Sunday, May 28, 2017

everson griffen

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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: DE Ifeadi Odenigbo

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Xavier Rhodes Set to Host
Image courtesy of Sports International

Before he locked down receivers like Odell Beckham Jr. and DeAndre Hopkins, Xavier Rhodes was just another kid with a dream — he wanted to play in the NFL.

Today, Rhodes is one of the league’s top cornerbacks; a cog in Mike Zimmer’s fearsome Minnesota Vikings defense. Before the 2017 regular season begins, he’ll likely sign a lucrative contract extension, one that keeps his immeasurable talents in Minnesota for the long haul.

But something more important, more meaningful comes first — The Xavier Rhodes Football Camp. In its second year, the overnight camp is Xavier’s chance to give back to the youth of Minnesota and help them realize their dreams of playing high school, collegiate, and even professional football.

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Scott Crichton
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

One of Rick Spielman’s 2014 third round Draft selections is set to continue his role as part of a running back committee. The other is Scott Crichton who has been released, according to reports, after three seasons with the team that featured little to nothing in the way of production.

In fairness to Crichton, defensive end has been a loaded position for the Vikings throughout his tenure, and injuries have kept him off the field too much to form any true evaluation of his talent. While the fan base often harbored high hopes for the former Oregon State player, it just never came to fruition.

The move to release Crichton comes on the heels of the organization giving veteran defensive end (and rotational weapon) Brian Robison an extension that has him under contract at a reduced rate through 2018.

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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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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Our next installment of our Vikings Free Agency Primer series: The Defensive Ends

At first glance, defensive end is the least of the Vikings’ concerns heading into 2017. Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter, and Brian Robison are all under contract through next season, and the team’s only unrestricted free agent at the position—Justin Trattou—can likely be signed for the veteran’s minimum or replaced by another bargain player (Trattou appeared in all 16 games last season, but did not record a tackle).

The other Viking who could be a factor at defensive end is Stephen Weatherly. Weatherly appeared in just two games as a rookie, and it’s difficult to gauge if/how he’ll factor into the conversation in 2017.

From the outset, the Vikings look set at end; the rotation is comprised of three of the better players not just on the defense, but the entire team. But at closer examination, Robison’s contract and age, plus the emergence of Hunter, raise the question of whether the team will make a move to clear cap space and move the third-year phenom into the starting lineup.

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