Saturday, August 1, 2015

joe berger

by -
5

One interesting little tidbit out of the earliest days of 2015’s practices is that one Vikings lineman has not only shifted positions, but he’s now playing on the opposite side of the line of scrimmage.

Undrafted last year, Isame Faciane was signed by the Vikings and defensive line coach Andre Patterson (who coached Faciane at Florida International) said he was among the top ten percent of defensive linemen he has ever worked with.

Now, however, it will be offensive line coach Jeff Davidson who tries to make an NFL player out of Faciane, it appears.

Faciane, listed at 6′ 4″ and 302 pounds, has reportedly opened organized team activities (OTA’s) at the right guard position which is a complete switch for him.

by -
7

Can you spot T.J. Clemmings at right guard?

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Today’s big Vikings news, courtesy of CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, isn’t really news at all; Adrian Peterson has contemplated retirement. The disgruntled running back, who continues to dig in on the “trade me” stance, has reportedly considered such a move since landing on the Commissioner’s exempt list last year.

Surprising? No. Confusing? Yes — why retire at the height of your career, surrounded by the most talent in years, and set to make almost $13 million? Hollow threats, in my opinion. General manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer drew the line in the sand months ago, and they’ll remain behind it until Peterson returns. The only question remaining is; when?

Let’s forget about Adrian Peterson for a second, though, as many fans have already done just that. His positioning, his refusal to participate in OTAs, and his parrot Ben Dogra are distractions from what makes football so exciting: football! And earlier today, purple diehards around the country got their first taste when the Vikings took the field on a rainy, wet day in Eden Prairie.

This afternoon’s activities marked the start of Phase 3 of the team’s offseason workout program. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater spent the first OTA syncing up with his pass catchers and rookies tried their best to adjust to the speed of an NFL practice. One in particular, fourth-round pick T.J. Clemmings, enjoyed reps with the first-team offense. We won’t know how specific players performed until tomorrow, when media members are given access to the second OTA, but it’s an encouraging sign to see Clemmings rotating this early.

by -
5
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Go back and watch any Vikings game from 2014. What did you see? A promising rookie quarterback who struggled early and blossomed late in the year? A defensive end who thrived as a pass rusher and run stopper? A safety who asserted himself as one of the league’s best?

You probably saw all three, but nothing was more apparent than the struggles of the offensive line. Right tackle Phil Loadholt tore his pectoral muscle early in the year, landing on Injured Reserve and missing almost the entire season. Left guard Charlie Johnson, who was released this offseason, struggled in both the run game and in pass protection. However, success is almost impossible when lined up next to a player like 2014 Matt Kalil:

Hopefully, Vikings fans won’t have to watch more of this in the coming season. In a recent interview with the Star Tribune’s Sid Hartman, Mike Zimmer explored the idea of shifting the team’s offensive line in 2015 and replacing Johnson with one of three in-house options:

“We are looking at a few guys right now,” he said. “Obviously [veteran] Joe Berger has a chance to fit in with the mix. We have actually been looking at Brandon Fusco moving over to left guard and T.J. Clemmings playing right guard. Also the kid [tackle] Carter Bykowski] that we took off of San Francisco’s practice squad has looked good as well.”

In the same interview, Zimmer shared that Matt Kalil “feels great” and will play with “a chip on his shoulder” in 2015. After the team picked up his fifth-year option, Kalil will need to bounce back from a horrendous 2014 campaign. With two healthy knees, he may have a chance to do just that. On the other side of the line, fourth-round pick Clemmings may see time at right guard; he practiced primarily on the right side, at both guard and tackle, during rookie minicamp.

After the jump, a look at the latest developments around the NFC North:

by -
5
Week 17 Chicago 2014 by Matt Engstrom
Image courtesy of Matt Engstrom

In the past two weeks, Vikings fans have had the pleasure (or pain) of welcoming players like Mike Wallace and Shaun Hill to the team, hoping their additions will lead to continued improvement in 2015. But, the greetings aren’t always so simple — fans were forced to say goodbye to veteran wide receiver Greg Jennings this offseason, and may soon see Adrian Peterson out the door.

The Vikings, however, aren’t the only team making these types of moves — our NFC North neighbors in Green Bay, Detroit, and Chicago have been busy tinkering and fine-tuning their rosters.

A look at the latest news out of the “Black and Blue” division, AFTER THE JUMP!:

by -
13
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Although the Minnesota Vikings have been relatively quiet in free agency, they’ve made a few moves that could have lasting impacts heading into the 2015 season.

Splashy trades, surprising releases, and expensive free agent signings usually dominate headlines, but sometimes, the smaller, less-publicized transactions make or break a team’s season.

Get Social

2,739FansLike
5,427FollowersFollow