Saturday, July 23, 2016

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Mankato’s annual training camp is where the Minnesota Vikings (and their fans) converge to shape their roster and formulate a plan of attack for the coming season. This year, like every other, a bevy of questions remain unanswered and Vikings Territory attempts to identify 10 of the biggest questions and give you a chance to predict how things will shake out.

This is Part Three and if you missed out on the first two installments then feel free to catch up by clicking HERE and HERE.

CAMP QUESTION #3 – STACKING THE WIDE OUTS

These questions are not being presented in any particular order of importance. If they were, this one might have been a candidate to be at the top of the list.

Much has been made about the potential, attitudes, weaknesses, and production displayed by Minnesota’s relatively young and unproven group of pass catchers. Nearly all of the names come with an interesting enough story, and the creation of the depth chart at the position is sure to provide us with plenty of preseason drama.

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VT QOTW

Vikings Territory explored the inevitable battle — or non-battle — to become Minnesota's starting weak side linebacker
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

A Minnesota Vikings starter since 2007, Chad Greenway could see his reign at weak side linebacker end this season. Although he’s been a rock at the position for 10 years — netting more than 1,000 tackles — he’s also admitted that this could be his final season in the NFL.

“This is going to be definitely my last ride for sure,” Greenway said, per KFAN. “That’s the way I wanted to go out, to be able to commit myself to Minnesota for one more year and just give it everything I have.”

Greenway will need to give it his all if he’s to remain the starter in Minnesota. Not only is his position becoming irrelevant in Mike Zimmer’s defense, but Greenway faces stiff competition from free agent acquisition Emmanuel Lamur. The former Cincinnati Bengal signed a two-year, $6 million contract this offseason and has an edge on Greenway in terms of youth and versatility.

With training camp nearly upon us, Vikings Territory explored the inevitable battle — or non-battle — to become Minnesota’s starting weak side linebacker. Follow the jump to see the team’s answers to the following question:

Who will open the season at weak side linebacker for the Vikings?

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Too many cooks in the kitchen?

The Offensive Triangle
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

This 10-part series focuses on the biggest questions facing the Vikings as they head into Mankato for their training camp festivities. The second question that comes to mind is how the crowded, experienced coaching staff will coexist and and impact the offense in 2016. If you missed the first question, you can read and respond HERE.

Time is running out for Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Since joining Minnesota’s coaching staff in 2014, he’s failed to turn his lengthy pedigree into on-field results. His offenses have finished 27th and 29th in total yards, respectively,  despite having one of the league’s best young quarterbacks and an All-Pro at running back in Adrian Peterson.

When the 2015 season concluded and head coach Mike Zimmer addressed the media, he made it clear that Turner’s future in Minnesota wasn’t a sure thing. “I anticipate, yes,” he said, when asked if Turner would return the following year. For a coach who campaigned to bring Turner in, Zimmer’s answer wasn’t exactly an endorsement of his second-in-command.

And neither were Zimmer’s subsequent moves — the hiring of Tony Sparano as offensive line coach and Pat Shurmur as the team’s tight ends coach. Both have extensive experience coaching in the NFL, and both have coordinated West Coast offenses — a system many believe would benefit Teddy Bridgewater. They’ll start the year hyper-focused on their respective positional groups, but what happens if the offense doesn’t score or fails to move the football? Will Sparano gain more influence on the running game? Will Shurmur take over play calling duties from Turner?

With two new voices at the table and a contract that expires at the end of 2016, the pressure is on Turner to turn Minnesota’s offense around. If he doesn’t, fans may see a new coordinator (or two) up in the booth for the Vikings.

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    Top 30 - 20 to 11 - Jerick McKinnon
    Photos used courtesy of Andy Kunitis

    The Minnesota Vikings have one of the NFL’s most talented rosters, making it difficult to narrow down the team’s top players. But we at Vikings Territory decided to tackle the task anyway, wrangling up some of the best Vikings writers around to help us name the the Top 30. If you missed the first entry of this series, check it out HERE.

    Follow the jump for selections 20-11!

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    Image courtesy of Vikings.com

    This part of one of our ten part series focusing on the biggest questions facing the Vikings as they head into Mankato for their training camp festivities. The first question that comes to mind, one that will certainly impact the makeup of this roster greatly, is the health of three veteran Vikings that ended last season too injured to play.

    PHIL LOADHOLT

    He’s bravely faced the task of recovering from the torn Achilles tendon that caused him to miss all of 2015. He has already taken a significant pay cut for the chance to be a Viking in 2016. Still, Rick Spielman and company landed themselves a rather large contingency plan when they signed free agent tackle Andre Smith to a one-year deal. Not only is Smith a “Plan B” in the event that Loadholt isn’t healthy, but he is decent competition for a fully healthy Loadholt to contend with.

    During OTAs, Loadholt declared himself 100% recovered and was eager to participate.

    “I feel like I’m moving pretty well,” said Loadholt at the time. “I got some things I’ve got to get better at obviously, but I’m working hard to get better and those things and be ready to roll.”

    The season before last, Loadholt also missed the final five games with a shoulder injury, meaning the Vikings have had to make due without him for quite some time now and a player that can’t stay on the field loses their value to a team very quickly.

    Soon we will find out just how “ready to roll” Loadholt is and, despite all of the positive signs of late, one setback that keeps him away from practice could prematurely end his career with the team that drafted him.

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