Tuesday, April 28, 2015
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NFL

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(photo credit: Vikings.com)

In a text message sent to ESPN, Minnesota Vikings fullback Jerome Felton announced Tuesday afternoon that he has opted out of his contract for 2015.

Felton signed a three-year contract following the 2012 season—the deal was worth $7.5 million. According to ESPN, he was given the opportunity to opt out before the 2015 season in exchange for his “willingness to restructure his deal for 2014.”

Does this guarantee that No. 42 will not be in purple for 2015? Not necessarily.

Felton expressed a positive attitude toward the Vikings, acknowledging that he was treated well and “parted on good terms.” At this point, Felton is saying that he is open to the idea of returning to Minnesota—especially if Adrian Peterson is part of the team.

Photo Credit: Joe Lemke (used with permission)

Since being drafted No. 17 in the 2006 NFL Draft, Chad Greenway has been a Minnesota Viking.

In a Nov. 2012 interview, Greenway expressed that he hoped to play the entirety of his career in purple and gold:

“I certainly want to retire a Viking […] I’d love to just play it out here and be able to have an entire tenure in Minnesota.”

Two years later, Greenway’s leadership, comradery and positive attitude in the locker room continue to be an asset to the team; his contribution on the field upheld its reputation, as well. Greenway missed four games due to injuries this season; in the 12 that he started, however, the linebacker tallied 93 tackles. According to league stats, he leads the NFL since 2007, with 984 tackles.

Greenway’s loyalty to Minnesota and athleticism have not changed; but there is no denying that other things have—namely, younger, talented players making an impact on the roster. As the Vikings packed up their gear and prepared to head into the offseason, Greenway demonstrated no sense of urgency to clear out his locker.

For No. 52, there is some uncertainty if he will return to this locker room next season.

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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Adam Thielen is, without a doubt, one of the most talked-about guys in Mankato this year. He impressed early on in training camp, and after Friday’s first preseason game, the buzz only increased.

“[Adam]’s a guy that has a lot of toughness, a lot of heart,” head coach Mike Zimmer said during Sunday’s press conference. “He wants to make the football team, and he’s giving his best effort to do it. Guys like him—you can win a lot of football games with guys like him.”

Thielen entered his second year ready to make an impression, and he certainly has. His explosiveness, agility and reception accuracy spoke for itself on the practice field, but the receiver stepped onto TCF Field and proved he is ready for the real stuff.

The Vikings mic’d Thielen for the game, so television viewers could listen in on bits and pieces of the game experience. He laughed, admitting he occasionally forgot that he was wired up. “It was a really different experience, but it was great.” *

Special teams coach Mike Priefer utilized Thielen for punt coverage and returns, and the WR hit the ground running—literally. After Oakland went three and out on its first possession, Thielen fielded Marquette King’s punt and ran for three yards before being tackled at the 30. He immediately jumped up, pumping his arms in a gesture of equal excitement and frustration.

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

In the second full week of training camp, Vikings players appeared energized and ready to rock during the Monday morning walk-through. The practice was a shorter one, having been adjusted last minute to a special teams’ walk-through only.

Zach Line was the first one on the field.

He appeared calm but energized, taking the field and chatting with fellow fullback Jerome Felton. When coaches sorted the group, pulling guys to participate in various drills, it appeared Line fell most closely into the second-string roster—definitely a positive position for the SMU alum.

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