Thursday, March 5, 2015
Blog Page 90

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In an earlier VT feature, we talked to EJ Henderson about his time as a Viking and where his life has taken him post-football. As a follow-up to that piece, I would like to highlight an upcoming event hosted by Henderson and his Youth Pro Fitness organization. The event is FREE for kids, but there is limited registration available.

The goal of YoPro Fitness is to focus on the overall health and fitness of kids ages 7-13. It partners with local community education and youth programs and is a mobile organization that travels to a location and uses its gym or field space to run the program.

“Any organization that wants to run a health and fitness program for their kids, we’ll provide,” Henderson said. “We’re mobile—we’ll come to you.”

On June 25, YoPro Fitness is hosting a two-hour event that will give fitness assessments to 125 youth throughout the Twin Cities. According to the website, results will be captured by using state-of-the-art technology to objectively quantify and house the physical testing metrics for individual participants.

“A baseline understanding of your fitness levels is crucial if improvement is to occur,” Henderson emphasized.

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On Monday, I had the privilege of joining Andy Carlson as a guest on his Purple for the Win podcast.

The “on-air” experience proved a brand new one for me, as I naturally prefer written communication over verbal. However, Andy calmed my nerves, convinced me to be a part of it, and I had an absolute riot talking all things Vikings football. I only made one or two minor blunders—giving away my Father’s Day gift … before Father’s Day—and enjoyed the overall experience. You can listen to the entire podcast on purpleftw.com or on YouTube.

If you’re looking for a great source of Vikings news and also entertaining banter, make sure to follow Andy on Twitter @PurpleForTheWin.

Another big thanks to Andy for having me on the podcast—tune in to Purple FTW next Tuesday, June 17 to hear the next VT podcast guest, THE Arif Hasan!

Not too long ago I put life-long Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams on my list of the best remaining free agents for this team to target.  Williams appeared on air waves this week claiming that it might just be a real possibility.

“They might be trying to ease back in the picture,” he said of recent contact with the Vikings.  “We’ll know more maybe as the week goes on.”

Williams recently visited with the Patriots where he would presumably be part of a defensive line rotation, as he likely would be with the Vikings.  Williams has previously discussed a hesitance about playing a reserve role or even playing as a nose tackle, but when one is unemployed in June it is a sign that you are likely going to have to make some concessions or start looking for a life outside of the NFL.

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The Minnesota Vikings made their most surprising selection at the end of the third round in Georgia Southern running back Jerick McKinnon.

McKinnon was drafted before other talented backs including Devonta Freeman, Dri Archer, Ka’Deem Carey, and Lache Seastrunk. Those players Minnesota passed up on and the expected landing spot of McKinnon generated the surprise.

The uncommon athleticism of Jerick McKinnon seems to be the sole reasoning for the selection, at least from what Rick Spielman was quoted as saying post-draft: “He had one of the most interesting workouts I’ve ever seen in the Spring…they worked him out as a running back, as a punt returner, and a defensive corner. He was just from an athletic standpoint too good to pass up, too explosive of a player.”

McKinnon’s role as a wishbone quarterback for Georgia Southern (with cameos as a running back of sorts) makes him more of a mystery than Spielman lets on. He was certainly productive on the ground, totaling 3899 yards on 6.3 yards per carry and 42 touchdowns during his college career.

mckinnonstats

Statistical totals mean less from a system so unique. So without further ado, let’s get to the meat of Jerick McKinnon as a running back and how he fits with Minnesota.

Per Chris Tomasson at the Pioneer Press, investigator Chris Madel says only one more interview needs to be conducted before they can write their report and release the results of their investigation. From there it should only take ten days, according to Madel, to determine whether or not special teams coach Mike Priefer created a hostile work environment for former punter Chris Kluwe or engaged in the alleged homophobic behavior while Kluwe was on the team.

Should the investigation find against Mike Priefer, he will likely be fired and the issue put to rest. Otherwise, Kluwe will likely retaliate (Chris Kluwe has indicated multiple times that he and his lawyer, Clay Halunen, would sue the Vikings if the investigation concludes differently from Kluwe’s allegations).

In order to save myself the keyboard strokes, a recap from the update published back in April:

Kluwe initially publicized the allegations that Priefer said, with hostile intent that, “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows,” on December 2nd in a Deadspin piece.

He further claimed that general manager Rick Spielman and then-head coach Leslie Frazier discouraged him from speaking out on social issues and had an unproductive meeting with team player development director Les Pico about Priefer’s comments shortly before being cut in May.

Priefer has vehemently denied Kluwe’s allegations, and kicker Blair Walsh—while not denying the allegations—spoke in favor of Priefer and defended his character shortly after Kluwe’s allegations were made public.

Since publishing that piece, I was able to talk to someone familiar with these kinds of proceedings in order to get a feel for how likely a suit would be should the investigation go south for Kluwe and the investigators find in Priefer’s favor.

 

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