Saturday, March 25, 2017

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39 Years Young: Vikings, Newman Agree to Terms

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Father Time’s undefeated record has been well-documented since, well, the beginning of time itself.

Every year another household name in sports is claimed either via planned retirement or playing through a painful final year. No individual has ever been able to stand the test of time, and betting on this changing at any point is more-or-less equivalent to tossing a wad of bills into an active volcano.

If there is one player that possesses both the physical tools and competitive drive necessary to challenge Father Time’s winning streak, however, it is two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Terence Newman.

Following yet another outstanding individual season in 2016, the seemingly ageless defensive back decided he will return to the gridiron for at least one more season with the Minnesota Vikings.

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Former Packers DE Datone Jones
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings signed former Green Bay Packers defensive end Datone Jones on Tuesday, marking just the team’s third free agent acquisition this offseason. Jones was the 26th overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft and spent four seasons with Packers at multiple defensive positions.

Jones joins the Vikings on a one-year, $3.75 million deal for the 2017 season. According to Mike Garafolo, he can make up to $5 million this year and has the chance to serve a crucial rotational role for Mike Zimmer. With his versatility, Jones can line up at defensive end—his natural position coming out of UCLA—or as a down lineman in a three-technique.

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image courtesy of Vikings.com

Free agent cornerback Terence Newman has played cornerback in the NFL for 14 seasons. Yet somehow, the 38-year-old is still performing at a high level.

Newman spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons with the Vikings as the starting left cornerback opposite Xavier Rhodes. In 31 games, he collected four interceptions and 20 passes defensed. Pro Football Focus graded Newman as the ninth-best cornerback in the NFL in 2016 with a grade of 86.4.

He announced today on Sirius XM Radio that he will indeed play in the 2017 season.

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Why not Latavius Murray
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

So the Minnesota Vikings didn’t get their guy in Eddie Lacy; what a bummer.

The 267-pound running back signed a one-year, $5.55 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks, ending any hope he’d make the short trip from Wisconsin to Minneapolis. While Lacy was surely a fit with the Vikings, he likely saw Seattle as the more lucrative destination — a run-first offense with the necessary backs to rotate and split carries.

Lacy turned down comparable offers from the Vikings and Packers, leaving Rick Spielman empty-handed once again this free agency period. Fortunately, the running back market’s been soft—thanks, pass-happy offenses—and remains abundant with talent. Spielman recognized the surfeit of options, quickly shifting focus to another high-profile player looking for a new home — Latavius Murray.

The Road to 50 — About the Labor: Episode 49

BJ Reidell and Drew Mahowald discuss the Minnesota Vikings’ free-agent signings of Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers, the departures of Cordarrelle Patterson, Matt Kalil, Captain Munnerlyn and Rhett Ellison, key issues that remain up in the air and speculate on what still may be to come on Episode 49 of About the Labor.

PRIMARY TALKING POINTS

  • The New Guys: Reviewing free-agent signings of LT Riley Reiff and RT Mike Remmers
  • The Old Guy(s): Brief thoughts on decision to retain OT/OG Jeremiah Sirles
  • The Exodus: Discussing losses of CB Captain Munnerlyn, OT Matt Kalil and WR Cordarrelle Patterson
  • The Future: Overview of RB Eddie Lacy and other free agents that have met with the Vikings
  • The Dream: Speculating on a few potential options that would look good in Purple for the right price
  • The Questions: Examining thoughts from @VikingKing888, @JReidDraftScout and @BrownJayson
  • The End: Final takes, some weird static noises and a Drew Mahowald sign-out

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