Saturday, February 13, 2016

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(photo used with permission of the Cook family)

On January 7, 2015, Senior Airman Eli Cook passed away from injuries sustained in a car accident one week prior. He was 22 years old. This feature is dedicated to Eli’s memory, his family, and all those close to him.

(photo used with permission of the Cook family)
(photo used with permission of the Cook family)

The middle brother of eight children, Eli Cook was born into a Minnesota Vikings family on Sept. 11, 1992; his father Wayne says that Eli was a Vikings fan from Day One.

“Dad was always watching sports,” explained Eli’s brother Andrew, “and we would always watch with him.”

Eli especially enjoyed watching the Timberwolves and Vikings, and they soon became his favorite of Minnesota’s sports teams. He gained a reputation of being the most athletic in the family, and he often stood out because of his speed. As a middle- and junior-high school student, Eli played quarterback for his team in Wilmar, MN.

Like most sports fans, Eli had a competitive spirit both on and off the field. Friendly competition regularly brewed between the brothers at home, and that passionate edge also came into play when cheering for—and defending—their hometown team.

Being a member of the U.S. Air Force, Eli relocated outside of Minnesota and worked with men and women from all over the country. Wherever he was, though, he was quick to talk up the Vikings. An Air Force friend shared that Eli was a “hardcore trash talker,” constantly ribbing friends who supported rival teams. He was also known for always wearing his Chad Greenway jersey. Eli’s father explained that Eli chose the No. 52 jersey because he worked on a B52 airplane—something he was incredibly proud of. “That plane was his baby,” Andrew said.

Eli’s love for the purple and gold spoke strongly to his character, as Andrew described:

“When Eli left for the Air Force and lived in Texas and Louisiana, he embraced Minnesota sports even more than before—it was a source of pride for his home state. […] Eli had a lot of pride and showed a lot of passion for everything that he did and believed in—whether it was his Air Force career, friends and family, faith, or his roots.”

Amidst several personality differences that can only be expected between siblings, sports always brought the Cook family together. Some of the most treasured memories include those times of watching, talking about and playing sports together.

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Senior Bowl Lineman
Photo courtesy of Luke Inman

Luke Inman (@Luke_Spinman) joined the Purple FTW! Podcast live from Mobile, AL where he was covering the Senior Bowl for eDraft to give us an insider’s perspective on the unofficial kickoff to NFL Draft season.

I asked Luke what it’s like rubbing elbows with NFL scouts, coaches, & executives (including a Spielman sighting & story). As well as which players made some money over the week and which ones will have some work to do as we hurdle towards the April 30th Draft in Chicago.

All that on top of Luke’s take on specific names I’d like to see in Purple this fall as well as a report about Charlie Johnson confirmed by ‘sources’ on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

Episode after the jump.

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Image courtesy of

Now that we have reinvented ourselves a little bit here at VT, and added some fun features, it is time we turn our attention to how the Vikings will do the same thing during the 2015 NFL offseason.

Of course, that means it is now open season for mock drafts, and we hope to bring you plenty of them between now and May.  I have completed my first attempt at a mock and you can CLICK HERE to read the whole thing.

The way the top ten selections shook out in my mock left the Vikings with a number of options including popular choices like WR DeVante Parker, CB P.J. Williams, and OT Andrus Peat.  I did not end up selecting any of these three, however, and encourage you to find out who was picked by visiting my mock draft page.

Also, don’t forget to check out Brett’s first mock draft.  He gave the Vikings a guy that I don’t even have going in the first round of my mock.  How’s that for variety?

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2015 NFL Mock Draft (Brett)

Guess what, everyone? It’s mock draft time here at Vikings Territory! Despite working my tail off on the site redesign, I still found some time to throw together my first mock draft of the season.

I’ve been scouring the internet for mock drafts the day the regular season was over for the Vikings. I’ll be honest with you – most of them have Minnesota selecting wide receive DeVante Parker who, of course, played with Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville.

While this is very possible, it just seemed a little too easy, no? I mean, sure – mock drafts are intended to be our best, educated guess at what will happen come draft day. But they’re also meant to be a little fun, too. The last thing I wanted to do was bore everyone with a pick they’ve seen everywhere else. (No offense to future mock drafts on Vikings Territory that may have Parker as their selection for the Vikings.)

So, if I don’t have Parker going to the Vikings, who is it then? Well, you’ll have to visit the full mock draft to see who I have going #11 overall to Minnesota. I can promise you it’s likely someone you don’t suspect…

The first five picks of the draft are included below as a little teaser. I hope you enjoy the rest. Make sure to check out Adam’s first mock draft which will be posted a little later today.

 Tampa Bay Logo
1. Tampa Bay (2-14) // Jameis Winston, QB – Florida State

Needs: Quarterback, O-Line, Pass Rush

Winston represents the best opportunity to provide the Buccaneers with a franchise quarterback. I say opportunity because Winston is not a sure bet. But despite character concerns being an issue, Winston has the physical attributes to compete at the next level and has the highest ceiling for a quarterback in this class.

 Tennessee Titans Logo
 2. Tennessee (2-14) // Randy Gregory, Edge – Nebraska

Needs: Quarterback, Pass Rush, CB, Guard,

While Derrick Morgan has been solid on one side, the Titans could definitely use an upgrade in their pass rush on the other.

 Jacksonville Jaguars Logo
3.  Jacksonville (3-13) // Leonard Williams, 34DE, 43DT –  USC

Needs: FS, OL, DL Depth

Will Leonard Williams, arguably the best talent in the 2015 draft, pull an Eli Manning if not drafted by the Raiders? We’ll see… Jacksonville needs more depth on their line. Williams is incredibly versatile, a run stuffer and can definitely get after the quarterback.

Oakland Raiders Logo
 4. Oakland (3-13) // Amari Cooper, WR – Alabama

Needs: ILB, OT, DE, WR

In this scenario, the Raiders and Leonard Williams miss out on each other. Derek Carr did well in his first year for the Raiders and may provide the stability this franchise has been in search of for a long time. The Raiders have no #1 threat at wide receiver and were an ineffective on offense leading the NFL in three and outs. Amari Cooper, while not necessarily physically gifted, is an exceptional route runner and the kind of guy you want to pair with a young, developing quarterback.

 Washington Redskins Logo
 5. Washington (4-12) // Brandon Scherff, OT – Iowa

Needs: S, CB, OT, DE

The Redskins had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL in 2014. They need to solidify their line if they truly intend to give Robert Griffin III a final shot.

Brett's First 2015 Mock Draft


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Image courtesy of

[Note:  This segment is a part of a position-by-position look at what the Minnesota Vikings might be inclined to do during the 2015 free agency period.  This is the third article, focusing on the fullbacks.  In case you missed it, feel free to check out the quarterback preview here and the running backs are here.]

If there was any real potential for drama at the fullback position this offseason, it was pretty much erased when Jerome Felton made it clear that he would be opting out of his contract. By doing so, he will sign with a team that almost certainly will keep him on the final roster, something that could be in question with the Vikings despite his status as a Pro Bowl caliber player.

The Vikings will gain about $2.5 million in cap space with Felton choosing to leave and have Zach Line waiting in the wings to pick up the slack.  Tight end Rhett Ellison is also equipped to take some fullback snaps if needed.

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