August 23, 2015

Vikings 20, Raiders 12 in weather-delayed preseason game

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 10:09

I didn’t get to watch this game, as we had guests over for dinner, but the chances of being able to watch the game in the Toronto area probably weren’t that high anyway. Here’s The Daily Norseman‘s Christopher Gates on the game summary:

It took a really long time, thanks to a weather delay, but by the time the rain cleared and everything was in the books, the Minnesota Vikings continued their preseason perfection under Mike Zimmer with a 20-12 victory over the Oakland Raiders at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday night.

Both teams got off to a bit of a slow start, including a miss on a 35-yard field goal attempt by Blair Walsh on the team’s second drive. The Raiders then got on the board first, courtesy of a 2-yard touchdown run by Latavius Murray. The drive was highlighted by a 40-yard pass from Derek Carr to rookie Amari Cooper. The Vikings challenged the play, as it appeared that Cooper only got one foot in-bounds, but they lost that challenge. The 2-point attempt for the Raiders was unsuccessful, and they took a 6-0 lead late in the first quarter.

The Vikings answered back on their next drive, putting the ball into the end zone on the second play of the second quarter. Teddy Bridgewater took a snap, floated a pass to the back right corner of the end zone, and found Charles Johnson for a 10-yard score. Blair Walsh’s rough night continued, as he missed the new 33-yard extra point attempt, and the game remained tied at 6-6.

Approximately halfway through the second quarter, the severe weather rolling through the area caused the game to be delayed. The delay went on for approximately an hour, and the teams agreed to jump straight from the second quarter to the third quarter with no halftime break.

After the delay, Shaun Hill and Cordarrelle Patterson had a bit of miscommunication that resulted in an interception by Oakland’s Jonathan Dowling. That meant that former Vikings’ quarterback Christian Ponder entered the game for the Raiders, and after a 39-yard pitch-and-catch with Andre Holmes, the Raiders had to settle for a 26-yard field goal from Giorgio Tavecchio to put the Raiders back on top, 9-6.

The Vikings managed to strike again at the end of the first half, as Hill moved the team downfield and found Chase Ford for a 4-yard touchdown pass with time running out. That sent the Vikings to the locker room for “halftime” with a 13-9 lead after the Blair Walsh extra point.

Eric Thompson compiled the post-game Stock Market Report with blue chip investments:

Teddy Bridgewater. His first drive wasn’t too great. He threw a little behind Mike Wallace and Kyle Rudolph and straight up missed Jarius Wright on a third down. But after that? Pure poetry. His improvisation to Jerick McKinnon, his gorgeous rainbow of a touchdown to Charles Johnson…my goodness. We’re still in very good gloved hands under center.

Chase Ford. Five catches for 19 yards isn’t exactly the stuff that legends are made of. However, his juggling catch while still getting out of bounds followed by holding on in the end zone while getting popped earned him a spot at the top this week. Ford jumped on his opportunity with MyCole Pruitt out due to an injury.

Everyone that watched the entire game. That was a mid-July Red Sox-Yankees-length game that we had to endure tonight. I would personally like to thank everyone on Twitter as well as Fulton Brewery for their delicious Sweet Child Of Vine IPA. Without them I would have fallen asleep or died of boredom around 8:45 PM.

… and the Junk Bonds:

Blair Walsh. What. The. Hell. I don’t care how windy it was at TCF on Saturday night. (As @thevikingpig put it: “The Blair Wind Project.”) You simply cannot miss three field goals and a newfangled extra point. Going 2-for-6 is a nice batting average but it’ll get you fired in a hurry if you’re an NFL kicker. After his second to last miss, Zimmer stared absolute daggers through his kicker while muttering what I’m sure was a string of expletives.

Nobody will be harder on Walsh than himself — in fact, he tried to kick himself after missing the last field goal but was wide left on his attempt. There is no excuse for how poorly Walsh is kicking so far this preseason. It better get fixed soon.

Run blocking. Jerick McKinnon had nowhere to go for all but one of his carries. The team averaged only 2.7 yards per rush. Not even Adrian Peterson is going to get many yards behind the run blocking that was on display most of the night.

