Wednesday, June 29, 2016

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Vikings fans have plenty to look forward to in 2015 and beyond, including the new stadium

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The 2015 regular season won’t kick off for another 147 days, but Vikings fans have plenty to look forward to until then. Minnesota will be “on the clock” Thursday April 30th, when the NFL Draft begins and Rick Spielman makes the 11th-overall selection. In late July, players will report for Training Camp in Mankato, ringing in the start of “real” football activities.

But, the fun begins in early August, when the Vikings suit up for a five-game stretch of preseason games. On Thursday afternoon, the NFL released its preseason schedule, which is outlined below:

Hall of Fame Game (Aug. 9th, 7:00 p.m. CT): Minnesota Vikings vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (Canton, Ohio)
Week 1 (Aug. 14th-16th): Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Minnesota Vikings
Week 2 (Aug. 21st-23rd): Oakland Raiders vs. Minnesota Vikings
Week 3 (Aug. 28th-29th): Minnesota Vikings vs. Dallas Cowboys
Week 4 (Sept. 3rd): Minnesota Vikings vs. Tennessee Titans

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Which Special Teams Player will Stand Out for the Vikings in 2015?

Darren: Adam Thielen 
Thielen might be the common answer here, but as long as he keeps his place on the roster in 2015, he should make the biggest impact on special teams. He seems to be in on more special teams tackles than any other Viking and also made an impact with a blocked punt and a touchdown against Carolina last season. Minnesota could even opt to help out its secondary by dumping Marcus Sherels, which would slide Thielen into the job of punt returner, where he has flashed some skills in preseason.

[Punter to be Named Later]
Jeff Locke has to step it up in year three or he’s gone. Yes, he’ll probably benefit greatly from kicking indoors in 2016, but the Vikings can’t wait that long. He needs to start being an asset instead of a liability in the field position game this season, or he’ll be replaced. There will be improvement at the punter position in 2015. Whether that’s because Locke’s improved (having a familiar long snapper might help if McDermott beats out Loeffler) or because he’s been replaced is yet to be determined.

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1.  Great Fit in Minnesota:
The Vikings lost middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley to the Cowboys in free agency, so the starting MLB spot is currently up for grabs. Brinkley was a two-down thumper for the Vikings who was at his best stoping the run.

Miami’s standout MLB Denzel Perryman is a stout and sturdy 5’11” 236 pound old-school prototypical inside backer who defends his turf and can deliver a hit as hard as any player in the draft. Perryman is very good before the snap and has exceptional play recognition instincts to read and react especially against the run.

Perryman’s NFL value is strictly as a two-down inside linebacker with his best fit in a 4-3 system where he can stay clean and do what he does best, tackle ball carriers.

Perryman is a great fit largely because of Gerald Hodges’ emergence as an up-and-coming “Mike” in nickel packages. The veteran presence of Chad Greenway, who can also man-the-middle in passing situation, additionally lends itself to the idea that the logical missing piece is a two-down run stuffer.

The scheme and personal from last season hasn’t changed much, making Perryman a good fit and an upgrade over Brinkley.

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With the 2015 NFL Draft fast approaching, it’s time to shift our weekly poll focus from free agency to the NFL’s premier offseason event. General manager Rick Spielman has spent little money acquiring new players, and took a patient approach in re-signing players like John Sullivan and Matt Asiata.

Today, the Vikings kicked off their Top-30 event by bringing in a select group of draft prospects for visits to Winter Park. The scheduled visits will continue over the course of the next few weeks:

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Paul Allen, radio voice of the Minnesota Vikings, joins the show to give us a glimpse of the man behind the microphone. PA’s headed into his 14th season calling games for the Purple, has been the race announcer at Canterbury Park for over 20+ years, and is host of the 9-Noon program on KFAN 100.3.

We dive into PA’s background and get the story of his journey to where he is today, chat a little about the 2015 Vikings draft and what happens with Adrian Peterson, get a STONE COLD HOT TAKE from the man, and even dive into a little ponies and poker talk.

All that and other “HE’S LOOSE” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

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