Vikings Territory https://vikingsterritory.com Minnesota Vikings News, Analysis, Opinions and Rumors Mon, 26 Oct 2020 16:19:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 130417002 What’s Happening With Mike Hughes? https://vikingsterritory.com/2020/analysis/whats-happening-with-mike-hughes https://vikingsterritory.com/2020/analysis/whats-happening-with-mike-hughes#respond Mon, 26 Oct 2020 16:19:58 +0000 https://vikingsterritory.com/?p=49639 Let’s Reid between the lines… Before this season, analysts declared cornerback the most uncertain position for the Vikings. The team would be fielding several rookies, along with a few young veterans. Former first-round pick Mike Hughes was the most experienced corner on the roster, but few had confidence in his play. Let’s see where this …

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Let’s Reid between the lines…

Before this season, analysts declared cornerback the most uncertain position for the Vikings. The team would be fielding several rookies, along with a few young veterans. Former first-round pick Mike Hughes was the most experienced corner on the roster, but few had confidence in his play.

Let’s see where this lack of confidence in Hughes came from and if it’s warranted:

Hughes was somewhat of a surprising pick by the Vikings in the 2018 draft. The team already had a full stable of corners with Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Mackensie Alexander, as well as more pressing needs on the offensive line. Nonetheless, Mike Zimmer loves corners, and Rick Spielman saw an opportunity to get more than just a corner.

The idea was to ease Hughes into action on defense, while utilizing him immediately in another phase of the game. Prolific kick returner Cordarelle Patterson had recently left for Oakland via free agency, and Hughes had had success as a return-man in college (at the University of Central Florida). 

While Hughes wouldn’t get many chances to play corner right away, fans were excited to see him on special teams.

Unfortunately, Hughes tore his ACL during week six of his rookie season (2018) in one of his few reps at corner, so we never saw how his year would unfold at either position. Hughes had surgery and came back for the 2019 season, but after his injury, coaches were hesitant to use him as a returner anymore. With the aforementioned corners still on the roster, the second-year player only saw limited action at corner. 

Sadly, a broken vertebrae in his neck ended his second season (2019) right before the playoffs. Had the injury not happened, we would have seen a bigger sample size due to other corners being injured.

This offseason. Spielman decided to let Rhodes, Waynes, and Alexander walk, so 2020 looked to be Hughes’ year. Unfortunately, another neck injury sidelined Hughes during weeks three and four, and it’s unclear if he has been hampered by it all season. In the games he has played, the third-year corner hasn’t stood apart from the rookies.

From what we have seen of Hughes at corner (in all three years), he often falls behind his receiver in man coverage, or is late to his assignment in zone plays. Hughes also doesn’t appear to be physical enough for the Mike Zimmer defense, as he rarely wins jump-balls.

Pro Football Focus gives Hughes an average overall grade of 54.4, but you expect more from a first-rounder. It looks like the analysts were right. The Vikings are weak at corner, and Spielman is probably kicking himself for letting his veterans walk.

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Vikings “Very Open” to Trading Harrison Smith and Others https://vikingsterritory.com/2020/general-news/vikings-very-open-to-trading-harrison-smith-and-others https://vikingsterritory.com/2020/general-news/vikings-very-open-to-trading-harrison-smith-and-others#respond Mon, 26 Oct 2020 16:12:17 +0000 https://vikingsterritory.com/?p=49637 After the Vikings traded away their recently-acquired star defensive end, Yannick Ngakoue, I figured the moves were not done, whether they would be before the trade deadline or this offseason. On Sunday, CBS’s Jason La Canfora reported that “Minnesota is very open to moving safety Harrison Smith, left tackle Riley Reiff, and tight end Kyle …

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After the Vikings traded away their recently-acquired star defensive end, Yannick Ngakoue, I figured the moves were not done, whether they would be before the trade deadline or this offseason. On Sunday, CBS’s Jason La Canfora reported that “Minnesota is very open to moving safety Harrison Smith, left tackle Riley Reiff, and tight end Kyle Rudolph if they can find the right takers.”

La Canfora also mentioned the possibility of an Adam Thielen trade, but later said a deal is unlikely for the veteran wide receiver.  

I would agree that a trade of Thielen should be hidden in a vault inside Spielman’s office and locked in a box labeled “break glass in case of emergency”. Thielen is extremely valuable, not only talent-wise, but as a mentor. He has helped guide rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson, and he can continue to do so with whoever the team brings in through the draft, whether that be another receiver or a quarterback.

