Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Eric Kendricks

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And other Free Agency thoughts

Eddie Lacy to the Vikings Makes Sense
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Say what you will about Eddie Lacy’s eating habits or his love of Chinese food, but the former Packers running back is a perfect fit for the Minnesota Vikings. In his five-year career, he’s gained more than 3,400 yards and scored 23 times, averaging 4.4 yards per carry in Green Bay’s pass-happy offense.

Nevermind his weight; Minnesota knows all too well how effective Lacy can be on the ground. In seven games against the division rival Vikings, Lacy amassed 618 yards and scored five touchdowns to contribute to Green Bay’s four series victories. At 5’11” and 231 pounds, he’s a load to bring down and the potential “thunder” to complement the “lightning” that is Jerick McKinnon in Minnesota’s backfield.

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Where Do the Vikings Head From Here
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

[In part one of this three-part series, Austin Belisle and Brett Anderson team up to put together an in-depth offseason plan for the Minnesota Vikings.]

Football, more than any other sport, is an unpredictable game. A loose ball, a tipped pass, a broken tackle; the slightest shift in momentum or circumstance can flip competition on its head. Franchises prepare for the random nature of the game, but often fall victim to factors they can’t control.

Such was the case for the Minnesota Vikings in 2016. From Teddy Bridgewater’s knee injury to the merry-go-round at offensive line, the team struggled to bounce back in the face of adversity. Players on the defensive side of the ball underperformed, turmoil forced a turnover on the coaching staff, and Mike Zimmer’s eye blurred Minnesota’s season outlook.

Combined, the weekly distractions and diversions were too much for the Vikings to overcome. They stalled to an 8-8 finish after starting the season 5-0; missing the playoffs just one year removed from winning the NFC North. Like any team in the NFL, the Vikings had one end-goal in mind: the Super Bowl. But dreaming of a Lombardi Trophy and winning the actual game are two different things.

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VT QOTW

Mistakes Could Cost the Vikings
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Until Rick Spielman’s press conference earlier this afternoon, the Minnesota Vikings news cycle was rather quiet. Sure, rumors and speculation dominated the Twitter landscape, but nothing concrete had yet to hit the Internet or the airwaves this offseason. And even with Spielman’s latest public comments, there isn’t much to glean from the general manager.

I tweeted earlier that most of Spielman’s comments were either “GM speak” or tidbits of info we’d been waiting to hear on record from the front office. Fifty-five minutes of media availability revealed little of Spielman’s current mindset, but here’s what we do know:

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Feat. Jordan Reid (Viking Age) & Myles Gorham (Vikings Digital Diaries) — Episode 45

BJ Reidell and Drew Mahowald welcome aboard guest stars Jordan Reid (The Viking Age) and Myles Gorham (Vikings Digital Diaries) to discuss the Minnesota Vikings’ most expendable assets, defensive tackle prospects, linebacker prospects and plenty more on Episode 45 of About the Labor.

PRIMARY TALKING POINTS

  • Vikings Analysis: Determining expendable assets with value on the open market
  • Vikings Analysis: Is exploring a trade a good idea?
  • Vikings Hypothetical: How much would you trade to acquire Dallas Cowboys’ Tyron Smith?
  • Draft: Larry Ogunjobi and 2017 defensive tackle prospects the Vikings may be reviewing
  • Draft: Sharrif Floyd’s status determines what round the Vikings look defensive tackle during
  • Draft: Deion Jones and the new wave of linebackers in the NFL
  • Draft: Duke Riley and 2017 linebacker prospects the Vikings may be reviewing
  • Draft: Determining Eric Kendricks’ role impacts what type of linebacker the Vikings target
  • Draft: Sleeper picks in the 2017 draft class
  • Skol Spin: Jordan Reid steps into the Skol Spin hot seat

OLB Aaron Cooper
Image courtesy of Kentucky Christian Football

Welcome back to Vikings Territory’s annual series, Sleeper SundayIn addition to the team’s regularly scheduled scouting reports, we plan to bring you quick profiles of a few lesser-known players; the prospects who could be a good fit for the Minnesota Vikings on Day 3 of the 2017 NFL Draft.

While this series is meant to highlight college’s under-the-radar names, it’s also an experiment of sorts. Mike Zimmer enters his fourth year as head coach of the Vikings having established a clear-cut, defense-first identity. Above him, Rick Spielman serves as general manager, picking and choosing the players Zimmer adds to the initial 90-man roster.

Together, they’ve concocted one of the league’s deepest, most talented rosters. And in doing so, they’ve established patterns in the way they approach the NFL Draft. A friend of the site, Ryan Boser, identified these trends two years ago, giving readers a peek into Minnesota’s war room.

What he found helps to inform the players we choose as part of Sleeper Sunday. Knowing Spielman likes to end the draft with defense and has used a Round 7 selection on linebackers in five straight drafts, it’s reasonable to assume the Vikings are targeting a defender in the later rounds. Hence, my first choice for a Sleeper Sunday profile, Kentucky Christian linebacker Aaron Cooper.

Follow along these next few months, and hopefully, in April, we’ll hit the mark on one or two names.

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