Trae Waynes. No, I’m not calling him a bust by putting him in this section. And he did almost have an interception. Sadly, that one didn’t really count because it was thrown by Christian Ponder and nearly picking off Christian Ponder can usually happen by accident. But overall he played pretty poorly again, even after getting less to do by the coaching staff this week. It sucks that the 11th overall pick is probably going to be a project this year.

Cordarrelle Patterson. The bad interception that Hill threw seemed to be his fault. Patterson was pointing to his chest while walking off the field which means he probably ran the wrong route. He also didn’t get to return any kickoffs, which seems like the only way he’s going to make an impact at this rate.

Mother Nature. C’mon, it’s the preseason. We don’t need these games to last any longer than they already do. And can you imagine being a beer vendor at TCF Stadium during that delay? Those poor people.

August 16, 2015

Vikings top Bucs 26-16 in preseason, but lose their starting right tackle for the season

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 12:22

Last night’s game was carried on the NFL Network, so I actually got to hear Paul Allen (the “voice of the Vikings”) instead of the usual network announcers. It was the second preseason game for the Vikings, but the first for Tampa Bay and the very first game action for the Buccaneers’ new starting quarterback, first overall draft pick of the 2015 draft, Jameis Winston (which was probably the reason the game was being shown on the NFL Network, now that I think of it).

While the Vikings prevailed on the scoreboard, they took a more serious loss when starting right tackle Phil Loadholt had to leave the game after just two plays with a leg injury. Later it was announced that Loadholt had suffered a torn Achilles tendon and would probably be out for the season. Rookie T.J. Clemmings is now the most likely player to start at right tackle unless the team decides to sign a veteran off the street (or, less likely, trade for one).

1500ESPN‘s Andrew Krammer rounds up the game details:


August 15, 2015

QotD: The “I didn’t do it!” gesture

Filed under: Football, Humour, Quotations — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

Denver leading 21-10, the Chiefs threw incomplete on third-and-goal from the Broncs’ 8. As the pass sailed out of bounds, Denver corner Chris Harris threw his hands up in the “I didn’t do it!” gesture. Penalty, automatic first down for Kansas City. Defenders should never make the “I didn’t do it!” gesture, which only alerts officials to the fact that they did it. In football, the “I didn’t do it!” gesture is regarded by zebras as a notarized confession after a Miranda warning.

Gregg Easterbrook, “TMQ: Super Bowl rematches rare events”, ESPN.com, 2014-09-16.

August 14, 2015

The return of “Zim Tzu”

Filed under: Football, Humour — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

It’s the end of Vikings training camp at Mankato State University, but the final practice didn’t go well. In fact it went so badly that head coach Mike Zimmer was furious with the team. At The Daily Norseman, world famous linguistic expert and translator Ted Glover provides his interpretation of what the coach said and what he really meant:

NOTE: This has a lot of NSFW words. If you’re offended easily, stop now. Also, unhook from the Internet and go unicorn hunting. Near rainbows — Ted


August 10, 2015

Vikings beat Steelers 14-3 in 2015 Hall of Fame game

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 07:37

The NFL preseason is finally underway with last night’s Hall of Fame game played in Canton, Ohio between the Vikings and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers rested many of their starters (Ben Roethlisberger was not even in uniform for the game), while the Vikings’ starters only played brief stints before handing over to backups. At 1500ESPN, Andrew Krammer rounds up the action:

Bobbled interceptions, special teams gaffes, whiffed tackles and an injured kicker.

The NFL’s exhibition slate opened in mid-preseason form as the Vikings and Steelers played to a 14-3 final in Canton, Ohio on Sunday night — and it came with a little bit of everything.

Pittsburgh kicker Shaun Suisham broke the ice with a 36-yard field goal to give the Steelers a 3-0 lead, just before Suisham left the game with a knee injury after attempting a tackle along the sideline. Rookie tight end MyCole Pruitt’s 34-yard catch-and-run on a crossing route put the Vikings up for good at 7-3. Running back Joe Banyard converted rookie Stefon Diggs’ big punt return into a one-yard touchdown run for the 14-3 lead that stood as final.

