Sunday, July 5, 2015

visanthe shiancoe

Howdy, everybody. It’s been kind of slow as far as Vikings news goes the past couple days. Nevertheless, we wanted to supply everyone with some of our favorite articles of the week during this little dry spell. So, here we go:

First things first, Donovan McNabb is hilarious. First he proclaims that Robert Griffin III isn’t going to work out in Washington. Now, in response to the declaration that Tim Tebow is the most criticized quarterback in the NFL, McNabb vehemently insisted that, in fact, he [himself] is.

Chris Kluwe is getting his #5 jersey back.

Rick Spielman recently did a pretty lengthy, insightful interview with PFT Live. Check it out.

And then, for some analysis on Spielman’s various interviews and smokescreens, the Vikings Age has a nice little article wondering if Spielman maybe tipped his hand on Kalil.

Could someone really want to come up and take the Vikings #3 spot for Ryan Tannehill?! Some believe it is quite possible.

There were some rule changes decided upon at the recent Owner’s meeting. Still no 18 game season, though.

Ugh… Is this stadium issue ever going to end? I know you have heard it before, but it seems like it is closer than ever with things supposedly ramping up this week in the House of Representatives.

Check out who the Vikings have scheduled private workouts with so far. What, no receivers?

Much like we did a few days ago, The Vikings Age have put together their own report card of sorts for how the Vikings (and Spielman) have done so far this offseason.

I’m going to miss Visanthe on this team. Here’s a short video of him recently signing autographs for fans (a goodbye of sorts) and answering a few questions (including how he feels about Darren Sharper and the bounty scandal, if he “Twitters from the throne”, and more).

Now that we are officially in draft month, check out the most recent Mock Draft of Walter Football. It includes five full rounds so you can see more than the [inevitable] Kalil selection.

And finally, an official announcement: Vikings Territory will be participants in the best community Mock Draft on the internet right now representing the Minnesota Vikings along with two other “GMs”. You can check out the previous mocks (we’ll be #MockThree) at the #MockOne website. We’ll have more info and details on this as it starts up.

 

Once upon a time, I would get ridiculed on an annual basis for drafting Seahawks tight end John Carlson about four rounds too early in my fantasy league.  I would get laughed out of the room, in fact.

“Quit it, you guys,” I would whine.  “He’s got the potential and skill set to be the best tight end in the NFL, mark my words.”

Umm, yeah… he was usually on the waiver wires by week six.

Now, Rick Spielman finds himself on the defensive as a result of a very similar move, except the stakes are much higher.

News is spreading the Vikings have signed Carlson to a five year deal worth $25 million, with $11 million of that being guaranteed.  The move will put former Notre Dame stars Carlson and Kyle Rudolph atop the tight end depth chart in Minnesota for years to come.

A Minnesota native, Carlson was selected 38th overall by the Seahawks in 2008.  He got off to a good start, playing in all 16 games of his rookie season and catching 55 passes for 627 yards and five scores.

In his second season, he started all 16 games and caught 51 passes for 574 yards and seven touchdowns.  In 2010, the poor condition of Seattle’s offensive line meant Carlson spent a lot more time being a blocker in the offense, and his production dipped down to 31 catches, 318 yards, and only one score.

In 2011, Carlson missed the entire season due to a torn labrum.

Now, as you can tell from the opening paragraphs of this article, I think Carlson has the potential to be a star and I went so far as to single him out in my Offseason Preview of the tight ends.  However, I concluded that segment with the following warning:

“I think patience will have to be key here.  The Vikings cannot panic and overpay or reach on a Draft choice to fill their needs at tight end.

Building around Rudolph should involve nabbing a few players that present the team with low cost.  They cannot panic and offer a ton of money to Shiancoe.  They cannot panic and overpay a free agent.  They cannot panic and reach on a guy in the Draft.”

Some might view this signing as Rick Spielman panicking and overpaying, while others might view this signing as Spielman targeting the guy he coveted and making sure he got his guy, but I don’t think anyone envisioned this type of deal for Carlson.  In fact, the rumor mill suggests that Carlson was so blown away by the offer that he cancelled a trip to Kansas City and rerouted himself to Winter Park.

The Vikings obviously have placed an emphasis on finding the players that will best fit Bill Musgrave’s offensive vision, which includes a lot of two tight end sets, as they have invested one high draft pick and plenty of money into the position in the last two offseasons.  So, while the Vikings are very high on second year player Kyle Rudolph, don’t think of Carlson as a true backup player just yet, he will probably see a lot of action.

Carlson is often referred to as a poor blocker, but he was called upon to block quite a bit in Seattle and seemingly improved in this area, and his pass catching skills are fairly elite.  Christian Ponder should benefit from having one more solid pass catcher in his arsenal, and also a fairly dependable blocker when needed.  Also, Carlson is 27 years old, which is a full four years younger than Visanthe Shiancoe.

I don’t agree with those that think the Vikings didn’t have a need at the tight end position.  I don’t agree with those that think Carlson is a terrible player.

As far as whether or not they overpaid to obtain Carlson, however, I am on the fence.  A lot will depend on how the contract is structured and whether or not he can finally live up to the expectations that followed him from Notre Dame.

I will put it this way though:  I’m still not drafting him in my fantasy league this year.

ADAM’S GRADE:  C+

BRETT’S GRADE:  C

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Alright folks, here it is! The Vikings first real move in free agency.

Adam Caplan, of the NFL Network, has reported that tight end John Carlson will be visiting the Vikings tomorrow (Wednesday).

John Carlson has been with the Seattle Seahawks since 2008, and while has never managed to break through and become an elite tight end, he did have a couple productive years. Unfortunately, Carlson was sidelined all of 2011 with a shoulder injury.

While many may wonder why we are bringing in a tight end of all things, it does make sense. As we’ve said before here on Vikings Territory, with the retirement of Jimmy Kleinsasser and the almost certain (especially after seeing this news) departure of Visanthe Shiancoe, tight end becomes a need for the Vikings. It’s well known that Musgrave wants to implement two tight end sets on offense – something that would be difficult considering the lack of depth at the position.

One thing that leaves me a little confused, though: Spielman has made it clear that his desire is to find young talent as he rebuilds the franchise. Carlson is 28 years old… Only 3 years younger than Shiancoe. Makes me think that maybe they’re simply trying to find a replacement for Visanthe.

When healthy, Carlson’s numbers are comparable to Shiancoe’s and, depending on the price, Carlson could be a great option to immediately fill his hole.

(Side note: Just wanted to let everyone know that my posts may be a little more sparse the next couple of weeks. I broke my finger and recently had surgery to allow it to heal properly. Typing is difficult and takes much longer than regularly. Luckily, we have Adam who did an absolutely awesome job today covering the massive amount of activity due to the launch of free agency. Thanks for understanding. I’ll be back soon!)

[NOTE FROM ADAM:  This is another installation of my position-by-position breakdown of the Vikings offseason.  You can click there links to view previous installments:  The Passers, The Runners, and The Wide Outs.]

The Vikings knew that the end of the 2011 season would signal a crossroads when it came to the tight end position.  They got a head start on addressing the situation by drafting Kyle Rudolph in the second round of the 2011 Draft, but work still needs doing.

Let’s take a closer look.

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