Wednesday, September 28, 2016

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Andre Smith Signs With Vikings
Ex-Bengals offensive tackle Andre Smith signs with the Minnesota Vikings.

Former Bengals offensive tackle Andre Smith tweeted this morning that he has signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings. Smith, who was also meeting with the Arizona Cardinals, said in his tweet that the contract is a one year deal.

The Vikings hosted Smith for a visit this past Sunday but were not able to come to an agreement during his stay, leaving many wondering whether or not a deal would get done. Head coach Mike Zimmer knows Smith well from his time in Cincinnati and this signing is another example of his desire to add players he’s already familiar with from his time with the Bengals.

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Out with the old, in with the new

Vikings' starting offensive line
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Competition is the name of the game for the Minnesota Vikings, who completely revamped the look of their offensive line this offseason. Last year’s unit, which featured rookie right tackle T.J. Clemmings and reserve center Joe Berger, was a ramshackle bunch of pieces playing out of position.

Mike Harris, traditionally a tackle, was thrust into the lineup as a right guard. Brandon Fusco, the right guard of old, was forced to move to the left side of the line. And Clemmings, no matter how much of a “steal” he was in the draft, clearly wasn’t ready to take the reigns from an injured Phil Loadholt.

Heading into 2016, a pivotal year for the Vikings, general manager Rick Spielman took measures to prevent another disaster up front. His free agent signings — an re-signings — signal an emphasis on protecting third-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and solidifying one of the team’s weakest links from 2015:

  • Re-structuring right tackle Phil Loadholt and retaining left tackle Matt Kalil — consistency and continuity at the tackle position can’t hurt, right?
  • Re-signing right guard Mike Harris, who is expected to compete with Brandon Fusco for starting duties next season
  • Signing free agent left guard Alex Boone, who will step in immediately next to Matt Kalil
  • Bringing in free agent right tackle Andre Smith for a visit — the former Cincinnati Bengal is reportedly deciding between Arizona and Minnesota for his next contract

With all of these changes, moves, and potential signings, Spielman is fostering a competitive environment in Minnesota. Presumed starters today may end up on the bench tomorrow; it’s a guessing game at this point of the offseason. And that’s why I asked the VT team to make their best guess and predict the Vikings’ starting offensive line come Week 1. Who will rise and solidify a spot as one of the top-five?

It’s Week 1 of the 2016 regular season. Who is starting on the offensive line for the Minnesota Vikings?

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Is the NDSU offensive tackle a fit for the Minnesota Vikings?

[This Joe Haeg Scouting Report, with a Vikings slant, has been provided to Vikings Territory by Draft Season. Be sure to check back for more and also be sure to visit Draft Season to quench your NFL Draft thirst. All previously published scouting reports can be found by clicking here.]

Joe Haeg | OT, NDSU

Measurements

Height – 6’6″
Weight – 304 lbs.
Age – 23 yrs.
Hands – 9 5/8″
Arms – 33 3/4″

At First Glance

2015 MVFC All-Conference Team

Projected Round:

4th Round

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re-sign Matt Asiata
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings have announced that running back Matt Asiata has re-signed with the team which makes him the ninth unrestricted free agent to sign a new contract with the team this offseason. Cornerback Josh Robinson was the only unrestricted free agent to depart, as well as Mike Wallace who was released by the team. That ratio of returning players versus those that are departing is pretty impressive, really.

Coming out of Utah, Asiata has played in 58 games and has 10 starts credited to his name. He is 28 years old and known as a short yardage back, particularly effective in goalline situations, but can produce the occasional surprise in open space or even catching the ball.

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The Minnesota Vikings released Mike Wallace due to financial considerations. Mike Wallace signed with the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday due to financial considerations. Anyone that pretends these things don’t come down to money, with few exceptions, is kidding themselves.

With that being said, emotion creeps into our views of our favorite teams, and we attach meaning to the words uttered by those players that are coming or going.

Wallace was a good soldier throughout his one season in Minnesota and was widely praised by the Vikings brass following the season. Upon his official departure, however, Wallace seemingly went out of his way to let his thoughts on Teddy Bridgewater be known.

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