Friday, January 30, 2015
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Unless your team is one of the two Super Bowl contenders, it is indeed a good thing that there is a lack of headlines being made, and that is (knock on wood) the case for the Vikings right now.  There are still some items to check out around the web, however, and here they are:

The Vikings have concluded their rookie minicamp, and the release of Chris Kluwe wasn’t the only roster movement of note, so here is what we know:

DURON CARTER:  I will be travelling to Middletown, Ohio today where Cris Carter will be honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance in his hometown.  As Carter speaks to a group of students, I would expect to hear him relay an important message that will draw on his experiences as a troubled young man that had to overcome numerous demons before becoming one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history.  His son, Duron, will also have to overcome his fair share of adversity if he wants to have a successful NFL career.  It appears that the Vikings will not be offering the younger Carter a contract after he tried out with the club over the weekend.

BRANDON KEITH:  The 28 year-old tackle was a seventh round selection of the Arizona Cardinals in 2008.  He started 20 out of 26 possible games as a Cardinal, but knee injuries derailed his career and he sat out the entire 2012 season.  Keith was reportedly at the Vikings minicamp on a tryout basis, but the Vikings signed him to a contract, as announced on Monday.  Keith is listed at 6′ 5″ and 335 pounds.

ADAM THIELEN:  The Minnesota State-Mankato wide out is 6′ 1″ and 192 pounds and also was signed to a contract after his tryout.  Last season, Thielen posted 74 catches for 1,176 yards and eight touchdowns.  Thielen, prior to the Draft, participated in a set of regional combines with hopes of catching the eye of an NFL scout or two.  At his pro day he ran a 4.49 second forty yard dash and could try to establish himself as a viable return man option.  A long shot to win a final roster spot?  Sure.  But he has already beat out some competition, as wide out Nicholas Edwards who was signed last week.  This is a significant vote of confidence for Thielen, however, as the Vikings gave Edwards a $5,000 signing bonus which is pretty high for an undrafted rookie.

ZACH LINE:  The ‘tweener fullback was signed as an undrafted rookie and the Vikings gave him the largest signing bonus of all the undrafted rookies.  He received an $8,000 signing bonus in exchange for his services.  If you think that the size of a signing bonus might be an indication as to how serious the Vikings are about developing these young prospects, 1500 ESPN has a full list of bonus amount which you can view right here.

The Vikings opened up their rookie minicamp on Friday, and it was the one day that will be open to the media, so we have some actual football tidbits to pass along.  Second-year hopefuls, this offseason’s draft class, and undrafted free agent signings intermingle with players in on a tryout basis to try and shine in front of the coaching staff.  Here is what we know from Day One:

ROOKIE CLASS:  It is apparent, when watching these guys go up against each other, why the Vikings selected the guys they did at the top of the NFL Draft.  All reports seem to indicate that Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes, and Cordarrelle Patterson are clearly superior to the rest of the talent that was taking part in the practices.

COLIN ANDERSON:  Chris Kluwe might not be the only special teamer looking over his shoulder these days.  Furman tight end Colin Anderson is an accomplished long snapper and could potentially end up being competition for the team’s longest tenured player, long snapper Cullen Loeffler.  Loeffler is 32 years old and will carry a base salary of $915,00 this season and $1.135 million in 2014.  Anderson claims, however, that he is at Winter Park trying to make the team as a tight end.

MICHAEL MAUTI:  The Vikings didn’t make a huge investment when they selected Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti in the seventh round, but they are hoping to get huge returns.  Mauti is still rehabbing his knee injury, though, and patience will be necessary for those eager to see what he brings to the table.  Still, coach Leslie Frazier was unwilling to crown Erin Henderson the starter at middle linebacker, and says they will take a look at a number of options.

JEFF LOCKE:  Snow forced the Vikings minicamp indoors and fifth round selection Jeff Locke headed to the Metrodome to punt in front of special teams coordinator Mike Priefer.  He then returned to Winter Park to take some reps as a field goal holder.  By all accounts, including Locke himself, the first day went well.  We could see Kluwe released as soon as Monday if the Vikings decide they got what they bargained for when they drafted Locke last month.

XAVIER RHODES:  He intercepted the first ball thrown in the first minicamp of his first year in the NFL.  As omens go, that isn’t too shabby.  Rhodes continued to impress throughout the practices and is an early favorite to win a starting job at cornerback, alongside Chris Cook.

DURON CARTER:  The son of the Vikings all-time leading receiver Cris Carter has a rough start to the minicamp, dropping the first three footballs going his way.  Carter improved throughout the day and is hoping to turn his tryout into a roster spot, but he will need to show more improvement if he wants to stick with the Vikings for the long haul.


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