Monday, June 29, 2015

jerick mckinnon

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

With minicamp complete and a little over a month until the Vikings head to Mankato for training camp, all the focus appears to be on Adrian Peterson. How many yards will he rush for? How will Norv Turner use him out of the backfield? Will he be the same after missing a year?

They’re valid questions, but the success of the Vikings does not rest solely on Adrian Peterson’s massive shoulders. Although Peterson single-handedly carried the offense in 2012 — thanks, Christian Ponder — he’s surrounded by more talent than he’s seen in his 9 years with the Vikings, and that starts with the man he’ll be lining up behind  — Teddy Bridgewater.

After a promising rookie season, Bridgewater is expected to “make the leap”, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him land atop NFL.com’s infamous rankings this offseason. Last year, he started 12 games for the Vikings, threw 14 touchdowns, and finished with a 6-6 record under center.

His stats don’t “wow” on paper (2,919 yards, 85.2 quarterback rating), but the poise, decision-making, and maturity he displayed behind a rickety offensive line are hard to dismiss. Heck, he did it all without Peterson, who looks to add yet another element to Norv Turner’s attack in 2015.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Mike Zimmer may be the Vikings’ most visible coach, but his coordinators — offensive, defensive, and special teams — are just as important to the team’s weekly on-field success. After yesterday’s second mandatory minicamp practice, Norv Turner, George Edwards, and Mike Priefer each took the podium and addressed the local media.

Below, three quotes to keep in mind as training camp approaches:

Norv Turner — Offensive Coordinator

On the Vikings’ offense and adding to the playbook:

“We’re going to do everything we can on a weekly basis to win the game. There are always new trends, new things that people are doing, but if we’re going to be a good offense we have to be really good with our core, with the things we do day-to-day and we have to be able to execute against good people. The change-ups, the gimmicks, the little wrinkles, they happen when you get really good at the basics and you get really good at the fundamentals, then you have something to build on and you can create some different looks.”

George Edwards — Defensive Coordinator

On Scott Crichton’s development this offseason:

“I think that’s the biggest thing is now he’s comfortable with the calls, not having to think as much. The one thing we really like him coming out, how hard he plays, the effort he played with, has transferred. Now he’s playing outside at defensive end inside at tackle now he’s not thinking about his assignments he’s really lined up and able to play all out, so from that aspect of it, we think he’s ahead of schedule and look forward to watching him progress through training camp.”

Mike Priefer — Special Teams Coordinator

On the need for improvement from punter Jeff Locke:

“Well, Jeff’s got to be more consistent. We can talk about weather until we are blue in the face. It doesn’t matter. The opposing team’s kicking in the same weather and we were out punted a few times last year where I felt like we had the better punter. So punting’s got to improve, the snapping needs to improve. Some areas of protection we need to improve on. Coverage was really good last year; we just need to be more consistent. We do it all the time, not four out of five reps, but every rep.” 

And now, the best links and stories from the Vikings community:

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On this Easter Sunday, a group of us here at VT are continuing to highlight our favorite “sleepers” to keep an eye on as Draft Weekend plays out next month. Thus far, we have pointed out OLB Edmond Robinson, OG Josue Matias, P Trevor Pardula, CB JaCorey Shepherd, QB Brandon Bridge, and S Sam Carter.

Today, I’m kicking things off by discussing a running back prospect that has piqued my interest. The Vikings, of course, have a turbulent situation on their hands at running back right now, but adding talent and depth in later rounds is likely to occur regardless of how the Adrian Peterson saga plays out over the next month.

I don’t view North Dakota State’s John Crockett as a full-time starter in the NFL, but I also don’t see him as a strict reserve option like I consider Matt Asiata to be. Instead, I see Crockett as the type of guy that could be an essential part of a two or three running back committee.

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Austin Belisle (@austincbelisle) – the newest edition to Vikings Territory – joins the podcast to talk about the Minnesota Vikings and their journey through free agency, the Adrian Peterson (continued) drama, & the NFL Draft as we sail towards another season of the Purple.

The Vikings have been on the sidelines during free agency, while everyone and their mother spends like drunk sailors (*cough* Eagles *cough*), but as always we trust in Rick Speilman. It’s better to win in the fall & winter than win in March. In the meantime, let that cash & cap room pile up. Make Huell and Kuby want to lay on it in the storage unit.

Is Greg Jennings a #1 receiver? Can Jerick McKinnon be a featured back if Adrian is moved? Will the Teddy and NORVVVVVV marriage continue to be a productive one? All that and more “guaranteed money would ease concerns I still have” on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

Full episode after the jump.

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It’s a long offseason. So it makes sense to go beyond the borders of the US to cultivate additional Minnesota Vikings awesomeness. I had the good fortune to be joined by The Daily Norseman founder Christopher Gates from Germany to talk about our favorite professional football team.

We chatted about Adrian Peterson’s future with the Purple (mandatory nowadays) and what the latest statements from ownership and the front office could really mean. Reminisced about Chris’ three favorite Vikings of all time: an o-lineman sized QB from Central Florida, some kid from the mountains of West Virginia, and a pint-sized CB who started the ‘private plane watching’ trend among Vikings fans (and always had 2 pair playing 30/60 at Canterbury).

Additionally, we covered the beauty of Teddy, the leadership of Zimmer and how why he’s a rarity in NFL coaches, I call Rick Spielman a top-3 GM, and I put Chris through the tried and true Gauntlet.

All that and other “the New Vikings Stadium will kill a bald eagle” conversations on Episode 101 of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

Full episode after the jump!

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