Sunday, June 26, 2016

adrian peterson

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Vikings NFL Draft Sleepers
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Every Sunday during Draft Season, Carl and the team at Vikings Territory release scouting reports on sleeper prospects. They’re players many may not recognize, but should get to know as the 2016 NFL Draft approaches. This time of the year, the biggest names dominate the headlines, but other players taken in the later rounds can often have more of an impact than the top-32 picks.

Players like Danielle Hunter (3rd-round) and Stefon Diggs (5th-round) were more important to the Minnesota Vikings in 2015 than Trae Waynes, the team’s 11th-overall selection. Each made significant contributions on defense and offense, while Waynes was relegated to a role as the punt team’s gunner. He played well in spot duty, especially against the Seattle Seahawks, but to say he outperformed his teammates would be lying.

Sometimes, it’s the players we least expect who have the most immediate success in the NFL. That’s why I’ve asked the team here to name their favorite under-the-radar prospects; the players they love that no one’s talking about.

Who is one draft prospect you love that no one is talking about?

VT Offseason Plan, Free Agency

Introduction

[In part two of this three-part series, Austin Belisle and Brett Anderson team up to put together an in-depth free agency plan for the Minnesota Vikings. Part 1.]

Rick Spielman’s job with the Minnesota Vikings isn’t easy. In reality, any general manager’s job is a challenge. As the highest-ranking member of the team’s personnel department, Spielman is not only responsible for hiring coaches and staff members, but for building and tweaking a competitive roster each season.

His duties require year-round coordination and planning, all of which come to a head between February and April. It’s then that Spielman and his front office must finalize their college scouting, address the mad-dash that is free agency, and find new talent through the annual NFL Draft. And he does all this with a clear vision in mind, one he’s continued to develop in his five years as general manager.

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Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

The Vikings offseason is starting to heat up as rumors and opinions are floating around everywhere recently. However, any rumor that was discussed this week was trumped by the news of former Minnesota defensive end extraordinaire Jared Allen announcing his retirement from the NFL.

Allen will go down as one of the best to ever put on a Vikings helmet. His time spent in Minnesota sacking countless opposing quarterbacks could potentially lead to him being presented with a gold jacket in the near future.

  • He has a very long way to go, but what are the chances that Vikings running back Adrian Peterson can pass Emmitt Smith as the NFL’s all-time rushing leader?
  • Where did you spend your Valentine’s Day? Minnesota safety Andrew Sendejo might have everyone beat with the greatest destination to take a date.
  • The Vikings hired a new Strength and Conditioning coach this week and his name is Brent Salazar. Most recently with the Kansas City Chiefs, Salazar will attempt to put an end to pectoral injuries occurring in Minnesota among other things.
  • For the first time since 2000, the Vikings could be spending their Thanksgiving holiday on the football field. Randy Moss might come out retirement to play in this one.
  • Will Minnesota re-sign guard Mike Harris this offseason? If they decide to do so, will he end up becoming their starting right tackle in 2016?
  • Draft Season has been doing some outstanding work for us here at Vikings Territory, Their latest mock draft has Minnesota sticking to one specific side of the ball.
  • Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater did not have an impressive statistical season by any means in 2015. However, he did have one of his best games this year against the Super Bowl champions.
  • Cornerback Terence Newman provided a spark for Minnesota last season. Would re-signing the 37-year-old be in the team’s best interest?
  • As for this week’s Moment of Zen, Jared Allen explains the mystique behind his famous hairstyle…

Vikings free agency targets
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The NFL League Year officially begins on March 9th, but there really are no timeouts when it comes to professional football. Once the final whistle blows at the end of the Super Bowl, front offices ramp up their efforts to improve rosters by making cuts, trades, and adding new talent.

That starts during Free Agency, which coincides with the beginning of the “new” year. Top-tier players, journeymen, and sleepers become available to the highest-bidding, and at times, most desperate teams. The Minnesota Vikings and general manager Rick Spielman generally take a cautious approach to the free-for-all extravaganza, finding value in lesser-known names who don’t dominate the headlines.

It’s an approach that recently brought players like Linval Joseph and Captain Munnerlyn to Minnesota; free agency additions that make an impact at a reasonable price. This year’s crop of players is filled with a few high-profile names, many of whom fans would like to see in purple and gold. But who would the VT Team like to see in Minnesota next year? I asked, and they answered!

Who is one player you’d like to see the Vikings sign in Free Agency?

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Mike Zimmer named one of NFL's Most Influential
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Mike Zimmer has long been respected by NFL coaches. Now, after he led the Vikings to an 11-5 record and a division championship, the national media are starting to catch on. Peter King’s The MMQB has named him one of the NFL’s 100 Most Influential People of 2015. Zimmer came in at #65 on the list, the 10th highest rated head coach.

Gary Grambling of The MMQB writes of Zimmer:

It took too long for someone to hire Zimmer as a head coach. Now he’s showing why he deserved the job. In his second season, he took the Vikings to an NFC North title, its first since 2009.

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