Archive for the ‘Minnesota Vikings’ Category

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It’s only Week 2, but the stakes are high in this intra-division battle between the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings. The former has a chance to shoot to the top of the division with a win, while the latter could have its season over before its even begun.

It’s the fourth quarter and they’re deadlocked at 24. Jay Cutler is in control at the line of scrimmage, which is the 40-yard line, singling out the middle linebacker (“MIKE IS 50!”) and pointing out the safeties. He does this each time before the snap to help sort out pass protection for his offensive line and make a mental image of what to expect from the secondary after the snap. There’s two deep safeties, one of which is Harrison Smith, who a year ago intercepted Cutler and took it to the house for six in a similar situation.

Cutler stands over the center and barks out another command. “ONE-EIGHTY!” Then he quickly crouches under center and yells “READY! HUT!” and takes a five step drop.

At the top of the drop, he keeps his feet busy, shuffling them around as he climbs the pocket before launching the ball in the direction of Marshall.

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Adrian Perterson is good at being a running back. We know this, but will Greg Jennings and Cordarelle Patterson make Christian Ponder somewhat resemble an NFL quarterback?

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It’s only a few correct steps to optimal performance. Patient, disciplined and instinctive steps, that is. That’s what NFL safeties practice every day. Backpedal into coverage, let the offensive design paint itself, and then react.

Yet many fail to do this on the gridiron’s highest level, leading to safety being arguably the most volatile position. It’s why there are only a few that can be considered elite and worthy of investing in long-term. One who will soon be both is the Minnesota Vikings’ Harrison Smith, a second-year player who is the new leader and future of the team’s secondary.

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It was the NFL.com’s Adam Rank who wrote that Greg Jennings, the latest beloved star-turned-Benedict Arnold following a free agent move from the popular Green Bay Packers to the not always popular Minnesota Vikings, was a scary player that could be a bust of a signing. Not only that, Rank went as far as to write that Jennings has already made plans for a second life after a soon-to-occur dramatic demise from football.

I could see Mike Wallace (or Wes Welker, if he’s let go) signing with a rival to play with a chip on his shoulder. However, after watching Jennings dominate in those Old Spice ads, I’m not convinced he hasn’t already started to make plans for a life after football. Especially since he had a nice cameo on “Criminal Minds.” So I expect a team like the Dolphins to make a bid on Jennings, probably overpay — because that’s what the Dolphins do — and wind up disappointed.

Rank’s comments were one of many, some of which were perhaps written this offseason from anger-filled Packers fans themselves, and they’re surely going to be deemed premature. Why? Because if the final weeks of the Packers’ season showed anything, it was that Jennings’ tank is not on the proverbial “E”, and he has more than enough gas to keep him running in 2013 and beyond.

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Uniform madness, guys.

Earlier this afternoon we learned that the Jaguars have been in the design room much more than their war room. Their new uniforms were unveiled in a grand ceremony, and they’re not a puke-ish teal color. Therefore, they’re all kinds of awesome after clearing the lowest bar imaginable.

Now since secrets are obsolete here on planet Earth in the year 2013, Paul Lukas of UniWatch fame shared the new Dolphins and Vikings uniforms with the Twitters shortly before they too were officially unveiled.

So let’s start with the Dolphins then, because their uniforms are drawing from a rich history of being exactly the same for a really long time.

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Simple, yet effective. The lettering and trim looks much more, well, not 1991, and the ugly collar is gone. If you’re the before/after type, here’s the now dead Dolphins uni…

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As for the Vikings, they made the right tweaks too. Their new home look is now a more bold purple, from head to toe. That includes the helmet, which is a darker shade, and the purple is further emphasized by the absence of the white patch underneath the armpit, and the gold collar.

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Again, for those who need to visualize the transformation…

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Annnd here’s the three new unis, in all their glory and new-ness.

new unis

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Next Thursday you’ll hear the words “there’s been a trade”. You’ll look away from your beer soaked pretzels (or your pretzel soaked beer) to remind yourself who’s currently on the clock, and who were the prospects widely projected to come off the board in that slot. You’ll identify the motivation for a trade back by the team involved (poor value? a need that can be addressed later? a player in high demand, and an auction is essentially taking place?), and who the trade partner will be.

Or maybe only us writer and nerdy mother’s basement dwelling types do that, because we’re just the coolest. But rest assured that you’ll hear those words several times next Thursday, as there will be multiple early hot spots for trading activity, and a few playoff teams at the back of the round looking to move up and address significant needs.

The Falcons are likely one of them, since drafting either an elite tight end or cornerback will be difficult at No. 30, when guys named Tyler Eifert and Desmond Trufant are long gone. Now, another team has possibly surfaced to entertain us with their bartering.

Enter the Minnesota Vikings.

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Even after the addition of Greg Jennings, this man still needs help.

Christian Ponder had a fast, versatile, and young top receiver at his disposal when Percy Harvin was healthy. Now he’s been traded, and replaced by a slower, older, and far less versatile receiver.

Greg Jennings will do fine things in Minnesota. Wonderful things even, but he’s not nearly the vertical threat that Harvin was, as Jennings primarily excels on intermediate routes. That may actually be good since Ponder in turn often excels while throwing an abundance of short throws.

But stretching the field is a requirement to both win football games, and to continue Ponder’s development towards being a more dynamic passer. To do that, a field stretcher is needed in the first round.

The Vikings have multiple needs to address early, though, which is why their multiple picks in the opening round (23rd and 25th overall) after the Harvin trade are pretty convenient. Along with St. Louis, the Vikings are one of the two teams with two first-round picks.

So which wide receiver is best suited to replace Percy Harvin by being the next Percy Harvin? I asked that question, and Ted Glover from the Daily Norseman answered. And then he answered four more.

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