Sunday, May 29, 2016

minnesota

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vikings
Image Courtesy of @George_Iloka

ALL Vikings talk on this special cross-over episode of the Purple FTW! Podcast and my new project The Andy Carlson Show. Love talking about all sports and all topics on the new show, but we all know that the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings is my wheelhouse (or at least mediocre wheelhouse).

We talked about upcoming Vikings free agency, what the heck to do with Mike Wallace, and pontificate about my two draft crushes and how Trader Rick can come up with both of them.

If you like what you hear, please feel free to subscribe to the show on iTunes and Stitcher. Love ya!

Today’s Five Things Are
• Free Agency Thoughts Update: We’re Not Signing Osemele
• George Iloka’s Tweet
• Mike Wallace Pay Cut
• Vikings Doing Homework on Cody Whitehair
• Josh Doctson Will Be a Viking

An Andy Carlson Joint

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Earlier today the Vikings announced that they have officially purchased land in Eagan, Minnesota. The land consists of 185 acres and is thought to be where the franchise’s next corporate headquarters will be located.

Along with a new headquarters, the new land could also mean the site of a brand new practice facility and eventually the new home for the team’s training camp. With a brand new stadium set to open later this year, an update to the rest of their facilities would not come as a surprise.

New facilities and a new stadium could make potential free agents forget about the sub-zero Minnesota temperatures and become a member of the Vikings. The Wilfs may have made Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman’s job a whole lot easier.

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We’re looking to shut em down today on this edition of the NFL Draft Forecast with Luke Inman (@Luke_Spinman) — of eDraft and Cold Omaha — as we talk about some hot cornerback prospects to watch heading into NFL Draft season.

This Week’s Prospects Include
• Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
• Vernon Hargreaves, Florida
• Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
• Tre’Davious White, LSU
• Desmond King, Iowa
• Mackensie Alexander, Clemson
• Eric Murray, Minnesota

All that and other “Stiff Hips” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

On Aug. 31, the Vikings claimed former Minnesota Gopher MarQueis Gray off waivers when he was released by Cleveland. Gray immediately took to social media, announcing the news to his Twitter followers:

Despite growing up in Indianapolis, the Twin Cities have become home for Gray.  His wife, stepdaughter and twin sons live in Minnesota, so returning to play for the Vikings is a dream come true for the 24-year-old.

At 6’4″, 240 lbs, Gray proves an extremely versatile player. He played both quarterback and wide receiver while at the U of M, and he was listed as a tight end upon his transition to the NFL.

Gray stepped into a full-time QB role as a junior in Minnesota. In 2010, while still splitting time between positions, Gray started seven games at WR, grabbing 42 catches for 587 yards and five touchdowns. In addition, he tallied 119 rushing yards on 23 carries. Gray demonstrates strong athletic ability for his size. At the 2013 NFL Combine, Gray logged a 4.73-second 40-yard dash, coming in as the fourth fastest QB.

Gray signed with San Francisco as an undrafted free agent, working out as a half back before moving to tight end. He played preseason with San Fran before being cut and then picked up by the Browns. Gray spent the 2013-14 season in Cleveland, in which he got six carries and two catches in 12 games.

If the Gophers alum sticks to the TE position, he will fall into third string behind Kyle Rudolph and Rhett Ellison.

Minnesota released linebacker Larry Dean and offensive tackle Austin Wentworth to clear roster room for Gray and tackle Mike Harris, waived by the Chargers.

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(photo by Chris Price)
(photo by Chris Price)

Last season, Gerald Hodges met criticism for a lack of focus. This season is a whole new story.

There has never been any doubt as to Hodges’ athletic ability. When Minnesota drafted him in the fourth round in 2013, Hodges was coming off his junior season at Penn State. That year he started all 11 games, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches and ESPN.com and second-team accolades by the media. He also was named a Pro Football Weekly honorable-mention. Hodges led the team with 106 tackles (60 solo) and ranked in the top 15 in the Big Ten in hits (eighth) and sacks (14th tie with 4.5).

At 6’2”, 243 lbs, Hodges is a machine of a linebacker. He is a safety convert, which brings its own set of advantages. However, Hodges didn’t stand out as fans hoped he would as a rookie. In an Aug. 3 interview, he explained to ESPN’s Ben Goessling part of the problem:

“Last year, I don’t think I came in as focused [as I should have been],” Hodges said. “I was coming from the combine. I wasn’t studying my plays in as much detail as I’m doing this year. I think last year I was focusing on too much instead of focusing on my job.”

Coming into the 2014 season, Hodges has made some adjustments—including working to be in better physical shape this offseason.

“I just [want] to be as healthy and in shape as I can be,” Hodges said. “I feel as if I’m ready to run around on the field more effectively, able to get to the ball.”

Hodges expressed a confidence in playing the nickel defense, and says his team mentality has improved.

“Each day I come in and work hard […] work on improving the team and improving myself as well.”

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