As for Smith, in an ideal world, the Vikings would load the veteran and his 2021 $10.2 million cap hit off for a few picks. However, this may not be that ideal world. In his article, La Canfora quoted an NFL GM saying this about the Vikings:

“They want to move on from some guys for sure, but not the guys we want. They want to cut payroll, but I don’t know how successful they’ll be with that.”

Personally, if they do in fact want to trade Smith, I think the Vikings best hope of finding a deal might be in waiting until this offseason. Teams’ weaknesses seem amplified after a playoff loss. If, for example, the Saints or Bills lose because their secondaries can’t stop the likes of Patrick Mahomes or Russell Wilson, they may feel more inclined to trade for a veteran to help them win immediately.

If the team did decide to move on from Smith, there are options for next year’s replacement in the draft. Andre Cisco from Syracuse is risky due to his season-ending injury this season, but he has been one of the best defensive playmakers in college football over the past couple seasons. 

As a freshman, he led all of the NCAA in interceptions with seven, and then backed it up with a five interception season last year. He has also been very versatile as he can go into one-on-one coverage with slot receivers, or he can help stop the run. 

Since his injury, Syracuse’s defense has plummeted. In their last three games without Cisco, the Orange have given up 38 or more points, including this past weekend’s 47-point debacle against Clemson.

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How Do the Vikings Fare After Bye Weeks? https://vikingsterritory.com/2020/general-news/how-do-the-vikings-fare-after-bye-weeks https://vikingsterritory.com/2020/general-news/how-do-the-vikings-fare-after-bye-weeks#respond Mon, 26 Oct 2020 05:31:35 +0000 https://vikingsterritory.com/?p=49629 NFC North teams performed admirably in Week 7 while the Minnesota Vikings were on a bye. Mike Zimmer’s team remains in last place within the division. All poor NFL teams played to their record during this week’s slate of games, so the Vikings would pick sixth in the 2021 NFL Draft if it was conducted …

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NFC North teams performed admirably in Week 7 while the Minnesota Vikings were on a bye. Mike Zimmer’s team remains in last place within the division. All poor NFL teams played to their record during this week’s slate of games, so the Vikings would pick sixth in the 2021 NFL Draft if it was conducted early this week. But that is primarily because most bad teams have an extra loss with the Vikings having a bye week. Think “1-6 is worse than 1-5.”

Minnesota had a terrible game versus the Atlanta Falcons in Week 6. For their situation at the time, the game was paramount for a season turnaround. Instead, the contest was symbiotic for its 2020 season. Expectations by fans and some pundits were lofty as Atlanta was winless and had recently terminated its head coach. The Falcons waltzed on the field with something to prove and pummeled the Vikings from the onset. Turnovers were forced, Matt Ryan orchestrated big plays, and the Vikings defense was woefully unprepared to stop Todd Gurley and the Dirty Bird wide receivers.

Thus, the Vikings entered their bye disappointed and owners of a bleak prognosis for the remainder of the season. The drawing board is even more muddled – Minnesota must travel to Green Bay during Week 8 to square off against a Packers team that just trounced the Houston Texans on the road. Eviscerating Houston is not much of an accomplishment in 2020, but the Packers were anxious to rebound after a shellacking in Tampa Bay during Week 6.

Early betting lines foreshadow the Packers toppling the Vikings by seven points, which is somewhat tight considering the Packer are 5-1 and the Vikings are 1-5. As we know, though, NFC North matchups have a different vibe.

Overall, how the Vikings fare under Zimmer after bye weeks?

Under Zimmer – not good

For a short takeaway, the Vikings do not play well exiting bye weeks under Mike Zimmer. With a 2-4 win-loss record since 2014, Minnesota is underwater. In Zimmer’s maiden voyage, the Vikings traveled to Chicago for a 21-13 versus the Bears – an anemic offensive night at Soldier Field. The following season, Minnesota hosted Kansas City and down the Chiefs before Andy Reid’s team would totally revitalize its 1-5 season. In 2016, Zimmer’s team utterly collapsed after the bye week. During the 2017 season, almost everything went right. And in the last two seasons, the Vikings have lost to the Bears in 2018 and the Seahawks in 2019 – both away games.

Schedule makers have been unkind to Minnesota following bye weeks as of late. All of the after-bye losses for Zimmer’s bunch have occurred on the road, and the opposing team is typically a formidable foe.

This year is no different as the team crosses state lines to face its most bitter rival – one that that has lost just one game in 2020.

When They Do Win, It’s a Streak

The sunshine-and-rainbows approach off bye weeks for the Vikings: When they do win, they embark on a lengthy winning streak.