Here are five takeaways main takeaways from the first exhibition action:

• CB Trae Waynes with work to do: Reminds you a little of Xavier Rhodes doesn’t it? Rookie Trae Waynes drew three defensive contact penalties as he played the entire game. It wasn’t a pretty debut, but perhaps necessary as coach Mike Zimmer and his defensive staff work to mold the former Michigan State cornerback into a NFL-caliber player. He played a lot of off coverage, something relatively new to him in the NFL, and showed his room for improvement, including on a 35-yard one-handed grab by Shakim Phillips, who flew past Waynes, playing off, and shook Waynes’ arm bar for the impressive grab. Waynes was flagged for illegal contact on the play. It’s really no cause for concern. Rhodes went from penalty magnet to tough assignment in one year under Zimmer and this is just the beginning of Waynes’ education.

• Starters play one series apiece: Teddy Bridgewater returned from Florida after dealing with a personal matter to play one series for the Vikings. He went 5-for-6 for 44 yards on seven passing plays, adding a six-yard scramble. He went 1-for-2 on third-down attempts, converting a 3rd-and-5 with a completion to tight end Kyle Rudolph. The drive ended after undrafted rookie fullback Blake Renaud’s lead block was blown up on Jerick McKinnon’s 4th-and-1 attempt. Eight different Vikings caught the first nine completions. (We discuss those impressive fifth-round picks below)

Save for Gerald Hodges, Audie Cole and Waynes, the defensive starters saw just three plays in one series. The starters forced a three-and-out against mainly Steelers’ backups, including quarterback Landry Jones. Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Maurkice Pouncey did not play for the Steelers. Hodges got the start at strong-side linebacker for Anthony Barr, who didn’t travel as he recovers from inflammation in his surgically-repaired left knee. Cole got the start in the middle, tipping a 3rd-and-13 pass that was completed anyway to rookie Sammie Coates for 12 yards. Hodges took advantage of his opportunities with solid open-field tackles.

At the Daily Norseman, Christopher Gates discusses the game:

Pittsburgh put up the first points of the game nearly halfway through the second quarter on a 36-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham, taking a 3-0 lead. The Vikings answered on the ensuing drive, with Mike Kafka matriculating the ball down the field and finding a wide open MyCole Pruitt for a 34-yard touchdown pass to make the score 7-3 in favor of Minnesota.

That’s how they went into the locker room, and neither team could get much going in the second half … until rookie Stefon Diggs got an opportunity to do some damage. Diggs took a punt from Brad Wing and, after a couple of nifty moves, took the ball all the way down to the Pittsburgh 1-yard line. (The Vikings threw a challenge flag, thinking that Diggs had gotten the ball into the end zone, but the call was upheld.) Joe Banyard took the ball into the end zone on the next play, extending the Minnesota lead to 14-3.

That ended the scoring for the evening. The two teams exchanged turnovers later on in the third quarter, both thanks to bobbles by tight ends. First, rookie Taylor Heinicke threw a pass to Chase Ford that Ford was unable to handle and resulted in an interception by cornerback Kevin Fogg. On the next play, however, Landry Jones hit tight end Jesse James, but he fumbled the ball and Vikings’ linebacker Brian Peters wound up falling on it. That pretty much ended the excitement, such as it was, for the evening.

Kafka wound up leading the Vikings in passing, completing 7-of-10 for 66 yards and a touchdown. Heinicke also went 7-for-10 passing, but had just 51 yards and the one interception. Bridgewater, as we mentioned, went 5-for-6 for 44 yards.

Matt Asiata led the Vikings in rushing with six carries for 30 yards. Joe Banyard had the most carries for Minnesota with seven, and wound up with 22 yards and his 1-yard touchdown run. MyCole Pruitt led the Vikings in both receptions and yardage on the evening, snagging four passes for 51 yards and the long touchdown.

The Vikings’ defense asserted themselves fairly well on the evening, allowing Jones. . .who played the entire game for the Steelers. . .to complete just 50 percent of his passes, as Jones went 16-of-32 for 135 yards. The Vikings also held the Steelers to just 68 yards rushing on 25 carries.

Minnesota will be back in action on Saturday, 15 August, as they will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at TCF Bank Stadium. The Steelers play again on Friday, as they’ll make a trip to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars.

