Thursday, August 25, 2016

blair walsh

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Vikings Extend Kevin McDermott
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Depth chart updates and highlight videos usually drive offseason traffic, but sometimes, it’s the lesser stories that deserve the headlines. And for the Minnesota Vikings, a signing that ensures consistency on special teams is in it of itself, important news.

As first reported by Ian Rapoport, the Vikings and long snapper Kevin McDermott have agreed to a four-year, $4 million extension. McDermott originally signed a two-year deal last offseason, but will now remain in Minnesota through 2020.

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Vikings' Depth Chart Begins to Take Shape
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Training Camp for the Minnesota Vikings hasn’t been all that exciting this year. Save for a few one-handed catches from Stefon Diggs and some specular deep shots from Teddy Bridgewater, much remains the same in Mankato. Roster turnover isn’t an issue for the team, free agent acquisitions are performing as advertised, and trust in the organization is at an all-time high.

There’s plenty to be certain about in Minnesota; the strength of the defense, Adrian Peterson’s rushing ability, and Blair Walsh’s renewed confidence. Uncertainty, in a sense, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Vikings have so much young talent that difficult depth chart decisions won’t make or break the team’s season.

In Minnesota, the front office isn’t asking, “Who’s our quarterback;” they’re debating the hierarchy of a loaded roster. And no matter the final decision, the result will be a 53-man roster with more potential than any Vikings team since 2009.

This morning during walkthroughs, head coach Mike Zimmer gave the media a sneak preview of the team’s ‘Cincinnati’ depth chart. It’s the first unofficial roster of the 2016 preseason and reveals exactly where the Vikings stand after two weeks in Mankato.

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Minnesota Vikings Mankato Training Camp Stefon Diggs
Photo Courtesy of Luke Inman

My time at Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings Training Camp has concluded. I enjoyed my time watching the team in the Crown Jewel of South Central Minnesota. Everyone loved Ribfest, but it’s time to get serious about some football. Here’s 14 observations from Mankato.

Today’s Topics Include
• How’s Teddy Look?
• Everson Griffen Might Be a Top-5 Edge Player
• I Don’t Know About Xavier Rhodes – Elite or Just a Guy
• Adrian Peterson Is Ready to Go
• MyCole Pruitt & David Morgan II Look to Be Big Factors
• I Believe in Matt Kalil 2016
• Sully/Berger Will Be a Matchup to Watch
• Charles Johnson is Going to Start. Deal with It
• Laquon Treadwell is Not Going to Start. Deal with It
• Stefon Diggs is Disgusting
• Trae Waynes is Massively Improved
• I Think the Vikings Keep 4 Safeties
• Blair Walsh and Jeff Locke Update
• BONUS: Moritz Jerome Boehringer Is…

All that and other “Damn You, Ribfest” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint

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Another year at training camp means another great series of interview by Tom Moore of VikeFans fame. Tom was just dusting off his best set of conversational chops this morning when he was able to snag Vikings kicker Blair Walsh for a few words.

The video is above and you can listen to all of the fun for yourself, but it is certainly worth noting that Walsh seems as confident as ever and says as much. Having proven to be an honest individual, even when the cameras are on, Walsh sounds determined to rebound from his playoff miss in a way that leaves Vikings fans forgetting about what could have been in 2015.

“I think the people of Minnesota have recognized that I’m one of the best kickers in the league,” Walsh told Moore on Wednesday. “That’s how I feel and that’s what the stats show, so I’m out here, you know, exuding confidence I have in myself and in my abilities. And they know I’ve come through for this team before and I will in the future.”

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Punter Jeff Locke

If Vegas took bets on which player on a roster was most likely to be replaced in training camp (maybe Vegas does that, I don’t know) the front runner on the Minnesota Vikings roster would be punter Jeff Locke.

If Locke looks over his shoulder in Mankato, he will not see another punter eager to take his job. He is the only punter there, in fact, but that doesn’t mean he cannot be replaced. Both he and special teams coordinator Mike Priefer made that clear this week.

“He’s got to have a good camp here or we’ll end up bringing in competition,” Priefer said. “But for right now, it’s Jeff.”

As Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press pointed out on Monday, the Vikings tried out two undrafted punters earlier this offseason and could still bring one into camp if Locke doesn’t get a little closer to being the guy they thought they drafted 155th overall in 2013.

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