Thursday, December 14, 2017

mike adams

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Minnesota Vikings
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Week 14: Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers

The Vikings (10-2) will travel to Charlotte, North Carolina this weekend to take on Panthers (8-4) at Bank of America Stadium. The game is Sunday at noon (CST).

The showdown will be a battle between two top-10 defenses.

Earlier in the week, we looked at how the teams stacked up by numbers. Now, let’s focus on the individual matchups that will be crucial in determining the game’s outcome.

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Vikings Bookends Need To Stay Off The Shelf

Under head coach Mike Zimmer, the Minnesota Vikings have quietly become one of the best NFL teams on paper. In reality, the defense is legitimate. Last season the Vikings ranked third in the NFL in total defense.

Today, three of the team’s best defenders are the beneficiaries of contract extensions, making them Vikings for life. Furthermore, the Vikings offense, which sputtered last season, now has the personnel to establish a refreshing new identity, post Adrian Peterson.

So, what could keep this ‘great’ team from reaching the playoffs and making a run at Super Bowl 52 in their home state? The Vikings’ Achilles heel…the offensive line.

Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard once looked like a possible first round pick.  With the possible ability to switch over to safety at the next level, he was often connected to the Vikings second round pick in many mock drafts a few months back.

His draft stock has been on a slide ever since he had an unremarkable Senior Bowl week and NFL Scouting Combine.  Now, however, it seems that he could slide clear out of the Draft all together.

Dennard was reportedly arrested, now just days before the NFL Draft takes place, in Nebraska for allegedly assaulting a police officer.  Police say that a 2:00 a.m. bar fight resulted in police intervention which ended up seeing Dennard shove an officer and then punching the officer in the face.  It took four officers to restrain and arrest Dennard.

While Dennard and defensive end Everson Griffen could surely have fun comparing stories, he is clearly not of the character that one should purposely seek out in the NFL Draft until the prospect falls far enough to make the risk potentially worthwhile.

Speaking of prospects that could be on the Vikings radar getting into trouble, Ohio State tackle Mike Adams reportedly tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Scouting Combine.  Keep in mind that the Vikings are the same franchise that drafted Percy Harvin despite the same pre-Draft reports coming out about him and they are the same organization that brought drug trafficking felon Jerome Simpson in for a visit on 4/20.  Still, the report will not help Adams’ chances of being drafted in the first round, by the Vikings at 35, and could even help the case for seeing the Vikes draft Matt Kalil at the three spot.

Oh, and just to continue the theme of this post:  Vontaze Burfict is still an idiot.

Owner and CEO of the Indianapolis Colts Jim Irsay is suddenly no stranger to the “Quarterback Carousel” game that haunts many NFL teams.

For the first time in a very long time, he has had to evaluate this Draft class’ top quarterback prospects after giving away the identity of his franchise, Peyton Manning.  While it is widely expected that Irsay and company will ultimately select Stanford star Andrew Luck with the first overall pick, he recently made comments about Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill that would suggest the Vikings will at least receive some inquiries about the availability of the third overall selection.

Irsay’s recent tweet said, “Tannehill is a hidden gem in this draft, a quiet secret who was always sneaking up to want him, you better talk to Zigi The Biggie!”

Former Colts G.M. Bill Polian also took to the airwaves to suggest that the path to Tannehill will run through the third overall selection.  He predicted that the Miami Dolphins would trade up to the third spot giving the Vikings their eighth overall selection, their second rounder, and their third rounder to secure Tannehill.

Since trade speculation is starting to pick , Brett and I, who have somewhat different opinions on the topic, decided to create a debate post to start the conversation. We hope it will continue into the comments section with opinions from you all.

According to this post-lockout chart, the Vikings third overall selection is worth 401.3 points of value.  The eighth overall pick (318 points), second round pick (159.1), and third rounder (119.4) total 596.5 as a package which suggests the Vikings would be getting the better end of the deal.

Okay, on to the debate!

For the most part, the Senior Bowl’s North Team looked a lot like what you would expect after watching the Vikings in 2011.

They played pretty conservatively, had solid defensive line play, questionable quarterback play, and defensive backs that really struggled to tackle well.

The big difference between Frazier’s performance in 2011 with the Vikings and his performance on Saturday in Mobile:  he won.

Mike Shanahan’s South Team boasted more potential first round talent than Frazier’s squad, but the final score of 23-13 left Frazier smiling.

There were a number of interesting performances during the game, despite the widely accepted notion that the practices this week told scouts more about players than the actual contest, and it was Cincinnati running back Isaiah Pead that stole the show and earned MVP honors.

Pead’s two second half punt returns, one of which went for 60 yards, allowed him to stand out more than any other player. 

“(Coach) told me what the punt return call was, left, right or in the middle, and told me to make sure I set my blocks up or the play would be dead,” said Pead after his 98 punt return yards set a Senior Bowl record. “I tried to do that the best that I could. The rest was just ability.”

Pead also led the team in rushing with 31 yards on eight carries.

“I think he may have opened some eyes,” Frazier said of Pead. “Some people may have wondered if he can do certain things. I think he may have answered some questions today.”

A few other players really peaked my interest with their performances.  One of those players was Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner.  He had seven tackles, one of which was for a loss, a broken up pass, and an interception during the contest.  He could be a solid addition to the Vikings group of linebackers, especially if still available in the third round.

Ohio State tackle Mike Adams could be on the Vikings radar after a fantastic week and very strong game.  He would be a consideration if they do end up trading backwards from the number three spot.  Mitchell Schwartz, another impressive tackle, played a very strong game and could be a consideration when the Vikings make their second round selection.

Wide receivers Joe Adams out of Arkansas and Juron Criner from Arizona showed some solid attributes on Saturday, as well.  Both could help the Vikings fill out the receivers squad if available in round three or later.

Overall, it was a fun contest to watch, and it was good to see Frazier and company get a win.  Nobody should overreact to the performances they saw, but when combined with the game tape already on file, there were certainly some telling moments this week.

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