Wednesday, January 17, 2018

ben leber

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Three More Vikings Rookies Sign Contracts

The Minnesota Vikings signed three of their 2017 draftees this morning: Tight end Bucky Hodges, center Pat Elflein, and linebacker Elijah Lee. With the additions, the Vikings have now signed all but three of their remaining selections.

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Which Special Teams Player will Stand Out for the Vikings in 2015?

Darren: Adam Thielen 
Thielen might be the common answer here, but as long as he keeps his place on the roster in 2015, he should make the biggest impact on special teams. He seems to be in on more special teams tackles than any other Viking and also made an impact with a blocked punt and a touchdown against Carolina last season. Minnesota could even opt to help out its secondary by dumping Marcus Sherels, which would slide Thielen into the job of punt returner, where he has flashed some skills in preseason.

[Punter to be Named Later]
Jeff Locke has to step it up in year three or he’s gone. Yes, he’ll probably benefit greatly from kicking indoors in 2016, but the Vikings can’t wait that long. He needs to start being an asset instead of a liability in the field position game this season, or he’ll be replaced. There will be improvement at the punter position in 2015. Whether that’s because Locke’s improved (having a familiar long snapper might help if McDermott beats out Loeffler) or because he’s been replaced is yet to be determined.

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Two posts recently written here at VT have turned out to be related.

First, I mentioned that Ben Leber has rejoined the Vikings to provide preseason commentary for Vikings Entertainment Network, and I also mentioned that Brett Favre recently made remarks indicating that money was a main reason he returned to the Vikings for a disappointing 2010 season.

Now, appearing on KFAN and transcribed by PFT, Leber sounded off on Favre’s effort and attitude during a season that turned out to be on the worst, and most chaotic, in team history.

“He clearly wasn’t mentally and emotionally into it, and that’s the thing that kind of bugged me,” Leber said in the segment. “I get it, you’ve got to make the money when you can make it, even though he has made hundreds of millions of dollars. When he says it’s about the money, it just means that he wasn’t committed to us. So that irritated me a little bit, not for him taking the money, but for what it really meant.”

“You know, I’ll kind of stagger back in here,” said Leber in describing Favre’s approach, “And I’ll give you guys what I’ve got, but I just know wholeheartedly I don’t have it in me, and the money’s too good to pass up.”

“If that’s the case, move on,” Leber continued. “I’d rather go with somebody that’s maybe less talented, that’s 100 percent committed to us winning. It bugged me a little bit. I’m not going to say I lost sleep over it, but it bugged me.”

That “somebody” that was “maybe less talented” in 2010 was presumably Tarvaris Jackson.  Perhaps some of those reports about the infamous “schism” back in the day were more accurate than they were ever given credit for.

One thing I know for sure, as I ride around in my truck with a Packers fan turned Vikings fan turned Packers fan that is replacing me in my current job, I now have Leber’s comments to back me up in my persistent comments that Favre set this franchise back by four or five seasons.

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Last offseason, the Vikings decided to let linebacker Ben Leber leave via free agency despite showing very little signs of slowing down following what had been a quietly efficient run with the team.  It seems that they made the right decision, however, as Leber ended up sharing in the misery that plagued the St. Louis Rams.

Now the veteran is returning to the Vikings in a different role.

He has been hired by Vikings Entertainment Network which will see him conducting sideline interviews and appearing in official team videos throughout the offseason.

“It kind of presented itself,” Leber said of the new gig. “I got brought in by the Vikings and asked if I wanted to put my name in the hat for their new project. I said ‘sure.’ It sounded like a great opportunity.”

I have seen Leber’s media appearances, seen him do some stuff for NFL Network, and have always had a lot of respect for him as a player and as a charitable individual.  I for one am excited to see him connected to the team once again, and will look forward to seeing how he does next month.

Draft month is finally here, and while we have to wait until the end of the month for the actual Draft to get here there is plenty of reading to do between now and then.

Here are some hand-picked selections:

  • Rob Gronkowski beat out Jared Allen in the latest round of fan voting that will put one player on the cover of the new Madden video game.
  • Brett is one of a few guys representing the Vikings in this live mock Draft that has the Vikings getting Matt Kalil and also trading back into the first round to nab another prospect.
  • An examination of the Vikings reported interest in Bill Parcells.
  • Looking for a way to do some good today?  Consider this.
  • Interesting grading system for the Vikings past few Draft classes.
  • A new rule in the NFL was influenced by our favorite team.
  • The Viking fan base would love to finally see a big signing, but are there any options left?
  • One NFC North team has had a very bad week, which includes an arrest of a player that some (me) wanted the Vikings to draft last year.
  • The signing of Chris Carr represents value and low risk, but could also have Draft implications.
  • A humorous look at the Vikings offseason so far.  Funny, sad, possibly true.
  • Superstitious?  Then here are some reasons to be glad about Jared Allen’s exit from the Madden race.
  • One obstacle was hurdled a while back that could help the Vikings stadium effort.
  • A comprehensive list of prospects known to have visited with the Vikings as the Draft approaches.
  • A “Vikings Mock Draft” that makes selections for every scheduled pick.
  • Chris Carr brings more competition to this Vikings secondary, which is becoming a trend.
  • Some ownership insight into the relationship between Rick Spielman and Leslie Frazier.
  • Mel Kiper is a well regarded media draftnik, so here is a look at who he sees the Vikings targeting in the upcoming Draft.
  • There continues to be plenty of action centering around the Vikings stadium battle, but little progress seems to have been made.
  • The still-existing possibility of the Vikings trading out of the three spot is keeping speculation interesting.
  • Ryan Tannehill’s pro day was a success, which could give the Vikings some serious trade leverage on Draft Day.
  • There is the potential for the Vikings to have not one but two sets of brothers on their team, but can they afford it?
  • The Vikings hosted their “Top 30” prospects this week and a number of blue chip players were invited.
  • Percy Harvin is scheduled to have minor surgery on Tuesday.
  • Like me, Ben Leber is perplexed about why the linebackers are having to wait during this free agency period.
  • Want your Vikings Territory friends to see your own mock draft?  Here is a great place to put it.
  • And now, here it is, your moment of Zen: