Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Stefon Diggs

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VT Roundtable - Episode 3
Image courtesy of Brett Anderson

We’re back for another edition of the VT Roundtable! If you missed the first and second episodes, be sure to check them out on our YouTube channel.

This week, we welcomed friend of the site and all-around good guy Luke Inman to the show. If you don’t know Luke, he’s Vikings Twitter’s draft guru and one of the brightest football minds around.

He’s on Twitter at @Luke_Spinman, but if you’d like to read or listen to his work, check out Zone Coverage. This week, we picked Luke’s brain on a variety of topics, from Joe Mixon’s draft stock to the Vikings’ biggest needs heading into the climax of the offseason.

Watch it all unfold after the jump!

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Free Agent WR Rod Streater
Image courtesy of 49ers.com

The Minnesota Vikings kept one of their own in Adam Thielen this offseason, and yet, wide receiver remains a position of need heading into 2017. Despite retaining the ever-underrated Thielen, the Vikings watched Cordarrelle Patterson and Charles Johnson skip town for greener pastures.

Earlier this week, head coach Mike Zimmer addressed the exodus and expressed his desire to add more talent at the position. “I do think we need some more receivers, yes,” Zimmer said, per Vikings.com. “I think it’d be important for us to get some guys that can stretch the field a little bit.”

One of those potential targets is Rod Streater, who Chris Tomasson reports is on Minnesota’s radar. Tomasson tweeted this afternoon the Vikings are “looking at Streater,” who spent the 2016 season with the San Francisco 49ers. The Seahawks, Browns, Colts, and 49ers are also in the mix, per Tomasson.

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Vikings' Pursuit of Alshon Jeffery
Image courtesy of Vikings

Can the unexpected disappoint? It’s a question I asked myself this afternoon as I watched tweet after tweet declare Alshon Jeffery a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Not more than an hour earlier, I’d heard—in real-time, with my own ears—Ian Rapoport interrupt a live NFL Network broadcast to break some unforeseen news: the Minnesota Vikings were “all in” on acquiring the free agent receiver from rival Chicago.

Mind you, I’m pretty even-keel,but Rapoport’s mention of “Minnesota” and “Jeffery” in the same breath nearly elicited a coffee-spitting reaction. I’d seen the receiver torch the Vikings as a member of the Bears, but not once did I imagine he’d potentially end up in purple and gold.

And not only were the Vikings pursuing Jeffery; general manager Rick Spielman was making a “strong push” to snag the star receiver away from the Bears, the Eagles, and the Colts.

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Where Do the Vikings Head From Here
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

[In part one of this three-part series, Austin Belisle and Brett Anderson team up to put together an in-depth offseason plan for the Minnesota Vikings.]

Football, more than any other sport, is an unpredictable game. A loose ball, a tipped pass, a broken tackle; the slightest shift in momentum or circumstance can flip competition on its head. Franchises prepare for the random nature of the game, but often fall victim to factors they can’t control.

Such was the case for the Minnesota Vikings in 2016. From Teddy Bridgewater’s knee injury to the merry-go-round at offensive line, the team struggled to bounce back in the face of adversity. Players on the defensive side of the ball underperformed, turmoil forced a turnover on the coaching staff, and Mike Zimmer’s eye blurred Minnesota’s season outlook.

Combined, the weekly distractions and diversions were too much for the Vikings to overcome. They stalled to an 8-8 finish after starting the season 5-0; missing the playoffs just one year removed from winning the NFC North. Like any team in the NFL, the Vikings had one end-goal in mind: the Super Bowl. But dreaming of a Lombardi Trophy and winning the actual game are two different things.

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Cordarrelle Patterson
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Welcome to the next installment of our Vikings Free Agency Primer series: the wideouts. Check out our other primers on tight ends, defensive ends, cornerbacks, safeties, and the quarterbacks.

For the first time in ages, the Vikings head into free agency with very little attention paid to the wideout position. However, the group is full of question marks, and sometimes, question marks equate to surprising moves.

One of those question marks is how new wide receivers coach Darrell Hazel views the group he is inheriting, with the somewhat surprising departure of George Stewart leaving us to wonder what sort of circumstances he is walking into exactly.

We don’t know enough about the inner-workings of Winter Park to know the details of what led to this coaching change, or how the current staff views its players, but we do know the team has a number of situations to address: a first-rounder that barely played football in 2016; a relatively expensive veteran that seemed to be in the dog house in 2016; and a pending free agent whose best value comes on special teams.

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