Monday, August 3, 2015

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As Chris Wesseling from Around the League and Albert Breer report, Christian Ponder—along with Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater—will take some first-team snaps in offseason training activities. Wesseling’s interpretation: Ponder’s on the trade block.

Ponder has evidently dropped some body fat and gained more muscle, which should add to the weight he put on in the 2012 offseason. If he maintained that 2012 weight and simply added on to it, he should be at 238 pounds.

There is honestly nothing too surprising about all of this. It would hardly make sense to preach a “true competition” at quarterback without letting every quarterback get an opportunity to work with the “first team” offense, which will likely not be the same offense by the end of training camp anyway (looking at you, Charlie).

Yes, the Vikings are unlikely to install Christian Ponder as the Day One starter, but it’s not as if he was the worst quarterback in the NFL over his tenure. That was probably Blaine Gabbert.

Speaking of Blaine Gabbert, general manager of the Jaguars Dave Caldwell was able to trade him for a sixth-round pick.

Vikings: “Ponder has proven his drive, in great shape, can compete for #1.” Translation: “We’d love a 2015 fifth round pick.”

— Darren Page (@DarrenPage15) May 25, 2014

Indeed we would, Darren! On my podcast, I speculated that Ponder would be worth a conditional fifth-round pick that could turn into a seventh (or sixth, to be fair) based on things like playing time, making the roster, etc.

Despite the fact that Ponder outperformed Blaine Gabbert, I wouldn’t be surprised if his market was depressed in comparison. Most general managers trade for young players because they remember the college tape and overlook the NFL tape, assuming their coaches can tap into what was there when coming out of college. That’s important, because Gabbert was a better quarterback by the consensus coming out of college than Ponder.

This competition isn’t likely just for trade bait or for competition’s sake—Mike Zimmer has probably always wanted to make sure there was competition at every spot on the roster from the day he arrived. The situations are not very analogous, but it does recall the Seahawks’ three-person quarterback competition with two long-shots (Russell Wilson and Tarvaris Jackson) and a presumed starter (Matt Flynn). Staying true to what they saw, instead of presumption, the Seahawks chose to make Wilson the Day One quarterback and it worked out.

In the spirit of true competition, we may want others to take a snap or two with the first team offense! Gerald Hodges was a quarterback in high school, and rushed for 13 touchdowns while passing for ten more. Though perhaps 81 passing attempts in high school isn’t enough.

81 passing attempts, interestingly, is also the same number of attempts Jerick McKinnon had in his college career. He averaged 10.2 yards per attempt (Hodges fell behind, with a high school YPA of 8.6).

Kain Colter, an undrafted free agent trying out for the Vikings as a receiver, had slightly more than 81 passing attempts his senior year (he had 82). Unlike McKinnon, however, Colter’s YPA was a paltry 7.1. In fairness, Colter also had 240 other passing attempts in college as well.

Maybe not, though.

At any rate, don’t read too much into this one way or the other; it’s just a way for the staff to shake the cobwebs and get a “truer” evaluation of what they have. Do not be surprised if other players at other positions get the same treatment throughout OTAs.

Joe Berger has been a veteran presence on the Minnesota Vikings offensive line for 3 seasons. He joined the Vikings in week 2 of the 2011 season after originally being selected by the Carolina Panthers in the 6th round of the 2005 NFL draft. He has appeared in 83 regular season games with 29 starts in his 10 year career with Carolina, Dallas, Miami and Minnesota.

Berger has been a solid reserve contributor for the Vikings playing in 45 games and starting 9 times. Berger is a versatile player who can contribute on special teams and has starting experience at center and both guard positions.

In 2013 Berger saw action in all 16 games with starts against Washington in week 10 and Philadelphia in week 15.

Joe Berger just signed a one year deal in March for $920,000. His cap hit is only $635,000 so from a dollars-and-cents stand point he is probably not in any danger of being cut. Berger’s performance is also at a satisfactory enough level to safely project him onto the 53 man roster again this season. The only question is his age. Berger celebrates his 32nd birthday on May 25th… wait, that’s today.

Happy Birthday Joe!

It has been a little while since we’ve gone around the web and checked in with all of our various friends.  If you think our Blogroll is missing a good quality Vikings site please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments section and I’ll get them added right away.

Now, without further delay, here is some of the best stuff out there this week:

 

 

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[NOTE: Darren Page is continuing his absolutely phenomenal series breaking down the Vikings’ draft prospects. This one is his second, on Teddy Bridgewater. If you missed it, be sure to catch the first one on Anthony Barr. He is the lead scout at DetroitLionsDraft.com and contributor at the Bleacher Report (and avid Vikings fan). Be sure to follow him on twitter for the hottest sports takes this side of the Mississippi (by which I mean north of, I guess)].

By Darren Page

General Manager Rick Spielman pushed in all his chips by trading back into the first round at the 32nd pick and selecting Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Bridgewater showed the makeup of a quarterback bound for the top ten in his junior season. Then came his pro day. He was abysmal by pro day standards, spraying numerous balls well out of the reach of his receivers.

Reports surfaced of scouts and executives having concerns with Bridgewater’s hand size, frame, durability, and mental toughness. It was all a perfect storm for a perfect fall, right into Minnesota’s lap.

Teddy Bridgewater was my #1 rated quarterback before the draft and in a tier of his own above Blake Bortles. His pro day didn’t change that. A pro day is an event doctored to show off a quarterback’s skillset, but leaves out most of the mental processes of quarterback play. That’s important to remember. How much of quarterback play is mental? A lot.

Everything Teddy Bridgewater has shown on the playing field points to a quarterback who will have a long career as a starting quarterback in this league and who will be a catalyst for runs into the playoffs.

Let’s break Bridgewater down to ascertain the traits he possesses and what they mean as a quarterback under Norv and Scott Turner and with the Vikings’ offensive personnel.

 

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The NFL’s reigning rushing leader LeSean McCoy is making headlines for two reasons this week.  First, he is claiming to be the best running back in the NFL, even better than Adrian Peterson.  Second, it is kind of a slow news week and these things happen this time of year.

Peterson has since stated that he doesn’t think McCoy believes what he said.

“(Laughing) It was funny because when Stephen A. (Smith) asked him the question, he kind of hesitated,” Peterson said this week. “And he didn’t believe it when he said it. I tell the youngsters, ‘Say it with your chest, like you mean it.'”

If I take my purple sunglasses off I can actually see where the case can be made for McCoy.  It is fairly easy to argue that he is the more complete running back in terms of pass catching and blocking.  Still… it’s Adrian Peterson and there has arguably never been a more feared ball carrier in the history of the sport.

So, what do you all think?  Does McCoy have a point or does his assertion seem a little shady?

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