Sunday, January 21, 2018

Bucky Hodges

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Vikings ended a disappointing 2016 season by finishing 8-8 and missing the playoffs. Just one year later, the team is eyeing their first Super Bowl appearance since 1976.

Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman was named the 2017 NFL Executive of the Year by Pro Football Weekly. An 18-person panel selected the 55 year-old as the recipient of the honor.

“Slick Rick,” or “Trader Rick” as he’s commonly referred to, has built a reputation of accumulating draft picks, selecting impact players throughout all seven rounds and engineering multiple draft day trades. More recently, however, it’s Spielman’s ability to transform a roster that has him receiving recognition.

The 2017 offseason may have been some of Spielman’s best work as the Vikings general manager. Let’s take a closer look at how he used due diligence and refined offseason strategies to revamp the Vikings roster and put Minnesota back on the map.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Wow, what a fun day! Lots of action. With roster cuts already in progress, here’s a last-minute Vikings 53-man roster projection, which includes Friday’s trade for cornerback Tramaine Brock:

Quarterback
  • Sam Bradford
  • Case Keenum
  • Teddy Bridgewater (PUP)

The Vikings rolled with two quarterbacks last year and I don’t see that changing this year. Taylor Heinicke is practice squad eligible and I don’t see teams lining up to snag him off waivers. Plus, there’s always Mitch Leidner.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Minnesota Vikings vs. Miami Dolphins

The (2-1) Vikings close out the preseason at U.S. Bank Stadium Thursday night against the (1-2) Miami Dolphins. The game is scheduled for 7pm CST.

The Vikings will open the regular season at home on Monday, September 11th against the New Orleans Saints.

Despite earning an exciting 32-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in their last preseason game on Sunday, the Vikings’ starting units were unimpressive in the win. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was not happy with the performance of his team.

Uncharacteristic mental mistakes plagued the first team defense as they allowed the 49ers to move the ball at will. The offense had a number of mistakes as well. Number one wide receiver Stefon Diggs had an off night, dropping two well-thrown passes from quarterback Sam Bradford. The offensive line starters struggled as well. Their performance led to three Bradford sacks.

The offensive starters have scored three points this preseason. While that may or may not be a reason to panic, the Vikings still have one more game to play before the regular season begins.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Bucky Hodges on the Rise

Historically, the Minnesota Vikings have lacked a one-two punch at tight end. The last time the Vikings had two tight ends catch more than 30 passes in a season was in 2013, when Kyle Rudolph missed eight games due to injury. That season, Rudolph had 30 catches and John Carlson had 32. Before that, the last occurrence was in 2002, when Jimmy Kleinsasser had 37 receptions and Byron Chamberlain had 34.

Fast forward to 2016. Starting tight end Rudolph enjoyed a breakout season, catching 83 passes for 840 yards and seven touchdowns. But Rhett Ellison, the team’s number two tight end, caught only nine passes.

This offseason, after Ellison signed with the New York Giants, the Vikings attempted to add another weapon to their tight end arsenal. Free agent Jared Cook, known for his downfield pass-catching skills, came to Minnesota for a visit, but he ultimately joined the Oakland Raiders.

Enter rookie Bucky Hodges. The raw-but-talented receiver that plays tight end may be just the player the Vikings have been searching for. Realistically, it’s too early to predict a 30-plus catch season for Hodges in 2017, but if he can make strides developing his technique, the sky is the limit for the 22 year-old.

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Episode 82

Graphic designed by Brett Anderson

BJ Reidell and Drew Mahowald react to Michael Floyd’s four-game suspension, continue their training camp preview segment with tight ends and the offensive line and finish up with a Take 5 on their favorite television shows.

Episode 82 is sponsored by local stand-up comic Brendan Gay — Catch the LIVE recording of his first comedy special at the Joke Joint Comedy Club (Lilydale, Minn.) on August 10th! Use to the promo code “BRENDAN” to get 40% off your ticket on the Joke Joint Comedy Club official website!

PRIMARY TALKING POINTS

  1. Intro: The Agenda (0:00)
  2. Advertising: See Local Comic Brendan Gay Perform LIVE August 10th (1:08)
  3. Floyd Focus: Reaction to Mike Floyd’s Four-Game Suspension (1:45)
  4. Training Camp Preview: Tight Ends (7:45)
  5. Training Camp Preview: Offensive Line (20:25)
  6. Twitter Questions: Would You Rather… and a Mini Cornerbacks Preview (39:30)
  7. Take 5: Best Television Shows (45:36)
  8. Drew’s Final Take: Use Your Blinker! (53:47)
  9. Sign-Out: New Posting Schedule — Monday-Wednesday-Friday (55:35)