Today, the NFL announced the 2011 preseason schedule. The Vikings four opponents are as follows:
Preseason Week 1 (August 12-13): at Tennessee
Preseason Week 2 (August 19-20): at Seattle
Preseason Week 3 (August 26-27): vs. Dallas
Preseason Week 4 (August 31 – September 1): vs. Houston
Not surprisingly, the team is on the road for the first two games while repairs are made to the roof at Mall of America Field due to last December’s snow storm in the Twin Cities. The dates above are tentative and times will be announced over the coming weeks. The full Vikings 2011 schedule will probably be announced sometime between now and the NFL Draft, which takes place in New York City from April 28-30.
However, as most fans know, the teams Minnesota will play during the 2011 regular season are already set, as you can see here:
Home - GB, DET, CHI, NO, TB, ARI, OAK, DEN
Away - GB, DET, CHI, WAS, CAR, ATL, SD, KC
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The names bandied about most frequently with respect to the Vikings and this year’s NFL draft are Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett. As is the case with most draft prospects, both of those guys have a few question marks to go along with their many strengths.
And with respect to the general consensus among NFL draft prognosticators, Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert will be the first off the board, with Locker and Mallett representing “next best” status. But lately I’ve noticed another name that’s garnered lots of attention – University of Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick.
Three teams in the AFC South – Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Tennessee – have spent time privately with Kaepernick and the website ProFootballTalk.com spoke with a source that gave a flattering review of the athletic, strong-armed QB.
“I’m hearing that the Titans at (pick #) 39 could be the pick [for Kaepernick],” PFT quotes its source as saying. “Unless a team grabs him prior to that. And the possibility of a team trading into the second half of the first round for Kaepernick is very real.”
There are several more interesting tidbits from the PFT item on Kaepernick, including the source expecting Kaepernick to be drafted before Mallet, a belief that Kaepernick’s stock is on the rise, ex-NFL scout Dave Razzano hearing that Kaepernick is inching into the 1st round on some boards and NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock comparing Kaepernick to Tim Tebow, but adding that Kaepernick is “probably a better athlete…with a rifle for an arm.”
The item from PFT is interesting and is worth a read, especially if you’re a big Kaepernick fan.
Aside from a bevy of DE names and then the QB speculation of Locker and Mallett, another possibility tied to the Vikings is that of a trade, specifically a trade back into the later stages of the 1st round (which would also lead to the acquisition of more draft selections in either/both the 2nd and 3rd rounds).
So with all of that said, how do Vikings fans feel about Kaepernick? We’re not suggesting the team has interest in him, but the rise of Kaepernick is worth pointing out and it’s always fun to hear what you have to say about certain prospects. Let us know what you think by posting a comment in the comments section below this entry.
For what it’s worth, here’s what I said of Kaepernick in the vikings.com QB Collection: Teams looking for a QB that A) spent 4 seasons in college, B) won a lot of games and C) possess a combination of pocket-passing presence and mobility will have to take a serious look at Kaepernick. He played for the University of Nevada, a program that has operated in the shadow of Boise State, but that shouldn’t dilute any of his accomplishments. Kaepernick is the first player in NCAA history to record 3 straight 2,000-yard passing/1,000-yard rushing seasons and he did it while elevating the profile of an entire football program at Nevada. Kaepernick’s signature win was over Boise State this past season, a win that his head coach proclaimed was “the most important win in program history.” A few more statistical tidbits on Kaepernick:
— Joined Cam Newton and Tim Tebow as the only QBs in FBS history to throw for 20 TDs and run for 20 TDs in the same season.
— Finished tied with former Nebraska QB and Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch for most rushing TD’s in NCAA history by a QB with 59.
— Stands as the only QB in the history of Division I college football to have passed for over 10,000 yards and rushed for over 4,000 yards in a career.
Tags: 2011 NFL Draft
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