In 2015, Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings encountered thebye with a 2-2 record at Week 5. Flash forward to mid-November and Minnesota was 7-2 after a win over the Raiders in Oakland. That’s right – the victory over Andy Reid’s embattled Chiefs sent both teams on to win streaks. Both teams’ seasons were completely resuscitated; both teams won their respective divisions. Of course, though, the 2-2 Vikings of 2015 are a markedly different animal than this 1-5 team of 2020.

During Zimmer’s fourth season, 2017, the purple and gold triumphantly waltzed into their bye week with a record of 6-2. The prosperity continued after the week off. Case Keenum and the Vikings would win four additional contests before falling to the Panthers in Week 14 – their second-to-last loss of the year.

If history is any indicator, when Zimmer’s Vikings win following the bye, it’s the start of a trend.

This Year is a Different Animal

Whether the Vikings are capable of spearheading a long winning streak in 2020 is both undetermined and unlikely. After coming within mere inches of upsetting the high-flying Seahawks in Week 5, Minnesota seemed to belong in conversations with good teams, at least the one-game sample suggested so.

Then, Minnesota laid an egg at home against the horrid Falcons – who were not so horrid after all. The Vikings would need to erase performances against the Packers, Colts, and Falcons from their memories in Men-In-Black fashion to explore a win streak.

General manager Rick Spielman traded one of his best players on defense, Yannick Ngakoue, this week. So, there is a sense that perhaps even leadership knows this campaign is unmemorable and lost.

One thing is for certain: If Minnesota had any visions of grandeur than entailed a playoff appearance in 2020 after this 1-5 start, an extended winning streak is a fundamental requirement. It’s mathematics at this point.

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Bryant McKinnie on playing under McCombs and the wasted potential of the early 00’s Minnesota Vikings https://vikingsterritory.com/2020/general-news/bryant-mckinnie-on-playing-under-mccombs-and-the-wasted-potential-of-the-early-00s-minnesota-vikings https://vikingsterritory.com/2020/general-news/bryant-mckinnie-on-playing-under-mccombs-and-the-wasted-potential-of-the-early-00s-minnesota-vikings#respond Mon, 26 Oct 2020 03:01:17 +0000 https://vikingsterritory.com/?p=49624 There’s a project I’ve been trying to put together for the past six months, a documentary about the 2004 Minnesota Vikings. I was a sophomore in college at the University of Minnesota, living with my best friend in DinkyTown, and we were absolutely obsessed with the Vikings. We came of age during Randy Moss’ rookie …

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There’s a project I’ve been trying to put together for the past six months, a documentary about the 2004 Minnesota Vikings. I was a sophomore in college at the University of Minnesota, living with my best friend in DinkyTown, and we were absolutely obsessed with the Vikings. We came of age during Randy Moss’ rookie year, and that’s when, I believe, we converted from “fans” of the team to the type of fan that our fathers were. I look back on that time very fondly, for more than one reason, and I’ve always felt like the 2004 Vikings are overlooked in the pantheon of (regular season) super teams that we’ve been spoiled with as Vikings fans.

Daunte Culpepper had 39 touchdowns, Randy Moss was proving that the Randy Ratio wasn’t the joke people claimed it was, and the Vikings ended up putting up a ‘W on Lambeau Field’ as Moss’ last splash of brilliance before being traded that off-season.

That makes what I do now so surreal. I’ve said this before, but if you were to tell college age me that I’d be working with then head coach Mike Tice (as the exclusive promoter of his AMAZING YouTube show/podcast ‘Odds and Ends w/ Mike Tice’)

Odds and Ends with Mike Tice

, or having Vikings players like Matt Birk (who will be on next week’s ‘Three Deep w/ Wobby’ LIVE @ 8pm (with a special guest calling in, as well!)), there is no way I’d believe you.

It’s been as surreal as you’d think it’d be, and a good example of how amazing covering the team for a living has been, take the most recent guest on ‘Three Deep w/ Wobby’. For those of you who haven’t tuned in yet, ‘Three Deep’ is hosted by yours truly and Mike ‘Wobby’ Wobschall. Each week we have a different amazing guest like AJ Mansour of KFAN, DeShawn Vaughn (our managing editor), Mike Tice, Matt Birk, and this week’s guest Bryant McKinnie.

As someone who care(s)(d) too much about the Vikings, whenever I’ve had a player or coach from that era on one of my shows I’ve made a point to ask them something that I’ve always felt was true. The best way I can introduce the crux of this piece is by explaining an experience I had with my best friend back during the 2004 season.

My best friend comes from a family that owns a household name business here in Minnesota and because of that he always would end up with AMAZING tickets to local sporting events (because apparently people that buy advertising end up getting free tickets (I guess my $5 a day Facebook budget doesn’t cut it?)). I’ve sat on the floor at Timberwolves games, in boxes at every stadium, etc.