July 31, 2015

@DrawPlayDave explains how he decides what to put in his webcomic

Filed under: Football, Humour — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

A brief Twitter exchange between Dave Rappocchio (@DrawPlayDave) and Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL):

July 17, 2015

Minnesota comes in at #5 on the NFL pain ranking

Filed under: Football — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 04:00

This is, sadly, pretty much right:

The Minnesota Vikings are a franchise committed to family: They have pain to share for all generations. For decades, they’ve bonded the people of the Upper Midwest with their ability to lift you up, then throw you down like a Prince thunder jam from the banks of Lake Minnetonka. Remember when the Metrodome roof collapsed a few years back? That’s what being a Vikings fan is like. Everything looks safe … beautiful even. And then … whoooooooooooooooosh.

To understand the Vikings’ pain is to know their history. No team that we’ll study on the Pain Rankings has been as routinely competitive through the years. Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, the Vikes have qualified for the postseason 25 times. Twenty-five! Only the Cowboys and Steelers (27 each) have advanced more often. Dallas and Pittsburgh have 11 championships to show for those admissions to the dance. The Vikings? Four Super Bowl losses and a near-lethal serving of concentrated heartbreak.

This is the franchise that gave us the Purple People Eaters, Fran Tarkenton, Cris Carter, early-period Randy Moss, late-period Brett Favre, and Adrian Peterson. They gave us both Denny Green and Mike Tice’s ear pencil! How have the Football Gods not returned the favor with a few Lombardis?

The Vikings were destined for NFL royalty, but never received the crown. If they went to the Football Gods accounting department and asked why — with their abundance of gifts — they’ve never won it all, they’d receive an apology and the acknowledgement of an “unfortunate oversight.” Restitution comes in the form of a one-drink voucher at the holiday party and admission as the No. 5 team on the Pain Rankings.

July 13, 2015

“Links to this Site are not permitted except with the written consent of TO2015™”

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Cancon, Media, Sports — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Toronto’s Pan Am Games organizers appear to have been living in a cave without an internet connection for the last 15 years:

The organisers of the Pan American Games in Toronto, which start this week, require that people seek formal permission to link to its website at [toronto2015 DOT org].

Under the website’s terms of use, amid piles of incomprehensible legalese seemingly designed to hide from the fact that social media exists, it is decreed that no one is allowed to use one of those hyperlink thingies to connect to the website unless they first get approval. It reads:

    Links to this Site are not permitted except with the written consent of TO2015™. If you wish to link to the Site, you must submit a written request to TO2015™ to do so. Requests for written consent can be sent to branduse@toronto2015.org. TO2015™ reserves the right to withhold its consent to link, such right to be exercised in its sole and unfettered discretion.

Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that the $2bn sports event – effectively a mini-Olympics – also appears to have trademarked the term “TO2015.” Which makes about as much sense.

Incredibly, this is not a misreading of the terms, and it doesn’t appear to have been a mistake either. Instead, it’s about the increasingly insane approach that intellectual property lawyers are taking to sponsors – and non-sponsors – of sporting events.

Alongside such gems as forcing people to put tape over their own computers if a computer company is a sponsor, and stopping people for drinking anything that isn’t a sponsor drink (if there is a drinks sponsor), now it seems the Pan Am Games lawyers have decided they need to prevent the internet from entering the hallowed sponsor world.

Strictly speaking, anyone who links to the website or even anyone who uses the games’ own hashtag of [hashtagTO2015] is violating its terms, and could be sued. Although not a court in the land would actually enforce it.

Notice that, as I live in Canada, I’ve carefully obfuscated the URL and the hashtag so you don’t accidentally click on them and violate their intellectual property right claims or anything. I suspect this will be the only actual coverage of the games I’ll be posting, just to be on the safe side. Discussion of the financial side, or the disruption to normal life in Toronto caused by the games, of course, is still fair game.

July 9, 2015

The first female NFL referee

Filed under: Football — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Amy Trask hopes that Sarah Thomas gets booed. I’m pretty sure she’ll get her wish (and then some):

I have never met Sarah Thomas, but I appreciate the significance of her achievement. When Sarah Thomas takes the field as an official at the start of the 2015 season, she will be the first woman to do so (other than in a temporary, replacement capacity) in the National Football League. I congratulate her and I wish her the very best for continued success.

