcher, Charles only has his team and coaches to worry about holding him back. That may end up happening, but I wouldn’t bet against Charles as an individual performer no matter which team he’s playing for.

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#InZimWeTrust

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Firing a head coach in the NFL is like wielding a double-edged sword. With one swing, you can eliminate problems like poor game management or outdated defensive schemes. Or, you can catch the wrong side of the blade and fracture team chemistry, as the Vikings did when they parted ways with Leslie Frazier after the 2013 season.

Fans of the team rejoiced, but one player — Adrian Peterson — was reportedly frustrated with the team’s decision to fire Frazier. According to ESPN’s Ben Goessling, Peterson contemplated leaving the Vikings near the end of the season:

“I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t feeling good about being here in Minnesota at the end of last season,” Peterson said in a wide-ranging interview with ESPN. “Coaches change, but everything was shaken up.

General manager Rick Spielman made sure to right the ship quickly, hiring Mike Zimmer as the Vikings’ newest head coach less than a month later. The move to bring in Zimmer — a no-nonsense, football-first mind — stabilized the franchise and rallied a young team to aim higher in 2015.

Under Zimmer’s leadership in 2014, the Vikings went 7-9 and succeeded in the face of multiple obstacles, including Adrian Peterson’s absence, Teddy Bridgewater’s rookie growing pains, and the implementation of a new defensive scheme. Unlike Tice, Childress, or Frazier before him, Zimmer has won over his players and quickly navigated the trials and tribulations that come with being a head coach in the National Football League.

While there’s room for improvement in year two, its safe to say Zimmer has established himself as the captain of the Vikings ship, and its time everybody climb aboard.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

If I were to ask any Vikings fan what they thought of Mike Zimmer, they’d likely tell me he’s the greatest head coach since Bud Grant. In one season, Zimmer has started to erase memories of the past 12 seasons, when Mike Tice, Brad Childress, and Leslie Frazier led the Vikings to a combined 92 wins and 99 losses. It may be too early to proclaim Zimmer a top-flight head coach, but he’s well on his way to a long career in Minnesota, and that starts with a winning season in 2015.

But, what if the Vikings had never hired Zimmer? What if, in some cruel, twisted universe, the Wilf brothers were forced to choose one of three head coaches — Tice, Childress, or Frazier — to lead this team? What if Zimmer had never inherited Xavier Rhodes, or even worse,  what if Teddy Bridgewater was forced to operate from Musgrave’s minuscule play card?

Optimism around the team definitely wouldn’t be as high, and Minnesota’s faithful sports fans would suffer yet another year of futility. Luckily, that’s not the case, but it’s always fun to look back and remember our favorite head coaching blunders and mishaps. After the jump, I’ll share a few quotes that encapsulate everything that made each of the Vikings’ last three coaches such disastrous hires:

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