Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Anthony Barr

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VT QOTW

Vikings' most popular player
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

With U.S. Bank Stadium just days from opening its doors and the Minnesota Vikings less than a week from training camp, it’s clear this team is set for some major changes. The same can be said for the roster, which will surely shift in the coming months.

As the team transitions into a new era of Vikings football, so do its players, many of whom have been a part of the franchise for years. There’s Adrian Peterson, longtime face of the Vikings. There’s also Chad Greenway, Minnesota’s longest-tenured defender and hometown hero.

But in their wake lie up-and-comers, like quarterback Teddy Bridgewater or the über talented Anthony Barr. Their surge to the forefront of the franchise marks another shift for the Vikings; a changing of the (popularity) guard. After the jump, we try to determine who’s the most popular Viking — player or coach — heading into the 2016 season.

Heading into 2016, who is the Vikings’ most popular player?

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Crowning Mr. Mankato
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

This 10-part series focuses on the biggest questions facing the Vikings as they head into Mankato for their training camp festivities. Be sure to answer the first eight questions HEREHEREHEREHEREHEREHERE, HERE, and HERE.

Who will be this year’s ‘Mr. Mankato?’

The Minnesota Vikings are back on the National Football League’s map after an impressive 2015 season. They’re dark-horse contenders for the Super Bowl and a near-lock to battle for a second-straight NFC North title. On both sides of the football, the roster is loaded with up-and-coming stars, from Anthony Barr to Teddy Bridgewater.

Joining them at training camp, which begins next Thursday, are a slew of rookies, under-the-radar players, and fresh faces. Their names won’t jump off the page, but they will have a chance for recognition elsewhere — as candidates for the annual ‘Mr. Mankato’ award. Each year, ESPN 1500 bestows the honor on one deserving player who surprises and impresses at training camp. Last year, it was Stefon Diggs, and the year before, it was Adam Thielen.

This offseason, a few candidates stick out as the ‘cream of the crop.’ Who has a chance to walk away with the award at the end of training camp?

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This list began four weeks ago with 30 players on the Minnesota Vikings 2016 roster. It is now time to reveal the final five players that ranked at the very top of this illustrious countdown.

A big thanks goes out to all of the writers that participated in the creation of this list. Without everyone’s consistent contribution, this series would not have had a chance of being put together.

Before continuing to read, it is recommended to check out parts one, two, and three of this list in order to get a full perspective of how the writers featured in this series feel about the Vikings roster for the upcoming season.

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Checking our 2015 predictions
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

We here in the sports blogosphere like making bold predictions. It’s fun, and it gives us something to do in the football-starved summer months. But what’s the point of making predictions if we don’t occasionally check back and see how we did? So we thought it would be fun (and/or disheartening) to take a look at our* guesses from last offseason and compare them to what actually happened. Cheers to accountability.

*Okay, I technically wasn’t on the VT staff until this year, so I wasn’t actually involved in any of these predictions. But what could make me a better, more independent ombudsman for this process? Nothing, I say.

To the predictions!

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VT QOTW

Vikings Territory explored the inevitable battle — or non-battle — to become Minnesota's starting weak side linebacker
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

A Minnesota Vikings starter since 2007, Chad Greenway could see his reign at weak side linebacker end this season. Although he’s been a rock at the position for 10 years — netting more than 1,000 tackles — he’s also admitted that this could be his final season in the NFL.

“This is going to be definitely my last ride for sure,” Greenway said, per KFAN. “That’s the way I wanted to go out, to be able to commit myself to Minnesota for one more year and just give it everything I have.”

Greenway will need to give it his all if he’s to remain the starter in Minnesota. Not only is his position becoming irrelevant in Mike Zimmer’s defense, but Greenway faces stiff competition from free agent acquisition Emmanuel Lamur. The former Cincinnati Bengal signed a two-year, $6 million contract this offseason and has an edge on Greenway in terms of youth and versatility.

With training camp nearly upon us, Vikings Territory explored the inevitable battle — or non-battle — to become Minnesota’s starting weak side linebacker. Follow the jump to see the team’s answers to the following question:

Who will open the season at weak side linebacker for the Vikings?

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