Saturday, May 28, 2016

Anthony Barr

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Projecting the Vikings' Final 53-Man Roster
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The 2016 season inched forward a bit when the Vikings opened their OTA offseason workouts. With that came plenty of early optimism about the Vikings’ talented roster. Teddy is ready to throw for 10,000 yards. Adrian Peterson is in the best shape of his life. 2015 top pick Trae Waynes is thriving and Aaron Boone looks great in purple.

If you listen closely, you can hear the faintest of claims that the Vikings are a true Super Bowl contender.

It is too early to say most of these things, but when you start to stack Minnesota’s roster, you can see why the hype exists. I struggled with my first attempt to pencil in a final 53-man roster, mostly because there will be talented players who will inevitably be cut. The front office won’t have an easy task on their hands, but I’d take a loaded roster over a barren one any day of the week.

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Welcome To The Big Show - Willie Beavers

The team at Vikings Territory has been busy working to get to know each of our newest Vikings draft selections and this week we will give you a chance to learn everything we know about these players through our reintroduction of the “Welcome to the Big Show” series. Next up is Western Michigan offensive lineman Willie Beavers.

ATTRIBUTES

HEIGHT: 6′ 4″

WEIGHT: 324 pounds

ARM LENGTH: 33.5 inches

HANDS: 9.5 inches

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linebacker Kentrell Brothers out of Missouri.
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Sometimes, size and speed aren’t everything. At least, not for the Minnesota Vikings in the 2016 NFL Draft. General manager Rick Spielman took a defender with the team’s fifth-round pick, selecting linebacker Kentrell Brothers out of Missouri.

The 2015 All-SEC First Team honoree led the nation in tackling (152) last year and was the Tigers’ Team MVP. Jamaal Stephenson, the Vikings’ Director of College Scouting, spoke briefly about Brothers following the selection.

“It’s not hard to like him when you turn on the tape. He makes a lot of plays, he had over 150 tackles this year.”

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Poll of the Week

Vikings Veterans Have Something to Prove
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings are a relatively young team, buoyed by first and second-year players at multiple positions on both sides of the ball. From Teddy Bridgewater to Eric Kendricks, the roster is stacked with up-and-coming contributors who should remain in purple and gold for years to come. Minnesota’s success hinges on their long-term future with the team, but they’re not the only cogs in the winning machine.

Veterans like Adrian Peterson, Terence Newman, and Phil Loadholt are just as, if not more important to the Vikings’ short-term outlook than the team’s young stars. Chad Greenway, set to play his last season with the Vikings in 2016, recently commented on Mike Zimmer’s unbiased, win-first approach coaching.

“He’s just in your face, and you always know where you stand – good or bad,” Greenway said, per Lindsey Young. “Whether you’re 32 years old or 22 years old, he’s going to have you playing your best football every week. He’s going to continue to get you better no matter where you’re at in your career.”

To Zimmer, age is nothing but a number. Newman led the team with three interceptions last season, Peterson won his third rushing title, and Joe Berger was arguably Minnesota’s best offensive lineman. Father Time hasn’t caught up to many of the Vikings’ veterans yet, and they’ll look to stay ahead of the curve in 2016.

Which veteran — any player over 30 years old — is most important to Minnesota’s winning chances this season?

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This is the time a year when NFL fans exercise their well-earned right to express opinions as fact, deal only in absolutes, and show off the skills they have groomed via Madden‘s Franchise Mode for years and years. In a lot of ways, Draft season is the most exciting time of year.

Those that have been following along here at Vikings Territory for awhile now, however, might know me to be a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to these definitive projections from fans and analysts claiming to know exactly what the Vikings will do or even claiming to know exactly what they should do.

One thing that irks me most are statements about which position they should take in which round. I am a huge proponent of “best player available” or, as Rick Spielman is known to do, trading around to try and fill a need in a spot that presents the appropriate value.

What I do not subscribe to is this idea that a man actually paid to make roster decisions would actually ignore an evaluation based on career-long projections in exchange for filling an immediate need for the position at hand.

As it turns out, according to Benjamin Allbright, my ideology may not be based on reality.

 

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