Saturday, August 27, 2016

john sullivan

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Minnesota Vikings Mankato Training Camp
Photo Courtesy of Luke Inman

The annual dead period between the Saturday morning walk-through and the famous Night Practice is upon us. No worries though as we’ve set up at Boulder Tap House again with Sam Ekstrom (@SamEkstrom), Luke Inman (@Luke_Spinman), and Eric Thompson (@Eric_J_Thompson) to talk a little Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings and what we’ve seen from the squad as they round out their final weekend in Mankato this season. (Note: Eric’s audio kicked out about 3/4 of the way through the show. Ah well.)

All that and other “THIS. IS. NIGHT PRACTICE.” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint

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Mankato Minnesota Vikings

Another picturesque day in sunny and 77 degree Mankato. I welcomed in Josh Zimmer (@JZimmer_NFL) of NGSC Sports and Luke Inman (@Luke_Spinman) in to have a frank and open conversation about the latest happening with the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings as Training Camp draws to a close.

Today’s Topics Include:
• Why Tre Roberson is Impressing
• Trae Waynes Made a Leap in Year 2
• Vikings Have the Deepest Defensive Line Unit in the NFL
• Thoughts on Matt Kalil
• The Great Berger or Sully Debate
• Andre Smith has Locked up the Starting Right Tackle Job
• What Chad Greenway Can Give This Team in 2016
• Who’s Going to be the Backup QB?
• #FreePruitt and #FreeMorganII
• How’s Teddy’s Deep Ball Look?
• Adrian Peterson Looks Like 2007 Adrian
• How Treadwell Can Contribute Early (Even Without Starting)

All that and other “Was That a Bang 8?” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint

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start at center
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The most interesting battle of Vikings training camp is, to me, at center. You know the story; John Sullivan, while never a Pro Bowler, was widely considered one of the top centers in football before the two back surgeries that sidelined him for all of 2015. In his stead, Joe Berger—to that point a utility lineman, used mostly as a backup and spot starter—played not only admirably but at times dominantly, and was (if I may) the lone bright spot on the offensive line last season. He was Pro Football Focus’ second-highest rated center, grading significantly better than household names like Mike Pouncey, Alex Mack, and Max Unger.

So now the dilemma: assuming Sullivan is healthy (and signs point to “yes” in that regard), who starts?

Is the Offensive Line Fixed?
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

This 10-part series focuses on the biggest questions facing the Vikings as they head into Mankato for their training camp festivities. Be sure to answer the first five questions HEREHERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

CAMP QUESTION #6 – MENDED OR MAKESHIFT?

There’s a belief hanging around the Minnesota Vikings that the team will suddenly contend for a Lombardi Trophy. After an offseason of free agent signings and coaching changes, the Vikings appear destined for greatness beyond the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Veterans are returning to full strength, new additions are pushing for starting jobs, and Teddy Bridgewater appears ready to take the next step.

But they won’t have a shot at a Super Bowl if the offensive line is broken. It’s the most crucial question facing the Vikings heading into 2016, and it’s a question that won’t be answered until the regular season begins. General manager Rick Spielman set his roster up to succeed, but it’s on the players at each position to embrace the competition and improve on a disappointing 2015 season.

Old faces, new names, and unknowns make up the 16-man depth chart, which will surely experience changes as the team runs through training camp. A step-by-step walk down the line reveals the strengths, weaknesses, and question marks facing the unit as they prepare for a challenging offseason.

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Top 30 - 20 to 11 - Jerick McKinnon
Photos used courtesy of Andy Kunitis

The Minnesota Vikings have one of the NFL’s most talented rosters, making it difficult to narrow down the team’s top players. But we at Vikings Territory decided to tackle the task anyway, wrangling up some of the best Vikings writers around to help us name the the Top 30. If you missed the first entry of this series, check it out HERE.

Follow the jump for selections 20-11!

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