Thursday, May 26, 2016

Norv Turner

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Cordarrelle Patterson to contribute
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

A few months ago I wrote a quick post about Cordarrelle Patterson. It was about his offseason conditioning, how he was again working out with a man dubbed “Hell’s Trainer” in California. Not an extremely engaging story, since it’s well accepted that Patterson’s inability to get on the field the past two seasons has had much more to do with mental factors than physical ones, but the post sparked an interesting discussion in the comments section. These points that arose have stuck with me, and made me ponder the situation more than I have in the past.

Mandatory disclaimer: I understand the Patterson criticisms. Many of the negative things said and written about his attitude, grasp of the offense, and work ethic have been justified, and I’m certain the coaching staff has at least somewhat legitimate reasons for keeping him off the field. He hasn’t developed as a player—as a receiver—the way they would have liked him to. At times, he has been downright selfish.

But…

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Offense a Priority for Vikings
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has two new potential targets in German wide receiver Möritz Boehringer and UTSA tight end David Morgan II. General manager Rick Spielman focused on offense late in the draft, picking players with very unique skill sets and potential fits in Minnesota.

Boehringer is 6’4,” 229 pounds, and compares athletically to players like Andre Johnson and Cordarrelle Patterson. When asked which receivers he hopes to mold his game after, Boehringer didn’t hesitate to pick two of the NFL’s best.

“A.J. Green and Julio Jones”

Morgan, the first player every drafted from the University of Texas San Antonio, is excited to join a tight ends group that includes Kyle Rudolph, MyCole Pruitt, and Rhett Ellison. “Being able to play in a tight-end heavy offense, how they move a bunch of guys around, it’s going to be awesome,” he said. “I can bring a lot to the table for them.”

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Poll of the Week

Vikings Veterans Have Something to Prove
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings are a relatively young team, buoyed by first and second-year players at multiple positions on both sides of the ball. From Teddy Bridgewater to Eric Kendricks, the roster is stacked with up-and-coming contributors who should remain in purple and gold for years to come. Minnesota’s success hinges on their long-term future with the team, but they’re not the only cogs in the winning machine.

Veterans like Adrian Peterson, Terence Newman, and Phil Loadholt are just as, if not more important to the Vikings’ short-term outlook than the team’s young stars. Chad Greenway, set to play his last season with the Vikings in 2016, recently commented on Mike Zimmer’s unbiased, win-first approach coaching.

“He’s just in your face, and you always know where you stand – good or bad,” Greenway said, per Lindsey Young. “Whether you’re 32 years old or 22 years old, he’s going to have you playing your best football every week. He’s going to continue to get you better no matter where you’re at in your career.”

To Zimmer, age is nothing but a number. Newman led the team with three interceptions last season, Peterson won his third rushing title, and Joe Berger was arguably Minnesota’s best offensive lineman. Father Time hasn’t caught up to many of the Vikings’ veterans yet, and they’ll look to stay ahead of the curve in 2016.

Which veteran — any player over 30 years old — is most important to Minnesota’s winning chances this season?

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The Minnesota Vikings released Mike Wallace due to financial considerations. Mike Wallace signed with the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday due to financial considerations. Anyone that pretends these things don’t come down to money, with few exceptions, is kidding themselves.

With that being said, emotion creeps into our views of our favorite teams, and we attach meaning to the words uttered by those players that are coming or going.

Wallace was a good soldier throughout his one season in Minnesota and was widely praised by the Vikings brass following the season. Upon his official departure, however, Wallace seemingly went out of his way to let his thoughts on Teddy Bridgewater be known.

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The theme of today’s Sleeper Sunday is Big-10 football. This morning, Carl introduced readers to Wisconsin strong safety Michael Caputo. He’s a physical member of the Badgers secondary with a style of play and frame similar to that of Harrison Smith. Now, a look at one of the conference’s best-kept secrets; Indiana running back Jordan Howard.

Jordan Howard — RB, Indiana

Measurements

Height – 6’1″
Weight – 230 lbs.
Age – 21

At First Glance

As a first-year player at Indiana, the junior rushed for 1,213 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2015. Howard was named to the First Team All-Big Ten after the season and was a member of the Doak Walker Award and Maxwell Award Watch Lists. He caught 11 passes for 106 yards for a touchdown and also finished second in the conference with 134.8 rushing yards per game.

Before the 2015 season, Howard had spent two seasons a the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). A two-star recruit in 2013, the Alabama native opted to stay in-state for his collegiate career. There, he rushed for nearly 2,500 yards and scored 15 touchdowns on the ground. In November 2014, UAB disbanded it’s football program and left Howard without a home. Fortunately, other Division 1 schools had kept an eye on the productive running back. With his pick of more than 20 programs, Howard made the decision to replace Tevin Coleman in Indiana. That choice appears to have been the right one.

“I think a lot of us, me and my former teammates we realize it was kind of like a blessing in disguise,” Howard said in October. “It gave us an opportunity to be more in the spotlight and show we can play on any type of level.”

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