It was Week 7 of the 2004 season and the Vikings were 4-1 and facing the Tennessee Titans. I was born super premature and because of that up until the age of 30, like clockwork, I’d end up getting bronchitis (just in time for hockey try outs!). I was particularly stricken at this point, and I also was incredibly hung over, but my buddy enticed me to take the bus to the game with a pint of bottom shelf rum (like leading a donkey with a carrot).

I downed half the pint before we got on the bus and felt a lot better, but I was essentially coughing like Doc Holliday at the end of ‘Tombstone’ the entire time, which didn’t really ingratiate me with the people sitting in front of us at the Metrodome. We had second row seats behind the end zone, and we ended up getting to the game a bit early.

I was pre-occupied with sneaking pulls from the plastic bottle in my waist band while also trying to hold in my bovine tuberculosisness because the couple in front of us had already given me a year’s worth of dirty looks and the coin hadn’t even been flipped yet. I was drinking/coughing in my Randy Moss jersey when I heard this gigantic commotion. I took my head out of my shirt and saw people nearly stampeding one another to reach over the hand-rail.

My first thought? It must be one of the Vikings who was out to stretch out, sign autographs, etc. Much to my surprise, though, it was actually Vikings owner Red McCombs, which I realized before I saw him because I heard someone shout ‘Purple Pride!’ as if they were doing a Colonel Sanders impression.

Now, at the time the Vikings were 4-1 and were favored to win against the Titans (which they did, 20-3). However, this was after a 2003 season in which they also started 6-0 and ended up missing the playoffs (thanks to the ‘NOOOOOOOO’ 4th and infinity touchdown by the Arizona Cardinals). This was a time in which the Vikings had a nigh unstoppable offense but also had one of the worst and most thin defenses in the league.

There was talk, also, that the team either was or almost was fined by the league for being under the minimum salary cap amount (and that they’d used player signing bonuses against the cap, which isn’t how any of that works). Fans, real fans, were frustrated that the team wasn’t investing in their defense and that the window of opportunity that Moss afforded them was essentially being wasted.

I remember a reporter asking McCombs why he didn’t invest in the defense and he said, I kid you not, ‘Because I believe they’re already a championship caliber defense’. That, right there, galvanized how I felt about McCombs and the wasted talent of that era. The literal used car salesman was using tactics reserved for selling a Pontiac Fiero. “This is a reliable car! One owner who only drove it to church! Never spontaneously combusts, too!”.

Minutes later:

The image that exemplifies the McCombs era

Back to my story/last time interacting with a non-Door Dash driver human being…

I was in the weird still hungover but kind of drunk phase of my day while also potentially delirious from too many albuterol inhalations but it infuriated me that people wanted to touch McCombs as if he wasn’t actively wasting the talent this team had on offense. Like he was the Pope come to the Metrodome to rid it of the curses therein. Beyond that, there was ample talk that McCombs wanted to move the team either to Los Angeles or his native San Antonio (which’d make sense as their mostly known for the Alamo, which is essentially the historical equivalent of the Minnesota Vikings as a franchise).

After screaming an explicative or two too many, enough to have the security guard come warn me, I articulated my point (the point of which was) ‘WHY DO YOU WANT TO SHAKE HIS HAND? HE’S RUINING THE TEAM SO HE CAN MOVE IT TO TEXAS! TEXAS!’, the couple in front of me turned around and shook their heads at me in a way that actually made me feel the type of shame I’d only felt previously when my parents had told me that they weren’t mad, just disappointed, at/in me.

I bring this up because I don’t think there’s enough talk about that era or how lucky we are to have the Wilf family in charge of things now. I’ve reached out to McCombs for the aforementioned documentary, but his handler essentially said he doesn’t want to talk about that time but appreciates Minnesota, etc.

That brings me to Bryant McKinnie’s appearance on my podcast this week. When I first had Mike Tice on my other podcast ‘Morning Joes’, I asked him if it was frustrating coaching under McCombs. Tice mostly dodged that question (but answered everything else, like essentially establishing that Moss was NOT a locker room cancer as reported back then/parroted by fans from Anoka County, mostly).

With McKinnie, I asked a similar question and essentially said that I’m sure he didn’t want to bash anyone (as he’s a nice guy too) but that college me would come back to haunt/cough on me if I didn’t ask that.

Guess what? He answered!

