Training camp kicks off this weekend, and we’re just as excited as you are to see the Vikings back in action. Every season, an under-the-radar player that really stands out at training camp is dubbed “Mr. Mankato.” Last season, wide receiver Adam Thielen took home the honors. Who will earn Mr. Mankato this year? Here are our thoughts:
Adam: Babatunde Aiyegbusi, OL
With a listed frame of 6′ 9″ and 351 pounds, and the “Babs” nickname already catching on, I think it is only natural that the foreign-born lineman sticks out to fans getting a first look at him in Mankato. He is sure to stand out, there is certainly a need for offensive line depth, and potential usefulness on special teams (blocked kicks!) could be his greatest advantage. Mr. Mankato doesn’t always make the team, and Aiyegbusi certainly has his work cut out for him, but I predict he’ll be the under-the-radar newcomer that creates the most buzz throughout August.
Andy: Stefon Diggs, WR
The dude from Maryland was an under-utilized stud in college (blame Randy Edsall and those terribad uniforms), who turned some heads at OTAs and will continue to do so in Mankato. I wouldn’t be shocked if he broke a few kick or punt returns for scores in scrimmages or the Hall of Fame game versus the Steelers, just to really put pressure on Cordarrelle Patterson and Marcus Sherels. Offensively, Diggs should have an advantage against the third and fourth teamers, which will make him to appear to shine brightly in camp and look like the second coming of DeSean Jackson (without the attitude). If Diggs can stay healthy — he never completed a full season as a Terrapin — he could become the dynamic play maker that we expected Cordarrelle to become. Or Jarius Wright. Or [insert name here].