Sunday, February 1, 2015
Tags Posts tagged with "marvin mitchell"

marvin mitchell

The linebacker is largely considered to be the most glaring need for the Minnesota Vikings as April’s Draft edges closer, but their decision to bring back veteran Marvin Mitchell on Tuesday helps provide them with an insurance plan in case the instant-starter they surely covet in the first two rounds next month doesn’t pan out.

Mitchell signed a one year deal with the Vikings after spending 2012 with the team as a special teams contributor and a two-week starter in place of the injured Erin Henderson.  In those two weeks Mitchell made four tackles, and added five tackles plus a forced fumble on special teams over the course of the year.

Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson are expected to return as starters at their respective outside linebacker spots, but the drama lies in the middle after previous starter Jasper Brinkley was allowed to leave via free agency this offseason.  Mitchell joins a depth chart that includes Audie Cole, Tyrone McKenzie, and Larry Dean.

According to Dan Wiederer of Access Vikings, the team “has not closed the door” on the possibility of Cole competing for the remaining starting spot.  Cole, a seventh round selection last year out of North Carolina State, made his biggest splash last season when he returned interceptions for touchdowns on back-to-back plays against the Buffalo Bills.  He was inactive for 11 games in 2012 and registered no stats, but you have to remember that receiver Jarius Wright was also kept inactive as a rookie until Percy Harvin’s injury forced the Vikings to play him, and he now figures to be a key part of the offense.

The Vikings have reportedly flirted with the idea of bring in Brian Urlacher, which I thought made no sense, but have otherwise not let word leak about any interest in other possible linebackers.  Larry Grant and Karlos Dansby are a few free agents still available that might make sense, but it otherwise looks like the Vikings will be looking to the Draft for that guy capable of leading their defense.

I currently have the Vikings drafting Manti Te’o in the first round of my Mock Draft.

[NOTE:  Click the links to see our free agency rankings for quarterbacks, running backs, fullbacks,tight ends, centers, guards, offensive tackles, wide receivers, safeties, and cornerbacks.  We’ll continue our way through all of the positions this week.]

Outside of Chad Greenway on the strong side, the Vikings have reached somewhat of a crossroads at the linebacker position.  Jasper Brinkley and Erin Henderson were not the world’s best starters at their respective positions in 2012, and each are scheduled to be free agents next month along with backup Marvin Mitchell.

I wouldn’t be shocked if the Vikings re-signed one or both of their starters at some point this offseason, but there are also plenty of opportunities to think about outside of the current roster.  The Draft has some interesting prospects, but free agency also contains some plausible options:

Top Tier

Perhaps the best linebacker set to be a free agent is one coming from our rivals in Green Bay.  Brad Jones filled in very well for the injured Desmond Bishop last season, and it is clear that he should remain a starter somewhere.  He could be a solid fit for the Vikings in the middle, and stealing from a divisional foe is always and added bonus.

It can be hard to spot decent individual talent on the Riaders, but weakside linebacker Phillip Wheeler earned himself a decent contract by sticking out during Oakland’s miserable season.

The Ravens already know that Ray Lewis is a goner, so that makes it even more crucial to re-sign Dannell Ellerbe, who was one of the NFL’s better linebackers this season.

With the starting duo staying healthy this season Larry Grant of the Niners did not get to see extensive action like he did in 2011.  Still, if Grant can go elsewhere and play like he did two seasons ago as a starter, then he will soon be name hear a lot about.

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Here are your inactives for today’s game in the Dome:

Vikings:  QB Bethel-Thompson, WR Harvin, CB Burton, LB Mitchell, OL Asper, TE Reisner, and DT Guion.

Lions:  S Delmas, S Spievey, T Fox, T Hilliard, WR Robiskie, DT Williams, and QB Moore

While the Vikings will be without the multi-talented Percy Harvin, the Lions have plenty of health issues of their own, especially on defense.

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The inactives list for today’s game:

VIKINGS:  Quarterback Bethel-Thompson, receiver Wright, safety Sendejo, safety Raymond, linebacker Mitchell, offensive lineman Asper, and defensive end Reed.

There is nothing here, really, that should take us by surprise.  We knew last night that Mitchell’s new injury would be keeping him out today, which makes the return of Erin Henderson even more important.  Wright continues to be inactive this season, joining Greg Childs as an unproductive receiver draft pick from this offseason (Childs went out for the season with a preseason injury).

TITANS:  Quarterback Locker, running back Harper, linebacker Bailey, offensive lineman Otto, guard Lutui, receiver Hawkins, and defensive end Solomon.

The first thing you should notice is that star receiver Kenny Britt will indeed be active today, despite earlier reports to the contrary.  Britt hasn’t practiced in a few weeks, but apparently is ready to go despite suffering a setback earlier this week.

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In Sunday’s game against Chris Johnson and the Titans, Minnesota will get one linebacker back from injury while another will have to sit because of a new injury.

Mike Wobschall of Vikings.com reports that Erin Henderson is sure to return from a concussion that kept him on the sidelines the last two games, while Marvin Mitchell will be inactive after suffering a calf injury during Wednesday’s practice.

Backups Audie Cole and Tyrone McKenzie are both expected to be active to provide depth in Mitchell’s absence.

Middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley is going to be staying on the field in nickel packages which isn’t too surprising considering how well he has been playing in Henderson’s absence.  Frazier explains that Henderson could eventually work his way back into the nickel package, but it won’t be this week.

“Yeah we’re going to keep Jasper at the nickel mike for the time being,” Frazier said. “He’s done a good job there. Give Erin a chance to kind of get his legs back under him and then we’ll revisit it later on. Jasper has done a good job so we have a lot of confidence in what he’s accomplished so far.”

Okay, now go back to putting on your Colts jersey… we’ll see you in a few hours.

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