Tuesday, July 26, 2016

brandon fusco

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2011 NFL Draft

[Editor’s Note: Taking the week off to head down to Podcast Movement! But I wanted to leave you guys with some content to get you through this desert of football news with one of our most downloaded episodes ever. Please enjoy and I’ll catch you next week. -Andy]

Hindsight is 20/20. That’s why we jumped in our DeLorean and went back to save the Vikings from themselves in 2011. There was a run on quarterbacks early in the first round and de facto GM Rick Spielman panicked and overdrafted Christian Ponder at #12. He did hit on Kyle Rudolph in the 2nd and Brandon Fusco in the 6th, but I think we can do a touch better with hindsight and our time machine.

Come along with Purple FTW! as we redo the Vikings 2011 Draft!

Other 1.21 Gigawatts Talking Points Include:
• The Rules of Time Travel
• Remembering the 2010 Vikings (For some reason)
• 2011 Refresher: Frazier, Musgrave, Pagac… LET’S GO!

The Original 2011 Draft Picks
1 (12) – Christian Ponder – QB – Florida State
2 (43) – Kyle Rudolph – TE – Notre Dame
3rd Round Pick went to New England in the Moss Trade (They Took Mallett) #74
4 (106) – Christian Ballard – DE/DT – Iowa
5 (139) – Brandon Burton – CB – Utah
6 (168) – DeMarcus Love – OT – Arkansas
6 (170) – Mistral Raymond – S – USF
6 (172) – Brandon Fusco – C – Slippery Rock
6 (200) – Ross Homan – LB – Ohio State
7 (215) – D’Aundre Reed – DE – Arizona
7 (236) – Stephen Burton – WR – West Texas A&M

• Who I picked instead (Spicy one in the 5th round)
• The real-vs-Andy 2011 Vikings Depth Chart
• The Andy 2015 Vikings Depth Chart (The Secondary is STACKED)

All that and other “Joe Webb signs a big time free agent deal so we can still draft Teddy!” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

Is the Offensive Line Fixed?
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 five questions HEREHERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

CAMP QUESTION #6 – MENDED OR MAKESHIFT?

There’s a belief hanging around the Minnesota Vikings that the team will suddenly contend for a Lombardi Trophy. After an offseason of free agent signings and coaching changes, the Vikings appear destined for greatness beyond the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Veterans are returning to full strength, new additions are pushing for starting jobs, and Teddy Bridgewater appears ready to take the next step.

But they won’t have a shot at a Super Bowl if the offensive line is broken. It’s the most crucial question facing the Vikings heading into 2016, and it’s a question that won’t be answered until the regular season begins. General manager Rick Spielman set his roster up to succeed, but it’s on the players at each position to embrace the competition and improve on a disappointing 2015 season.

Old faces, new names, and unknowns make up the 16-man depth chart, which will surely experience changes as the team runs through training camp. A step-by-step walk down the line reveals the strengths, weaknesses, and question marks facing the unit as they prepare for a challenging offseason.

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Harrison Smith

Harrison Smith is the best kept secret in the NFL. He’s the most complete safety in the league, yet is continually over-looked for accolades and by the national media. Maybe they’ll take notice now that Dirty Harry is the highest paid (by per year average) safety after inking a 5-year, $51.25M deal with $28.578M guaranteed. Now it’s time for Harry to earn that cheddar and he seems more than ready to justify the #Faith shown by the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings.

Today’s Topics Include
• Harrison Smith Got PAID (Rightfully So)
• What’s Going On with Anthony Barr?
• Edmond Robinson Getting 1st Team Reps
• Don’t Count Out Charles Johnson Yet
• SI’s Doug Farrar Has High Praise for the Vikings Defense
• Pressure is On Trae Waynes
• Could Brandon Fusco Be Cut?
• Could This Be Kyle Rudolph’s Last Season in Purple?
• Aaron Rodgers Gave Up Cheese
#MoreThanWords Update

All that and other “Harrison Has More Equity Than Me Now” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

An Andy Carlson Joint

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Out with the old, in with the new

Vikings' starting offensive line
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Competition is the name of the game for the Minnesota Vikings, who completely revamped the look of their offensive line this offseason. Last year’s unit, which featured rookie right tackle T.J. Clemmings and reserve center Joe Berger, was a ramshackle bunch of pieces playing out of position.

Mike Harris, traditionally a tackle, was thrust into the lineup as a right guard. Brandon Fusco, the right guard of old, was forced to move to the left side of the line. And Clemmings, no matter how much of a “steal” he was in the draft, clearly wasn’t ready to take the reigns from an injured Phil Loadholt.

Heading into 2016, a pivotal year for the Vikings, general manager Rick Spielman took measures to prevent another disaster up front. His free agent signings — an re-signings — signal an emphasis on protecting third-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and solidifying one of the team’s weakest links from 2015:

  • Re-structuring right tackle Phil Loadholt and retaining left tackle Matt Kalil — consistency and continuity at the tackle position can’t hurt, right?
  • Re-signing right guard Mike Harris, who is expected to compete with Brandon Fusco for starting duties next season
  • Signing free agent left guard Alex Boone, who will step in immediately next to Matt Kalil
  • Bringing in free agent right tackle Andre Smith for a visit — the former Cincinnati Bengal is reportedly deciding between Arizona and Minnesota for his next contract

With all of these changes, moves, and potential signings, Spielman is fostering a competitive environment in Minnesota. Presumed starters today may end up on the bench tomorrow; it’s a guessing game at this point of the offseason. And that’s why I asked the VT team to make their best guess and predict the Vikings’ starting offensive line come Week 1. Who will rise and solidify a spot as one of the top-five?

It’s Week 1 of the 2016 regular season. Who is starting on the offensive line for the Minnesota Vikings?

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Andre Smith leaves Minnesota
Image courtesy of Wikimedia

The Minnesota Vikings are in the hunt for a possible starting right tackle, pulling out all the stops to lure free agents to Winter Park. A popular tactic is to take potential Vikings to Manny’s Steakhouse, a move the front office used last night when they wined and dined free agent right tackle Andre Smith at the upscale restaurant.

Despite the Prime beef and today’s scheduled tour of US Bank Stadium, Smith left Minnesota without a deal in place. According to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, his looming decision “is between the Vikings and the Cardinals,” and right now, it’s an “even” race between the up-and-coming NFC teams.

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