Sunday, August 28, 2016

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Minnesota Vikings cornerback Jabari Price has been suspended two games for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse, per a statement from the Vikings.

He had pled guilty earlier in the year to a reduced charge of careless driving after being arrested for driving while under the influence.

While legitimately competing for a serious role on the team, Price is a valuable backup even if he doesn’t earn a major role. With Josh Robinson out for most of the year (or at best, half) because of a partially torn pectoral muscle, the Vikings cornerback group will start off the season even thinner.

Behind the presumed starters of Terence Newman, Xavier Rhodes and Captain Munnerlyn, that leaves rookie first-round pick Trae Waynes, punt returner Marcus Sherels, undrafted free agent rookie Justin Coleman, former CFL cornerback Jalil Carter and former Raiders third-round pick DeMarcus Van Dyke.

Last year, Price took 47 snaps from scrimmage, per Pro Football Focus, and was a significant contributor on special teams.

Jabari Price released the following statement:

“I sincerely apologize to my family, my teammates, the Vikings organization and Vikings fans for the mistake I made last winter. I can assure you that it will never happen again. I look forward to returning to helping my team on the field in week 3.”

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According to Matt Vensel at the Star Tribune, Cordarrelle Patterson didn’t think it was important to work out with the former NFL receiver that head coach Mike Zimmer set up for him, something Patterson says Mike Zimmer didn’t mind (h/t to @VikingsLifer for pointing it out to me).

He didn’t feel it was necessary to work out with the mystery former NFL wide receiver that coach Mike Zimmer set him up with, though he said he did chat with him at the Super Bowl and that Zimmer seemed cool with that.

“I feel like this is the best spring I’ve had all throughout my years,” Patterson said. “I’m just working hard, man. I’ve been talking in the past about my work ethic and just trying to get better in my routes. I feel like I’ve improved a lot.”

So long as it’s not a big deal, it’s not a big deal. If Patterson’s right about Zimmer’s reaction, that’s probably fine—but it’s still a little frustrating to hear as a fan who saw the team make a big investment into a receiver we knew was raw coming out of Tennessee.

The trainer he worked with in the offseason is someone who is evidently very good at instilling a mental conditioning program that gives athletes the mental fortitude they need to push through a season. I’m sure Patterson needed that, and I don’t think that’s a bad investment, especially if it makes him feel more prepared for the season.

He’s also not a receivers coach with extensive experience teaching route-running. Per Vensel again, but much earlier in the year:

Matrisciano, the one-time University of Memphis basketball team’s strength and conditioning coach, is a rogue figure in the billion-dollar fitness industry. He doesn’t own a gym. He doesn’t recruit, so no website, either. Getting his phone number isn’t easy. And if you actually come out to San Francisco, he isn’t going to beg you to stay.

He has been profiled by many publications, but he has refused to be photographed, either turning his back on the camera or wearing what looks like a ninja mask.

Matrisciano has trained everyone from boxers and triathletes to SWAT teams and special ops military personnel. But he is probably best known for his work with NBA All-Stars Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph, helping to take those two to the next level on the hard court by breaking them down and then building them back up in the soft sand.

Men’s Health’s profile of him reiterates much of the same thing: it’s not designed to improve a particular skill, but evoke a specific mental state.

To me, that’s no issue—I don’t doubt Patterson could use that kind of training. The point is that it’s not the whole of what he needs to do, and his offseason training so far hasn’t mentioned much outside work with a coach to improve his route-running, his biggest problem during the season. Which is to say that mental conditioning may be necessary, but it’s not sufficient.

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In this four-part series leading up to training camp, I’ll be profiling the Vikings you should target in your fantasy football leagues this year. Look for new additions every Thursday and Friday the next few weeks and stay tuned for a bonus selection at the end!

Kyle Rudolph, TE — Minnesota Vikings

If there were ever a year for Kyle Rudolph to break out, it would be 2015. He enters his fifth season as the clear-cut starter in one of the league’s most tight-end friendly offenses. Like Adrian Peterson, Rudolph should benefit from playing under Norv Turner — if, that is, he can stay healthy.

That’s always been Rudolph’s major concern, and I addressed it in an article I wrote defending him in April. In the two seasons since making the Pro Bowl, Rudolph has missed a combined 15 games because of injuries, from torn abdominal muscles to an MCL strain in his knee. This offseason, he revamped his personal offseason training program and is hopeful he can start every game in 2015, per Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune:

“You see what my position is capable of in this offense. I’ve proven that throughout the course of a 16-game season, when I’m out there every week, I’m one of the best players at my position.”

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It’s time! It is time for the only camping that Andy actually likes to do. The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings report to Mankato on Saturday to begin the hopefully fruitful 2015 campaign. Andrew Krammer (@Andrew_Krammer) – Vikings writer at 1500 ESPN as well as BAWS on their Purple Podcast – joins the show to drop some knowledge on us before the Vikings Nation descends on the Jewel of South Central Minnesota that is Mankato.

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