Sunday, July 24, 2016

Rick Spielman

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This list began four weeks ago with 30 players on the Minnesota Vikings 2016 roster. It is now time to reveal the final five players that ranked at the very top of this illustrious countdown.

A big thanks goes out to all of the writers that participated in the creation of this list. Without everyone’s consistent contribution, this series would not have had a chance of being put together.

Before continuing to read, it is recommended to check out parts one, two, and three of this list in order to get a full perspective of how the writers featured in this series feel about the Vikings roster for the upcoming season.

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2011 NFL Draft

[Editor’s Note: Taking the week off to head down to Podcast Movement! But I wanted to leave you guys with some content to get you through this desert of football news with one of our most downloaded episodes ever. Please enjoy and I’ll catch you next week. -Andy]

Hindsight is 20/20. That’s why we jumped in our DeLorean and went back to save the Vikings from themselves in 2011. There was a run on quarterbacks early in the first round and de facto GM Rick Spielman panicked and overdrafted Christian Ponder at #12. He did hit on Kyle Rudolph in the 2nd and Brandon Fusco in the 6th, but I think we can do a touch better with hindsight and our time machine.

Come along with Purple FTW! as we redo the Vikings 2011 Draft!

Other 1.21 Gigawatts Talking Points Include:
• The Rules of Time Travel
• Remembering the 2010 Vikings (For some reason)
• 2011 Refresher: Frazier, Musgrave, Pagac… LET’S GO!

The Original 2011 Draft Picks
1 (12) – Christian Ponder – QB – Florida State
2 (43) – Kyle Rudolph – TE – Notre Dame
3rd Round Pick went to New England in the Moss Trade (They Took Mallett) #74
4 (106) – Christian Ballard – DE/DT – Iowa
5 (139) – Brandon Burton – CB – Utah
6 (168) – DeMarcus Love – OT – Arkansas
6 (170) – Mistral Raymond – S – USF
6 (172) – Brandon Fusco – C – Slippery Rock
6 (200) – Ross Homan – LB – Ohio State
7 (215) – D’Aundre Reed – DE – Arizona
7 (236) – Stephen Burton – WR – West Texas A&M

• Who I picked instead (Spicy one in the 5th round)
• The real-vs-Andy 2011 Vikings Depth Chart
• The Andy 2015 Vikings Depth Chart (The Secondary is STACKED)

All that and other “Joe Webb signs a big time free agent deal so we can still draft Teddy!” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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Harrison Smith

Harrison Smith is the best kept secret in the NFL. He’s the most complete safety in the league, yet is continually over-looked for accolades and by the national media. Maybe they’ll take notice now that Dirty Harry is the highest paid (by per year average) safety after inking a 5-year, $51.25M deal with $28.578M guaranteed. Now it’s time for Harry to earn that cheddar and he seems more than ready to justify the #Faith shown by the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings.

Today’s Topics Include
• Harrison Smith Got PAID (Rightfully So)
• What’s Going On with Anthony Barr?
• Edmond Robinson Getting 1st Team Reps
• Don’t Count Out Charles Johnson Yet
• SI’s Doug Farrar Has High Praise for the Vikings Defense
• Pressure is On Trae Waynes
• Could Brandon Fusco Be Cut?
• Could This Be Kyle Rudolph’s Last Season in Purple?
• Aaron Rodgers Gave Up Cheese
#MoreThanWords Update

All that and other “Harrison Has More Equity Than Me Now” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

An Andy Carlson Joint

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NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks recently released his list of the 10 most talented teams in 2016, and believe it or not, the Vikings made his top five.

Brooks ranks the teams based upon how many “blue-chip players” are on the roster, which are those regarded as “among the top players in the NFL at their respective positions.” He says “championship teams usually have around eight to 10 blue-chip players on the roster.”

Brooks lists Adrian Peterson, Kyle Rudolph, Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen, Anthony Barr, Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith as blue-chip players that should help the Vikings be one of the heavyweight contenders in the NFC.

Not only do the Vikings have a solid core of blue-chip players, but GM Rick Spielman and Head Coach Mike Zimmer are also collecting a growing list of rising young talent.

Acquiring too much talent is never a bad thing for an NFL franchise, that is as long as you’re not a player dangerously close to the 53-man cut bubble.

The Vikings’ coaching staff may need to burn some late-night oil when they begin the process of narrowing this talent-rich team down to the top 53 players. With OTA’s in full swing and the competition process ramping up for training camp, here are six prominent players who might find themselves in peril of losing their roster spots.

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Spielman's best and worst moves
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

(Note: This is a two-part series. The second part focuses on Spielman’s worst moves. For part one, an analysis of the best moves, click here.)

I came into this exercise fairly objectively—while I’ve always been a fan of Spielman overall, I don’t think his work has been infallible. Just before this year’s draft I had a quick online discussion with The Sportive Podcast’s “Clarence Swamptown”—one of Minnesota’s foremost Spielman detractors (at least on Twitter)—and he made some good observations of where the Vikings GM has gone wrong. The conversation gave me some perspective and helped balance the voice of a fanbase that can be overwhelmingly pro-Spielman at times. I will say, though, in the end, I found this two-part series weighted more heavily in favor of the “Best Moves” half. Spielman’s list of worst moves, at least for me, was thinner and more difficult to scrounge together; there were far less blatant failures than there were slam dunks. Perhaps that’s the nature of personnel in the NFL—for example, if you draft a player in the first round, that probably means he’s talented and has a good shot to succeed, so hitting on first-rounders should be the norm, not the exception. Regardless, as you’ll read in the descriptions below, I struggled with this list.

I imagine Swamptown would respond with something to this effect: Spielman’s biggest failures are consistent, smaller whiffs, rather than grandiose, headline grabbing ones (please correct me if I’m wrong, Clarence). And that type of failure—ill-fated mid-round picks, smaller name free agents that didn’t work out, etc.—is probably as important in contributing to a team’s success as the big splashes. It just doesn’t translate as well to a list like this.

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