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A Look At The Vikings Draft Position

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 14, 2013 – 11:31 am

After finishing the regular season with a 10-6 record and then losing in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, the Vikings have been slotted in 23rd position for the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft. The Vikings currently have 7 other choices in the remaining 6 rounds of the draft, though, and they don’t have the 23rd selection in each of the remaining rounds.

Here are the picks the Vikings currently possess for the 2013 NFL Draft:
1st round: #23
2nd round: #22
3rd round: #21
4th round: #5 (Detroit’s) and #23
5th round: #22
6th round: #21 – Traded away
7th round: #7 (Arizona’s) and #23

Let us (try to) explain.

With how the regular season and Wild Card rounds played out for the 2012 season and in conjunction with the NFL’s procedure for determining draft order, the losers of this season’s Wild Card games will select in the 21st through 24th positions in all rounds, according to the reverse order of their (regular season) standing. Essentially, this means that regardless of their regular season records, the four teams that lost in this year’s Wild Card round (Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Washington) will select in the 21st through 24th positions, with their default position being ranked according to regular season record.

[As an aside, it’s interesting to note that even if one of those four teams happened to have a worse record than another team who didn’t make the playoffs, they would still be slotted after that team in the draft order. That scenario didn’t unfold this year, but it is possible in theory.]

As stated above, while the Vikings hold the 23rd overall pick in this year’s draft, they will not actually have the 23rd selection in each round of this year’s draft.

According to the procedure the NFL uses to determine draft order: “In ties that involve three or more clubs, the club at the top of a tied segment in a given round will move to the bottom of the segment for the next round, while all other clubs in the segment move up one position. This rotation continues throughout the Draft.”

Our interpretation of that language yields the conclusion that the Vikings will then rotate with three o two other teams – the Bengals and Redskins. Indianapolis was the fourth team that lost on Wild Card weekend, but they finished with one more win that Cincinnati, Minnesota and Washington, so they’ll be slotted at 24th.

As such, the Vikings will have the 23rd selection in the 1st round, the 22nd selection in the 2nd round, the 21st selection in the 3rd round, the 23rd selection in the 4th round, the 22nd selection in the 5th round, the 21st selection in the 6th round (which was traded away) and the 23rd selection in the 7th round.

In addition to those choices, the Vikings also have the 5th pick of the 4th round (from Detroit) and the 7th pick of the 7th round (from Arizona).


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4 Questions And Predictions For 4 Divisional Round Playoff Games

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 12, 2013 – 7:16 am

The Vikings are out of the playoffs. But the playoffs will indeed continue. While our favorite team is no longer participating, the drama is too good to turn away from. Let’s take a quick look at each matchup, pose one question for each matchup and offer one prediction in each matchup.

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos – Saturday 3:30 p.m. CT on CBS
After going 9-2 through their first 11 games, the Baltimore Ravens hit a late-season skid and lost 4 of their last 5, including a 34-17 decision at home to this very Denver Broncos team. But Baltimore got back on the winning track last week by dominating the Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card round, winning 24-9 during an emotional return by leader Ray Lewis.

The Broncos were the opposite of Baltimore this season – they were slow starters who finished on fire. Denver lost 2 of its first 3 games, but now they haven’t lost since Week 5. That’s not a typo. The Broncos haven’t lost since Week 5.

The question: Can Baltimore’s aging defense slow down Peyton Manning and Co.?

The prediction: Denver 31, Baltimore 23

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers – Saturday 7:00 p.m. CT on FOX
In another playoff rematch of a regular season game, Green Bay travels to San Francisco to try and avenge an Opening Day loss to the 49ers at Lambeau Field. The 49ers ran the ball almost at will against Green Bay back in Week 1, and QB Alex Smith was efficient in passing for 2 TDs and now turning it over. Now, however, Smith is no longer the starter because 2nd-year player Colin Kaepernick has been chosen to replace him.

While San Francisco played better on that day, there aren’t many teams playing better than Green Bay right now. They’ve lost just twice since Week 5, and their last win was over the Vikings on Wild Card weekend at Lambeau Field.

The question: How will Kaepernick fare in his first career playoff start?

