Friday, September 30, 2016

Rick Spielman

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Alabama’s old-school hard hitting inside linebacker is an elite prospect who will be a day one starter in the NFL. Reggie Ragland is a premier run-stopper with exceptional football instinct and IQ.

Reggie Ragland | Linebacker, Alabama

Measurements

Height: 6’1”
Weight: 247 pounds
Year: Senior

At First Glance

SEC Defensive Player of the Year.
Numerous All-American Honors.
BCS National Championship 2015.

Projected Round:

First Round

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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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Illustration by Matt Engstrom

Rick Spielman is a popular man in Minnesota of late. At the very least, with Mike Zimmer as his running mate, he could probably produce some approval ratings that will give any politician a run for their money.

Spielman has done wonders to this Vikings roster in recent years and is quickly earning reputations as a wise spender, talented evaluator of rookie talent, and tricky trader. One thing he doesn’t ever seem to produce, however, are compensatory draft picks, and that could very well be by design.

The formula that allocates compensatory picks is getting less and less secretive as time goes on, but for the next year Vikings fans can ignore the nuances and stick to the simple arithmetic to determine that this team will not recieve any in 2017.

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vikings

Since Luke Inman is in Bangkok (for real, not a euphemism), we called in reliever Austin Belisle (@austincbelisle) of Vikings Territory to give us a few innings of hot Vikings Mock Draft talk. Austin links the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings with a very familiar name at the top, but some fresh blood in the latter rounds including TWO cornerbacks. So tune in as we run through his 7-round Vikings mock and check out his full first rounder on VT.

All that and other “Will Fuller is Not Troy Williamson, Dammit” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

An Andy Carlson Joint

Gambling on Jaylon Smith
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The War Room is a lot like the Roulette table at a casino. Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has all of the power to place his chips where he pleases, but he’s not guaranteed to hit on any of those black and red numbers. If chips are draft picks and the table numbers are prospects, then Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith is the riskiest bet Spielman can make in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Widely considered the draft’s safest prospect during the 2015 college football season, Smith was a near-lock to come off the board within the first five picks of the first round. But a terrifying knee injury ended both his junior season and collegiate career with the Fighting Irish. Smith disappeared from the national spotlight to rehabilitate his knee, making a brief appearance on social media before this year’s Scouting Combine.

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