Saturday, May 28, 2016

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

You just can’t help but feel bad for former Viking wide out Greg Childs.

Once heralded as possessing first round potential as a receiver out of Arkansas, where he was teammates with current Viking Jarius Wright, a severe knee injury saw Childs drafted by the Vikings in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Wright was also selected by the Vikings in the same round.

Childs suffered a freak injury to both of his knees during his rookie training camp and spent his entire Vikings career on the mend. Eventually, in March of last year, the Vikings released the receiver despite positive reports about his progress and determination.

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    When Babatunde (“Babs”) Aiyegbusi walks into a room—or onto a football field—you’ll notice him. At 6’9″, 351 lbs, Aiyegbusi is hard to miss. When the two of us meet for an interview, my 4’11” frame next to his is comical, to say the least, and he offers a firm but friendly handshake that engulfs my hand in his own.

    But there is a lot more to Babs than just his size. He’s an incredible athlete, a hard worker, a fast learner, and one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

    When the Vikings first signed Aiyegbusi, shortly after he traveled from Poland for a workout in San Antonio, one of the main stories behind the lineman was his lack of football experience. After all, Aiyegbusi never played college football. He’s been called a number of things by scouts: “raw,” “rookie,” “project.”

    Aiyegbusi has played for a German league team since 2012; I ask him if these “newbie” labels bother him. He grins, shaking his head no.

    I’ll take whatever they call me,” he says. “It’s all true. I came here to develop. The only things I brought [were] physical ability and a heart to play football. I love this game, and I know with hard work I can achieve a lot […]. I’m here to develop, to work on my technique, to be useful for the team. That is my goal.

    Aiyegbusi speaks highly of the NFL coaches and trainers here, saying he trusts them completely to understand his abilities and his role on the team.

    “The National Football League, the Minnesota Vikings—this is more than a name, colors, a brand. These are people who have knowledge; they know me better than I do.”

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    Photo courtesy of vikings.com

    What? Not a Adrian Peterson story?

    When Mike Zimmer took the helm of the Vikings, there was little doubt that we’d see high turnover on both sides of the ball. Being the defensive minded coach that he is, Zimmer wasted no time bringing in new talent on defense.

    Since joining the Vikings, Zimmer has brought in 6 new major contributors (Barr, Johnson, Joseph, Waynes, Munnerlyn, Kendricks) to the defense.

    With so many new faces donning horns for the first time, there are unanswered questions about who will fill what roll for the team in 2015, especially at linebacker.

    Viewed as a major weakness for the team two years ago, Zimmer and General Manager Rick Spielman have done a nice job restocking the depth chart at the positions, allowing the team to have the luxury of having some flexibility.

    The flexibility is a major facet of Zimmer’s defense, as he is widely known to move players around frequently. There were times last year, where then rookie linebacker Anthony Barr would swap with defensive end Brian Robison. Barr, is a pure talent at rushing the passer, Robison is so athletically gifted, you can trust him in coverage. The variety and unique defensive sets are what give Zimmer and the Vikings an advantage against most offenses.

    Moving through OTAs, I wanted to take a look at who the Vikings currently have under contract and how they may potentially fit the defense.

    In Zimmer We Trust

    Images courtesy of Vikings.com

    Adrian Peterson graced the Vikings’ practice field on Tuesday, and everything was suddenly right in the world. After months of heated speculation, the disgruntled running back finally returned to Minnesota and appeared comfortable taking handoffs from Teddy Bridgewater — as if no time had passed since his suspension last season.

    Below, a look at Adrian’s first day back with the Vikings, courtesy of the team’s outstanding photographer, Andy Kenutis:

    But a different Adrian Peterson stood in front of the media on Tuesday afternoon, where he discussed his time away from the team, the terrible incident with his son, and his relationship with head coach Mike Zimmer. This Peterson appeared humbled, sincere, and authentic; a man comfortable addressing his past mistakes and looking optimistically to a long future with the Minnesota Vikings.

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    UPDATE: The Vikings have announced that Mike Zimmer and Adrian Peterson will be available at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday for a press conference at Winter Park. You can view the live stream at Vikings.com

     

    The Adrian Peterson saga is settling down… at least for now.

    According to ESPN’s Ben Goessling, Peterson re-joined the Vikings at OTA’s Tuesday morning.

    Goessling reported that the running back’s return has been in the works since last week, and that Peterson “greatly respects” Coach Zimmer, which is probably instrumental in his appearance this week.

    The move came just five days after AP’s rather absurd rant on Twitter, and it’s nice to see that he’s [seemingly] turning his focus back onto the field. Peterson said the following in an email to ESPN:

    I’ve been watching this game from the sidelines for far too long,” Peterson said. “My teammates and coaches are important to me. Those relationships matter, and I owe it to those guys. I knew I wanted to come in this week. I had a family obligation last week but I’m ready to put on a Vikings uniform again and get back to work.

    Although the initial push looked to be a trade, it became clear that wouldn’t be an option for Peterson. Now, some of the recent issues are supposedly related to Peterson’s contract with Minnesota.

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