Questions Answered: Mr. Mankato Prediction, Cousins in ATL, Vikings iOL Projection

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The following questions are about current Minnesota Vikings topics, answered by VikingsTerritory. Today is the June 28th edition, addressed in a from-the-hip fashion. If you have questions, please email them to [email protected].

Questions Answered: Mr. Mankato Prediction, Cousins in ATL, iOL Projection

Also, please note: These are opinion-based responses. Some answers will be incorrect from time to time. But we’ll try to keep that to a minimum.

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Q: Do you have a prediction for the winner of Mr. Mankato?

draft pick
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Answer: Will Reichard, the new kicker.

For newcomers, “Mr. Mankato” is a fake award from the media handed to the unsung Viking who busts out from nowhere. It’s usually an undrafted player or a rookie.

Reichard has already looked phenomenal at organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp, so we’ll ride the hype train all the way through training camp.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert recently wrote about Reichard’s performance at minicamp, “During the team’s final OTA, which was moved indoors because of rain, Reichard nearly hit a balcony that is perched on the wall behind — and above — the goal posts while moving through a progression of 40+ yard attempts. Later, in a full drill with a defense, he drilled a 60-yarder that landed in a net that sits 10 feet behind the goal post and 10 feet off the ground.”

Seifert also noted on Reichard, “The NFL doesn’t award additional points for kicks that sail well above or beyond the goal posts, and Reichard’s success as a rookie will depend as much on his mental makeup as it does on his leg strength. But he passed all the tests you could reasonably pose a kicker during spring practices.”

Meanwhile, ESPN’s assessment wasn’t standalone. Matthew Coller said on the Purple Insider podcast earlier this month about Reichard, “Holy hell, in a good way. He just kicks the heck outta the ball. He was kicking 55-yarders that were going at the top of the goalposts. His 60-yard kick cleared everything and still landed in the net that was like five, seven yards behind it.”

Give us Reichard for Mr. Mankato.

Q: How will Kirk Cousins fare in Year No. 1 with the Falcons?

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Answer: 4,100 passing yards, 30 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions — with a 10-7 record by the Falcons.

Health is the only item to monitor regarding Cousins at his new NFL home. He’ll turn 36 in August, and believe it or not, some quarterbacks slow down at that age. They’re also at a higher risk of injury. Cousins tore his Achilles last October, so his health should be watched closely. Not everyone plays until age 45 like Tom Brady.

Overall, the Cousins experiment will likely go well in Atlanta, enough to propel the Falcons to a division title in a weak division.

Q: Which guards will start Week 1 for the Vikings?

Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports.

A: Ed Ingram (RG) and Blake Brandel (LG).

We’re buying the Brandel hype from the Vikings coaching staff — because money talks. Brandel signed a three-year, $9.5 million deal, while Risner returned for one year and $2.4 million. The proof is in the pudding per dollars and cents.

Risner has never really played right guard, so we think Ingram will retain that job. Risner would be the next man up if injuries arise — just like last year when Ezra Cleveland was injured.

Because of the Risner contract, he might’ve been re-signed as depth. Ingram and Brandel Week 1 at the Giants.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His MIN obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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