Tuesday, August 23, 2016

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Enter to win a behind-the-scenes tour of U.S. Bank Stadium and a VIP experience at Vikings Training Camp on Wednesday, July 29

Image courtesy of U.S. Bank Stadium

You’ve marveled at the latest photos of the Vikings’ new stadium, read about the team’s progress at minicamp, and listened to interviews with head Coach Mike Zimmer, but what if you had the chance to see all of this up close and personal? Thanks to the Minnesota Vikings and their future home, U.S. Bank Stadium, you do!

As part of the Vikings Biggest Fan Sweepstakes contest, 40 random winners will take part in an unforgettable day of football. Not only will they get a behind-the-scenes hard hat visit to U.S. Bank Stadium, they’ll be treated to VIP experience at Vikings training camp that very same day!

In working with U.S. Bank and the Vikings Biggest Fan event, Vikings Territory is going to soon be able to bring you an inside look at the new stadium and some extra coverage from training camp in Mankato.

Sounds exciting, right? If you’re interested, there are two ways to enter the sweepstakes:

  1. Post a fan photo on Twitter or Instagram and include the hashtag #VikingsBiggestFan

  2. Upload your photo to the contest’s official website

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A couple of weeks ago we debated which team was kicking butt in the offseason and most effectively building its team. Now it’s time to look at the flip side of the coin … 

VT Question of the Week: Which NFL Team is “Losing” the Offseason?

Adam: San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco is the obvious choice here, and the right choice. That team’s offseason has been mind-boggling on a lot of levels, but perhaps no loss will prove greater than that of their head coach. A regime change and unexpected retirements of prominent players create a real problem for the NFL Spin Machine that can usually renew hope for all 32 teams on an annual basis. Given the current state of the team, and the stiff competition within their division, I don’t see much reason for optimism. Oh, and we know they’re going to start out the season with a loss, right?

Arif: San Francisco 49ers
Has to be the 49ers. Sure, they had an average draft, but they didn’t just force out a great (if crazy) coach, they had their best players retire or leave in free agency with some spotty plans for backing them up—Patrick Willis, Chris Borland, Justin Smith, Anthony Davis, Frank Gore and even Chris Culliver (who is being replaced by Shareece Wright). Trading their Pro Bowl punter wasn’t a great move either, given how much they’ve relied on field position in the past, and I’m not sure players like receiver Jerome Simpson or cornerback Chris Cook can make up for the rest of their offseason. Their best acquisition, Torrey Smith, was a good grab, but even their second- and third-best free agency players (Darnell Dockett and Reggie Bush) will represent a downgrade at their positions.

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More Than Words Announcement

Our readership has grown a ton over this last year, so many of you with us now may not know that we are proud of our offseason tradition of using our little corner of the internet to do some really great things.

Dakota, Adam & Conrad
Dakota, Adam & Conrad

Most recently, the readers of Vikings Territory amazingly banded together and raised more than a thousand dollars for a young girl named Dakota. Dakota has Pulmonary Hypertension and the generosity of our followers allowed me to deliver two customized Vikings jerseys, one for Dakota and one for her little brother, as well as a sizable check to help the family out with their increasingly burdening medical expenses.

With another offseason well underway, I got to work early on and enlisted some help, as I wanted this year’s efforts to be even more far-reaching and meaningful as ever before.

The bar is officially raised.

We have a $10,000 goal this year. We’re competing with other great Vikings sites to make it happen. Oh, and we have Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway on board.

All the details after the jump.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

With minicamp complete and a little over a month until the Vikings head to Mankato for training camp, all the focus appears to be on Adrian Peterson. How many yards will he rush for? How will Norv Turner use him out of the backfield? Will he be the same after missing a year?

They’re valid questions, but the success of the Vikings does not rest solely on Adrian Peterson’s massive shoulders. Although Peterson single-handedly carried the offense in 2012 — thanks, Christian Ponder — he’s surrounded by more talent than he’s seen in his 9 years with the Vikings, and that starts with the man he’ll be lining up behind  — Teddy Bridgewater.

After a promising rookie season, Bridgewater is expected to “make the leap”, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him land atop NFL.com’s infamous rankings this offseason. Last year, he started 12 games for the Vikings, threw 14 touchdowns, and finished with a 6-6 record under center.

His stats don’t “wow” on paper (2,919 yards, 85.2 quarterback rating), but the poise, decision-making, and maturity he displayed behind a rickety offensive line are hard to dismiss. Heck, he did it all without Peterson, who looks to add yet another element to Norv Turner’s attack in 2015.

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It has to be the nose ring

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Remember when Cordarrelle Patterson topped NFL.com’s “Making the Leap” list last year? The website envisioned a 70-catch, 1,100-yard season from Patterson, and described him as a combination of Devin HesterDemaryius ThomasJulio Jones, Spiderman and the Road Runner. With his untapped ability and rare combination of size and speed, fans, analysts, and other players expected Patterson to truly “make the leap” in 2014.

If anything he, jumped backwards.

Patterson finished the year with 33 catches for for 384 yards and one touchdown — far below lofty projections — and even lost his starting job to Charles Johnson, a practice squad player who previously spent time in Green Bay and Cleveland. It was a disappointing season for Patterson, but offensive coordinator Norv Turner recently told reporters that the third-year receiver is “in the mix” for an important role with the offense heading into 2015.

The reason Patterson’s only fighting for playing time and not enjoying a starring role? That would be the aforementioned Johnson, who burst onto the scene after a solid end to the 2014 season. He led the team with 47 targets, 25 receptions and 415 receiving yards over the last seven weeks, with Turner calling him “far and away” their best receiver.

Johnson has won over his offensive coordinator and even general manager Rick Spielman, and now, the national media is taking notice — he’s No. 20 on this year’s “Making the Leap” rankings and a prime candidate to truly break out as the Vikings’ X-receiver. The hype is officially real, and all signs from minicamp point to an exciting year from Johnson, but it’s too early to proclaim him the next Josh Gordon (on the field, of course). Let’s hope his appearance on the list isn’t a curse like it was for Patterson.

What other NFC North receivers are poised for breakout seasons in 2015? Find out after the jump:

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