Wednesday, October 7, 2015

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Division I linebackers like UCLA’s Eric Kendricks and TCU’s Paul Dawson will dominate the early draft-day conversations, but teams shouldn’t sleep on the later rounds’ small-school prospects. One in particular, Newberry’s Edmond Robinson, could be a potential steal for the Minnesota Vikings near the end of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Newberry, a Division II school in South Carolina, hasn’t seen a player drafted since 1974, when the Cardinals selected linebacker Greg Hartle in the 10th round. Currently, three former Wolves are on an NFL roster, including the Vikings’ Brandon Bostick. Robinson played with Bostick at Newberry, and spoke about the advice he’s received from his former teammates:

“They’ve been great about giving me advice and telling me how to approach certain situations. They all said that if they can make it, I can too.”

Robinson was just one of two Division II players to participate in last month’s NFL Scouting Combine, and used the week in Indianapolis to boost his draft stock.

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In the 2014 NFL draft, the Minnesota Vikings selected OG David Yankey in the fifth round with the 145th overall pick. At the time, Mike Mayock had this to say about the pick.

“This is a great fit for the Vikings. They believe in physical players and Yankey is a phone booth brawler. Trust me, I know (Vikings general manager) Rick Spielman and (head coach) Mike Zimmer, and this is the kind of player they bang the table for.”

So what went wrong? Yankey didn’t play a single snap as a rookie last season. And when starting guards Charlie Johnson and Brandon Fusco went down with injuries, it was Vladimir Ducasse, Joe Berger and Mike Harris that stepped up and earned playing time ahead of him.

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[NOTE FROM ADAM: In case you missed it, last week we introduced “Sleeper Sunday” where a few of us here at VT take a look at some under-the-radar prospects prior to May’s NFL Draft. I took a look at a strong safety candidate, Austin highlighted a cornerback, and Carl found a developmental quarterback he likes. Check it out and enjoy today’s fresh batch of sleepers.]

I’m not sure that a punter can qualify as a true “sleeper” since they aren’t really expected to be selected early on during Draft Weekend, but I have one guy in mind that I’d really like to see competing with Jeff Locke for the team’s punter spot.

That punter that I’d most like to see the Vikings chase in the latest rounds of the draft, or as an undrafted free agent, is Kansas Jayhawk Trevor Pardula.

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Very few things are guaranteed in the NFL, and it is still not a certainty that Chad Greenway will be on Minnesota’s opening day roster, but it became a lot more likely this weekend with news breaking that he has agreed to a considerable pay cut.

According to Aaron Wilson of National Football Post, Greenway’s new deal makes him an unrestricted free agent after this season and drops his salary from $7 million to $3.4 million. His 2015 cap hit goes from $8.8 million down to $5.575 million, giving the Vikings a little more flexibility when it comes to negotiating with potential free agent signings or their own players needing extensions.

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Note: This is part two of a three part series detailing my personal, complicated feelings about Randy Moss. I love him for the player he was, but hate him for what could have been. Hit it here for Part I. 


First came infatuation. Then love. Then hate.

That was my emotional roller coaster with Randy Moss. It never stayed at hate. It mostly boiled down to apathy during his Oakland years, admiration with his time with the Patriots, a mixed bag when the returned in 2010 (which we’ll get to in Part 3), and relatively neutral feelings since then.

It’s akin to the feels you have about an ex-lover. You linger on memories of the great times, but then you get bitter when you remember how they screwed the whole thing up. And exes generally return to your life at least once, so the comparison fits Moss to a T.

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