Sunday, June 25, 2017

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Illustration by Matt Engstrom

Rick Spielman is a popular man in Minnesota of late. At the very least, with Mike Zimmer as his running mate, he could probably produce some approval ratings that will give any politician a run for their money.

Spielman has done wonders to this Vikings roster in recent years and is quickly earning reputations as a wise spender, talented evaluator of rookie talent, and tricky trader. One thing he doesn’t ever seem to produce, however, are compensatory draft picks, and that could very well be by design.

The formula that allocates compensatory picks is getting less and less secretive as time goes on, but for the next year Vikings fans can ignore the nuances and stick to the simple arithmetic to determine that this team will not recieve any in 2017.

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Image courtesy of WWE.com

Back in 2015, we revealed here on Vikings Territory that former Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Babatunde Aiyegbusi had taken part in a WWE tryout. Dreams of success on the football field quickly turned into dreams of success in the wrestling ring for Aiyegbusi.

Fast forward to today, where his dreams have inched even closer to becoming a reality. Aiyegbusi, and nine others, are among the latest to sign a contract to train in the WWE’s developmental system.

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Since Luke Inman is in Bangkok (for real, not a euphemism), we called in reliever Austin Belisle (@austincbelisle) of Vikings Territory to give us a few innings of hot Vikings Mock Draft talk. Austin links the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings with a very familiar name at the top, but some fresh blood in the latter rounds including TWO cornerbacks. So tune in as we run through his 7-round Vikings mock and check out his full first rounder on VT.

All that and other “Will Fuller is Not Troy Williamson, Dammit” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

An Andy Carlson Joint

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This is the time a year when NFL fans exercise their well-earned right to express opinions as fact, deal only in absolutes, and show off the skills they have groomed via Madden‘s Franchise Mode for years and years. In a lot of ways, Draft season is the most exciting time of year.

Those that have been following along here at Vikings Territory for awhile now, however, might know me to be a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to these definitive projections from fans and analysts claiming to know exactly what the Vikings will do or even claiming to know exactly what they should do.

One thing that irks me most are statements about which position they should take in which round. I am a huge proponent of “best player available” or, as Rick Spielman is known to do, trading around to try and fill a need in a spot that presents the appropriate value.

What I do not subscribe to is this idea that a man actually paid to make roster decisions would actually ignore an evaluation based on career-long projections in exchange for filling an immediate need for the position at hand.

As it turns out, according to Benjamin Allbright, my ideology may not be based on reality.

 

Gambling on Jaylon Smith
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The War Room is a lot like the Roulette table at a casino. Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has all of the power to place his chips where he pleases, but he’s not guaranteed to hit on any of those black and red numbers. If chips are draft picks and the table numbers are prospects, then Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith is the riskiest bet Spielman can make in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Widely considered the draft’s safest prospect during the 2015 college football season, Smith was a near-lock to come off the board within the first five picks of the first round. But a terrifying knee injury ended both his junior season and collegiate career with the Fighting Irish. Smith disappeared from the national spotlight to rehabilitate his knee, making a brief appearance on social media before this year’s Scouting Combine.

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