Wednesday, August 5, 2015

blair walsh

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[NOTE FROM ADAM: In case you missed it, last week we introduced “Sleeper Sunday” where a few of us here at VT take a look at some under-the-radar prospects prior to May’s NFL Draft. I took a look at a strong safety candidate, Austin highlighted a cornerback, and Carl found a developmental quarterback he likes. Check it out and enjoy today’s fresh batch of sleepers.]

I’m not sure that a punter can qualify as a true “sleeper” since they aren’t really expected to be selected early on during Draft Weekend, but I have one guy in mind that I’d really like to see competing with Jeff Locke for the team’s punter spot.

That punter that I’d most like to see the Vikings chase in the latest rounds of the draft, or as an undrafted free agent, is Kansas Jayhawk Trevor Pardula.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

[Note:  This segment is a part of a position-by-position look at what the Minnesota Vikings might be inclined to do during the 2015 free agency period.  This is the fifth article, focusing on the specialists.  In case you missed it, feel free to check out the quarterbacksrunning backs, tight ends, and the fullbacks are here.]

The Vikings are likely to see some movement this offseason when it comes to their key player on special teams.

To start, however, we should look at the one guy who seems about 99% safe in terms of job security. Kicker Blair Walsh is coming off of a down year in terms of consistency, but his body of work as a whole makes him more likely to get an extension this year than get replaced, by a long shot.  Walsh is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is scheduled to have a cap hit of only $689,483.

At age 25, it would take a huge fall from grace for the strong-legged Walsh to be considered anything other than our guy in the present, and well into the future.

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If you happen to be a professional-caliber offensive tackle, the Minnesota Vikings are currently hiring.

The team waived tackle J’Marcus Webb on Tuesday, presumably due to the role he played in Sunday’s blocked field goal from 26 yards out.  Webb was beaten badly by Detroit’s Jason Jones in the first quarter which contributed to a dreadful day from that particular special teams unit.

Webb was signed after the Vikings placed Phil Loadholt on injured reserve earlier this season.  He previously played in eight games for the Vikings, starting one, during the 2013 season.

For those worried about Blair Walsh after the three missed field goals on Sunday, don’t forget to look at the big picture.  Webb’s miscue resulted in a block, a Jeff Locke hold was identified as the issue on another miss by the broadcast crew, and the other miss was from 109 yards out (or something like that).  It is natural to be worried, but it is also premature to think Blair Walsh can’t return to his rookie year in terms of production and dependability.

The Vikings have not yet filled Webb’s spot on the roster.

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It is taught that the best endings to the best stories are supposed to be both inevitable and unpredictable.  The story of the 2014 Minnesota Vikings wasn’t a particularly good one and their playoff hopes, while inevitable, came to a very predictable ending on Sunday.

The loss to the Packers signals an end to any meaningful hope of a postseason appearance, but that makes this segment even a little more interesting than it previously was.  Now, with plenty of Vikings football left to watch, evaluating individual players is the first step in looking down beyond the coming offseason in hopes of a more satisfying sequel.

Past “Player of the Week” winners here at VT were voted on as such:

WEEK ONE:  Cordarrelle Patterson

WEEK TWO: Harrison Smith

WEEK THREE:  Harrison Smith

WEEK FOUR: Teddy Bridgewater

WEEK FIVE:  Harrison Smith

WEEK SIX:  Linval Joseph

WEEK SEVEN: Everson Griffen

WEEK EIGHT:  Anthony Barr

WEEK NINE:  Everson Griffen

WEEK ELEVEN: Charles Johnson

The nominations for this week are:

Photo Courtesy of Vikings.com
Photo Courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings had a nice team win on Sunday in St. Louis, but some players stood out more than others, and I want to know which Vikings player impressed you the most.  Here are your candidates for our Week One “Player of the Game” award.  Cast your vote at the bottom.

CORDARRELLE PATTERSON:  “Flash” made a huge impact as the game’s leading rusher (3 carries, 102 yards, 1 TD) and caught three of his five targets in the passing came (3 catches for 26 yards).  He also averaged 24 yards on his two kick return attempts.  His 67 yard touchdown run in the third quarter was pretty much when the Rams began to look defeated and withdrawn.

GREG JENNINGS:  Jennings led the Vikings pass catchers in the statistical categories of targets (7), catches (6), and yards (58).  He scored the first Vikings touchdown of 2014 on an eight yard pass from Matt Cassel.

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