Wednesday, September 2, 2015

xavier rhodes

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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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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Our “Sleeper Sunday” series officially ends tonight, as the NFL Draft will have come and gone by this time next week. Adam, Carl, and myself have spent weeks highlighting some of this year’s hidden gems; players the Vikings could potentially draft in the fifth, sixth, or seventh round.

On Thursday night, we’ll see players like Jameis Winston and Leonard Williams selected in the top-10, and late-risers like BYU’s Byron Jones make their way into the bottom of the first round. To see if our profiled players end up on an NFL roster, you’ll need to tune in on Saturday night (or follow our live blog, manned by yours truly!).

The final entry is Texas Southern’s Tray Walker, a cornerback molded to succeed in Mike Zimmer’s secondary.

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Here at Vikings Territory, we know better than most that it’s possible to find writing opportunities in all sorts of ways. Meet Tom Speicher. He got his start in 2003 when he entered a contest to be a Star Tribune web columnist for a year … and won.

Speicher was awarded the column for a season, after which he looked for new venues to write for and came across Vikings Update, which had been transformed into a monthly magazine.

“Eventually they hired me to write the ‘Where Are They Now?’ features on former [Vikings players],” Speicher explained. “It’s been a lot of fun! I have also had the opportunity to do assignments for the magazine at NFL Films and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”

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Just about everyone sounds convinced that the Vikings will seek out cornerback help in the 2015 NFL Draft, with top tier prospects like Trae Waynes and Marcus Peters getting a lot of attention as potential first round selections, but it is entirely possible that the Vikings will also be looking for depth at the position later on in the weekend.

It is important to note, when talking about the Vikings draft “needs,” that the depth chart in the secondary has not gotten worse this offseason. In fact, by adding veteran Terence Newman, the Vikings have arguably gotten better via that one addition and the assumption that continuity leads to improvement. Adding more talent to a group that features Xavier Rhodes, Josh Robinson, Captain Munnerlyn and now Newman certainly can’t hurt the team’s competition situation in Mankato.

Snagging a small school prospect like Towson’s Tye Smith might turn into a late-round (or undrafted free agent) steal that pays dividends for the Vikings down the road. Smith (6′ 0″ and 184 pounds) has a nice frame for an NFL cornerback and seems like a player with the upside to develop into more than just training camp fodder.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings seem to be looking very closely at this year’s top cornerback prospects and, unless your name is Xavier Rhodes, current Vikings cornerbacks have to feel at least a little uneasy about their job security and position on the depth chart.

Second-year hopeful Jabari Price made himself more expendable arrested for suspicion of driving impaired back in December, so he certainly seems like a candidate for the “bubble” battles coming up in Mankato.

Price had his charge reduced to careless driving this last Wednesday and agreed to 30 days of electronic home monitoring, paid a $300 fine, and has entered a substance abuse education program, according to Access Vikings. It is also worth noting that he has passed each of his drug tests leading up to Wednesday’s court appearance.

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