Thursday, August 17, 2017

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bears
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

This is the second installment of our Opposing View series, in which we gauge the league-wide perception of the Vikings by talking to bloggers from around the NFL. For each post, I’ll seek out a writer for a team on the 2017 Vikings schedule, and ask them a few short questions about the way they view our squad from afar. 

This installment features a divisional perspective, as I chatted with Jeff Hughes of Da Bears BlogThe Vikings play Chicago in Weeks Five and Seventeen. 

(Check out the first installment with Steelers writer Alex Kozora here.)

VTTop of your head, give me the first things you think of with the Minnesota Vikings going into 2017.

Jeff Hughes: Honestly, I think of a team that will probably be around 8-8 again because I think Sam Bradford is an 8-8 quarterback. Bradford’s problem has always been the same thing: he prefers not taking chances. So you’re going to get a high completion percentage and high quarterback rating but you’re going to be limited when it comes to explosive plays in the passing attack and I’m just not sure how you win that way in the modern NFL.

2016 Bears had this problem. Hoyer moved ball. Barkley moved ball. But the team didn’t score enough. Because the red zone is where the top quarterbacks separate themselves.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

One year ago Minnesota Vikings players were still unpacking their bags and preparing for morning walkthroughs at Blakeslee Stadium in Mankato. In 2017, however, Mike Zimmer ordered his young and inexperienced troops to report three days early.

“Last year, a lot of the rookies didn’t play as much as they had in the past,” Zimmer told Chad Graff of the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. “I just figured, let’s give these guys every opportunity we possibly can to get them up to speed a little quicker. We want to get them back in here, get them back doing the techniques that we’ve been working on in the spring. Kind of refresh another three days of practice with the terminology. Then when the vets get here, they’ve heard it four or five times now as opposed to just two or three.”

As a result, fans have had the luxury of enjoying an extra three days of Vikings football — and what a three days it has been. While Dalvin Cook, Pat Elflein and the rest of Minnesota’s star-studded rookie class were finding their footing, general manager Rick Spielman has been busy solidifying the future of the organization.

Everson Griffen captured headlines with a massive contract extension, but his new deal wasn’t the only pertinent information disclosed this week. So, before Sam Bradford, Harrison Smith and the rest of the Vikings veteran take the field this afternoon, let’s first catch up on the developments of the past three days.

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image courtesy of Vikings.com

Many of us were expecting some contract extension news today.

Well, we got it. But it’s not exactly the news we were expecting.

NFL.com Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday morning that the Minnesota Vikings and Pro Bowl defensive end Everson Griffen are finalizing a “massive” contract extension that would likely keep Griffen in purple and gold for the rest of his career.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Welcome to the latest installment of the Vikings Territory Training Camp Primer series focusing on Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and the linebackers.

Since he arrived in Minnesota, head coach Mike Zimmer has transformed the Vikings defense from laughingstock to nationally regarded as one of the best in the NFL.

Much of this is due to the talent he has acquired at linebacker.

With the ninth overall pick in the 2014 draft, Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman selected athletic freak Anthony Barr out of UCLA. In just three seasons, Barr has already been selected to two Pro Bowls.

A year later, the Vikings used a second round pick on Barr’s former UCLA teammate, Eric Kendricks. While Kendricks doesn’t have a Pro Bowl appearance to his name, he played on par or better than several Pro Bowl selections in 2016.

Chad Greenway‘s retirement after an illustrious career in purple and gold leaves behind a hole at the starting weak linebacker spot. The battle for that starting gig will likely headline the linebackers during the last Vikings training camp in Mankato.

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Episode 86

Graphic designed by Brett Anderson

BJ Reidell and Drew Mahowald discuss the initial word from Minnesota Vikings training camp in Mankato including George Edwards calling plays, Antone Exum at nickel cornerback and Marshall Koehn kicking his way into our hearts.

Originally broadcasted LIVE via MixIr on July 25th.

Episode 86 is sponsored by Blackstack Brewing, Socom Creative – The Twin Cities Directory and local stand-up comic Brendan Gay.

PRIMARY TALKING POINTS

  1. Intro: The Agenda (0:00)
  2. Sponsor Note: Win FREE BEER for an Entire Year Playing Beer Pong! (1:37)
  3. Injury Designations: Latavius Murray on PUP; Sharrif Floyd on NFI (2:25)
  4. Edwards Enthusiasm: George Edwards Calling Plays During Training Camp/Preaseason (11:15)
  5. Antone Exum: From Mike Zimmer’s Dog House to Nickel Cornerback (21:47)
  6. Sponsor Note: See Brendan Gay LIVE at Joke Joint Comedy Club August 10th (32:23)
  7. Camp Takeaways: Marshall Koehn Hype Train (32:58)
  8. Rhodes Closed: New Contract Looming for X? (53:40)
  9. Sign-Out: New Episodes Monday-Wednesday-Friday; Lives Shows at 8 PM CT on Tuesdays (59:51)

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