Thursday, November 26, 2015

christian ponder

To shake things up a little this weekend I decided to solicit questions from the audience for the first time in a long time.  As the Draft approaches, there is always an increase in questions from those that for some reason find this hack blogger’s opinion to be relevant, and I wanted to give the opportunity to ask as many as possible before the pre-Draft craziness fully sets in.  Below are the results.

There have been some recent questions about our tradition of our Draft Weekend Live Chat and whether it will live on in 2013.

Our normal software avenue has decided to start charging for their services.  They are now charging by the number of readers that use the live chat services and VT has really started to take off recently, which is a great problem to have, and we expect thousands of people to visit our site on Draft Weekend.  This means it could be a pretty expensive proposition for this little blog to consider.

Still, Brett and I are currently evaluating alternatives, and we are sure to come up with something.

One of our loyal readers very generously offered to set up a chat room for us here at VT free-of-charge and we’ve been testing it out.  There are some pros and cons to it, and it won’t look as slick as what you’ve grown used to, but I think it will get the job done.  Stay tuned!

A number of people asked about us updating our mock drafts and releasing some sort of positional rankings prior to the Draft.

Yes, my mock will be updated at least once (probably more) prior to the draft taking place.  I’m hoping to find the time to add a second round fairly soon, as well.

I am also working on creating a VT-unique “Big Board” of about 300 players.  Last year Brett worked hard to make our Big Board update somewhat instantly as the Draft progressed, crossing off players as they were selected on Draft Weekend.  Preferably we’ll be able to get something like that together again.  That’s the goal.

Okay, now onto some more interesting questions.  SKOL12 wanted to know what type of defensive tackle the Vikings are in need of.  Do they need a big run stuffer, and athletic pass rusher, or someone a little more balanced?

I think it is clear that the Vikings don’t have a massive run stuffer and could benefit from grabbing one like John Jenkins or Jesse Williams.  Given the age, possible regression, and heavy cap hit of Kevin Williams I also can’t see the downside of drafting a very well balanced defensive tackle like Sylvester Williams.  With the Vikings defense struggling greatly against mobile quarterbacks last season, and about 10 of them on the schedule this season, getting more athletic in the middle of the defense needs to be a priority, as well, which is why a guy like Sheldon Richardson appeals to me so much.

Ideally, Letroy Guion and Christian Ballard can step up to the plate in 2013, and Kevin Williams regains some of his previous spark.  That might be a lot to bank on, however, and the Vikings need to add some competition via the Draft regardless of the type of lineman they are eyeballing.

Reader SB wants to know if trading up into the late teens to grab Sheldon Richardson would appeal to me if it only costs a fourth or fifth rounder to pull off.

Yes!  I consider Richardson to be a special talent and any team in that range will be interested in him.  It will likely cost a lot more than that to move up in the first round, but if this deal presented itself I would certainly move up and get my guy.

Alright, what better way to catch up on the news and kick off Draft Month than to send you towards all of the best articles across the internet?  Enjoy!

It has been so long since the Vikings have had a top flight receiver on the roster, a traditional number one receiver anyways, that Vikings fans didn’t seem to mind in the slightest that Greg Jennings is a lifelong Packer.

Still, he is putting in some effort to make sure he is a popular guy.

Jennings appeared on KFAN Radio this morning with Paul Allen and really opened up about a number of topics with equal portions of honesty and tact that made for a really impressive interview.

He immediately scored some points by attaching himself to the last Packer that gave Minnesota a legitimate shot at a Super Bowl, Brett Favre.

“Literally, as I got off the plane and (offensive coordinator Bill) Musgrave walked up to me, I’m on the phone with Brett,” Jennings said as transcribed by Viking Update. “I spoke with Brett two or three times throughout this process. He shot me straight. I knew if there was one person that would shoot straight and tell me exactly what I wanted to hear and things I possibly didn’t want to hear, it would be Brett. He did that for me.”

The organization has undergone a face lift since Favre was last on the roster, but many key components still exist, and most of you know I don’t care for the guy but it is still encouraging to hear that a veteran NFL player was willing to give his endorsement of the organization to another player and friend.  Those types of things can prove useful during times like free agency.

Unlike Percy Harvin, who actively seemed to avoid the topic of quarterback Christian Ponder, Jennings went out of his way to paint a bright future for his new quarterback with a positiveness that is sure to have the Vikings P.R. Department sharing a bottle of champagne tonight.

The Vikings brass, and Jared Allen, spent last night and today courting free agent wide out Greg Jennings by taking him out to the famous Manny’s Steakhouse and touring the Winter Park facilities.

Now, Jennings is a Minnesota Viking under a five year deal, which fills a huge need on the wide receiver depth chart.

Jennings played with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay for his whole career, but will now be playing with Christian Ponder who needs to continue to improve in order to maintain his status as the franchise’s quarterback of the present and the future.

Jennings, 29 years old, is coming off of an injury plagued season that turned out to be the worst of his career.  He managed only 36 catches for 366 yards and four touchdowns.  Still, the assumption is that he is fully healthy now and will strive to return to the 1,000 yard plus receiver that he was known as, which the Vikings need so desperately.

With Percy Harvin being  traded to Seattle the Vikings have Jerome Simpson, Jarius Wright, and Stephen Burton on the Vikings depth chart that could still see some movement this offseason.  The Vikings are still expected to use some combination of their 11 draft picks to add youth and talent at the position.

Jennings has played 96 games in his career and has caught 425 balls for 6,537 yards and 53 touchdowns.

His new deal is expected to be $47.5 million over the five years, with $18 million guaranteed, which is a $9.5 million per year average.

Rick Spielman had a lot of kind things to say about his staff at Thursday’s press conference prior to introducing Leslie Frazier who described Friday as a “great day for the Minnesota Vikings.”  Frazier also placed an emphasis on Jennings having high character and leadership qualities, which are the types of statements that were all too predictable following the trade of Harvin.

“I’m excited, today is a great day, and I’m looking forward to what the future holds,” said Jennings right off the bat who went on to describe his first walk into free agency and give his respects to the Green Bay Packers organization.

“It was just a family feel.  It felt comfortable,” Jennings said of his visit with the Vikings who said the team is a contender for whom the window is now opening, not closing.  He also said the move was selfish in that he is looking forward to playing with Adrian Peterson who commands the attention of an entire defense.

Jennings also talked highly of Christian Ponder’s game tape and feels he has matured, and will continue to mature, as a passer in the NFL and is looking forward to helping him out with that.

“It’s a fresh new start.  A Change,” he said.  “I’m looking forward to the change.”

Jennings said that his choices “pretty much” came down to Minnesota and Green Bay, and then cited his dinner with Jared Allen as a big reason why he made the decision he did.

Jennings ended his conference by saying, with a huge smile, that it is important to note he is currently 29 years old and will not be 30 until after the season starts.

Well, it took some time, but it appears that Rick Spielman got his man.

According to ESPN, the Vikings have reached an agreement with the former Packers receiver, who will provide the Vikings with a legitimate weapon for Christian Ponder’s second season as the full time starter.

Jennings will turn 30 in September and was reportedly looking for a deal north of $10 million.  Jennings has been plagued by injuries, and saw an increase in competition for snaps in Green Bay, over the last two seasons but was one of the NFL’s premier receivers from 2008 to 2010.

The deal is reported to be over five years, which means Jennings will be 35 years old when it expires, and financial terms are currently unknown.  A press conference is scheduled for 7:15 tonight.

We will have updates coming soon.

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