Friday, February 27, 2015
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Rick Spielman

The Vikings signed defensive end Tristan Okpalaugo to the eight-man practice squad joining RB Joe Banyard, G Travis Bond, DT Everett Dawkins, TE Chase Ford, OT Kevin Murphy, WR Rodney Smith and Adam Thielen.

Cornerback Bobby Felder and defensive end D’Aundre Reed were waived/injured and placed on injured reserve after clearing waivers. Both players have ankle injuries sustained in the final preseason game.

Okpalaugo is a 6-foot-4 260 pound defensive end from Fresno State that has the tools to play standing up and with his hand on the ground. The undrafted rookie had a good preseason for the Dolphins racking up 3 sacks, 8 tackles, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery. Okpalaugo is a unique versatile prospect with long arms and explosive leaping ability. He shows good change of direction movement and can drop back into zone coverage and be used in multiple formations.

Okpalaugo was a fan favorite in Miami this preseason, but he was playing one of the deepest positions for the Dolphins. Miami may have been trying/hoping to hide Okpalaugo on thier practice squad, but Rick Spielman will stick it to the Dolphins any chance he gets.

Okay, laughing about a guy’s painful injury and pending surgery is classless.  I just can’t help but think that Rick Spielman, who has never shown us anything to suspect he can be classless (right Antoine?), at least grinned a little as he laid his perfect head of hair on his pillow tonight.

News has broken that Percy Harvin, recently traded to Seattle for a bunch of draft picks, will require surgery on his torn labrum and is likely going to miss significant time this offseason.  The news will calm the nerves of some Vikings fans who felt Cordarrelle Patterson was not an adequate replacement for Harvin, while also making Spielman look like a damned genius.

While we can allow ourselves to be mildly entertained by this saga, and perhaps even give Spielman an extra exuberant high-five, PFT reports it wasn’t quite the heist we think it was.  Well, it was, but it wasn’t on purpose.  They say that Harvin was “100%” when the Seahawks traded for him, and that the injury he now faces was a result of offseason workouts.

While Spielman may not have swindled Seattle, he did swindle Seattle… just in a more ethical way.  In the end, this trade could end up going into the history books with a similar stigma as the Poison Pill fiasco and Walker Trade, especially if Harvin is never again able to regain the spark he had for four years in Minnesota, which is entirely possible with an injury of this nature.

In all seriousness, we wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him back in action soon.  The Vikings play Seattle in Week 11, however, so maybe he should consider giving that labrum some extra rehab time and sideline himself until at least December.

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Back in March, the Minnesota Vikings traded versatile wide receiver Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks. At that time, the trade was somewhat polarizing to Vikings fans. Some people thought that Harvin was too much of an offensive weapon to part ways with. Others felt that the compensation was more than enough for a player who has struggled with injuries throughout his career and was not a true number one wide receiver. Only time would tell if Rick Spielman & Co. made the right decision in trading away Harvin.

That time may have come sooner than anyone anticipated.

Originally reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Percy Harvin has a “slight tear” in the labrum, a ring of tissue that lines the outside rim of the hip joint socket. ProFootballTalk later learned that the injury could result in Harvin having to undergo surgery.

Harvin and the Seahawks are going to be seeking a second opinion before deciding to have surgery.

In a press conference Thursday, head coach Pete Carroll told media, “We need to get more information right now. We don’t know enough right now. We will just have to wait and see. The good part is it’s really early. We have a long time to get him ready… We have to be really diligent about the process right now.”

If Percy Harvin does require surgery, the Seahawks shiny new acquisition could be sidelined for quite some time this season, leaving Rick Spielman and Vikings management on top for choosing not to maintain Harvin’s services.

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The final minicamp practice on Thursday signaled the beginning of the darkest period of the NFL offseason, with more than a month’s time between now and the start of training camp, and Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier wants his players to stay on the right track.

It has been almost a full year since I was visiting reader Fran the Man at his Alaskan lodge and we simultaneously dropped our jaws in disbelief upon hearing the news of Adrian Peterson’s arrest in a Houston club.  The good news is those charges seemed bogus and were eventually dropped, and the better news is that it is the last time a Vikings player is known to have been in trouble.

“Just reminded them about the things they’ve got to get done in this time away,” Frazier said of his send off speech, “and remember that they represent us in their hometowns or wherever they travel at, that we all represent one another, and take care of their bodies.”

Frazier and G.M. Rick Spielman seem to be putting together a squad of high character guys that are focused on becoming champions.  Time and again we have heard Frazier preach to his players that none of them want to be “that guy.”

Provided the circus-like atmosphere surrounding New England right now, thanks to their star tight end getting himself embroiled in a murder case, it is refreshing to have an offseason where the biggest controversy involves an activist punter.

Stay out of trouble, Vikings.  We are all looking forward to seeing you play on Sundays this year.

Jared Allen’s contract situation isn’t keeping him awake at night, and neither are any lingering injuries, and he says he is now getting the best sleep he’s had in years.  This is important because Allen is the only Viking that has yet to make an appearance at the OTA practices that took place this week.

“I’m excited to be playing ball and especially I’m excited to be healthy this year. That’s the biggest thing,” he told SiriusXM via Scout.com. “My contract has been so far out of mind because I’m finally able to train this year. My shoulder is back. I didn’t know how rehab was going to be, this being the first surgery I’ve ever had. I’m just excited that my strength is coming back; I’m sleeping again at night. Two years of not sleeping very well, it wears on you.”

Allen spent the week celebrating his anniversary and Leslie Frazier says, according to the Pioneer Press, that Allen will join his teammates after this weekend.

Earlier this offseason, Allen said he would be “out the door” if the Vikings approached him about a pay cut, and so it appears he is perfectly content entering the final year of his contract without any guarantees that extend into 2014 or beyond.

“I’m not hostile. I love the Minnesota Vikings. They got me out of a situation in Kansas City where I was very unhappy and put a lot of faith in me,” Allen said. “The whole point is I don’t worry about my contract, and I don’t. I’ve always been a person that says my play will take care of everything else. ”

“As long as I perform on the football field, you have options in front of you,” he continued. “As far as where I’ll end up, I don’t know. I’m playing this year for this year. I loved being a Viking. I love being a Viking. I want to win a Super Bowl as a Viking.”

Injuries have been cited as a contributor to Allen’s “down year” in 2012, but he still registered 12 sacks and played well enough to not yet be a candidate to be put out to the pasture that Rick Spielman has been sending plenty of veterans to lately.  Considering the young defensive end talent on this team, Allen’s potential contract demands, and the huge dip in value placed on veteran pass rushers this offseason, it is reasonable to wonder if this season will be his last as a Viking.

For now, however, a healthy Jared Allen has plenty of financial motivation to couple with his desire to win a Super Bowl and that is a pretty good formula for short-term success.

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