Friday, October 9, 2015

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If I were a smart man, I would have pre-written an article titled “early bye week is ideal for pre-deadline trades” and scheduled it to post on Monday morning.

I’m not a smart man, though.

The Vikings did indeed take advantage of a week off to bring a new center into the fold (and ship off a previously-starting linebacker), as Austin Belisle explained earlier, and they may not be done yet.

It is hard to say what the real motives were behind trading Gerald Hodges away, and acquiring center Nick Easton, and it is natural to wonder if there is more to the story than Rick Spielman let on Tuesday evening. It is equally impossible to tell, at this moment, whether or not more trades are in the works in the near future.

Our friends over at Daily Norseman posted an article citing Benjamin Albright who tweeted, “Have heard the Vikings have solicited more than one team about interest in Patterson.”

Trader Rick stikes again

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According to a report from the NFL Network’s Rand Getlin, the Minnesota Vikings have traded Gerald Hodges Jr. to the San Francisco 49ers. Shortly after Getlin broke the news, Adam Schefter shared details of the trade, which includes a 2016 sixth-round pick and center Nick Easton from the 49ers in exchange for Hodges.

The trade comes just days after the Vikings’ Week 4 loss to the Denver Broncos, a game in which Hodges did not start at middle linebacker. The 2013 fourth-round draft pick out of Penn State had started the first three weeks for the Vikings and recorded 19 tackles through four games, but saw less playing time as Mike Zimmer’s defense became more Nickel-heavy.

Hodges played just 26 snaps against the Broncos, while Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks played the majority of the Vikings’ defensive snaps at linebacker. Throughout the season, the rookie second-round pick has replaced Hodges in the team’s Nickel defense and performed well enough to warrant the trade. General manager Rick Spielman, who spoke to the media after the announcement, expressed his comfort with the team’s linebacker depth moving forward.

“It’s because of how we feel about (second-round pick Eric) Kendricks. We felt we had a lot of depth at that position. We feel strongly about Audie Cole and what he can bring and how well he’s been playing, but the development of Kendricks and Edmond Robinson continues to come along and we still have (Brandon) Watts on our practice squad at that position,” Spielman said.

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In Minnesota, the usual suspects continue to carry the Viking ship. Adrian Peterson’s 372 rushing yards lead the league, Mike Zimmer’s defense is holding teams to less than 20 points per game, and Anthony Barr is making spectacular plays on a weekly basis, both against the run and in coverage.

On Thursday, the Vikings Territory staff will answer Lindsey’s Question of the Week and share our pick for the team’s most impressive player through the first four games of the season. A few obvious choices — Peterson, Barr, Harrison Smith — stand out, while a number of newcomers like Linval Joseph and Terence Newman could potentially make the list.

Today, I want to ask fans a similar question. As spectators, we expect greatness from the Vikings’ best players. It’s a given that Peterson can score whenever he touches the ball, or, that Xavier Rhodes will likely shut down an opponent’s number one receiver. But which players have exceeded expectations at the quarter mark of the season, and who is surprising you with their play?

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Luke Inman of eDraft stops in to talk some Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings to fill up the Bye Week with some audible goodness. We touch on how the offensive line can get right in two weeks (it probably can’t), Teddy out-dueling Peyton Manning (no big deal), the new logjam at wide receiver, how that Zimmer Hellfire Defense is saving us, and if Blair Walsh is gonna get Scobee’d or Mason Crosby’d.

We also dive into Luke’s specialties of fantasy football and the rapidly approaching 2016 NFL Draft. Check out all of Luke’s videos on the eDraft YouTube page.

All that and other “12 Days Til Vikings Football” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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