Friday, July 29, 2016

Captain Munnerlyn

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American Flag

It has been awhile, but it is about time for Minnesota Vikings news, opinions, and tidbits to be floating around faster than we can keep up with via fully fleshed out articles. That means it is a great time to resurrect the “Links of the Week” feature here at Vikings Territory where we do our best to tour you around the internet in a search for all things Vikings.

Before we get started, however, I want to address two things.

First, I want to take our horn hats off to the men and women that have served, and are currently serving, our country to defend the independence that we are all celebrating this weekend. Regardless of your NFL allegiance, and yes I’m saying this even extends to Packers fans, thank you all for the sacrifices you and your families have made in order to ensure this nation can endure the hard times and also celebrate our triumphs.

Second, I want to once again point out the best link for Vikings fans to click on this summer. The interview Daniel House conducted with head coach Mike Zimmer is absolutely phenomenal and I encourage all of you to check it out. Even if you aren’t compelled to donate to the 2016 #MoreThanWords campaign, this article gives us all great insight as to who the man at the helm really is… it goes way beyond the sidelines to find out what makes the man tick.

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Youth and the Cornerback Conundrum
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 three questions HERE, HERE, and HERE.

CAMP QUESTION #4 – BATTLE OF THE YOUTH

The Minnesota Vikings are primed for a competitive 10 days of training camp in Mankato. From the battles at offensive line to the stalemate at strong safety, the team’s depth chart is sure to be in a constant state of flux. But neither position will experience as much jockeying as cornerback, where general manager Rick Spielman has said the team is “trying to keep as much competition” as they can.

Xavier Rhodes is the clear starter on one side of the field, and he’s in no place to lose his job in the next two years. Minnesota picked up his fifth-year option this offseason, locking up Rhodes through 2017. It’s on the other side of the field where things get complicated.

Sure, Terence Newman returns on a one-year, $3-million deal this year, but second-year cornerback Trae Waynes is waiting in the wings. Not to mention, the Vikings drafted Mackensie Alexander with this year’s second round pick, muddling an already deep unit of the roster.

Right now, it’s Rhodes, Newman, and Captain Munnerlyn at the top, with Waynes and Alexander sitting impatiently on the sidelines. Waynes enters training camp following an encouraging finish to 2015, while Mackensie arrives with the distinction of being a more pro-ready prospect coming out of college. Both have a chance to play this season, but it’s a matter of timing, circumstances, and performance; let the games begin.

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Top 30 - 20 to 11 - Jerick McKinnon
Photos used courtesy of Andy Kunitis

The Minnesota Vikings have one of the NFL’s most talented rosters, making it difficult to narrow down the team’s top players. But we at Vikings Territory decided to tackle the task anyway, wrangling up some of the best Vikings writers around to help us name the the Top 30. If you missed the first entry of this series, check it out HERE.

Follow the jump for selections 20-11!

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The 2016 NFL Draft has been over and done with for quite some time now. However, there are still plenty of people making sure they get their opinions on this year’s draft class heard.

Jon Ledyard is the Senior NFL Draft Analyst for USA TODAY’s Draft Wire website. He was kind enough to answer a few questions regarding the Minnesota Vikings incoming group of rookies and give everyone an idea of what the team can expect from this year’s draft class.

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Mackensie Alexander
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer opened yesterday’s press conference with a simple question: “You all thought we were going defense, didn’t you?” The Vikings didn’t, selecting Laquon Treadwell in the first round, but Rick Spielman granted Zimmer’s wish on Friday night.

With the 54th-overall pick in the second round, the Vikings drafted Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander. The 5’10”, 190-pound redshirt sophomore finished his collegiate career with 52 tackles, four tackles for loss, and 12 pass breakups in 27 total games.

According to Pro Football Focus, Alexander allowed just 33 percent of passes into his coverage to be caught in 2015, which was best among all cornerbacks in the class. On a conference call with Minnesota media earlier tonight, the self-proclaimed “best cornerback in the draft” exuded confidence:

“I was asked to follow the best receivers every week and eliminate them from their game plan every week and win those matchups. I was asked to play inside and play zone. Whatever the Vikings want me to do, I’m ready for it and I’m just going to be open to anything they ask me to do.”

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