I also hope that Sarah Thomas is booed.

When Sarah Thomas throws a flag she shouldn’t have thrown — which she will, as all officials do — she should be booed. When Sarah Thomas fails to throw a flag she should have — which she will, as all officials do — she should be booed. Sarah Thomas should be booed as loudly and as resoundingly as her male colleagues are booed.

Gender equality means gender equality. And if gender equality is the expectation, all consequences that flow therefrom must be accepted, whether one likes them or not.

When Sarah Thomas takes the field, she should do so without regard to gender. If one wants to be considered without regard to gender, then one should not consider one’s gender. Since I do not know Sarah Thomas, I do not know whether our views on these issues are similar. My hunch, though, is that Sarah Thomas has comported herself without regard to gender throughout her career.

It makes no sense to undertake one’s responsibilities — on the field, in an owner’s meeting, in a boardroom, as a physician, as a judge, as an astronaut, as a farmer, in the military, or otherwise — with any thought given to one’s gender. How can a woman hope (or insist, or demand) that she be considered and treated without regard to gender, while giving thought to her gender?

Might Sarah Thomas encounter some gender-based resistance? Of course.

My experience suggests she will not encounter any such resistance from Pete Morelli, the head of her officiating crew. I never encountered anything I believed to be gender-based resistance during any of my interactions with Pete or with any other officials. I never sensed that Pete or any other officials treated me any differently than they treated my male counterparts. (Some of them did not like my shouting and swearing—but to the extent they objected to it, I do not believe they did so because I was a woman.)

July 4, 2015

Which NFL team is the most AMERICA?

It’s the bitter end of the off-season in the NFL: everyone is waiting for training camps to open and there’s no football news at all (except disciplinary announcements). To help fill these empty days, Dave Rappoccio ranks all 32 NFL teams by how AMERICA they are:

32. Bills
Buffalo is basically Canada


15. Vikings
Yes, they are Norsemen, but charging into villages, burning everything to the ground and ruining lives is totally American as hell.


5. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are very AMERICA. Bald Eagles? Hell yes, slap our big ass scary national bird on it. The face on the logo faces left! Totally different than every other logo, a special snowflake, just like we think we are! It’s angry, SO AMERICA. They are based in Philadelphia, which was literally our capital city for a while! The liberty bell is there! Why aren’t they higher? Because the Eagles ain’t won sh*t, and America wins sh*t.

4. The Patriots
Giant annoying bullies who talk stupid and are too proud of themselves, so much so that they make their own rules, man. So America.

3. The Cowboys
What? How are they not no. 1? Because no matter how gloriously American the cowboy is, The Cowboys are loyal to Texas, and Texas would be its own country if we let it.

2. The Steelers
Fat, angry, out of work industrial giants. Go America.

1. The Redskins
The Redskins? First? Why? Think about it. They are the actual first Americans. If you want to look at it a different way, the Skins represent all the shaming and systematic oppression of those people, the most American way to treat others! Plus how we totally ignore them and forget to change the name! They are based in Washington DC, the capital of the country, and is run by a greedy capitalistic megalomaniac with no regard for others but claims to support “traditions” which are actually offensive! Plus, we haven’t actually been all that great since the 90s and we have horrible gun related tragedies all the time (Sean Taylor). That is ‘MERCA as Sh*t.

June 3, 2015

Is the Adrian Peterson soap opera over? Please say it’s over.

Filed under: Football, Humour, Media — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

I’m on the record as saying that I thought it would be better for both the team and for Adrian Peterson if he played somewhere else this season. If the comments from the Vikings are accurate, then that was never going to happen as they received no calls from other teams leading up to the draft about trading Peterson. Instead, after some weird moments on Twitter recently, Adrian Peterson showed up in Minnesota today to begin taking part in the offseason training sessions and to earn his $250k bonus for attending the nominally voluntary sessions leading up to mini-camp later this month. I’m still in two minds about this development: Peterson is a generational talent at running back and will make this season much easier on Teddy Bridgewater … but I still think he’s not committed to the team and would prefer to be playing somewhere else.

