Tuesday, July 28, 2015

xavier rhodes

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Andy: Right Guard and Safety [Not Named Harrison]
With Fusco shifting to the left side, it’s been a gong show of potential right guard suitors with second-year Papa Yank rotating in with the two rookies Tyrus Thompson and TJ Clemmings. Clemmings seemed to be the favorite before OTAs, but now it’s anyone’s game. What is nice is the depth of young competition at what was a problem position group last season due to injury and ineptitude.

At the safety opposite Harrison, I’m just looking for anyone who passes the BTB (Better-Than-Blanton) Scale (patent pending). Boxscore scouts overrate Blanton because of his high tackle numbers, but we Vikings fans know. It’s easy to pad your tackle stats when your man is wide open and catches it in front of you. I’m not sure if Sendejo is anything more than a good special teamer at this point. Taylor Mays is a Zimmer guy, but he has always been a liability in coverage. But my two love interests are second-year man (and special teams penalty hobbyist) Antone Exum and undrafted free agent Anthony Harris. Like the guard spot, we have some young depth. May the best man win. Or at least pass the BTB Scale.

Brett: Strong Safety
Though there are multiple intriguing position battles as the Vikings prepare to head to training camp, I think the most interesting is at strong safety. I’m higher than most on Robert Blanton but would be lying if I told you I believe he’s the long-term answer opposite Harrison Smith. The Vikings drafted Antone Exum last year and picked up UDFA Anthony Harris this year. Both guys should push Blanton for a starting spot, especially if Blanton continues to be plagued by injuries. The unexpected release of Taylor Mays the morning of the first day of mini-camp means it’s up to one of the two younger challengers to unseat Blanton and break up the Fighting Irish tandem currently at safety.

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Arif: Harrison Smith
Mike Zimmer is not too concerned about cornerbacks getting interceptions and the design of the defense makes it more difficult for them to, so the safeties who always have their eyes on the quarterback are the best bets. In this case, it’ll be one of the top safeties in the NFL, Harrison Smith, who has shown not just a talent for grabbing interceptions, but returning them, too.

Andy: Harrison Smith
Smith had 5 of the Vikings’ 13 interceptions in 2014, leading the team. He’s a ballhawk who could benefit greatly by a physical safety like Taylor Mays or Antone Exum stepping up and letting him roam more instead of spending time in the box (although Smith is equally as effective there, if not more so). I think Smith busts out with a career high 7 INTs in 2015, makes his first Pro Bowl, is in the All-Pro discussion, and is rewarded with a lucrative long-term extension. (Hopefully before the whole blowing up part. That way he’ll be cheaper).

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Not everyone was a fan of the Minnesota Vikings selecting cornerback Trae Waynes with the 11th overall pick last night, but the readership here at VT weighed in on a poll last night and the results are mostly favorable.

In the poll below, with 392 votes placed as of this posting, 87% of our readers gave the selection either an “A” or “B” grade. Instant reactions are, of course, not an accurate reflection of how a player might actually produce in the NFL, but who doesn’t prefer a little optimism over sincere disappointment?

 

Lindsey has done a great job of getting the immediate reactions from Rick Spielman and Mize Zimmer at Winter Park, in addition to Waynes himself this afternoon, but I wanted to look outside of the team here at VT and see what kind of draft grades are floating about.

This is pretty much a random sampling of what people are saying about the selection.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Well, the moment is upon us. We have a lot of fun stuff lined up for you all on Draft Weekend, but I wasn’t going to let it all get started without doing an obligatory “Final Mock Draft.”

CLICK HERE for Adam’s final 2015 NFL Mock Draft

Here are a few predictions I am willing to make in advance of the Draft, and are reflected in my mock, that might be provide some good fodder for the comments section.

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