Monday, April 27, 2015
Blog Page 204

Despite being on vacation, 1500 ESPN writer Tom Pelissero is still scooping everyone else.

Pelissero reports that former Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield is scheduled to meet with the Seattle Seahawks, where all former Vikings seem to end up, on Wednesday.  Winfield has also been on vacation, which has played a part in the delay of him signing with any team.  Winfield previously met with the Washington Redskins’ brass, but no deal was reached and the have since re-signed DeAngelo Hall.

Winfield was surprisingly released by the Vikings do to a salary that exceeded $7 million, but even at age 35 can provide an NFL team with great veteran leadership and some of the best overall play at his position.

The Vikings have reportedly maintained contact with Winfield’s representatives and a return to Minnesota is not totally out of the question.

To shake things up a little this weekend I decided to solicit questions from the audience for the first time in a long time.  As the Draft approaches, there is always an increase in questions from those that for some reason find this hack blogger’s opinion to be relevant, and I wanted to give the opportunity to ask as many as possible before the pre-Draft craziness fully sets in.  Below are the results.

There have been some recent questions about our tradition of our Draft Weekend Live Chat and whether it will live on in 2013.

Our normal software avenue has decided to start charging for their services.  They are now charging by the number of readers that use the live chat services and VT has really started to take off recently, which is a great problem to have, and we expect thousands of people to visit our site on Draft Weekend.  This means it could be a pretty expensive proposition for this little blog to consider.

Still, Brett and I are currently evaluating alternatives, and we are sure to come up with something.

One of our loyal readers very generously offered to set up a chat room for us here at VT free-of-charge and we’ve been testing it out.  There are some pros and cons to it, and it won’t look as slick as what you’ve grown used to, but I think it will get the job done.  Stay tuned!

A number of people asked about us updating our mock drafts and releasing some sort of positional rankings prior to the Draft.

Yes, my mock will be updated at least once (probably more) prior to the draft taking place.  I’m hoping to find the time to add a second round fairly soon, as well.

I am also working on creating a VT-unique “Big Board” of about 300 players.  Last year Brett worked hard to make our Big Board update somewhat instantly as the Draft progressed, crossing off players as they were selected on Draft Weekend.  Preferably we’ll be able to get something like that together again.  That’s the goal.

Okay, now onto some more interesting questions.  SKOL12 wanted to know what type of defensive tackle the Vikings are in need of.  Do they need a big run stuffer, and athletic pass rusher, or someone a little more balanced?

I think it is clear that the Vikings don’t have a massive run stuffer and could benefit from grabbing one like John Jenkins or Jesse Williams.  Given the age, possible regression, and heavy cap hit of Kevin Williams I also can’t see the downside of drafting a very well balanced defensive tackle like Sylvester Williams.  With the Vikings defense struggling greatly against mobile quarterbacks last season, and about 10 of them on the schedule this season, getting more athletic in the middle of the defense needs to be a priority, as well, which is why a guy like Sheldon Richardson appeals to me so much.

Ideally, Letroy Guion and Christian Ballard can step up to the plate in 2013, and Kevin Williams regains some of his previous spark.  That might be a lot to bank on, however, and the Vikings need to add some competition via the Draft regardless of the type of lineman they are eyeballing.

Reader SB wants to know if trading up into the late teens to grab Sheldon Richardson would appeal to me if it only costs a fourth or fifth rounder to pull off.

Yes!  I consider Richardson to be a special talent and any team in that range will be interested in him.  It will likely cost a lot more than that to move up in the first round, but if this deal presented itself I would certainly move up and get my guy.

[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!]

Last season the Vikings put Letory Guion in front of a relatively untested Jasper Brinkley, who played in front of young group of safeties.  As a result, the defense experienced their fair share of struggles in the middle of the defense.  The safety position was upgraded greatly when the Vikings selected Harrison Smith in the first round last year and it is widely believed the Vikings will find their starting middle linebacker in the Draft this year.

Still, with Kevin Williams getting older and carrying a large cap hit, the Vikings should be considered to be in the market for some help at the defensive tackle position, as well.  A large run stuffer that can conjure up memories of Pat Williams would be a nice addition and Georgia’s John Jenkins could be a nice fit.

At 6′ 4″ and 346 pounds, Jenkins is a huge and athletically gifted run stopping nose tackle that commanded double teams at Georgia.  His broad frame and good arm length provides opposing runners with a large obstacle to try and surpass, and he is not going to be moved off of the line of scrimmage, so they have to go around.  He also has the size and brute strength to disrupt the pocket on occasion,  but is unlikely to be a dependable pass rusher at the next level despite an intimidating bull rush.

Similar to Pat Williams, Jenkins is occasionally going to take offensive linemen by surprise with his agility and quickness.  Not only is he quick at the point of attack, but he can move around pretty well between the tackles for a guy of his size.

After transferring out of Gulf Coast Community College, the senior played two years in Georgia.  In 2011, he had 28 tackles, seven for a loss, and 10 quarterback pressures.  In 2012, he notched 50 tackles, 2 for a loss, and a sack.  He has played against elite talent with varying results.  He had a nice performance matching up against this year’s top guard Chance Warmack, but struggled greatly against D.J. Fluker in the SEC Championship Game.

I know that teams running a 3-4 defense will value a guy like Jenkins more than 4-3 teams (or the hack bloggers that cover them), but I honestly view Jenkins as more of a second round talent instead of the first rounder many believe him to be.  Part of that, at least for 4-3 teams like the Vikings, is because he has to be an assumed two-down player.

His positional value may indeed cause him to be drafted in the first round, but if teams aren’t overly impressed with his game tape then he could fall further than expected.  Combine stretches of being invisible on tape with questions about his work ethic and conditioning, not to mention a two game suspension for academic reasons, and he might actually slip to the middle of the second round or later.  At that point, and not really any earlier, I would consider Jenkins to be a great target for the Vikings to pursue.

UPDATE:  As soon as I posted this I came across this recent noteworthy article about Jenkins.  He is apparently working hard and has dropped his weight all the way down to 332 pounds.

 

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Hey Everyone!

So, I have noticed an increase in questions in the comments section and through all the business I fear I haven’t gotten to all of them.

I thought I’d create this post as a place for you all to feel free to drop questions into this weekend and I’ll take time this weekend to answer as many of them as possible.

Have at it!

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On Thursday, the Minnesota Vikings announced their preseason schedule, minus the exact dates and times.

In week one (August 8-10th) the Vikings will open the preseason by hosting the Houston Texans.

In week two (August 15-17) the Vikings will travel to Buffalo and then will travel all the way to the west coast to face the NFC Champion Forty-Niners on August 25th, which we do know will be broadcast nationally on NBC at 7:00 p.m. Central Time.  Normally a coast-to-coast trip like this would be viewed as a disservice from the schedule makers, but in this case it may serve as welcomed preparation for the regular season trip to London to face the Steelers.

The Vikings will then close out the preseason, getting one last look at their roster prior to final cuts, by hosting the Tennessee Titans.

Other than the travel, and perhaps an extended look at former Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson in Buffalo, there aren’t really any obvious storylines that jump out at you with this preseason schedule.

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