Monday, December 5, 2016

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Yes, this includes "best player available."

Image courtesy Vikings.com

It’s draft week, and as we march gleefully toward the first round on Thursday evening, most of us have an opinion on what the Vikings should do with pick number 23. As I’ve been compiling mock draft roundups and reading a wide spectrum of theories and viewpoints, certain “conventional draft wisdoms” keep popping up. Some of them valid—Mike Zimmer likes lanky, fast defensive players, for example—some of them less so. And these less valid conventional wisdoms can often morph into draft myths, repeated year after year and anointed as NFL Draft gospel, despite their questionable legitimacy. Here are three of those myths, and the truth for each one:

Myth 1: Best player available.

The Truth: This is far and away the greatest NFL Draft myth: a good GM will select the best player available when his team picks in the first round, regardless of position or other considerations. It is repeated far and wide by anyone and everyone in NFL front offices, sprayed in the direction of reporters at draft-related press conferences, and leaned on as a crutch when team officials (understandably) try to avoid giving any real information on what the team might do on draft day. “Best player available,” they say with a shrug, because why would a competent personnel director do anything other than get the best possible talent for his team?

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mock draft

As many Purple FTW! listeners know, I only do one mock draft a year. Mostly due to my lack of expertise and the rest is due to apathy, but it’s Draft week! And as Rick Spielman prepares to be the stone cold boss of the Vikings War Room (probably with one-handed pushups), I offer these humble suggestions for potential prospects straight from my weak and feeble fan brain.

The WTH is Andy Thinking? Picks Are:
1. (23) Josh Doctson, WR TCU – 6-2 202
1. (30)* Karl Joseph, S West Virginia – 5-10 205 (via CAR)
3. (86) Jaylon Smith, OLB Notre Dame – 6-2 233
5. (160) Drew Kaser, P Texas A&M – 6-2 212
7. (240) Moritz Wilhelm Boehringer, WR Germany – 6-4 227 (via BUF)
7. (244) Keith Marshall, RB Georgia – 5-11 219
7. (252)* Justin Zimmer, DT Ferris State – 6-3 292 (via CAR)
*Carolina trades their 1st (30) and 7th (252) for Minnesota’s 2nd (54), 4th (121) and 6th (180)

All that and other “Big Upside” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

An Andy Carlson Joint

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

As with any rule in the NFL, including the one that tells us what is and isn’t a catch, there are plenty of exceptions to the rule that says “character matters” when a front office decides to add a player to their roster.

Vikings fans are plenty familiar with exceptions to this rule. In modern history you can point to guys like Cris Carter, Randy Moss, Jared Allen, and even current Viking Everson Griffen as examples of young men that were able to overcome their early personal struggles to make a significant impact at the NFL level.

Despite all of those exceptions, however, NFL teams expend many resources to try and figure out what exactly exists between the ears of hundreds prospective players. The idea is that a player that is successful off the field is more likely to be successful on it.

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Vikings 2016 Record Predictions
Vikings Wall Collection - by Matt Engstrom

While it’s way too early to start making win/loss predictions for the 2016 season, it’s also never too early to make win/loss predictions for the 2016 season! Sure, there are lot of unknowns out there and everything could change for the Vikings in an instant, but what fun would it be to simply present the Vikings 2016 schedule without conjecture or any sort of blind speculation?

That wouldn’t be fun. So, I reached out to our talented staff here at Vikings Territory and had them look into their purple-hued crystal balls to see how they thought the Vikings would fare this season.

Are the Vikings going to improve their impressive 11-5 record from last season and establish themselves as a dominant team? Or will they regress and fall below admittedly high expectations?

We can’t say for certain. But that certainly won’t stop us from trying. 

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

In less than 5 days, a new batch of rookies will find out where they will be landing when the 2016 NFL Draft takes place on Thursday night. What has always been a popular event among the league’s biggest fans, has now become must-see TV for even some the NFL’s most casual fans.

Of the Minnesota Vikings first round draft selections from the past three years, four out of the six are now starters for the team. Will Vikings general manager Rick Spielman be able to find another player from the first round to make an immediate impact in 2016?

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