Wednesday, May 4, 2016

adrian peterson

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Rick Spielman building a homegrown contender
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Denver Broncos tore through the 2014 free agency class like a man who’d just won the Mega Millions jackpot. Anxious for a championship and fearful of Peyton Manning‘s sudden demise, general manager John Elway lured as many big names to Denver as possible, evoking a “win now” mentality in the Broncos locker room.

Certainly not the first team or the last to “hire” mercenaries, the Broncos spent exorbitant amounts of money in 2014 to make their roster the deepest, most talented in the league. That offseason, Emmanuel Sanders, Aqib Talib, DeMarcus Ware, and T.J. Ward arrived in Denver, bringing the skills and pedigree the Broncos lacked to take that final step to the Super Bowl.

Elway’s spending frenzy finally paid off, as Peyton Manning and the über-talented Broncos won Super Bowl 50 together this year, earning the greatest “return on investment” that the NFL has to offer. But 2015 is over, and the 2016 season looms in the near future. That championship team is missing key pieces, as the rest of the league has done to the Broncos what they did to them in 2014. Gone are names like Peyton Manning and Owen Daniels. In their place? Career-disappointment Mark Sanchez and yet-to-be-named NFL draft picks.

“Winning” free agency is a double-edged sword, one that worked well for the Broncos, but suddenly spells uncertainty in Denver. Every team attacks the open market differently, which brings us to the Minnesota Vikings, who continue to take a prudent, if sometimes cautious approach in the process.

No, there are no Super Bowl banners in Minnesota, and other outside signings — Greg Jennings, Mike Wallace — failed to make an impact in recent years, but Rick Spielman is quietly building the Vikings into a homegrown contender. Free agents are staying in town, under-the-radar names are finally choosing Minnesota as a new home, and other recent acquisitions — Linval Joseph, Captain Munnerlyn — are contributing in tangible ways every Sunday.

These Vikings may not have names that “jump” off the screen or stand out in the newspaper,  but they’re winning games as a cohesive, well-coached, and tight-knit roster. Consistent coaching, a thoughtful spending strategy, and youth means Minnesota may soon end up on the same national stage as the Broncos — the Super Bowl.

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re-sign Matt Asiata
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings have announced that running back Matt Asiata has re-signed with the team which makes him the ninth unrestricted free agent to sign a new contract with the team this offseason. Cornerback Josh Robinson was the only unrestricted free agent to depart, as well as Mike Wallace who was released by the team. That ratio of returning players versus those that are departing is pretty impressive, really.

Coming out of Utah, Asiata has played in 58 games and has 10 starts credited to his name. He is 28 years old and known as a short yardage back, particularly effective in goalline situations, but can produce the occasional surprise in open space or even catching the ball.

Vikings 2016 Offseason Plan Part 3

[In the final entry of this three-part series, Austin Belisle and Brett Anderson team up to put together an in-depth NFL Draft plan for the Minnesota Vikings. Part 1 and 2]

Introduction

Cameras click and lights flash during the first round of the NFL Draft, but it’s often the players out of the spotlight that make the biggest impact. We’ve seen prospects taken in later rounds — Danielle Hunter (third round, 2015) and Stefon Diggs (fifth round, 2015) — contribute more than many of their first round counterparts. While the first round is important, constructing a competitive team requires thorough planning, scouting, and strategy that extends all the way through the 256th-overall pick.

We began this process in early February, when we laid out a vision for the future of the Vikings. Later that month, we took to the virtual phones, signing free agents and making a few controversial roster-building moves along the way. We’re taking the same approach to the NFL Draft, crafting a plan that not only allows us to add the right talent to the team, but to do so in a way that sets the Vikings up for long-term success.

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re-sign Matt Asiata
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Adrian Peterson is the bell-cow for the Minnesota Vikings, but the team remains steadfast in it’s three-pronged running back approach. The electric, do-it-all Jerick McKinnon will likely see an expanded role in 2016, reducing Matt Asiata‘s already limited touches out of the backfield. Despite the development, general manager Rick Spielman appears open to bringing the four-year veteran back next season.

According to Drew Boylhart of the Huddle Report, the Vikings wants to re-sign Asiata, who is set to become a free agent on March 9th. Asiata re-signed on a one-year deal at the start of free agency last year, and he’ll likely return at a similar price. He played just 198 offensive snaps in 2015, rushing 29 times for 112 yards and catching 19 passes for 132 yards.

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Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

There were no pads put on this week, but Vikings fans did get to hear from their team’s head coach and general manager for the first time in almost two months. Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer gave the Minnesota media plenty of topics to explore this week after speaking to the press at the NFL Combine.

Zimmer and Spielman are also at the combine to do a job and find the best players to help their team in the near future. The Vikings and their staff finally get a chance to see potential draft selections up close and in person.

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