Saturday, September 5, 2015

john sullivan

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This week’s Vikings Fan Spotlight is Part II of a 3-segment series. I had such an amazing response on Twitter from Vikings fans all over the world, and I decided to break this feature into three separate parts. 

Kristian L. G. Nielsen – Havdrup, Denmark – @klgn

kristianQ: How did you first become a Vikings fan?
A: This a bit funny, actually. In the early 90’s a lot of the kids at my school bought NFL caps. I bought one as well. The first one was actually a Giants cap, but it broke. The next one I bought was a Vikings cap, it was a grey one. I got teased a bit at school, because the Raiders were the popular team. Back then NFL was only shown in a weekly highlight show, and I must admit I didn’t watch it. Actually thought it was a weird sport. I watched a lot of soccer instead. Soccer is the most popular sport over here. As every Vikings fan know Atlanta made it to the Super Bowl in 1999, and the Falcons kicker at that time, Morten Andersen, is Danish, so that Super Bowl was broadcast back here and was the beginning of NFL being broadcast over here live every kristian2Sunday. […] I have a tough time watching a sport and not cheering for a specific team, and since I still had (and have) my grey Vikings cap, the choice was easy for me. I don’t know at what spcific date it happened, but I would probably say the Vikings @ Packers playoff game in 2005 where Moss mooned at Lambeau is the first one I remember cheering vividly for the Vikings. […] Before we had kids I would watch every game live, I would even go to bed early, set an alarm and get up at 2.30 AM to watch the late night games. Now I’ll have to catch those games OnDemand instead. I also listen to a lot of the Minnesota sports radio stations […] and love listening to fan podcasts and discussing Vikings stuff on twitter. I’m spending way too much time being a Vikings fan, but once you’re hooked you can’t get rid of it.

Q: Who is your favorite player on the current Vikings roster?
A: This is a tough one. A year ago I would have said Adrian Peterson, but now it’s a bit tougher. I’m going to go with John Sullivan. He seems like a great dude, and I love listening to him on various radio shows. He’s very articulate and the insights he gives are very good, I think.

[Note From Adam:  One of my favorite sources of Vikings analysis and opinion comes from the “Kick Ass Blog” run by Darren Campbell.  Check them out often (they are on our blogroll forever)!  Darren was kind enough to provide us with a guest post outlining the successes and failures experienced in the NFL Draft since Rick Spielman has been with the Vikings.  Enjoy!]

Rick Spielman is in his eighth season with the Minnesota Vikings. He first joined the team as the club’s vice-president of player personnel. One of his jobs was preparing for the NFL’s college draft, which is something he continued to oversee after being named the Vikings general manager in 2012.

Up until he became GM last year, Spielman didn’t have full control over who made the Vikings roster. However, it’s fair to say he still had considerable influence on the process and over whom the team did and didn’t pick in each of the six drafts he’s been a part of.

This April’s draft will be Spielman’s seventh with the Vikings. And as it is April 1, I wanted to drill down and take a closer look at the players Minnesota has picked since 2007 and when they’ve picked them. Here is what I found.

1st round (#23 and 25th overall in 2013 draft)

Draft picks: Adrian Peterson (2007); Percy Harvin (2009); Christian Ponder (2011); Matt Kalil and Harrison Smith (2012)

Commentary: Your first round picks should be the ones you get right the majority of the time and that’s been true under Spielman. The Peterson and Harvin picks (even though things turned sour with Percy) were masterstrokes and though it’s still early, Kalil and Smith look like exceptional selections also. And let’s not forget the Vikings used their 2008 first round selection to help take defensive end Jared Allen (74 sacks in 80 games with Minnesota) off Kansas City’s hands. The only first rounder during Spielman’s tenure who looks iffy is Ponder- and this would be a huge whiff that could set the franchise back several seasons if CP7 can’t cut it as a starter. Still, given Spielman and the Vikings track record since 2007, there’s an excellent chance they will get some good players if the team keeps both the #23 and #25 overall selections. Spielman has chosen well in this round regardless of whether he’s had a top 10 pick – Peterson (#7) and Kalil (#4)  -or a late first rounder like Harvin (#22) or Smith (#29).

I think we here at VT have done a pretty good job of beating this roster to death from an analysis standpoint since the season ended, and if we missed something we are sure to club it over the head prior to April’s Draft.  So, instead of being incredibly redundant and boring with some sort of Pre-Free Agency guide, I wanted to just run through each position and give you a quick thought.  A little something to chew on while you wait for the bell to toll midnight on Tuesday, if you will.

QB:  I am one of the remaining few that thinks Joe Webb still has value to this team as a scout team quarterback since they have struggled with mobile quarterbacks recently and have a bunch of them on the 2013 schedule.  Still, the Vikings need to find someone with a little more poise to be the primary backup to Christian Ponder (and maybe give him a little competition) and early indications are that the best option available via free agency might be Drew Stanton.  Stanton being the best available is not saying much, though.

RB:  If the Vikings are going to deal Percy Harvin away then why not chase a guy like Reggie Bush to be a backup to Adrian Peterson, step in on key passing downs, contribute on special teams, and occasionally run routes out of the slot?  He might have been a little disappointing after being so heralded in college, but he is still a heck of a player and seems to be holding up pretty well.  Oh, and if we don’t get him, the Lions just might.

FB:  The Vikings are trying to be conservative (i.e. cheap) by letting all of their free agents talk to other interested teams instead of just getting deals done.  This might save them some cap space here and there, but I think it will also bite them in the ass at least once.  I hope the risk doesn’t end up with Jerome Felton cashing in on his big year with any other team.

[NOTE:  Click the links to see our free agency rankings for quarterbacksrunning backs, fullbacks, and tight ends.  We’ll continue our way through all of the positions this week.]

The Vikings are pretty set when it comes to the starting center position, despite John Sullivan’s recent knee surgery, and that is a very good thing.  Why?  Because the free agent class leaves a whole lot to be desired.

If the Vikings want to find a better backup for Sullivan, then they should probably be looking to the NFL Draft, not free agency.

Top Tier

There are none that belong here.

Second Tier

Nope, none here either.

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Chris Kluwe and Jared Allen now have a new rehab partner.

Reports surfaced on Wednesday that Vikings Pro Bowl center (yeah, I said it) John Sullivan had microfracture surgery on his knee and will be out for the next three to four months.  Of course, if one is going to miss four months as an NFL player, these upcoming four are the ones to miss.

That timeline puts Sullivan back into action by the time training camp rolls around, and all indications are that he should be fine by then.

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