After today’s OTA session, head coach Mike Zimmer addressed the media and then gave the podium over to Peterson. The Daily Norseman‘s Ted Glover provides his unique “Rickspeak” translation of what was said and what was meant at today’s press conference:

Hi kids, how have you been? If you’re a Vikings fan and didn’t know that Adrian Peterson and Mike Zimmer had a press conference after Peterson’s return to the team earlier today, you are one of two things:

Monumentally ignorant, or monumentally blessed; I can’t decide what. I’m a blessed ignoramus, so I kind of have both bases covered here, so I’ll let you decide what camp you fall in.

Be that as it may, there was a lot of information said at today’s press conference…if you know the ways of Rickspeak, and the meaning behind the words.

‘But Ted’, you ask to yourself, ‘what is Rickspeak?’

Rickspeak isn’t so much a language unto itself as much as it is a code. A code that would make Navajo Code Talkers burst with pride, and one that current Vikings GM Rick Spielman has mastered to a Ninja level. It’s part verbal judo, part linguistic gymnastics, and part hypnosis*. It’s a language as old as Aramaic and Latin**, and one that takes years to decipher and master***.

*It’s none of those things

**It’s really not even a language, it’s just me making shit up

***It takes nowhere near that long

And today, my Viking faithful, we were given a Rickspeak Tour-De-Force, not by the Master, but by his two faithful minions–head coach Mike Zimmer and part time running back, part time Prodigal Son Adrian Peterson.

So, my friends, let us jump into the verbal vomit pit, and get behind what ZimTzu and Peterson not only said*…but what they actually meant.**

*We really will give you direct quotes from Zimmer and Peterson during the presser

**I can’t emphasize enough that my interpretations of those quotes are totally made up bullshit

Amidst a throng of print, online, and TV reporters that would rival Super Bowl media day, Peterson and Zimmer walked up to the podium, and Mike Zimmer spoke first. Because he’s the head coach, and Mike Zimmer does whatever the fuck he wants, whenever he wants to.

May 3, 2015

Minnesota Vikings 2015 draft – third day

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

I didn’t think “Trader Rick” would be happy with “only” six picks in the final day of the NFL 2015 draft…

TJ Clemmings draft

Round 4 (110) – T.J. Clemmings, Tackle, Pittsburgh. After three straight defensive picks, the Vikings finally address their offensive line concerns. At the Pioneer Press, Chris Tomasson has this to report on Clemmings:

The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Clemmings had projected by some to go in the first round but he dropped because of some medical issues. It’s not a high-risk pick by the Vikings, who have six picks on the third day of the draft.

It was appropriate Vikings Hall of Fame offensive lineman Randall McDaniel played a role in the pick on NFL Network. At the site of the new stadium that will open next year, McDaniel introduced construction foreman Lesley Singer, who announced the pick.

Clemmings, who was a second-team All-American as a senior and played in the Senior Bowl, has been projected as an NFL right tackle. However, he has the ability to play other positions on the line.


May 2, 2015

Minnesota Vikings 2015 draft – second day

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 09:00

After the (total lack of) drama and suspense over the Vikings’ first round pick yesterday, I did the sensible thing and went out for the evening and paid minimal attention to day two of the draft. Since I don’t follow college football, I wasn’t likely to say whether any given player was a good or a bad pick and aside from checking to see what position the drafted player is projected to fill, I could follow with an occasional check of my Twitter feed.

With all the trades in previous drafts, the Vikings hadn’t actually drafted anyone in the second round for several years (not since 2011 when they drafted Kyle Rudolph), but this time they actually did use the 45th pick on UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks, a former team-mate (and college room-mate) of last year’s first rounder Anthony Barr. Here’s 1500ESPN‘s Andrew Krammer on the pick:

Eric Kendricks draft card

The Vikings had offers to trade down from 45th overall, but general manager Rick Spielman said they weren’t expecting Kendricks to be there.

“He has the athletic skill set to be a three-down backer,” Spielman said. “We were surprised he fell to where we were at.

“And he says he can help Anthony Barr line up,” Spielman joked. “They said they had the ‘AB’ role when he was [at UCLA].”

