Friday, April 29, 2016

Mike Zimmer

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Treadwell's Size, Intangibles
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Predictable picks, surprising falls, and a slew of trades kicked off the opening hour of the 2016 NFL Draft. As expected, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz were the first two players off the board. The Dallas Cowboys found their next franchise running back in Ezekiel Elliott. And the Chicago Bears traded up for the first time in 20 years.

But it was the Minnesota Vikings, late in the first round, who stuck to a familiar script and drafted Laquon Treadwell with the 23rd-overall selection. Treadwell fills an obvious need for a team desperate for more explosiveness and production at the wide receiver position. After taking the stage and shaking hands with Commissioner Goddell, Treadwell spoke to NFL Network’s Deion Sanders.

“I’m not upset, I’m honored,” he said after sliding to the bottom half of the first round. “The Vikings, I’m just proud to be part of the Vikings right now. It’s a journey, it’s part of the journey. You have to stay strong and keep fighting.”

And when asked to asess the roster and the Vikings’ current coaching staff, Treadwell voiced extreme optimism. “Sounds like a Super Bowl to me.”

VT QOTW

2016 NFL Draft is Finally Here
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The long hiatus from football is finally over, and in a little under five hours, Roger Goodell will take the stage in Chicago to kick off the 2016 NFL Draft. Fans have waited months for this night, when the 32 NFL franchises jostle, negotiate, and maneuver their way through the first round. Trades will be made, teams will reach for players, and picks will shock the football world — it’s just the cyclical nature of the draft.

Some general managers will surprise, but others, like the Minnesota Vikings’ Rick Spielman, will likely make the most of their limited draft picks. Spielman has an opportunity to make a splash — like drafting a top-tier wide receiver — with the 23rd-overall selection, but he also has seven other picks at his disposal.

At Vikings Territory, we’ve focused on the pick he’ll make tonight, not the players Spielman could draft on Friday and Saturday. So today, we’re each looking ahead and picking one player we believe the Vikings will select at some point this weekend.

Who is one player the Vikings will select in the 2016 draft?

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Sheldon Day returned to Notre Dame for his senior season in 2015 to improve his craft as a disruptive interior force and build upon his leadership skills as a two-time team captain. He wrapped up his college career in fine fashion finishing the year with a Pro Football Focus grade second only to DeForest Buckner among interior lineman. Day is an intriguing prospect that some mock drafts have the Vikings targeting in the mid-rounds.

At 6’1” 296 pounds, Day has been labeled as “undersized” for the NFL. One could even say he is underrated and unappreciated in a draft class loaded with outstanding defensive line talent. Nonetheless, there is no denying that the USA Today first-team All-American is one of the safest and most versatile players in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Where Day lacks in size he more than makes up for with his explosive quickness off the snap and violent hands. He has a non-stop motor with the athleticism to elude blockers with his great lateral movement. Day’s outstanding quickness has most analysts projecting him as an excellent interior pass rusher at the next level. His burst, impressive agility, great closing speed and his relentless attacking effort is certainly fun to watch.

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Vikings Players Address the Media
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Blink and you’ll miss it, but the Minnesota Vikings have been training at Winter Park for over a week now. Lost in the hype for the 2016 NFL Draft is the fact that Vikings players are right in the swing of the annual offseason training program. And today, a handful of names — new and old — spoke to the media for the first time in months.

The hot topic was general manager Rick Spielman’s assertion that the Vikings could deal their first-round selection, the 23rd-overall pick, once the draft begins on Thursday. According to Spielman, two teams have already called about moving up, but the decision to trade likely won’t be made until Minnesota is actually on the clock.

Let’s rewind, though. The draft is less than 48 hours away, and we’re talking about players who aren’t even on the roster yet. For the Vikings currently working out in Winter Park, the offseason  presents an opportunity to focus on improvements and speculate on a potentially exciting future. After a long hiatus from the spotlight, what were some of the best comments from earlier today?

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mock draft

As many Purple FTW! listeners know, I only do one mock draft a year. Mostly due to my lack of expertise and the rest is due to apathy, but it’s Draft week! And as Rick Spielman prepares to be the stone cold boss of the Vikings War Room (probably with one-handed pushups), I offer these humble suggestions for potential prospects straight from my weak and feeble fan brain.

The WTH is Andy Thinking? Picks Are:
1. (23) Josh Doctson, WR TCU – 6-2 202
1. (30)* Karl Joseph, S West Virginia – 5-10 205 (via CAR)
3. (86) Jaylon Smith, OLB Notre Dame – 6-2 233
5. (160) Drew Kaser, P Texas A&M – 6-2 212
7. (240) Moritz Wilhelm Boehringer, WR Germany – 6-4 227 (via BUF)
7. (244) Keith Marshall, RB Georgia – 5-11 219
7. (252)* Justin Zimmer, DT Ferris State – 6-3 292 (via CAR)
*Carolina trades their 1st (30) and 7th (252) for Minnesota’s 2nd (54), 4th (121) and 6th (180)

All that and other “Big Upside” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

An Andy Carlson Joint

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