Saturday, February 6, 2016

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The theme of today’s Sleeper Sunday is Big-10 football. This morning, Carl introduced readers to Wisconsin strong safety Michael Caputo. He’s a physical member of the Badgers secondary with a style of play and frame similar to that of Harrison Smith. Now, a look at one of the conference’s best-kept secrets; Indiana running back Jordan Howard.

Jordan Howard — RB, Indiana

Measurements

Height – 6’1″
Weight – 230 lbs.
Age – 21

At First Glance

As a first-year player at Indiana, the junior rushed for 1,213 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2015. Howard was named to the First Team All-Big Ten after the season and was a member of the Doak Walker Award and Maxwell Award Watch Lists. He caught 11 passes for 106 yards for a touchdown and also finished second in the conference with 134.8 rushing yards per game.

Before the 2015 season, Howard had spent two seasons a the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). A two-star recruit in 2013, the Alabama native opted to stay in-state for his collegiate career. There, he rushed for nearly 2,500 yards and scored 15 touchdowns on the ground. In November 2014, UAB disbanded it’s football program and left Howard without a home. Fortunately, other Division 1 schools had kept an eye on the productive running back. With his pick of more than 20 programs, Howard made the decision to replace Tevin Coleman in Indiana. That choice appears to have been the right one.

“I think a lot of us, me and my former teammates we realize it was kind of like a blessing in disguise,” Howard said in October. “It gave us an opportunity to be more in the spotlight and show we can play on any type of level.”

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The much discussed (and minimally respected) Pro Bowl took place Sunday giving us our last glimpse of Vikings football until August. Five Vikings Pro Bowlers made an appearance in the game and here is a quick recap of what went down:

ADRIAN PETERSON

Peterson, the only Vikings to originally be voted into this Pro Bowl, got a few carries on the first drive of the game with mild success. His best play came on a catch and run the resulted in a first down inside the redzone which set up a Travis Kelce touchdown.

Peterson ended the day with four yards on five carries, three catches for 20 yards, and no fumbles.

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JOIN VT ON FANTALK FOR A CHANCE TO WIN

When you operate a website that lucks into some popularity, like Vikings Territory has, your inbox gets flooded with all sorts of requests for promotions and advertising. Seldom do they match up with the goals of our site or provide any value to our readers, and so we mostly send them away without a deal.

Every now and again, however, something comes our way that does seem worthy of passing along to our readers and that is exactly the case with the new, free FanTalk app that is being spearheaded by friend-of-the-site and former Vikings reporter Frank Tadych.

FanTalk, available through your internet browser or in a super-slick app form for iOS users, is a way to create, join, and grow fan communities where the readers drive the conversation.

If you join the Vikings Territory club prior to the Super Bowl you will be entered into a drawing, courtesy of FanTalk, for a $25 fanatics.com gift card.

Again, FanTalk is 100% free and is a great way to keep up on all of your favorite sports teams, with a custom experience created for you by you. We sincerely hope you will check it out and let us know what you think!

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Michael Caputo | Strong Safety, Wisconsin

As a three-year starter for the Badgers, Michael Caputo served as the heart of a stout and stingy Wisconsin defense. Caputo takes pride in his intensity and tackling ability and it shows on the football field. Caputo put his skill on display in the 91st East-West Shrine Game picking off a pair of passes, including one from former Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave, and logging three tackles en route to claiming defensive MVP honors helping the West claim a 29-9 victory.

Matt Engstrom Vikings Illustrations Vikings Wall Collection
Vikings Wall Collection - by Matt Engstrom

Matt Engstrom Sidebar AdIt’s been a while since we’ve posted some new Minnesota Vikings illustrations from our very talented, resident illustrator Matt Engstrom. If you remember, after the 2014 season, we posted a library of incredible drawings that documented that year’s games. Today, we’re happy to add more to our collection of Matt’s work after he graciously “opened his vault” and shared it all.

Matt’s illustrations are able to say so much with so little. He’s able to capture the entire spectrum of emotions we feel as Vikings fans through the adventures of the Vikings character he created.

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