McKinnie said of playing under McCombs and whether it was frustrating or a palpable feeling that they were missing out on something special because of the lack of investment int he defense:

“When I was there we had the number one and two offense, or something like that, but we had like the 31st defense or something. So, it was like, we score these points but then, we’re letting up a lot of points too. So we were always in the top one or two, I know for at least two or three years in a row, like top one or two offenses”

Surprisingly, because of Tice’s answer on ‘Morning Joes’, he added:

“That could be a little frustrating, and coach Tice would kinda say it, too.”

That sheds light on some behind the scenes drama that we weren’t aware of at the time. I elaborated on my point of view/memory of the time and brought up the salary cap penalization and McKinnie added:

“I held out 98 days under Red McCombs… So…”

After I was done rambling McKinnie put a bow on the topic by saying:

“It was just because you put up 30 something points, you put up 34 and they put up 36. You have to go out there and score as many points as you can but each week you can’t have a scoring fest, so, sometimes they just let you down. “

So there you have it. As if we needed more proof that McCombs was just the worst. But I do think it’s important in terms of the legacy of players from that era and also basically explains why Moss walked off the field against the Redskins toward the end of that season. The Vikings were collapsing as they did the year before and at 27 Moss had over 9,000 yards and over 90 touchdowns for a team that had a fan base that was increasingly turning on him.

There were reports that when the Wilf’s agreed to purchase the team they told McCombs NOT to trade Moss, but as a final middle finger to Moss and the state he did anyway. Moss was nearly single handedly responsible for years of sellouts at the Metrodump at a time when the team was struggling to fill those awful, awful blue seats. He helped increase the value of McCombs investment, and like the used car salesman he is/was, he essentially sold the Wilf’s a lemon.

Check out McKinnie each week on his new podcast ‘Bleav in Vikings’ 

Click Here to follow/subscribe to ‘Three Deep w/ Wobby’

Three Deep w/ Wobby – Bye Week Blues w/ VERY Special Guest Bryant McKinnie

Click Here to listen/follow/subscribe to ‘Morning Joes’

Morning Joes – The Ngakoue Trade/Bye Week Blahs

 

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Should the Vikings trade Zimmer? https://vikingsterritory.com/2020/general-news/should-the-vikings-trade-zimmer https://vikingsterritory.com/2020/general-news/should-the-vikings-trade-zimmer#respond Sun, 25 Oct 2020 02:59:53 +0000 https://vikingsterritory.com/?p=49601 Should the Vikings trade Zimmer? With the state of the Minnesota Vikings currently in complete disarray, people are finally coming around to what I’ve both said for years and ramped up after the draft this past April. This team needs a fresh start in the worst way(s), and the draft proved that more than anything …

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Should the Vikings trade Zimmer?

With the state of the Minnesota Vikings currently in complete disarray, people are finally coming around to what I’ve both said for years and ramped up after the draft this past April. This team needs a fresh start in the worst way(s), and the draft proved that more than anything else as Vikings head coach/glorified defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer (and general manager Rick Spielman) proved they’d learned absolutely nothing from their failures these past couple seasons and were essentially doubling down on the approach that didn’t work the first go around.

Unfortunately, though, the team essentially had to extend Zimmer and Spielman, know here on as Zimman (or Spielmer?), as they both had a year left on their deals and they happened to oversee the largest draft in NFL history.

With the team dealing with the logical conclusion of the team Spielmer team building philosophy, people are rightly looking at every single option right now to see how to fix what feels like a multi-year rebuild at best. One interesting theory popped up with that in mind, from our friends over at Pro Football Focus. Trade Zimmer.

Let’s hear what they said first:

https://www.pff.com/news/nfl-2020-trade-deadline-minnesota-vikings-gamble-bottom-out-mike-zimmer-riley-reiff

“What if the Minnesota Vikings explored a trade for Mike Zimmer?

The two teams he has an extensive history with — the Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys — both could be interested given their current coaching situations. With both clubs potentially looking to sign Zimmer after the 2020 season, perhaps one realizes it shouldn’t wait until then to make a move. In a way, Zimmer’s recent extension probably helps facilitate this.”

Personally, I’d love nothing more than for the team to make this move. They recently extended Zimmer and could avoid paying him after they inevitably fire him by doing this and apparently in the NFL you can trade head coaches.

There’s also the interesting fact that the VAST majority of head coaches that have won a Super Bowl have done so in the first 5 seasons with their teams. The handful of exceptions, like Andy Reid and the Chiefs, have all happened without exception when teams have had a Hall of Fame coach AND quarterback (like Patrick Mahomes will be).

It’s safe the say that the Vikings have neither.

I wouldn’t even care about compensation, either. This team needs a new set of eyes almost as bad as Zimmer. The question is, though, whether or not Zimmer is worth trading for, especially when teams like the Cowboys might wait until the end of the year to fire their head coach (who is in his first year and can probably try to blame the season on Dak Prescott’s ankle), which is around the time Zimmer could be looking for a new gig.

