Sunday, November 19, 2017

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2017 Free Agency Preview Roundup
Image courtesy Vikings

Prepare yourselves for the storm that is the NFL’s ” legal tampering” period. Starting at 12 pm PST on Tuesday and ending late into the afternoon on Thursday, the opening of the three-day window officially marks the beginning of free agency.

Representatives of the league’s impending free agents will soon be able to enter contract negotiations with the NFL’s 32 franchises, and for some players on Thursday at 4 pm EST, those negotiations will become eye-popping offers and long-term deals.

To ready the ship here at Vikings Territory, we’ve taken a deep dive into multiple position groups, analyzing the Vikings’ pending “walkers,” identifying potential signees, and assessing the market as a whole. After the jump, check out our glossary of free agent primers!

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The Road to 50 — About the Labor: Episode 48

BJ Reidell and Drew Mahowald welcome back Austin Belisle to the show to discuss the announcement that life-long Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway will retire from the National Football League. The trio of Vikings Territorians send No. 52 to “the football afterlife” through their personal memories, what made him effective on the gridiron, how he affected the team beyond his football talent, a back-and-forth on what his “Vikings Headstone” will read, speculation regarding how much his departure affects the team moving forward and who the likely candidates are to take on his essentially unfillable leadership role.

The guys also offer their takeaways from the NFL combine, but that’s irrelevant here.

PRIMARY TALKING POINTS

  • Welcome Back: Austin Belisle Returns to the ATL Podcast (2 Minutes)
  • Chad Greenway: A Universally Beloved, Career-Long Minnesota Viking (38 Minutes)
  • NFL Combine: Takeaways, Reactions and Determining Relevance (8 Minutes)
  • Until Then, Take Care: Drew sends us on our way … with a littttttle help… (4 Minutes)
  • (Yes, we seriously did not discuss the Adrian Peterson-New England Patriots “ordeal”)

Minnesota Vikings
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Welcome to the next installment of our Minnesota Vikings Free Agency Primer series: the running backs. Check out our other primers on tight ends, defensive ends, cornerbacks, safetiesquarterbacks, wideoutsdefensive tackles and running backs.

Does everybody have their hard hats and tool belts on? Good, because we’re about to embark on the rebuilding project of our lives.

LAST SEASON

The Minnesota Vikings offensive line can only improve after the utter destruction that unfolded in 2016.

Improvement appeared inevitable for the Vikings offensive line when general manager Rick Spielman acquired Alex Boone and Andre Smith during the 2016 free agency period. Matt Kalil was finally getting the chance to play with a competent left guard. Additionally, Joe Berger and Mike Harris were set to return to the starting lineup after rock solid 2015 campaigns.

Instead, a catastrophically lethal injury bug permeated the unit and knocked Kalil, Smith, and Harris out of commission before Week 5. Spielman then acquired Jake Long to provide depth. Long made it exactly four weeks and three games before tearing his Achilles.

Minnesota was forced to move forward the rest of the 2016 season with TJ Clemmings and Jeremiah Sirles starting at the bookends of the offensive line. Meanwhile, Joe Berger and Brandon Fusco sparingly missed action which called a laundry list of benchwarmers into action.

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Where Do the Vikings Head From Here
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

[In part one of this three-part series, Austin Belisle and Brett Anderson team up to put together an in-depth offseason plan for the Minnesota Vikings.]

Football, more than any other sport, is an unpredictable game. A loose ball, a tipped pass, a broken tackle; the slightest shift in momentum or circumstance can flip competition on its head. Franchises prepare for the random nature of the game, but often fall victim to factors they can’t control.

Such was the case for the Minnesota Vikings in 2016. From Teddy Bridgewater’s knee injury to the merry-go-round at offensive line, the team struggled to bounce back in the face of adversity. Players on the defensive side of the ball underperformed, turmoil forced a turnover on the coaching staff, and Mike Zimmer’s eye blurred Minnesota’s season outlook.

Combined, the weekly distractions and diversions were too much for the Vikings to overcome. They stalled to an 8-8 finish after starting the season 5-0; missing the playoffs just one year removed from winning the NFC North. Like any team in the NFL, the Vikings had one end-goal in mind: the Super Bowl. But dreaming of a Lombardi Trophy and winning the actual game are two different things.

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