Tuesday, August 30, 2016

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Winning free agency is NOT the key to success (i.e. Washington in the 2000s, Tampa Bay two years ago), but it’s still a lot of fun to see your favorite team pick up pieces that could help them next season. I take a dip into the free agent pool and come up with 5 names Vikings fans should keep and eye on as March 9th approaches. All of the guys I picked are for positions of need and will not necessarily break the bank or be household names, but will help this team (ala Linval Joseph and Captain Munnerlyn two season ago). Also I run through the current list of Vikings free agents and definitively say if they’ll be back or yee gon.

All that and other “BYE, ROBERT BLANTON” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

An Andy Carlson Joint

Bad first round picks for the Vikings
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The first round of the NFL Draft is a marquee of top prospects and college football’s best players. Over the past five years, the Minnesota Vikings have taken advantage of the talent pool, selecting nine players in the first round since 2011. And while most of those picks have been successful for general manager Rick Spielman, some failed to pan out. Names like Christian Ponder and Cordarrelle Patterson come to mind, if only because the price Spielman paid doesn’t match the return on investment.

Ponder was the 12th-overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, while Patterson went 29th-overall in 2013 behind a trade that sent four Vikings draft picks to the New England Patriots. Minnesota can’t afford to make a similar mistake this year, especially when tantalizing names like Jaylon Smith and Josh Doctson may be available when the Vikings select 23rd-overall. But other, more trendy players may fall; players the Vikings shouldn’t draft in the first round. Who are they? Well, I asked the VT Team, and the answers may surprise you!

Who is one player you DO NOT want the Vikings to draft in the first round?

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cut Mike Wallace
Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

No, it wasn’t Schefter or Mortensen, or Vensel or Goessling, or even anyone with an actual human name. But earlier today, someone tweeted that the Vikings are expected to cut Mike Wallace.

As you can see, the twitter account goes by the moniker “NFL Update,” and does have more than 33,000 followers, for whatever that’s worth. Other than that, we here at VT know very little about this account or who runs it. Yesterday, it tweeted the Giants were expected to release LB Jon Beason, and today Beason announced his retirement, so…sort of accurate?

It needs to be stressed this is nothing more than a rumor and, perhaps, just one person’s opinion at this point. There has been plenty of speculation regarding the status of Wallace and his $11.5 million contract in 2016, but thus far no credible sources have reported anything. The Star Tribune’s Matt Vensel did say he doesn’t expected Wallace to be back next season in a column last month, but that was just one part of a larger piece making educated guesses on how next year’s roster would look.

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How have teams fared after moving into a new stadium?

US Bank Stadium opens in 2016
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The opening of U.S. Bank Stadium in 2016 provides a sense of optimism for the Minnesota Vikings. Standing nearly 30 stories tall and covering more than 1.75 million square feet, it represents a bright future for Mike Zimmer’s team; it’s a home that finally matches the Vikings’ recent progress on the field.

Designed as the epicenter of downtown east Minneapolis, it’s a fitting stadium for the Vikings and a welcome attraction for local Minnesotans. With a Super Bowl coming to Minnesota in 2018, U.S. Bank Stadium may become the first venue to host its own team in the big game in NFL history.

Looking back, 13 franchises have opened new stadiums since 2000, and each has done so with similar aspirations of success and revitalization. Under Zimmer, the Vikings have gone 18-14, all while playing outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium. Does history suggest their winning ways will continue, or does a move spell disaster for a team on the rise?

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