Beyond that, in the NFL trades typically happen when a contender is looking for either a final piece or a replacement piece because of injury. The motivation to add a coach and the gigantic shift it creates within an organization means that doing so mid-season makes no sense and is why it doesn’t happen.

Beyond that, as former Viking Bryant McKinnie said on my podcast ‘Three Deep w/ Wobby’ last night, there is a shift in the way football operates in nearly every sense and guys like Zimmer, who represent the old guard in every way, might be less attractive because of it.

Three Deep w/ Wobby – Bye Week Blues w/ VERY Special Guest Bryant McKinnie

Who wants to hire a guy who will be 70 in a few years and runs his team like he’s Parcells in his Heydey?

Either way, it’s fun to dream.

Then there’s the question as to what up-and-coming coach would want to come coach an organization with no cap space and over a third of their future cap space being devoted to an aging quarterback and injury prone superstar running back.

Although, I still know that with limited investment in the interior of the offensive line, this offense can be as elite as it has looked for significant enough stretches for me to say ‘know’ instead of ‘think’.

So maybe this isn’t the worst idea after all!

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Three Deep w/ Wobby – Bye Week Blues w/ VERY Special Guest Bryant McKinnie https://vikingsterritory.com/2020/general-news/three-deep-w-wobby-bye-week-blues-w-very-special-guest-bryant-mckinnie https://vikingsterritory.com/2020/general-news/three-deep-w-wobby-bye-week-blues-w-very-special-guest-bryant-mckinnie#respond Sat, 24 Oct 2020 02:47:56 +0000 https://vikingsterritory.com/?p=49592 On this episode of ‘Three Deep w/ Wobby’, Joe Johnson and Mike Wobschall chat with Vikings legend Bryant McKinnie of the new Bleav in Vikings Podcast about the Yannick Ngakoue trade, the state of the Vikings, his time with the team, his thoughts on the Vikings offensive line and much, much more! Follow Bryant McKinnie …

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On this episode of ‘Three Deep w/ Wobby’, Joe Johnson and Mike Wobschall chat with Vikings legend Bryant McKinnie of the new Bleav in Vikings Podcast about the Yannick Ngakoue trade, the state of the Vikings, his time with the team, his thoughts on the Vikings offensive line and much, much more!

Follow Bryant McKinnie on Twitter HERE

Peep his new podcast (with our very own Dustin Baker) Bleav in Vikings HERE

Each week, Joe Johnson and Wobby are joined by a special guest host and this week was no exception! Throughout the 2020-21 season we will have other guest hosts like Mike Tice, Chad Greenway, Nick Swardson, etc.

Like our other podcasts, Three Deep is brought to you by the fellas at Manscaped! Visit, Manscaped.com/3Deep/, and use discount code: 3Deep for 20% off your order!

Subscribe to the show on the following podcast platforms!

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Vikings victims of unfortunate circumstance https://vikingsterritory.com/2020/uncategorized/vikings-victims-of-unfortunate-circumstance https://vikingsterritory.com/2020/uncategorized/vikings-victims-of-unfortunate-circumstance#respond Fri, 23 Oct 2020 22:24:12 +0000 https://vikingsterritory.com/?p=49589 The sky is falling in Minnesota and fans are coming for the jobs of the head coach and general manager. After booting the Saints out of the playoffs, the 1-5 start to the 2020 season comes at a surprise to many. How exactly did it get so bad, so fast? The Vikings extended Kirk Cousins …

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The sky is falling in Minnesota and fans are coming for the jobs of the head coach and general manager. After booting the Saints out of the playoffs, the 1-5 start to the 2020 season comes at a surprise to many. How exactly did it get so bad, so fast?

The Vikings extended Kirk Cousins after his heroics in New Orleans last season. Management knew this was a risky move given his past as a .500 quarterback. Cleverly they created an out in his contract for the 2021 season, but then the globe experienced a pandemic. The COVID-19 virus put a significant strain on the NFL’s cap space and threw a wrench in the Vikings backup plan for Cousins.

The Vikings could afford to take on Cousins’ dead cap number before COVID-19 happened, but now they are left with approximately $30 million less in cap than what was originally anticipated. It wouldn’t hurt the team as badly if Cousins was at least playing at a high level. He has followed up the best season of his career with his worst performance through six games as a starting quarterback.

Minnesota let go of several older players who played key roles on their defense in 2019. Smartly, they went out and acquired players to help bridge the gap for the younger players coming into big roles very early in their careers. It was a great idea, but as time would eventually tell, it did not work out.

