Sunday, August 30, 2015

jacob lacey

As worries about quarterback Christian Ponder’s ability to take things to the next level seem to mount within the Vikings fan base, there is a growing list of other woes that seem to be dampening some of the enthusiasm surrounding this team as the regular season draws nearer.

DeMarcus Love will not be available for the first our weeks due to suspension.  Cornerback Jacob Lacey was released after injuries gave him no chance to take the practice field.  Defensive tackle Christian Ballard has reportedly returned to his hometown indefinitely to deal with personal issues.

Now, Sharrif Floyd’s rookie development will, at least in part, be put on hold as he recovers from a “minor” knee surgery.

Leslie Frazier said yesterday that Floyd will likely miss the remainder of the preseason, but the good news is that he’s expected back and healthy by the regular season opener.  Still, rookie repetitions during the preseason hold a premium value and it is disappointing that the team’s top Draft selection has had his opportunity cut short even if it is temporary.

I’m not trying to be an alarmist here, and with Kevin Williams in the fold Floyd is certainly not some we must see at full tilt in week one, but the pile of problems seems to be growing at a steady pace. 

Love, Lacey and Ballard were all players thought to have well-defined roles within the Vikings roster in 2013.  Now they are, by all appearances, going to be non-factors as the regular season gets underway.  The momentum just seems to be headed in the wrong direction at the wrong time.

That is all.

I was pretty high on Rick Spielman’s low-risk decision to add 26 year old Jacob Lacey to the cornerback conversation this offseason, but it appears his bid for a roster spot has come to a premature end.

A thumb injury kept Lacey out of mini-camp and a knee injury has kept him off the field in Mankato, which meant he had absolutely no chance to gain ground in the competition.  He was going to continue to have no chance since an August 12th surgery on his knee was expected to keep him out of commission until the regular season.

He was released on Monday, according to multiple reports.

The spot Lacey was hoping to take, the backup nickel spot, is currently being battled for by Marcus Sherels and Bobby Felder.  At the moment, Felder seems to have the upper hand.

The Vikings now have an open roster spot.

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Headed into the 2013 NFL Draft, it was obvious the Vikings needed to address their secondary. The loss of veteran cornerback and expert tackler Antoine Winfield left a gaping hole at the position and, in the eyes of many, skyrocketed the position into the primary need of the offseason. The most veteran player at the position now is Chris Cook who himself is quite inexperienced and only has started in 18 games since he was drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft.

The Vikings choose to draft Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes in the first round of this year’s draft. Xavier Rhodes is a big frame corner who excels at press coverage. In the NFC North where we have to deal with the likes of Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall, Rhodes will be critical to the success of the Vikings secondary.

Josh Robinson will likely attempt to move inside and replace Antoine Winfield in covering the slot. Robinson performed well in his 2012 rookie season despite a few missteps here and there. The speedster out of Central Florida had a combined 55 tackles and two interceptions in his rookie campaign. Not bad when compared to Chris Cook’s line of  35 combined tackles and zero interceptions. (Although, Cook only played in 10 games last season to Robinson’s full 16.)

The Vikings were able to land A.J. Jefferson from the Arizona Cardinals before the 2012 season for close to nothing and it’s safe to say that they got a decent return on their investment. Jefferson, not a shut down corner by any means, was able to hold his own for the most part and is a young player who should continue to get better.

Jacob Lacey was an offseason acquisition who has previously played with the Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts. While he hasn’t had a stand out career, Lacey does have more experience than some of the other corners currently on the roster.

Marcus Sherels and Brandon Burton round out the bottom of the depth chart. Burton and Sherels, both in their third season, will likely not see a whole lot of action but will fill in when  needed.

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OTAs have not produced, knock on wood, any devastating injuries for the Minnesota Vikings.  Still, there are two guys that will not be practicing until training camp rolls around.

Jared Allen joined his teammates this week, but Leslie Frazier gave Vikings.com an update on the situation and has made it clear we shouldn’t expect to see him in action until the team goes to Mankato.

“We probably won’t see him until we get to training camp, but from everything that Eric Sugarman and our staff has told me medically, he is doing great,” said Frazier. “There won’t be any problem when we get to training camp and we’re looking forward to having him when the time comes. But the fact that he’s in town, he’s doing his rehab here, coming out to our practices, that’s a good thing. It’s good to have him in our meetings as well.”

Frazier also clarified that the staff is being cautious because of Allen’s shoulder and that his knee rehabilitation is more of a secondary issue.

Jacob Lacey signed as a free agent this offseason, and seemed like a guy with a solid chance at being a key reserve, but he will have to wait until training camp to try and earn his spot on the roster.  Lacey suffered a thumb injury during Tuesday’s practice and underwent surgery on Wednesday, according to Access Vikings.

Lacey was the nickel corner with the second team prior to the injury, with Josh Robinson playing that role with the first team, so the injury really seems to open the door for Bobby Felder to make a case for himself.

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