Sunday, August 20, 2017

Eric Kendricks

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Welcome to the latest installment of the Vikings Territory Training Camp Primer series focusing on Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and the linebackers.

Since he arrived in Minnesota, head coach Mike Zimmer has transformed the Vikings defense from laughingstock to nationally regarded as one of the best in the NFL.

Much of this is due to the talent he has acquired at linebacker.

With the ninth overall pick in the 2014 draft, Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman selected athletic freak Anthony Barr out of UCLA. In just three seasons, Barr has already been selected to two Pro Bowls.

A year later, the Vikings used a second round pick on Barr’s former UCLA teammate, Eric Kendricks. While Kendricks doesn’t have a Pro Bowl appearance to his name, he played on par or better than several Pro Bowl selections in 2016.

Chad Greenway‘s retirement after an illustrious career in purple and gold leaves behind a hole at the starting weak linebacker spot. The battle for that starting gig will likely headline the linebackers during the last Vikings training camp in Mankato.

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Episode 85

Graphic designed by Brett Anderson

BJ Reidell and Drew Mahowald give their thoughts on training camp and the heralded Mr. Mankato award with discussions on Eric Kendricks, Chunky Clements and slow golfers as well.

Episode 85 is sponsored by BlackStack Brewing, SoCom Creative and local stand-up comic Brendan Gay.

PRIMARY TALKING POINTS

  1. Intro: The Agenda (0:00)
  2. Advertising: BlackStack Brewing & SoCom Creative, LLC (1:20)
  3. Rookies Report: Initial Takeaways & Thoughts (2:22)
  4. Excited About AP: Eric Kendricks Can’t Wait to Face Adrian Peterson (5:55)
  5. Final Roster Fix: Vikings Sign Chunky Clements, Release Caleb Kidder (11:55)
  6. Advertising: See Brendan Gay LIVE August 10th (17:15)
  7. Mr. Mankato: Odds Report, Predictions (17:45)
  8. Training Camp Preview: Most Important “Stuff” to Keep an Eye on (25:15)
  9. Twitter Takes: How Many Rookies Will Start in 2017? (34:30)
  10. Take 5: Emojis (39:06)
  11. Advertising: Beer Pong Tournament on August 5th at BlackStack Brewing (46:35)
  12. Drew’s Final Take: Slow Golfers (47:09)
  13. Sign-Out: Football is Back! (48:50)

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Episode 79

Graphic designed by Brett Anderson

BJ Reidell and Drew Mahowald discuss Datone Jones’ remarks about changing positions in Minnesota, explore the Vikings’ ‘Blue Chip’ roster pieces and also debate the best players at each defense and special teams position in the NFL before finishing off a rather long show with an Independence Day-themed Take 5.

Episode 79 is sponsored by local stand-up comic Brendan Gay — Catch the LIVE recording of his first comedy special at the Joke Joint Comedy Club (Lilydale, Minn.) on August 10th! Use to the promo code “BRENDAN” to get 40% off your ticket on the Joke Joint Comedy Club official website!

PRIMARY TALKING POINTS

  1. Intro: The Agenda (0:00)
  2. Advertising: See Local Comic Brendan Gay Perform LIVE August 10th (1:42)
  3. Mr. Jones’ Position Change: You Can Ride, All Day Long (2:40)
  4. Blue Chip Vikings: Pegging Minnesota’s Best Building Blocks (11:55)
  5. Final NFL Rankings: LONG TALK on The Best in the Business — Defense (23:30)
  6. Final NFL Rankings: SHORT TALK on The Best in the Business — Special Teams (1:07:30)
  7. Take 5: The Best Independence Day Activities (1:10:27)
  8. Drew’s Final Take: Fireworks are Overrated (1:15:55)
  9. Sign-Out: About the Labor T-Shirts Coming Soon! (1:17:34)

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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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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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