Monday, October 24, 2016

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Andre Smith leaves Minnesota
Image courtesy of Wikimedia

The Minnesota Vikings are in the hunt for a possible starting right tackle, pulling out all the stops to lure free agents to Winter Park. A popular tactic is to take potential Vikings to Manny’s Steakhouse, a move the front office used last night when they wined and dined free agent right tackle Andre Smith at the upscale restaurant.

Despite the Prime beef and today’s scheduled tour of US Bank Stadium, Smith left Minnesota without a deal in place. According to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, his looming decision “is between the Vikings and the Cardinals,” and right now, it’s an “even” race between the up-and-coming NFC teams.

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Image courtesy of

2012 third round cornerback Josh Robinson entered the 2015 offseason as a favorite to start within Mike Zimmer’s defense, but a year later he is exiting Minnesota and the Vikings are said to have not put up much of a fight.

Robinson is the first Vikings unrestricted free agent to leave for another team this offseason, as reports have him signing a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday.

Robinson flashed as a rookie, had a terrible season in 2013 when Leslie Frazier forced him to play in the slot, and then rebounded nicely playing outside in Mike Zimmer’s 2014 season (Alshon Jeffery aside). His 2015 season was derailed by an offseason pectoral injury and the more than one local beat writer has suggested the Vikings never intended to bring him back once his contract expired.

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Following the rumblings yesterday that the Vikings have shown interest in both Reuben Randle and Mike Wallace, today brought this nugget from ESPN’s Ben Goessling:

Of course, the tweet mentions the Raiders are trying hard to keep Holmes, and this note from veteran NFL reporter Bill Williamson seems to indicate they have the inside track:

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Vikings Officially Have Eight Draft Picks
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The first week of free agency is over, meaning the 2016 NFL Draft order is officially set. Rick Spielman knows exactly how many “bullets” he’ll have come April, creating a clear, seven-round roadmap for the Minnesota Vikings.

On Friday afternoon, the league awarded compensatory picks to multiple franchises. The Vikings weren’t one of those teams, as they’ve put a focus on retaining players currently on the roster. Thus, Minnesota officially has eight picks to use in next month’s NFL Draft. They are, as follows:

First round: 23rd overall
Second round: 54th overall
Third round: 86th overall
Fourth round: 121st overall
Fifth round: 160th overall
Sixth round: 198th overall
Seventh round: 240th overall
Seventh round: 244th overall

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See my entire second 2016 NFL Mock Draft by CLICKING HERE.

Wow, was my first attempt at a mock draft wrong, or what? I speculated that the Minnesota Vikings would select Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith with the 23rd-overall pick. And just a few days later, reports surfaced that the prospect’s surgically repaired knee wasn’t as healthy as originally thought. While the pick wasn’t a “reach” at the time, it quickly became an impossible scenario, and one I hope to avoid this time around.

That’s why I’m going with the obvious, if safe choice in the second version of my mock draft; a wide receiver. The Vikings made multiple moves in free agency that would allow them to target such a player in the first round. With holes filled along the offensive line — and one created by releasing Mike Wallace — Rick Spielman can now focus his efforts on adding the best receiver in the class:

Josh Doctson, WR – TCU

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