Friday, July 21, 2017

chad greenway

image courtesy of Vikings.com

Vikings Territory staffer Drew Mahowald introduces his weekly, brand-new segment for the 2017 season — The Skol Scale.

It’s so strange rooting for the Minnesota Vikings. It’s kind of like a roller-coaster ride with all kinds of ups, downs, turns, jerks, and twists. Just when it looks like nothing but sunny skies ahead, the ride suddenly steers you the opposite way in the blink of an eye.

Few examples of this phenomenon are better than the 2016 season. A blazing 5-0 start had the Vikings atop all significant NFL categories. They looked like a Super Bowl team, and it’s only normal that the Purple and Gold faithful started to behave like it.

Then, every offensive lineman and his dog tore an ACL and the rest is history. The Vikings limped their way to a deflating 8-8 record and left their fans with mixed emotions heading into 2017.

Was the 5-0 start legitimate, or was it a fluke? Did Minnesota add enough ammo to its offensive line in the offseason? How much of an impact will key departures such as Cordarrelle Patterson and Captain Munnerlyn have on the team?

At some point between the end of the 2016 season and now, you’ve probably asked yourself: How optimistic should I feel about the Vikings in 2017?

Now you have your answer — The Skol Scale.

Image courtesy of Vikings.com
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Vikings Training Camp Preview

In just 11 days, the Minnesota Vikings open training camp on the Minnesota State, Mankato campus. Rookie practices begin on Monday, July 24th and full team practices start Thursday, July 27th.

As usual, this time of year has brought optimism to the Vikings and their fans. But this year, things seem different. There’s good reason to be excited, as the offseason resulted in refreshing roster replacements, an influx of young talent, and a promising outlook on lovable quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

To recap the offseason moves, Minnesota added free agents Latavius Murray, Riley Reiff, Datone Jones, Michael Floyd, and Mike Remmers.

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Surmising the Starters
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

They’re in every front office; sprawling white boards checkered with placards and magnets. On these tags are player names, positions, and a smattering of notes, all meant to make sense of the jumble inside a general manager’s mind.

The job of an NFL franchise’s personnel department is no easy task; outside of scouting the future, they must develop the players within, slotting each into the correct position and role. Everyday tasks appear black-and-white, but most decisions made behind closed doors come amidst the gray.

Outside of a pure talent evaluation, there are the issues of locker room chemistry, salaries, tenure, and above all else, market value. The pressure to start a high-profile rookie, for example, may force the more talented, less exciting veteran out of a long-occupied place on the field.

RELATED: VIKINGS SHOULD CONSIDER ADDING COLIN KAEPERNICK

Fortunately, not all front offices function this way. The Minnesota Vikings—specifically, general manager Rick Spielman—operate in a more judicious manner. Rookies don’t automatically see the field in their first year, veterans are rarely released out of the blue, and the 22 available positions in the starting lineup are never “on lock.”

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Vikings Coach "Not Opposed" to a Young Replacement for Greenway

Image courtesy of Vikings.com
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has officially announced an open tryout for the third and final starting linebacker position. Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks not-so-secretly compose two-thirds of the Vikings’ starting rotation — but the third and final spot is officially up for grabs.

Veterans Emmanuel Lamur and Edmond Robinson both have starting experience, but neither has been recognized as a strong candidate to win the job.

When asked which of the two former role players would ultimately receive a promotion to the weak-side linebacker position vacated by Chad Greenway’s retirement this offseason, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer responded with a noncommittal answer, effectively leaving the job up for grabs this summer:

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Vikings OTAs: 7 Positions Up For Grabs

The Minnesota Vikings’ organized team activities, or OTAs, began Tuesday. OTAs are offseason training sessions run with the purpose of developing players; or, simply put, practices without tackling. There are no 1-on-1 drills, only team drills.

OTAs can be a good barometer of how the team’s roster is going to shape up come the regular season. Generally, the players who practice together play together. Certainly, there are exceptions.

Lets take a look at several key position battles that will unfold during the Vikings preseason.

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