Kendricks (6’0″, 230lbs) finished his four-year career with the Bruins totaling 480 combined tackles, 10 sacks, five interceptions and three forced fumbles. He was the NCAA’s 2014 Butkus Award winner.

The Vikings feel he can play either weak-side linebacker or the middle linebacker role for coach Mike Zimmer’s defense. Last year’s starter in the middle, Jasper Brinkley, left in free agency and signed with the Dallas Cowboys. Kendricks joins a linebacker corps comprised of Barr, Chad Greenway, Audie Cole, Gerald Hodges, Casey Matthews and others.

They spent one of 60 combine interviews with Kendricks in February and had heard enough to prioritize him atop their draft board.

After that pick, Spielman’s famous “Trader Rick” persona broke out in the Vikings war room and some wheeling and dealing took place. They swapped picks with Kansas City to move back four spots in the third round (with the Chiefs giving up a sixth-round pick, #193, in compensation). Then they moved back again in a trade with the Lions, going from #80 to #88 in the third round, acquiring the Lions’ fifth-round pick at #143.

After trading down twice for the extra picks, the Vikings chose LSU defensive end Danielle Hunter. Here’s ESPN‘s Ben Goessling on the pick:

Danielle Hunter draft card

It had been clear all offseason that the Vikings were looking for help at defensive end, and for the second year in a row, they took one in the third round. Hunter is an impressive athlete — a 6-foot-6, 240-pound end with 4.57 40 speed and 34½-inch arms. He didn’t put up the kind of sack numbers you’d expect in college and will have to figure out how to beat offensive tackles in the NFL. But after the Vikings missed out on signing Michael Johnson, they added the kind of lanky defensive end Mike Zimmer likes.

[…] Hunter had just 1½ sacks in 2014 at LSU, and after the Vikings took Scott Crichton last year, they could be looking at another end who could take some time to develop. Hunter came out a year early, and while Pro Football Focus ranked him second among draft-eligible edge rushers in run-stop percentage, he will have to get better at pressuring the quarterback. In any case, the Vikings will have to get something out of Crichton or Hunter this season to lighten the load for Everson Griffen and Brian Robison, who each logged more than 900 snaps last year.

The final rounds of the 2015 draft take place later today, with the Vikings holding six picks (for now, pending further wheeling and dealing by Rick Spielman):

  • Round 4 (110)
  • Round 5 (137) – (from Buccaneers through Bills)
  • Round 5 (143) – (from Lions)
  • Round 6 (193) – (from Chiefs)
  • Round 7 (228)
  • Round 7 (232) – (from 49ers through Dolphins)

May 1, 2015

Minnesota Vikings 2015 draft – first round

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 07:00

Well, few saw this coming … that Minnesota would actually use the #11 pick rather than trading down. Pretty much everyone read “Trader” Rick Spielman’s last pre-draft press conference as a clear attempt to get any kind of trade offer for the #11 slot, but perhaps no other team was all that interested in moving up.

With their original pick, the Vikings selected Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes. This is so boring: 90% of the mock drafts had this as the Vikings’ selection. Mr. Spielman, you’ve let us all down … where’s the drama? Where’s the suspense? Where’s the Earth-shattering Kaboom? How dare you do what everyone thought you’d do?

Trae Waynes-cb-Michigan State

Initially (never having watched any of his college games), I was enthusiastic about Waynes, but as the pre-draft process wore on, I started to think he wasn’t the best scheme fit (and Arif Hasan’s analysis added to the niggling doubts). When Rick Spielman came out to talk to the media about the team’s pick, he said there had been some offers to trade, but that they didn’t feel the trade value was worth it, as they had Waynes high on their board. Unless this is smoke-blowing, I tend to believe that coach Zimmer feels that Trae Waynes is the best choice for the Vikings’ secondary.

Here’s Arif’s immediate reaction to the pick at Bleacher Report:

Known for only giving up two touchdowns in the past two years, Waynes’ ability to protect against vertical threats is unparalleled in college. He should provide the Vikings with some protection against the deadly passing attacks of the NFC North, which features deep threats and quarterbacks who like to exploit them.

With Kevin White (Miami) in the division, it increases the importance of a player who can keep up with his speed and provide some protection over the top.

