Thursday, October 8, 2015

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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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Image courtesy of The Cleveland Browns beat the Vikings at the Metrodome 31-27 in September, 2013. A shocking loss for a Vikings team who was coming off a playoff birth in 2012. The loss started the unraveling of the Vikings 2013 season.

Over the last handful of years, the Cleveland Browns and the Vikings have been closely tied as organizations. From coaches to players, to swapping draft day picks to having similar needs as a team, both teams have taken different approaches in hopes of finding success. My hope is to highlight these parallels and explore where the teams have deviated.

Prior to the 2013 season, things were right in the North. The 2012 Vikings strung together impressive wins on the legs of Adrian Peterson, who was well on his way to 2,000+ yards. After winning on the road in Houston and beating the Packers at home in the ‘win and in’ game on national TV, the Vikings headed to Satan’s lair Lambeau Field with a defense that was clicking, an MVP running back and a QB seemingly figuring himself out.

I’ll spare us the details of that playoff game, or Joe Webb’s moon shot throws. This is weird to say, but with Christian Ponder injured, we never stood a chance.

2012 went out like a dull clap. All the momentum the team had built would have to be put on hold for the next season – where, we’d clearly be better, right?

Expectations were high for 2013. Ponder was entering his 3rd year. Frazier had seemingly found his groove as a head coach. Peterson was talking about 2,500 yard rushing, like it wasn’t a big deal. People were bullish on the Vikings, and for good reason.

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This week’s Vikings Fan Spotlight is Part II of a 3-segment series. I had such an amazing response on Twitter from Vikings fans all over the world, and I decided to break this feature into three separate parts. 

Kristian L. G. Nielsen – Havdrup, Denmark – @klgn

kristianQ: How did you first become a Vikings fan?
A: This a bit funny, actually. In the early 90’s a lot of the kids at my school bought NFL caps. I bought one as well. The first one was actually a Giants cap, but it broke. The next one I bought was a Vikings cap, it was a grey one. I got teased a bit at school, because the Raiders were the popular team. Back then NFL was only shown in a weekly highlight show, and I must admit I didn’t watch it. Actually thought it was a weird sport. I watched a lot of soccer instead. Soccer is the most popular sport over here. As every Vikings fan know Atlanta made it to the Super Bowl in 1999, and the Falcons kicker at that time, Morten Andersen, is Danish, so that Super Bowl was broadcast back here and was the beginning of NFL being broadcast over here live every kristian2Sunday. […] I have a tough time watching a sport and not cheering for a specific team, and since I still had (and have) my grey Vikings cap, the choice was easy for me. I don’t know at what spcific date it happened, but I would probably say the Vikings @ Packers playoff game in 2005 where Moss mooned at Lambeau is the first one I remember cheering vividly for the Vikings. […] Before we had kids I would watch every game live, I would even go to bed early, set an alarm and get up at 2.30 AM to watch the late night games. Now I’ll have to catch those games OnDemand instead. I also listen to a lot of the Minnesota sports radio stations […] and love listening to fan podcasts and discussing Vikings stuff on twitter. I’m spending way too much time being a Vikings fan, but once you’re hooked you can’t get rid of it.

Q: Who is your favorite player on the current Vikings roster?
A: This is a tough one. A year ago I would have said Adrian Peterson, but now it’s a bit tougher. I’m going to go with John Sullivan. He seems like a great dude, and I love listening to him on various radio shows. He’s very articulate and the insights he gives are very good, I think.

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