Sunday, September 25, 2016

Rick Spielman

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Vikings LB Emmanuel Lamur
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer covets versatility, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Sure, the Vikings have swiss army knives like Rhett Ellison and Jerick McKinnon, but it’s on defense where that malleability really shines.

There’s Anthony Barr, former UCLA defensive end, who entered the league two years ago and quickly became one of the NFL’s best outside linebackers. There’s Danielle Hunter, a raw prospect out of LSU who transformed himself into a forceful edge rusher last season. Oh, and don’t forget about Harrison Smith, a hybrid strong/free safety who truly does it all for Zimmer’s defense.

Players at every level can switch positions, move inside or out,  and even stand up or put a hand in the ground; the possibilities are endless in a Zimmer system. Think back to Sharrif Floyd sliding to nose tackle last season, or Brian Robison moving inside on third-and-long situations. Zimmer’s players are expected to adapt to the changing landscape of the NFL, where teams are throwing the football more than ever and consistently lining up with three to five receivers.

With such a desire for scheme flexibility, the signing of former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Emmanuel Lamur in free agency makes perfect sense. Though Lamur’s started just 15 games since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2012, he has the varied experience and athleticism that Zimmer loves. When training camp begins in July, he’ll have a chance to start opposite Barr as the Vikings’ weak side linebacker, potentially adding another dimension to Minnesota’s already excellent unit.

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Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings are guilty… Of having a great offseason so far in free agency as well as retaining their own core guys. With the draft rapidly approaching, Rick Spielman has to decide if he wants to give quarterback Teddy Bridgewater some offensive firepower with a top-tier wide receiver or continue to build on Mike Zimmer’s “Dream Team” Defense. Harrison Smith is F. Lee Bailey.

Friday Free-For-All Talkers Include
• Greg Jennings Wants to Comeback
• Vikings Interested in German Wide Receiver Moritz Böhringer
• 30 Visit Week Rumors
• Caledonia named Minnesota Football Program of the Year by the Vikings
• Teddy and the Offense Working Out Together
• Vikings Preseason Schedule Released

All that and other “Rushford-Peterson >>> Caledonia” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

An Andy Carlson Joint

Do you play it safe or take a risk?

Minnesota Vikings GM Rick Spielman
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The NFL Draft is so exciting because it’s so unpredictable. Players pegged as top-10 draft picks can fall to the second or third round, and teams can make earth-shattering trades that change the landscape of the night’s festivities. For the most part, Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman sticks to a familiar script — accumulate draft picks, trade back when sensible, and use the end of the first round as a fluid space for movement.

This year, however, the Vikings are this close to contending for more than just the NFC North title and a Wild Card playoff berth. A roster flush with talent at almost every position gives the team a chance to be more aggressive come April 28th. Rather than staying put at the 23rd-overall pick, drafting the best available player, or trading back, Spielman can flex his negotiating muscles.

So, the Vikings Territory team tried their hand at such an exercise, concocting scenarios that very well could play out in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. See our answers after the jump!

What’s one surprising and/or unexpected move you could see the Vikings making in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft?

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A lot has happened in the last month or so since I’ve updated my 2016 NFL Mock Draft (such as, you know, free agency) and I am feeling less comfortable with the 23rd pick each time I look at how the first round plays out in various simulations… including mine.

In my two previous versions I mocked the Vikings tight end Hunter Henry and linebacker Darron Lee. I would still be satisfied with either of these prospects joining the Vikings, and both are available when I selected this time around, but I really want to see that grand slam of a pick fall into Spielman’s lap in 2016. I feel like this nearly happened in my mock, but the Houston Texans prevented Laquon Treadwell from sliding all the way to the Vikings.

Treadwell would have been a tremendous value (and might be worth moving up for), but I was still able to add a wide out to Norv Turner’s arsenal in this version of my 2016 NFL Mock Draft.

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vikings

Tough decisions are a hallmark of the NFL Draft. Teams have a position of need and two comparable players on their draft boards available for selection. Manning or Leaf, Luck or RG3, Jameis or Mariota. These watershed moments can change franchises forever.

The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings aren’t selecting at the top of the draft, but the decisions will still weigh the same. We brought out man Luke Inman (@Luke_Spinman) in to walk through some of these potential Sophie’s Choices.

WHO YA GOT? Situations Include:
• 1st Tier Wide Receiver: Laquon Treadwell or Josh Doctson
• 2nd Tier Wide Receiver: Michael Thomas or Tyler Boyd
• 2nd Tier Wide Receiver: Will Fuller or Sterling Shepard
• Linebacker: Darron Lee or Jaylon Smith
• Late 1st Tackle: Jack Conklin or Taylor Decker
• Defensive Tackle Manna From Heaven: Sheldon Rankins or Andrew Billings
• Defensive Tackle Diet Manna From Heaven: Vernon Butler or DJ Reader
• 1st Tier Safety: Karl Joseph, Darien Thompson or Jeremy Cash
• 2nd Tier Safety: Miles Killebrew or Kevin Byard
• Random Late Wide Receiver: Pharoh Cooper or KJ Maye
• Developmental Quarterback: Vernon Adams or Cardale Jones
• Punter: Peter Mortell or Tom Hackett

All that and other “All. Of the Draft Picks. You Have.” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

An Andy Carlson Joint

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