Friday, December 15, 2017

cordarrelle patterson

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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A Uniquely Vikings Problem
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

In a perfect world, field goal kickers don’t miss kicks. They relegate themselves to a side field during practice, grab a bucket of balls, and spend hours taking reps from different spots on the grass. Their sole purpose is to turn the swing of a leg into three points, but the outcome isn’t always guaranteed.

Rarely do NFL kickers finish a year with a perfect field goal percentage. Sending a tiny, leather sphere through relatively narrow goalposts isn’t a surefire proposition; factors such as rushing defenders, wind, and the ‘yips’ often turn chip shots into near-impossible tasks for the kicker.

Still, fans expect perfection — even if perfection is rarely the outcome.

I do not. I’m a lifelong fan of the Minnesota Vikings, so I’ve grown accustomed to the inexplicable woes of place kickers. From Gary Anderson to Blair Walsh, I’ve seen, er, sobbed through it all. I no longer take a simple extra point for granted, and after the events of the 2016 season, the other few phases are suddenly a reason for concern.

Forget the offensive line — improved through free agency and the draft — or the quarterback situation; it’s special teams as a whole that could make or break the Vikings’ upcoming season.

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

Which Vikings receivers will make the team in 2017?

After failing to sign any free agent receivers before the draft, the Minnesota Vikings were able to land a quality wideout in Michael Floyd last Wednesday. By adding Floyd, the Vikings are suddenly deep at wideout. Very deep. Now the question becomes, who will make the team?

Here’s a quick look at the top receivers currently on the Vikings offseason roster:

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Spielman & Zimmer
Image courtesy of vikings.com

Spielman & Zimmer Let Important Players Leave … Which Is New.

Since Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer joined forces in Minnesota, as general manager and head coach, respectively, the masses have scrutinized the on-field performances with a watchful eye. The reviews have largely been positive when it comes to talent acquisition, and save for a few clock management hiccups and a suspicious stuffed animal rumor, Zimmer has enjoyed a Minnesota honeymoon that has been almost unanimously celebrated by Vikings fans.

This season will mark the beginning of a new era, however, and Vikings fans will be analyzing decisions in a way that has yet to occur since their head coach was hired in 2014.

This is the first year of Zimmer’s tenure that a substantial number of highly-regarded Vikings players have left for other teams, some of whom are amid the prime of their career from an age standpoint. The franchise’s best running back of all time, a left tackle selected in the top five, a popular and gritty veteran nickel corner, a kick returner that could be the NFL’s best before his career is over, a punter that finally seemed to be grooving and a blocking tight end whose dad might be inclined to describe this as an “exodus.”

Their presumed replacements have now been acquired through free agency and the draft, but only 16 games of football can give us all a real idea as to whether or not this has all been a net upgrade.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The team at Vikings Territory has been busy working to get to know each of our newest Vikings draft selections and this week we will give you a chance to learn everything we know about these players through our reintroduction of the “Welcome to the Big Show” series.

Next Up: WR/KR Rodney Adams

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