Sunday, March 29, 2015
Blog Page 195

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The free agency news for Vikings fans has mostly consisted of them bringing back their own players, with MAtt Cassel and Greg Jennings being the only exceptions.

Today, they continued to bring back their own players by agreeing to terms with backup safety Andrew Sendejo.

Sendejo announced the move on Twitter:  “Extremely blessed to re-sign with the @Vikings for another season! #Skol #Vikes.”

Sendejo was an exclusive rights free agent and the Vikings tendered him the offer prior to free agency beginning, and today’s signing makes his return official.

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Back in my pre-children Madden playing days, I used to think it was unfair that my truck stick allowed me to run for 2,000 yards a season with Adrian Peterson, but if I still gamed that guilt would’ve gone away after the season he had last year.

Adrian Peterson is famous for giving defenders “the business” during a run, lowering his head and trucking whomever is in his way, as he was raised to believe that if he were hitting them harder than they were hitting him, then he would not only be a better running back but he would remain a healthier one.

The NFL approved a new rule today that will create a spot penalty (that is, penalized from the spot of the infraction, not the line of scrimmage) of 15 yards if a call carrier uses the “crown” of their helmet when engaging a defender.

The Vikings, for obvious reasons surrounding their $100 million running back, opposed the rule vocally at first.  However, citing an overwhelming amount of evidence at the owners meetings, they ended up being one of the 31 teams to vote in favor of the rule change.  Leslie Frazier said the vote was cast with player safety in mind.

Many other news outlets will dissect the new rule, and I am content leaving that to them, and how it might impact the game.

All I wanted to say is this:  Thanks for giving Adrian Peterson yet another obstacle to truck.

That is all.

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In free agency, the Vikings have really only made moves on the offensive side of the football, other than their decision to dump Antoine Winfield.  This suggests to me, combined with Rick Spielman’s praise for the defensive talent in this class, that the Vikings plan to address their needs on defense early and often.

For the first time since the Percy Harvin trade, where the Vikings acquired a second first round selection from Seattle, I have updated my 2013 Mock Draft and you can take a look at it by clicking here.

I’ll leave the discussion portion up to you all, for now.  Just know this:  I was torn on both picks but decided to try and predict what the Vikings will do, not necessarily what I think they should do.

Many of the national outlets reported last week that the Vikings signed backup quarterback Matt Cassel to a one year deal, which caused some confusion in these parts because we were saying it was a two year deal with an option.

With details of the contract now available, allow us to clarify the matter.

The deal is, in fact, for two years and carries a maximum value of $7.4 million.  In 2013 Cassel can earn a base salary of $1.65 million, already got a $2 million roster bonus, can make up to $500,000 in “not likely to be earned” incentives, and also has a $50,000 workout bonus.  That is a grand total of $3.7 million for this coming season.

Next year, the same incentives and workout bonus exist, and his base salary increases to $3.15 million.  The hitch is that there is a $500,000 roster bonus owed on the seventh day of the 2014 league year, at which time both the player and the team will have a decision to make.

Both sides have an option available to them that negates the second year of the contract.  So, basically, if Cassel feels he outperformed his 2014 compensation he can bail.  If the Vikings feel like he under-performed and don’t want to pay him then they can bail.  If Cassel performs just about right for that pay scale, then perhaps the second year of the deal will actually happen, but it seems somewhat unlikely which probably explains why so many were reporting it as a one year deal.

Cassel’s cap number is $3.7 million during both years of the deal.  The Vikings were thought to have over $5 million in cap space Tuesday morning, but they signed guard Seth Olsen on Tuesday, so the cap is still fluid.

Olsen played for the Vikings practice squad in 2010, and stuck to the roster for a little while in 2011, but ended up playing for the Colts these last two years.  Olsen made five starts in Indianapolis and figures to be a possible replacement for Geoff Schwartz, as he can play guard and tackle if need be.

[Note:  Want to see a list of every player featured in our “Draft Target” segment?  Click here to visit the Offseason Tracker where there will be a list of all these players.  Check back often as there are plenty more to come!]

Almost any evaluation of USC wide out Robert Woods is going to have a lot of positives, but a lot of those compliments of his game will come with a qualifier that reads “when healthy” which in and of itself is a red flag.

Woods followed up a prolific college career with a very decorated three years at USC.  He was Matt Barkley’s favorite target as a freshman and sophomore, and still managed to produce decent numbers despite his arthroscopic ankle surgery prior to his junior season.

The angle is the biggest question mark with Woods, as he clearly wasn’t as dominant last season as he previously was, but “when healthy” he looks like a top ten prospect.  At some point in the Draft, a team will decide that the risk of selecting an injury concern no longer outweighs the reward of getting a potential franchise receiver.

At 6′ 0″ and 201 pounds, Woods possesses decent size and an elite skill set that could make him a household name over the next decade.

He has the speed and agility to create separation, even against top notch competition, and then a large catch radius that makes life easy on teh quarterback.  His routes and timing are among the best in this class and he can be kind of a bully, when necessary, if it comes  fending off a cornerback for the football.

He works really hard to make plays in traffic coming across the middle of the field and especially in the end zone.  Very good awareness and timing allows him to come up with the football, and get his feet in bounds,  when it seems there is no room for error.  He can lay out, high point the football, or tap the toes to make jaw dropping catches at times.

After the catch, Woods has a no-nonsense style of play, and he gets himself turned upfield quickly to try and maximize his yardage.  Unfortunately, he sometimes gets turned up field too quickly and gets ahead of himself resulting in a dropped pass.  It isn’t the only reason Woods drops passes, and he does more of that than one would like to see, but it seems to be a pattern.

Woods is a well rounded receiver, who blocks quite well and has experience as a return man, and could really be an impressive specimen should he add some bulk and get some high quality NFL coaching.

If it weren’t for the ankle, I would say that Woods is a sure-fire first round pick, so the Vikings need to rely on Head Trainer Eric Sugarman and his evaluation to see where he lands on their draft board.  Should he somehow manage to still be available when they are making a choice in the second round, I can’t imagine he wouldn’t be a very serious consideration.

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