Michael Pierce is at high risk for hospitalization for COVID-19, so he opted out. Anthony Barr also suffered a season ending injury, and Anthony Harris regressed. To try to mitigate the losses the Vikings traded for Yannick Ngakoue to pair with Danielle Hunter to create a formidable pass rushing duo. Hunter ended up on season ending IR, and Ngakoue struggled to make a splash by himself on the defensive line. This defense was left to be carried by an offense that had struggled on their own.

A series of unfortunate events have led the Vikings to the no man’s land of the NFL, and now they have to decide whether to tear it all down or continue trucking along. Thankfully they get both Pierce, Barr, and Hunter back next season to try to right the many wrongs of the 2020 season.

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Four Assumptions Following the Yannick Ngakoue Trade https://vikingsterritory.com/2020/general-news/four-assumptions-following-the-yannick-ngakoue-trade https://vikingsterritory.com/2020/general-news/four-assumptions-following-the-yannick-ngakoue-trade#comments Fri, 23 Oct 2020 17:23:22 +0000 https://vikingsterritory.com/?p=49586 As you’ve probably heard by now, on Thursday morning, the Vikings traded Yannick Ngakoue for a pair of future picks. One pick is a third rounder in the 2021 draft, and the other is a conditional fifth rounder in 2022.  Minnesota essentially regained all the assets they lost when they traded for Ngakoue back in …

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As you’ve probably heard by now, on Thursday morning, the Vikings traded Yannick Ngakoue for a pair of future picks. One pick is a third rounder in the 2021 draft, and the other is a conditional fifth rounder in 2022. 

Minnesota essentially regained all the assets they lost when they traded for Ngakoue back in August. When that deal went down, they gave Jacksonville a 2021 second rounder and a conditional 2022 fifth rounder. 

The Vikings are back to owning a whopping twelve picks in the upcoming draft if you include likely compensatory picks that they will receive. So, now that Minnesota is back to square one, what can we assume the trade means for the Vikings now and in the future?

Yannick Ngakoue was not Going to Re-Sign

One of the reasons the Vikings were able to acquire Ngakoue in the first place was due to his unhappiness in Jacksonville. There were reports all through the winter that Ngakoue was not going to sign a long-term deal with the Jaguars because he wanted to play for a winning team. Then, when he tweeted this on March 20th, all the reports were confirmed.

https://twitter.com/YannickNgakoue/status/1234456012591161345?s=20

After the Vikings’ disappointing 1-5 start, equal to Ngakoue’s former team in Jacksonville, they couldn’t have felt too confident in their ability to re-sign the star defensive end long-term. So, they decided to do what any struggling team does. 

They cut their losses, and they acquired as many assets as they could. While the trade was shocking when it first happened, it shouldn’t be considered a bad move from a Vikings organization that has little hope of a 2020 playoff appearance.

The Vikings could have franchise tendered him for next season, as they did this year for $12 million, but the trade frees up cap space to be used elsewhere and brings in valuable draft picks. After all, with Danielle Hunter and Michael Pierce returning in 2021, the defensive line is still in decent shape. Both players are signed through 2023.

This is Just the Beginning

I think the trade of Ngakoue is just the tip of the iceberg for a team that has plenty of veteran contracts. The Vikings could make a few more trades over the next 12 days before the November 3 trade deadline to free up cap space and acquire even more draft picks. 

Two players that immediately come to mind are Riley Reiff and Anthony Harris. Reiff took a pay cut that allowed the Vikings to trade for Ngakoue, and his contract is much easier to move now. With 2020 second round pick, Ezra Cleveland, sitting on the bench waiting his turn, now is the perfect time to get off Reiff’s contract and see what they have in the young left tackle. 

Reiff’s improved performance in 2020 makes him a very valuable trade asset over the next couple weeks for contending teams looking to bolster their offensive lines. Possible suitors could be either the Tennessee Titans, who just lost LT Tyron Smith this past week, the Dallas Cowboys, who have had offensive line troubles all season, or even the New England Patriots, who need to find a way back into the AFC East race. 

As for Harris, the Vikings franchised him before this season after being unable to sign him to a long-term deal. With little hope of a new deal this offseason given the Vikings current cap situation, dealing Harris for picks would be ideal instead of wasting one of his prime seasons and then losing him in free agency. 

Harris’ fellow safety Harrison Smith is also worth mentioning here, considering he turns 32 in February and is a free agent after the 2021 season.

Mike Zimmer’s Era in Minnesota is Finished

Despite everything that Rick Spielman has said, it’s pretty clear the Vikings are pulling the plug on the 2020 season. It is wishful thinking to believe the Vikings can erase the four game deficit that they find themselves in, especially if they continue to trade away veteran leaders. 

