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Finishing up a road trip combined with hosting the in-laws meant I was a little delayed in my watching of the Vikings first preseason game of the Mike Zimmer era.  I’ll try to make up for the delay by hosting a real-time live chat for the next game.

Overall, what we saw from the Vikings in their preseason debut against Oakland was encouraging.  Tomorrow, I’ll turn around and focus on the “Five Things I Hate About You,” but I first want to ride the optimism and give you five positive takeaways.

5.  Adam Thielen Looks Legit

The Vikings have invested a lot into their wide out position over the last couple of years and it is showing.  Quality depth is still a concern, especially with Jerome Simpson facing a suspension this season, but Adam Thielen is looking like a reliable backup option with special teams value.  He caught a pass for 15 yards, made a hell of a coverage play, and averaged over 17 yards on three punt returns.  He looks fragile to me, and that very well could be my imagination,  but I otherwise can’t think of a single reason he shouldn’t be on this roster in Week One of the regular season.  He made plays all over the field this week.

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Photo courtesy of vikings.com

Aside from a handful of examples including the Brett Favre signing, the Vikings have never been a team to make flashy free agency moves during the off season. However, with ownership and the front office lead by Zygi Wilf and Rick Spielman, the team has been aggressive when there are specific players they’ve identified as priority additions.

This past off season was a great example of this with the Vikings quickly coming to agreement with former New York Giants nose tackle Linval Joseph.

Joseph is a young and talented player entering his 5th year in the league and is positioned to be a mainstay within a Vikings overhauled defensive line. Not only does Joseph add much needed talent to a defensive front seven, but he also fills a role the Vikings have been in search for since the departure of Pat Williams.

Williams was a fan favorite for years among Vikings faithful and for good reason. Williams was a disruptive force in the middle of a very good Vikings run defense. He consistently absorbed double teams while blowing up an offensive line, leaving plenty of space for his Williams counterpart, Kevin and Jared Allen to wreak havoc.

William’s ability to make offenses account for him is a luxury for his defensive teammates. Something Vikings defensive end Brian Robison touched on when he spoke with reporters after Sunday morning’s walk through.

“I can see the similarities with Pat,” Robison noted when asked about Linval. “His ability to take on double teams opens up space for others to play under him and get to the quarterback.”

Joseph has notable size and athleticism, and for a man weighing close to 325lbs, has a quick first step that helps him disrupt an offensive line and create pressure in the backfield. Joseph will undoubtedly help in stopping the run and as noted previously, head coach Mike Zimmer will make stopping the run a priority for the Vikings defense. Joseph’s presence and physicality will certainly help create that kind of mentality along the defensive line.

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Some aren’t giving the Vikings a chance in 2014.  Some think they immediately make the jump back into contention.  Regardless of how you think they will do, the fact of the matter is that their first order of business has to be winning football games in the NFC North.  Here is our weekly look (after taking a week off) around the net at our greatest foes.

GREEN BAY PACKERS

There is no doubt that the Packers want to retain their ultra-productive wide receiver Jordy Nelson.  Nelson is 29 years old, entering a contract year, set to make only $2.55 million in 2014, and is clearly a favorite target for Aaron Rodgers on a weekly basis.  The running theory seems to be that Green Bay would like to extend Nelson this season, instead of waiting until next offseason, as they also have to get deals done with others such as Randall Cobb.  Nelson is likely the first domino that needs to fall before Ted Thompson can start working on the rest of his list of pending free agents for 2015.  Vikings fans (and defensive backs), of course, wouldn’t mind seeing Nelson’s extension hit a snag or ten between now and next March.

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Our weekly look throughout the NFC North at what is the hottest topic for each of our foes:

GREEN BAY PACKERS

This is the time of year when overreactions to OTA’s are a dime a dozen.  Out of Green Bay, however, one rookie is making clear strides towards an unlikely landing spot on the starting roster.  With Jermichael Finley still looking like a giant question mark, and Andrew Quarless reeling from an injury, third round selection Richard Rodgers is turning heads in Green Bay.  We all hope that Mike Zimmer can fix a lot of things on this Vikings defense, but in the recent past they have struggled to match the size and athleticism presented by opposing tight ends, and Rodgers seems like the type of guy that could feast against a Leslie Frazier defense.  If you are looking for a late-round fantasy sleeper, however, being a potential starter in Green Bay’s offense can’t possibly be a bad thing.

The Vikings have, to our knowledge, made it through the holiday weekend without any embarrassing incidents off the field and are now conducting their Organized Team Activities.  We’ve had a lot of good content right here lately (scroll down, you can’t miss it), but here is what is being said from all of our friends around the web.

Go there.  Read it.  Tell ‘em who sent ya.

  • Mike Wobschall of Vikings.com is on the other side of this interesting interview where a variety of topics are covered.
  • As if you needed more optimism about the 2014 Vikings draft class.
  • Geesh, will they let anyone on the internet these days?  Good Loadholt article here.
  • Cordarrelle Patterson is quickly turning out to be one of Minnesota’s favorite professional athletes.
  • This isn’t factually accurate, and it isn’t something I agree with, but it is worthy of consideration:  Will the money given to Everson Griffen prove to be a big mistake?
  • ‘Tis the season for making lists, throwing out lofty claims, and crowing GOATs.
  • Undrafted wide out Donte Foster says he has a chip on his shoulder and is learning from Greg Jennings.
  • Five reasons why a late bye week is a benefit to the Vikings this season.
  • Chad Greenway is feeling like a younger player having to learn a new defensive scheme and play a different role.
  • Minnesota Vikings Mike Zimmer claims he can’t even Google himself because of that pesky Minnesota Viking Mike Zimmer.
  • Jared Allen says Minnesota headed in a different direction than he wanted to go in and hopes Chicago never regrets signing him.
  • Adrian Peterson says you can see Teddy Bridgewater is hungry when you look into his eyes.
  • It is sounding like the new regime are running faster and more intense practice sessions than Minnesota has seen in a while.
  • Mike Zimmer provided some insight as to why it is so difficult to find quality prospects at the safety position in recent years.
  • A lot of nuts and bolts about the Minnesota Super Bowl bid and logistics can be found right here.
  • Erin Henderson is under the impression that Rick Spielman might be willing to give him another chance at a roster spot.
  • Somewhere there is someone who just bought something that I (and most of you) once peed in.
  • More pass catching is an idea Adrian Peterson seems to welcome.
  • And, here it is, your moment of Zen:

 

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