Monday, January 16, 2017

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Vikings Make Harrison Smith NFL's Highest Paid Safety
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Harrison Smith’s patience was finally rewarded; the Minnesota Vikings made their star defender the NFL’s highest paid safety, inking Smith to a five-year, $51.25 million contract extension. According to the team’s official website, the move was an offseason goal for general manager Rick Spielman, who has a history of retaining key draft picks.

Shortly after the announcement, the media took to Twitter to release Smith’s contract details, and the numbers were impressive. Over the next three years, Smith will make an average of $10.75 million, putting him ahead of Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas ($10 million per year).

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com was the first to break down Smith’s guaranteed money, which includes a full guarantee of $15.278 million and $28.578 million in total guarantees. The deal keeps Minnesota’s dynamic, dual-threat safety in Purple and Gold through the 2021 season.

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Looking back on 10 years of Rick Spielman

Spielman's best and worst moves
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

(Note: This is a two-part series. The first part focuses on Spielman’s best moves. Part two, an analysis of the worst moves, will be posted tomorrow.)

Earlier this week marked the 10-year anniversary of Rick Spielman joining the Minnesota Vikings. Spielman’s job has evolved over time—he was initially hired as the Vice President of Player Personnel in 2006, replacing the short-tenured Fran Foley in the Vikings’ “Triangle of Authority,” and in 2012 was promoted to General Manager and has acted as the single voice for all football matters since then. Ten years is more than enough time to make your mark on a franchise, so we (okay, technically it was Brett’s idea) thought it would be good to look back on some of Spielman’s best an worst moves at the helm.

Since he didn’t assume full control until 2012, attributing transactions prior to that year directly to Spielman is a cloudy proposition; indeed, it was exceedingly difficult to pin down who exactly in that infamous triangle was calling the shots from 2006-2012. But we can rely on educated guesses to navigate those years, and the assumption is that most football personnel moves have had Spielman’s fingerprints on them since he arrived in town. If conventional wisdom indicates a particular decision was made outside of his control, I’ll note that and categorize accordingly.

Our first installment of this two-part series looks back at Rick Spielman’s best moves.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The 2015 NFL season ended more than three months ago, yet it seems like it has been forever since an football game has been played. With the league’s release of the official dates and times for the 2016 NFL preseason today, a bit of excitement was felt by those who have clamoring for any sort of televised professional football that is not played in Canada or in an arena.

For the Minnesota Vikings, the actual opponents for which they will be facing in the upcoming preseason has been known for some time. Now, the Vikings and every other team in the league knows the exact times in which those games will be kicking off.

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More Than Words MZF 16 Header 2

DONATE TO THE MIKE ZIMMER FOUNDATION TODAY!

Dear Fellow Vikings Fans,

From the day I started writing about the Minnesota Vikings I often field the question “why do you spend your time on that?” It was an answer that was hard to find, to be honest. I’m lucky enough to have a demanding career that has nothing to do with this website, I’m a lucky husband, and I’m a father of three beautiful children… Time is precious for me and there is only so much of it.

So… why do I do it?

I’m not sure that I have yet to find a comprehensive answer to that yet, to be perfectly honest. I enjoy the bond I share with many of our readers, particularly the”old gang” that has been here since the start. I love that I’ve surrounded myself with enough incredibly talented (and awesome) teammates that this thing continues to reach new successes. And, of course, I love my Minnesota Vikings and really look forward to the day when Vikings Territory gets to publish that article that is celebrating their first Super Bowl victory.

All of that stuff combined makes every day running this site an absolute honor, but my favorite time of each year (a close second to the NFL Draft) is when we try to use our little corner of the internet to do a bit of good.

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A new face joins the defensive line

Vikings Waive B.J. Dubose, Sign DT Bruce Gaston
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The injury bug bites the Minnesota Vikings again, as the team lost defensive tackle B.J. Dubose to a torn ACL last week. The second-year defensive end suffered the injury during organized team activities (OTAs) and limped off the field under his own power.

According to the Vikings’ official website, Dubose has been waived and will now hit the waiver wire. Other teams have 24 hours to claim Dubose before he reverts back to the Vikings’ injured reserve list, per Andrew Krammer. Dubose was drafted in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft and did not appear in any games for the Vikings.

To fill the roster and replace Dubose, the Vikings signed journeyman nose tackle Bruce Gaston. An undrafted free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft, Gaston has played for five other franchises, including the Arizona Cardinals, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. His most recent stint came with the Bears, where he totaled 11 tackles (8 solo), four quarterback hurries, one tackle for loss, and one sack.

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