The 2021 Vikings will most likely look like a very different team from this current version. With a turning of the page from this roster, the Vikings should also turn the page on their head coach. The Zimmer era has been somewhat successful, but it has also been wildly inconsistent. While he is undoubtedly a good coach, a change of scenery is sometimes best for both sides. Under Zimmer, the Vikings have gone 7-9, 11-5, 8-8, 13-3, 8-7-1, 10-6, and are now 1-5. 

Possible candidates for next year’s coaching job could be Robert Saleh, current 49ers defensive coordinator, or Eric Bieniemy, current Chiefs offensive coordinator. 

The Vikings Will Find Their Future Quarterback in the Draft

While it is very unlikely the Vikings will get the number one pick, there are plenty of quarterback options in this draft. Trevor Lawrence is probably (sadly) bound to be a New York Jet, but Minnesota should end up with a pick between 5-10. 

The Vikings’ needs are not necessarily immediate, either. With Cousins under contract through 2022, and his contract being nearly impossible to move, they can afford to groom a prospect for a year or two. 

With this in mind, the Vikings could pick either Justin Fields or Trey Lance in the first round, but if they would rather address other needs on the offensive line or the defense, they can afford to do so. If they prefer to wait until later to draft a quarterback, there is one name that stands out. 

A possible candidate with a third round pick could be Texas’ Sam Ehlinger. Ehlinger came into college a very raw prospect that relied on his legs far too often to make plays. However, over the past couple seasons, his passing ability has greatly improved.

This season through four games, Ehlinger has thrown for 1211 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has also rushed for 242 yards and five more touchdowns. After the past few seasons of Kirk Cousins, a quarterback with dual-threat abilities might be a welcomed sight in Minnesota.

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Former Vikings Linebacker, Matt Blair, Passes Away at 70 https://vikingsterritory.com/2020/general-news/former-vikings-linebacker-matt-blair-passes-away-at-70 https://vikingsterritory.com/2020/general-news/former-vikings-linebacker-matt-blair-passes-away-at-70#respond Thu, 22 Oct 2020 23:21:16 +0000 https://vikingsterritory.com/?p=49583 Matt Blair, a Ring of Honor member for the Vikings, passed away on Thursday, per an announcement on vikings.com. The cause of death was not immediately announced, but he had been battling dementia over the past few years.  Blair was drafted by the Vikings in 1974 out of Iowa State, and his career was a …

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Matt Blair, a Ring of Honor member for the Vikings, passed away on Thursday, per an announcement on vikings.com. The cause of death was not immediately announced, but he had been battling dementia over the past few years. 

Blair was drafted by the Vikings in 1974 out of Iowa State, and his career was a legendary one. He played 12 seasons, all with the Vikings. After earning a starting role in 1976, he went on to make six consecutive Pro Bowls from 1977-82, including a first team All-Pro selection from The Associated Press in 1980. 

Blair played in two Super Bowls in his career, Super Bowls IX and XI. He played in 160 games with the Vikings, and he recorded 1452 tackles, second most in franchise history behind Scott Studwell. He also retired with the most sacks (23) and interceptions (16) among linebackers in Vikings history. 

Matt Blair will always be remembered as a Vikings legend that helped put the team on the map. He was forever enshrined with the Viking when he was voted into the team’s Ring of Honor back in 2012. 

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Morning Joes – The Ngakoue Trade/Bye Week Blahs https://vikingsterritory.com/2020/general-news/morning-joes-the-ngakoue-trade-bye-week-blahs https://vikingsterritory.com/2020/general-news/morning-joes-the-ngakoue-trade-bye-week-blahs#respond Thu, 22 Oct 2020 21:09:56 +0000 https://vikingsterritory.com/?p=49580 Morning Joes – Bye Week Spectacular On this episode of Morning Joes, the Joe’s hand out mid-season awards, talk about blowing up the Vikings and starting fresh and even do some Bye-ku’s like it’s 2019! Morning Joes is brought to you by Manscaped! Click Here and Use discount code: MorningJoes for 20% off your first/next …

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Morning Joes – Bye Week Spectacular

On this episode of Morning Joes, the Joe’s hand out mid-season awards, talk about blowing up the Vikings and starting fresh and even do some Bye-ku’s like it’s 2019!

Morning Joes is brought to you by Manscaped!

Click Here and Use discount code: MorningJoes for 20% off your first/next order!
Click Here to take advantage!
Oh, we finally made Feedspot’s Top 10 Minnesota Vikings Podcast list! I personally think we should be higher, but our six-week break probably hurt things a bit…

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