Sunday, May 1, 2016

harrison smith

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most important players
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

This time of year, with the Scouting Combine just wrapping up and the Draft rapidly approaching, we spend a lot of time focusing on the future. The Vikings are coming off an 11-5, division championship season, and look to be firmly headed in the right direction. So, before any draft picks or free agency additions, I thought it was a good time to look at the future within the organization. Below is a countdown of the 10 most important players to the Vikings’ future:

(NOTE: This list only includes players currently on the team’s roster. It takes into account skill level, positional importance, age, contract, and the team’s investment in the player. It’s more than a list of best players; rather, it focuses on who will be counted on to play major roles in the next five to eight years if the team is to continue to compete for division championships and playoff berths. For example, a player who is talented and productive but approaching the end of his career would be given less consideration than a young, high draft pick who has shown good ability in a short time.)

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Vikings NFL Draft Sleepers
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Every Sunday during Draft Season, Carl and the team at Vikings Territory release scouting reports on sleeper prospects. They’re players many may not recognize, but should get to know as the 2016 NFL Draft approaches. This time of the year, the biggest names dominate the headlines, but other players taken in the later rounds can often have more of an impact than the top-32 picks.

Players like Danielle Hunter (3rd-round) and Stefon Diggs (5th-round) were more important to the Minnesota Vikings in 2015 than Trae Waynes, the team’s 11th-overall selection. Each made significant contributions on defense and offense, while Waynes was relegated to a role as the punt team’s gunner. He played well in spot duty, especially against the Seattle Seahawks, but to say he outperformed his teammates would be lying.

Sometimes, it’s the players we least expect who have the most immediate success in the NFL. That’s why I’ve asked the team here to name their favorite under-the-radar prospects; the players they love that no one’s talking about.

Who is one draft prospect you love that no one is talking about?

VT Offseason Plan, Free Agency

Introduction

[In part two of this three-part series, Austin Belisle and Brett Anderson team up to put together an in-depth free agency plan for the Minnesota Vikings. Part 1.]

Rick Spielman’s job with the Minnesota Vikings isn’t easy. In reality, any general manager’s job is a challenge. As the highest-ranking member of the team’s personnel department, Spielman is not only responsible for hiring coaches and staff members, but for building and tweaking a competitive roster each season.

His duties require year-round coordination and planning, all of which come to a head between February and April. It’s then that Spielman and his front office must finalize their college scouting, address the mad-dash that is free agency, and find new talent through the annual NFL Draft. And he does all this with a clear vision in mind, one he’s continued to develop in his five years as general manager.

Vikings Wonderlic Test
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The turf at Lucas Oil Stadium is a proving ground for hundreds of college football players at the NFL’s annual Scouting Combine. There, potential first round draft picks and sleepers alike try to sprint, jump, and interview their way onto an NFL roster. It’s the blazing 40-yard dash times and impressive bounds that grab the headlines, but often, it’s their work behind closed doors that boosts (or hurts) a player’s stock.

Team interviews can make or break a prospect’s reputation with organizations. Maxx Williams, the former Golden Gopher tight end, reportedly came across as selfish in combine interviews last year, and his attitude may have turned a few teams off in the process. Eric Kendricks, meanwhile, was described as someone who could walk into a defensive huddle as a rookie and immediately gain the respect of veterans.

Sometimes, the fastest, tallest, and strongest players find themselves falling in the draft. All the weight and speed in the world can’t replace one of football’s most important requirements — cognitive ability. It’s why the Wonderlic Test, as parodied as it may be, remains a crucial aspect of the NFL Draft process and a key into the minds of gridiron greats.

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We want to buy you one of these sweet shirts designed by Matt Engstrom!

We want to give you some of these sweet Vikings shirts designed by Matt Engstrom and you’ve only got about a week left to get your name in the hat!

The quickest way to get the most entries into our giveaway is to sign up FREE for FanTalk (which is especially awesome if you have an iPhone) and follow the Vikings Territory club on there. If we can get over 100 followers to sign up there this week then we plan another giveaway in the near future and I’ve got my sights set on a Harrison Smith jersey.

Another great way to get some entries is to visit Draft Season and answer the secret question found below. Those guys have been amazing partners for us this offseason as evidenced by the fine collection of Vikings-specific scouting reports that can all be found on our Scouting Reports Page.

That isn’t the only way to win one of these three Vikings shirts, however, so be sure to log into the Rafflecopter widget below and get your name in the drawing! These shirts are slick and we want to buy you one of your choice as a thank you for being the best readership on the internet!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

To complete the FanTalk portion you can CLICK HERE.

To complete the DraftSeason portion you can CLICK HERE.

CLICK HERE to see the original post about this giveaway.

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