Wednesday, May 25, 2016

kyle rudolph

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The Minnesota Vikings added to their haul on Friday by signing free agent tight end Brian Leonhardt, according to his Twitter account.

Leonhardt turns 26 in April and is listed at 6′ 5″ and 255 pounds. He is a native of Minnesota and played his college career at Bemidji State University.

The deal is of the one-year variety and totals $600,000 without any guarantees attached to it, according to the Pioneer Press. This presumably makes Leonhardt an insurance policy, or even a short-term solution, in the event that tight end Rhett Ellison starts the 2016 regular season on the PUP list.

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Minnesota Vikings re-sign Rhett Ellison
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Rhett Ellison flirted with the free agent market, but in the end, found his way home to the Minnesota Vikings. As announced on the team’s official website, the fifth-year tight end re-signed with the Vikings on Tuesday morning. The Vikings also made the Marcus Sherels re-signing official, as the punt returner and special teams ace reportedly returned to the team late last week after visiting the New York Jets.

Sherels signed a two-year, $4 million ($1.5 million guaranteed) deal to remain in Minnesota, and he’ll have zero guaranteed money after the 2016 season. Ellison, who is recovering from a torn patellar tendon suffered in Week 17 last year, reportedly signed a one-year, $2.25 million contract.

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See my entire first 2016 NFL Mock Draft by CLICKING HERE.

Last year, I produced version 1.0 of my mock draft in January and had the Vikings selecting cornerback Trae Waynes 11th overall. I never wavered from that pick, one that would subsequently become very popular and then very unpopular, and repeatedly had the Vikings selecting Waynes in every version of my Mock Draft after that.

Picking 12 spots later, and a much more flexible roster makeup, I am highly unlikely to repeat the boring redundancy that was my 2015 mock drafts.

The pick, of course, ended up being Waynes and it was met with disdain from a healthy portion of Minnesota’s fan base. Many preferred the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year, cornerback Marcus Peters, and others thought that it was a wasted pick. A number of Twitter arguments started with the assertion that Xavier Rhodes, Captain Munnerlyn and Josh Robinson made the first round investment into the cornerback position a waste.

Well, if you’ve been around here for awhile, you know that I care not for your perceived needs when it comes to the NFL Draft and it is equally likely that you’ll care not for my first version of my 2016 NFL Mock Draft.

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[NOTE: This Ryan Malleck Scouting Report is a part of our “Sunday Sleeper” series highlighting some later-round options available to the Vikings on Draft Weekend. It is also a part of our goal to amass as many Vikings slanted scouting reports as possible. To track our constantly growing list of scouting reports you can CLICK HERE. For more great coverage of the NFL Draft please be sure to visit our partners at Draft Season.]

RYAN MALLECK SCOUTING REPORT

Tight End – Virginia Tech

MEASUREMENTS

Height: 6′ 4″

Weight: 256 pounds

Class: Redshirt Senior

AT FIRST GLANCE

Malleck is unlikely to turn heads with his athleticism in Indianapolis this year, but that isn’t going to be what interests NFL teams about the Virginia product. Malleck will attempt to earn his NFL paycheck as a blocking tight end in a rookie class that features very few.

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keeping mike wallace
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Any way you look at it, Mike Wallace’s first season with the Vikings was a disappointment. He was acquired last offseason to be a deep threat for Teddy Bridgewater and, presumably, resemble a number one receiver. Neither really came to fruition; Wallace posted career lows in receiving yards, yards per catch, and touchdowns, and his longest reception was 34 yards. While he did find a workmanlike niche in the offense, there wasn’t a single game in which Wallace made a major splash. In all, it wasn’t the game-changing presence the Vikings had hoped for.

Wallace is signed through 2017, and owed $11.5 million each of the next two years. That would make him the fourth-highest paid receiver in the league for 2017—not exactly a slot that matches his production. For that reason, many Vikings fans are in favor of cutting bait and using the money elsewhere. However, there are plenty of reasons it makes sense to bring the speedy receiver back for 2016. Here are a few:

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