Tuesday, February 9, 2016

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Harrison Smith would be an impact player
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Vikings Territory asked, and the readers spoke; in this series of articles, the team will announce the winners of our fan-voted awards, from the Minnesota Vikings’ MVP of 2015 to the Rookie of the Year. Today, a look at the Defensive Player of the Year as voted by you, the fans.

Harrison Smith, FS — Minnesota Vikings

First a trip to the 2016 Pro Bowl in Hawaii, and now, a title as the Vikings Territory Defensive Player of the Year. Though not as grand, the award is important because it comes from the fans of the Minnesota Vikings. Since he was drafted in 2012, Vikings fans have known that Harrison Smith would be an impact player in Minnesota. The award, just like his Pro Bowl invitation, is long overdue, but no less deserved.

He jetted closer to stardom in 2014, the best statistical season of his four-year career. It was Smith’s five interceptions and three sacks that earned him a first-team nod on Pro Football Focus’s All-NFL team, and one could argue he improved his play in 2015. Despite missing nearly four games this year, Smith was a force against the pass and run in Mike Zimmer’s aggressive scheme. “I’m fortunate enough to be in a system where [coach Mike Zimmer] wants us to do all of those things,” he said, per Matt Vensel. “I’m just lucky to be here and happy to be here because of that.”

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Anthony Barr and Teddy Bridgewater to the 2016 Pro Bowl
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The first round of the 2014 NFL Draft is looking golden for Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. His two picks, Anthony Barr and Teddy Bridgewater, have been selected to play in the 2016 Pro Bowl. The news, announced on the team’s official website Monday, gives the Vikings five representatives in this year’s game.

The two will play this Sunday in Honolulu, Hawaii as injury replacements. Bridgewater will take over the spot vacated by Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer and Barr will fill in for New England Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins. This is the first Pro Bowl selection for either player.

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Norv Turner's job is safe...for now

Minnesota Vikings Name Shurmur Tight Ends Coach
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

An NFL coaching staff is a lot like a dinner table. Mike Zimmer’s at the head seat for the Minnesota Vikings, surrounded by a number of coaches who used to sit in his very position.

There’s offensive coordinator Norv Turner, former head coach of the San Diego Chargers. Next to him is offensive line coach Tony Sparano, who once buried a football as interim head coach of the Oakland Raiders. And now, former Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur’s pulled a chair up to the table. As announced on the team’s official website Monday, Shurmur was named the Vikings’ tight ends coach.

With Shurmur joining the staff to coach Kyle Rudolph and Co., former tight ends coach Kevin Stefanski will replace Kirby Wilson as the team’s running backs coach. The Vikings originally interviewed Shurmur on Friday and spent the weekend keeping their decision under wraps. ESPN’s Ben Goessling reported Saturday that the team had hired Shurmur, but hadn’t released details of his position on Zimmer’s staff.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

When it comes to trades, the NFL is usually not known for these types of transactions as much as other professional sports leagues have been such as the NBA, NHL, and MLB. However, the league did have a total of 38 trades in 2015 before the start of the regular season that featured at least one player (not just draft picks) and that total is the highest it has been in the last three years.

In the last three NFL offseasons, there have been a total of 89 trades made before the start of that year’s regular season. The Vikings have been involved in four of those 89 trades, including three in 2015.

Will Minnesota and general manager Rick Spielman participate in any trades in this upcoming offseason? If they do, who has the possibility of leaving town?

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Should the Vikings trade Adrian Peterson
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

“Should the Vikings trade Adrian Peterson?”

If you identify as a Vikings fan, then the odds are good that you’ve been asked this question more times than you can count over the ups and downs of the last four seasons, give or take. I know I have.

The problem, however, is that most people asking that question are looking for you to answer in a concrete way. They want a “yes” or “no” answer that they can either agree with or scoff at. They want you to enable their ability to hit that “like” button or give you the old “thumbs down.” They are not looking for a thoughtful, nuanced answer. Ambiguity beyond a “for the right price” qualifier simply won’t be tolerated.

The problem, however, is that the answer to this particular question is so complex that a simple “yes” or “no” isn’t giving it the thought it deserves, and neither of those answers could possibly be concrete and true.

For the first time in his career, however, I am not at all hesitant in saying that the Minnesota Vikings should absolutely consider trading Adrian Peterson.

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