Friday, May 26, 2017

jeremiah sirles

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Vikings OTAs: 7 Positions Up For Grabs

The Minnesota Vikings’ organized team activities, or OTAs, began Tuesday. OTAs are offseason training sessions run with the purpose of developing players; or, simply put, practices without tackling. There are no 1-on-1 drills, only team drills.

OTAs can be a good barometer of how the team’s roster is going to shape up come the regular season. Generally, the players who practice together play together. Certainly, there are exceptions.

Lets take a look at several key position battles that will unfold during the Vikings preseason.

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Zimmer

Mike Zimmer met with reporters for an hour Wednesday, touching on a number of topics, but one that stood out was an offhand comment about the analytics website Pro Football Focus. Zimmer can be guarded in his answers at times, but is candid when he wants to be, and much of what was he said Wednesday fell on the side of the latter, including his assessment of PFF after a question about Jeremiah Sirles:

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Mike Remmers to Visit Vikings on Friday
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings landed Riley Reiff yesterday without knowing where he’d play tackle. Reiff has the unique qualification of starting on both the right and left side, giving the Vikings flexibility in future free agency pursuits.

If today’s reports are accurate, the Vikings see Reiff as the left tackle for the foreseeable future. According to Pro Football Talk, former Carolina Panthers tackle Mike Remmers is set to visit the Vikings this afternoon. Remmers will visit Minnesota today and Houston tomorrow (if necessary) but is expected to play right tackle wherever he signs.

Last season, Remmers started 16 games for the Panthers, with most coming at left tackle in relief of the injured Michael Oher. He allowed nine sacks and 49 quarterback pressures, per Pro Football Focus. The numbers aren’t encouraging, but Remmers’ departure from Carolina signals a fresh start at right tackle for the five-year pro. Matt Kalil‘s arrival in Carolina also precludes Oher’s move to right tackle, thus squeezing Remmers out of the team’s plans.

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Vikings Offensive Linemen
Image courtesy of vikings.com

Vikings Offensive Linemen Update

With the two day negotiating period underway in NFL Land, much effort has been poured into trying to predict which (if any) big name offensive linemen will be joining the Vikings to fill what is unanimously considered the roster’s biggest need.

Before any beans are spilled on that front, however, it is important to note that the Vikings have retained, as expected, two blockers of their own. Both were Exclusive Rights Free Agents heading into this week.

Zac Kerin’s one year deal is worth $615,000 while Jeremiah Sirles’ is reported to be $695,000, according to the Pioneer Press.

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Improving the OL a top priority

T.J. Clemmings is the only Minnesota Vikings tackle under contract heading into free agency. Matt Kalil, Andre Smith, Jake Long, and Jeremiah Sirles—the rotation of subpar 2016 starters—are all set to hit the open market next week. Some will become restricted free agents, others exclusive rights, and a few unrestricted, but one thing remains true: the Vikings are lacking any sustainability at a position critical to long-term success.

That’s a problem.

Even if general manager Rick Spielman were to retain their talents, he’d still enter 2017 with arguably the league’s worst rotation of tackles. Fortunately, the Vikings are flush with cash, thanks in large part to the decision to forego Adrian Peterson’s future contract option.

The NFLPA also did the Vikings—and the rest of the NFL—a favor by raising the salary cap to $167 million. An increase of seven percent over the 2016 figure gives Spielman nearly $38 million to spend on premier tackles, running backs, and other positions of need — if he so chooses.

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