Tuesday, September 1, 2015

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NFC North by Matt Engstrom
NFC North by Matt Engstrom

The Vikings aren’t the only team making big decisions this offseason.

While our favorite team might be the most dramatic when it comes to their offseason circumstances, our enemies are busy making moves of their own. Here is a look at what they are up to this week:

GREEN BAY PACKERS

Our biggest foe of all is looking to overhaul their linebacker group in 2015 and that process begins by cutting loose some veteran players. The Packers first cut Brad Jones and then came Wednesday’s announcement that they were parting ways with A.J. Hawk, as well.

Jones and Hawk opened 2014 as Green Bay’s starting inside linebackers and now it appears they will both be elsewhere this coming season. Hawk has been with the Packers for all nine years on his NFL career, but at age 31 he has no intentions of retiring.

“I’m ready for some new opportunities,” he said, according to ESPN. “I feel good. Hopefully I get a chance somewhere else.”

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Most of the contributors at Vikings Territory have published their first-round mock drafts, and the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine is officially over. Some players boosted their stock with impressive 40-yard dash times, while others hurt their value with poor showings in on-field drills. How did our mock first-round picks do in Indianapolis?

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2014 NFL Draft Vikings Table
Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

The NFL Combine is officially over and we are just a couple weeks away from the official start of the 2015 Season. Mock Drafts from most of the VT Team have been published and post-Combine updates are likely around the corner. Followed by pre-free agency mock drafts which will then be succeeded by post-free agency mock drafts that are then… Well, you get the picture.

But first, over the next couple of days, we are going to feature the mock drafts of a couple of individuals we really appreciate around these parts. The first is from Luke Inman of eDraft.com who you may have heard a couple times on the Purple FTW! podcast. I had the pleasure of meeting Luke last year at Vikings Training camp. The only thing more impressive than the depth of Luke’s football knowledge is his up-beat personality and character. Seriously, the guy is a treat to be around.

Luke’s first round mock draft below features a ton of in-depth analysis and provides a very detailed breakdown of the Vikings selection at 11. Check out the first five picks below and then continue reading for the entire first round.

 Tampa Bay Logo
1. Tampa Bay (2-14) // Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

He’s been my number one player here since this process started and now at the combine we’re starting to see what makes him so good. Winston is a pocket passer who will beat you from the neck up and has a live arm to go with the mental intangibles. Truly one of the better diagnosers of the game that we’ve seen at the position in some time, its just a shame people are only finding out about it now, mainly because of his off the field issues that overshadowed his game. Winston isn’t just a piece to an offense, he is the offense. As long as the maturity issues have been put to bed, Winston is a guy you can build your franchise around. He gets to stay home in the state of Florida where he lands in a cush spot with young emerging talent all around him (Mike Evans, Austin Jenkins, Charles Sims) on top of a proven veteran coach in Lovie Smith, something that’s foreign for most number one picks that are typically that building block to start scratch from.

 Tennessee Titans Logo
 2. Tennessee (2-14) // Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Zach Mettenberger? This guy ain’t buying it. The Heisman trophy winner Mariota is the more ultra-athletic of the two which will add an exciting extra wrinkle into whatever offense he plays for. The former Oregon Duck will translate that elite athleticism into a smooth dropback passer under center, however I still worry about his pocket presence and how he will adjust to the speed in the NFL. Still, the upside of having a potential franchise quarterback is worth the risk for this franchise in the long run, over a blue-chip defensive player who isn’t guaranteed to help this team get over the hump. A trade down would be the best solution if they truly are comfortable with Mettenberger, meaning either way I think Mariota is the second player off the board on Draft Day because of the position he plays. In this league the first rule of Fight Club is you can’t win without a quarterback.

 Jacksonville Jaguars Logo
3.  Jacksonville (3-13) // Leonard Williams, DL, USC

Randy Gregory was my pick here a week ago and I loved it, but now along with many other people I’m overly concerned with the weight Gregory showed up to the Combine at and where he fits in the NFL. Williams might be the better pick from the get-go anyways with his ability to line up up-and-down the defensive line. Williams carries the massive size to hold linemen up at the point of attack, as well as the athleticism to penetrate into the backfield. At the end of the day it’s Williams’ versatility to line up in multiple fronts that will allow Gus Bradley to finally open up his exotic defensive playbook and maximize his front-seven’s potential.

Oakland Raiders Logo
 4. Oakland (3-13) // Kevin White, WR, West Virginia

The hottest thing since the internet, Kevin White hushed any critics he had left after he proved that he has the deep speed with a ridiculous 4.35 40-time to go with his 6’3” 215 pound frame. A tough matchup doesn’t come close to describing White one-on-one with his defender as he has the strong body control and hands to pluck the ball out of the air in even the most difficult contested balls. Hope Derek Carr wasn’t listening because we want him to be surprised when he sees his new shiny toy under the Christmas tree.

 Washington Redskins Logo
 5. Washington (4-12) // Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska

After becoming one of the most dominating pass rushers in college football last season, Gregory has me worried after showing up to the Combine a putrid 218 pounds. This raises serious questions about how he will transition into the NFL and just where exactly he will be forced to play. While I’ve had him as a traditional 4-3 defensive end for the majority of my scouting, now Gregory has forced people to view him as a edge rushing linebacker in a 3-4 scheme and nothing more. Of course there is still plenty of time for him to get back into the 235-245 range where he will have to play in order to achieve the things that will be asked of him by his team. Even with the sudden red flags Gregory still has one of the best pass rushing tapes of the 2014 season with a remarkable “get off” off the snap making it tough to pass on him, especially with the expected loss of linebacker Brian Orakpo to free agency. Gregory adds a big piece into making this defensive unit a legitimate threat that’s going to start commanding some serious respect soon.

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Photo courtesy of Flickr (Modified)

This is getting ugly.

It seemed like the Vikings and Adrian were headed towards a marriage resolution, a “stay together for the kids” sort of deal. But it’s looking more like a messy divorce is in the offing this offseason.

VT’s Lindsey Young joined the show to talk about Adrian AND the happier topics surrounding the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings. Happier topics like the leadership of Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer, looking forward to the 2015 Draft, and  the beautiful marriage of OC Norv Turner and 2nd year franchise QB Teddy Bridgewater. Do you remember him? Does anybody remember Teddy? The actual face of the Minnesota Vikings?

I say my piece about the former face of the team in the intro, touch on some Vikings News, and catch up with Lindsey on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

Full episode after the jump!

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The relationship between the Vikings organization and its once star running back continues to deteriorate.

Adrian Peterson Stiff Arms Chicago Defender
Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

Things continue to worsen between the Vikings organization and Adrian Peterson. Jason LaConfora, CBS Sports NFL Insider, reported early this afternoon that Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, was seen in a heated verbal exchange with Vikings Vice President of Football Operations, Rob Brzezinski, and the two physically “had to be separated” at the NFL Combine in Downtown Indianapolis. According to LaConfora’s sources, Dogra made it clear during the argument that “Peterson would never play there again.”

LaConfora also included information from a person reportedly close with Peterson:

“He will never play another game for the Vikings. It’s over.”

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