There are a number of concerns about Waynes going in, some of which match the issues that Xavier Rhodes had coming out of the draft, including a predilection for grabby play and issues with short-area quickness.

Known for his high character, Waynes puts in time in the film room and can read receivers well.

On the flip side of that is a limited ability to read offensive concepts, and he struggles with route combinations. For the most part, the quarters defense at Michigan State made it less important to do so, although that unique defense also raises questions about his capacity to cover interior routes.

April 29, 2015

I’d be delighted if this mock draft turns out to be close to reality

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Ryan Boser guest-posts a mock draft at Vikings Territory that would just bowl me over on draft weekend. It’s got a little bit of everything, and it’s based on the demonstrated draft tendencies of “Trader” Rick Spielman. It includes a higher-than-expected result from trading Adrian Peterson, along with movement up and down to accumulate more picks and sneak back into the bottom of the first round for that coveted fifth-year option:

The Vikings enter the draft with seven selections:


This is not enough. We know Rick wants nine or 10 picks. He’s traded back one spot with Cleveland in two of his last three drafts, and they’re ripe for the picking again at No. 12. However, he’ll need to slide back a bit further to acquire requisite ammunition, and for a team with numerous needs, it’s a flatter tier—the value of pick 11 isn’t much different from the value of pick 16.

TRADE: Minnesota sends 1(11) to Houston for 1(16), 3(82) and 4(116)


TRADE: Minnesota sends Adrian Peterson to Arizona for 1(24)

I’ve long been of the belief that bridges have been burned, and this whole process has been another “we have no intent of trading Percy Harvin” dog and pony show. Thankfully, Rick is a master of creating trade markets out of thin air.

I don’t know if it’ll be Arizona, Dallas, or one of the longer shots. What I do know is that Rick’s still stacking his chips from the Harvin trade, while simultaneously playing the Peterson suitors against each other. I think he ultimately gets his R1 pick (maybe more?), and another standing ovation.


Hey, let’s make a pick!

1(16) Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia; 6’1”, 222

We know that Spielman is fearlessly aggressive with offensive weapons early in the draft. This dates back to his very first selection as VP of Player Personnel, when he took an “injury-prone” Adrian Peterson, despite urgent defensive needs and Chester Taylor coming off a 1,500-YFS season in Year 1 of a 4-year contract.


1(24) Marcus Peters, CB, Washington; 6’0”, 197

We know Spielman really values DBs, and he’ll get no argument from HC Mike Zimmer. Peters, who’s met privately with the Vikings, is widely believed to be the best cover corner in the draft. While he comes with some Harvin-esque character/authority issues, Zimmer has made lemonade out of worse (Pacman Jones and Vontaze Burfict, to name two). The team has also shown Pro Day interest in fellow CBs Byron Jones and Kevin Johnson. Depending on availability, one of the three would be the pick here, and would make a dreamy tandem with budding superstar Xavier Rhodes.

TRADE: Minnesota sends 2(45) and 3(76) to Indianapolis for 1(29) and 5(165)

You knew better than to go to sleep. Rick loves his fifth-year options, as he’s proven by trading back into the end of R1 in three straight drafts. He’s made seven R1 picks in the last three years (2, 3, 2), with only one coming from an original Vikings draft slot, so we’re right on trend here.

1(29) Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA; 6’0”, 232

Kendricks is in play for the Packers at 30, so 29 is probably the necessary destination. Although the 2014 Butkus Award winner is a bit undersized, he’s extremely intelligent, instinctive and aggressive. Whether he remains inside or moves to WILL, Kendricks quenches the team’s most desperate thirst, and allows Zimmer full freedom to deploy his bazooka (Anthony Barr) however he pleases.


Your 2015 Minnesota Vikings Draft Class:

1(16)* HOU – Todd Gurley, RB
1(24)* ARI – Marcus Peters, CB
1(29)* IND – Eric Kendricks, LB
3(82)* HOU – Tre McBride, WR
4(110) – Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, DB
4(116)* HOU – Za’Darius Smith, DE
5(137) – Mitch Morse, G
5(165)* IND – Chaz Green, T
7(228) – Bryce Hager, LB
7(232) – Trevor Pardula, P

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