Friday, May 22, 2015
Tags Posts tagged with "gerald hodges"

gerald hodges

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Division I linebackers like UCLA’s Eric Kendricks and TCU’s Paul Dawson will dominate the early draft-day conversations, but teams shouldn’t sleep on the later rounds’ small-school prospects. One in particular, Newberry’s Edmond Robinson, could be a potential steal for the Minnesota Vikings near the end of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Newberry, a Division II school in South Carolina, hasn’t seen a player drafted since 1974, when the Cardinals selected linebacker Greg Hartle in the 10th round. Currently, three former Wolves are on an NFL roster, including the Vikings’ Brandon Bostick. Robinson played with Bostick at Newberry, and spoke about the advice he’s received from his former teammates:

“They’ve been great about giving me advice and telling me how to approach certain situations. They all said that if they can make it, I can too.”

Robinson was just one of two Division II players to participate in last month’s NFL Scouting Combine, and used the week in Indianapolis to boost his draft stock.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The middle of the Minnesota Vikings’ defense is wide open.

Late Thursday night, ESPN reported that the Cowboys had come to terms with former Vikings linebacker Jasper Brinkley on a two-year deal.

Brinkley, who started 11 of 14 games for the Vikings in 2014, finished the season with 75 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble. He signed a $830,000, one-year deal with Minnesota after spending 2013 with the Cardinals.

Photo Credit: Joe Lemke (used with permission)

Since being drafted No. 17 in the 2006 NFL Draft, Chad Greenway has been a Minnesota Viking.

In a Nov. 2012 interview, Greenway expressed that he hoped to play the entirety of his career in purple and gold:

“I certainly want to retire a Viking […] I’d love to just play it out here and be able to have an entire tenure in Minnesota.”

Two years later, Greenway’s leadership, comradery and positive attitude in the locker room continue to be an asset to the team; his contribution on the field upheld its reputation, as well. Greenway missed four games due to injuries this season; in the 12 that he started, however, the linebacker tallied 93 tackles. According to league stats, he leads the NFL since 2007, with 984 tackles.

Greenway’s loyalty to Minnesota and athleticism have not changed; but there is no denying that other things have—namely, younger, talented players making an impact on the roster. As the Vikings packed up their gear and prepared to head into the offseason, Greenway demonstrated no sense of urgency to clear out his locker.

For No. 52, there is some uncertainty if he will return to this locker room next season.

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The Vikings jumped out to an early 14-0 lead and looked like they were well on their way to a promising upset win on the road.  Instead, the entire team seemed to stall out all at once, and the final three quarters allowed for 16 unanswered points from the Lions and few individual performances to hang our hat on.

The Lions overwhelmed a makeshift offensive line and rookie quarterback by mixing up the blitz packages.  Field goal misses ended three drives.  The defense couldn’t get a pass rush going.  And even the clock management was highly suspect.

Past Winners of this award:

WEEK ONE:  Cordarrelle Patterson

WEEK TWO: Harrison Smith

WEEK THREE:  Harrison Smith

WEEK FOUR: Teddy Bridgewater

WEEK FIVE:  Harrison Smith

WEEK SIX:  Linval Joseph

WEEK SEVEN: Everson Griffen

WEEK EIGHT:  Anthony Barr

WEEK NINE:  Everson Griffen

WEEK ELEVEN: Charles Johnson

WEEK TWELVE:  Xavier Rhodes

WEEK THIRTEEN:  Everson Griffen

WEEK FOURTEEN:  Teddy Bridgewater

I find it really difficult to nominate anyone for this award this week, so if you feel like I’ve overlooked someone, then by all means hit the “OTHER” button on the poll and write in your vote via the comments section.

MATT ASIATA:  Clearly not a game changing playmaker, the persistent use of Asiata can be quite frustrating, but he did his job fairly well throughout Sunday afternoon.  He rushed 11 times for a team leading 36 yards (3.3 yard average) and scored the first touchdown of the game.  More impressively, he hauled in all seven of his targeted passes and put up an extra 50 receiving yards (7.1 yard average).

CHARLES JOHNSON:  I’m starting to actually buy into the idea that this guy, especially with some offseason hands work, could be the real deal.  Johnson was once again the go-to guy for Bridgewater and caught five passes for 72 yards (team lead).

GREG JENNINGS:  Greg Jennings only caught three passes on Sunday, and only ended up with 43 yards, but one of those catches was a graceful touchdown and the other was a brilliant sideline performance that had to be reviewed in order for everyone involved to believe it actually happened.

GERALD HODGES:  Still playing in relief of Anthony Barr, Hodges is continuing his strong late-season showing.  HE led the Vikings in tackles on Sunday with nine and also led the team in defended passes with two.  He was caught out of position on a couple of occasions, but one could argue he was the most consistent defender this team had in Detroit.

XAVIER RHODES:  A guy like Calvin Johnson is eventually going to make plays, he just is.  Rhodes and the Vikings holding him to only four catches and 53 yards, however, could certainly constitute a moral victory of sorts.  In addition to keeping Johnson contained, Rhodes had three tackles, including a beautifully violent tackle for a loss.

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(photo by Chris Price)
(photo by Chris Price)

Last season, Gerald Hodges met criticism for a lack of focus. This season is a whole new story.

There has never been any doubt as to Hodges’ athletic ability. When Minnesota drafted him in the fourth round in 2013, Hodges was coming off his junior season at Penn State. That year he started all 11 games, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches and ESPN.com and second-team accolades by the media. He also was named a Pro Football Weekly honorable-mention. Hodges led the team with 106 tackles (60 solo) and ranked in the top 15 in the Big Ten in hits (eighth) and sacks (14th tie with 4.5).

At 6’2”, 243 lbs, Hodges is a machine of a linebacker. He is a safety convert, which brings its own set of advantages. However, Hodges didn’t stand out as fans hoped he would as a rookie. In an Aug. 3 interview, he explained to ESPN’s Ben Goessling part of the problem:

“Last year, I don’t think I came in as focused [as I should have been],” Hodges said. “I was coming from the combine. I wasn’t studying my plays in as much detail as I’m doing this year. I think last year I was focusing on too much instead of focusing on my job.”

Coming into the 2014 season, Hodges has made some adjustments—including working to be in better physical shape this offseason. “I just [want] to be as healthy and in shape as I can be,” Hodges said. “I feel as if I’m ready to run around on the field more effectively, able to get to the ball.”

Hodges expressed a confidence in playing the nickel defense, and says his team mentality has improved. “Each day I come in and work hard […] work on improving the team and improving myself as well.”

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