Friday, July 3, 2015

percy harvin

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This week, we decided to go with a more league-wide, open-ended question. All the VT writers had a fun time with this one, and we hope you do too! Please share your own thoughts in the comments and take our poll! 


Adam:
Seattle Seahawks
Two seasons ago the Seahawks won the Super Bowl. Last season they came insanely close. Having the ultra-cheap franchise quarterback for one more offseason certainly won’t hurt their odds of making another championship run. Beast Mode is back, and perhaps no team added a more talented player this offseason than Seattle got in Jimmy Graham. Their Draft wasn’t perfect by personal estimations, but they invested in their offensive line and I think Towson corner Tye Smith could establish himself in the Legion of Boom.

Their offseason was pretty good, but why I think they are the biggest “winner” for 2015 has to do with their biggest nemesis completely imploding. San Francisco’s offseason looks like it was written by George R. R. Martin, and Seattle seemingly has a much easier path to the NFC West throne as a result.

Brent: Miami Dolphins
There a couple of teams who jump to mind with the Vikings, Dolphins and Bills having great offseasons in my opinion. Ultimately, I think the Dolphins have had the best. They signed Ryan Tannehill and Maurkice Pouncey to contract extensions, ensuring some consistency with a young team. They also signed one of the better defenders in the game in Ndamukong Suh in free agency and added promising young receiver Kenny Stills. Within the draft, the Fins added DeVante Parker and Jordan Phillips in the first two rounds and running back Jay Ajayi late. The Dolphins were on the cusp last year, and I think their strong offseason positioned them well for the long term.

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We are another Sunday closer to the 2015 NFL Draft and that means we have another batch of “sleeper” articles lined up for you today.

Wide out Adrian Coxson is a player whose talent and attributes warrant a late selection all on their own, but he also happens to be one of the most interesting stories in this class. In a selfish sort of way, I like that because it gives us something to write about between May and August.

On Draft Weekend, Coxson will be listed as a “Stony Brook” player in his player profiles on your TV screen. The truth is that Stony Brook was his third college program and, unlike many players with similar resumes, his movement around the college scene had nothing to do with getting in trouble.

Percy Harvin and the J-E-T-S are coming to town and the Vikings are trying to remain at least statistically relevant in the playoff hunt.  A late-season run, with a little will-they-won’t-they drama, could be just what this organization needs heading into Mike Zimmer’s second season as head coach.

Here are some great links to keep you busy leading up to kickoff:

 

Every year that Rick Spielman has been with the Vikings has produced at least one ambitious and exciting move.  Sometimes they have been in the form of player trades (Jared Allen and Percy Harvin), free agent signings (Brett Favre), or Draft Day moving and shaking (Matt Kalil and Cordarrelle Patterson).  Even during the seemingly ho-hum offseasons he has produced at least one splash move that gets the fanbase to collectively giggle with glee.

Today’s cuts, as outlined earlier by Arif, are reportedly going to leave the Vikings with a whopping $41 million in cap space.  Meanwhile, Spielman is still armed with a full compliment of draft picks.

Right now, most Vikings fans seem to think they have Spielman pegged, that he will predictably spend conservatively in free agency and explore all options to move around throughout Draft Weekend.  They think he’ll bargain hunt, perhaps throw his new coach a bone by signing Michael Johnson, and then lean on Norv Turner to pick which quarterback prospect to target in May.

I don’t think it’ll be that predictable.

 Patrick Reusse of 1500ESPN.com had this same idea in August 2013 when he compared Christian Ponder to other quarterbacks. Well, now it’s my turn to add two cents and lay some tracks down this Ponder path.

Rich  Gannon had a long 17 year career in the NFL as a quarterback largely due to his mobility and toughness. Ponder reminds me a little bit of Gannon in the fact that he can make plays on the run and doesn’t have the world’s greatest arm.

 Gannon didn’t play much during his first three seasons in Minnesota, but he became the Vikings’ starter in his following three seasons. Gannon was a serviceable quarterback for the Vikings, however his stats in his first 42 starts for the Vikings, Redskins and Chiefs combined were nothing more than average at best. In his first nine years in the NFL, Gannon was 21-21 as a starter completing just 56.6% of his pass attempts while throwing for 49 touchdowns and 44 interceptions with a quarterback rate of 73.8.

Like a fine wine that improves with age, Gannon transformed into a very good quarterback at the age of 32. In his last two seasons at Kansas City and his final six years in Oakland he performed at his best. During that time frame, Gannon had a 55-35 record completing 61% of his attempts and throwing 131 touchdowns with 60 interceptions. Gannon won the NFL’s MVP award in 2002 as he guided the Raiders to the Super Bowl and the top rated offense.

Can Christian Ponder develop into a great NFL quarterback too? If he can hang around the league long enough, I think he has enough skill set to be able to pull off a “Gannon like” MVP season at some point in his career. And as for now, it appears the Vikings want to hold onto Ponder for a little while longer. GM Rick Spielman said Friday that he is anxious to see how Ponder looks under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner this off-season. “Christian will be here; I don’t anticipate anything — him not being here,” Spielman said, via Master Tesfatsion of the Startribune. “Right now we’re looking at quarterbacks, so we would say we don’t have the position solidified. I know Christian does have the physical abilities to do it, but for whatever reason things haven’t come together for him.”

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