The prediction: Green Bay 24, San Francisco 20

Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons – Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT on FOX
There’s a lot of pressure on Atlanta to finally win a playoff game. Although they’re playing at home after having a week off to rest, it’s still going to be a tall task this year because they’re set to play one of the hottest teams in NFL right now in the Seattle Seahawks. This Seahawks team is fearless – trailing 14-0 last week at FedEx Field, the Seahawks battered and bruised Washington and eventually overcame the deficit to win 24-14. RB Marshawn Lynch was a beast, rushing for 132 yards with 1 TD on 20 carries.

The question: Can Seattle’s talented and tough secondary slow down Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White?

The prediction: Atlanta 27, Seattle 17

Houston Texans at New England Patriots – Sunday 3:30 p.m. CT on CBS
All season it looked as if Houston would earn the AFC’s top seed and have the upper hand in the AFC side of the tournament. But a thrashing at the hands of the Patriots began to change all of that. When all was said and done, it was New England who came away with a 1st-round bye, not Houston, and that has set the stage for a rematch between the two clubs in the Divisional round of the playoffs. Behind 4 TD passes from Tom Brady, the Patriots dismantled Houston by a score of 42-14 just over a month ago. Houston has a good defense and they are coached well by coordinator Wade Phillips, so don’t expect such a lopsided outcome this time around.

The question: Can Houston put pressure on Tom Brady?

The prediction: New England 20, Houston 19


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Keeping Up With Postseason Award Recipients/Winners

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 11, 2013 – 1:06 pm

Now is the time of year when various media outlets and NFL teams vote on and/or select recipients for awards and honors. Several Vikings players have been recognized for many of these awards, so we’ll keep a running tally here to keep you up to date.

Vikings Team MVPs
Defense: LB Chad Greenway
Offense: RB Adrian Peterson
Special Teams: K Blair Walsh

Pro Bowlers
Jared Allen
Jerome Felton
Chad Greenway
Adrian Peterson
Blair Walsh

2012 Vikings Ed Block Courage Award Recipient: RB Adrian Peterson

2012 Vikings Community Man of the Year: RB Adrian Peterson

2012 Korey Stringer Good Guy Award: LB Chad Greenway

Pro Football Weekly
All-Pros: RB Adrian Peterson, C John Sullivan, K Blair Walsh
All-Rookie Team: LT Matt Kalil, S Harrison Smith, K Blair Walsh
NFL MVP: RB Adrian Peterson
Offensive Player of the Year: RB Adrian Peterson
Comeback Player of the Year: RB Adrian Peterson

2012 Maxwell Football Club
Bert Bell Professional Player of the Year: RB Adrian Peterson
Bert Bell Most Valuable Player: RB Adrian Peterson

2012 NFL 101 NFC Offensive Player of the Year: RB Adrian Peterson


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Cris Carter Named Finalist For HOF Class Of 2013

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 11, 2013 – 9:56 am

The greatest wide receiver in Vikings history has been named a finalist for consideration to be placed among the greatest players in NFL history. The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its list of 15 modern-era finalists who will be considered for election as part of the Class of 2013, and Cris Carter once again made the cut.

The 15 modern-era finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall’s Selection Committee from a list of 127 nominees that earlier was reduced to a list of 27 semifinalists, during the multi-step, year-long selection process. To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent.

The Selection Committee will meet in New Orleans, La. on Saturday, February 2, 2013, to elect the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013. The election results will be announced at 4:30 p.m. CT during a one-hour NFL Network special, live from the Super Bowl Media Center.

At the 2013 selection meeting, the selectors will thoroughly discuss the careers of each finalist. Although there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s current ground rules stipulate that between four and seven new members will be selected each year. No more than five modern-era nominees can be elected in a given year and a class of six or seven can only be achieved if one or both senior nominees are elected.

Cris Carter dazzled NFL fans for 16 seasons (1987-2002) with sensational one-handed grabs, clutch first-down receptions and breath-taking touchdown catches. His ability to consistently perform at a high level allowed him to accumulate legendary statistics, and should some day place him among the NFL’s immortals.

For his career, Carter totaled 1,101 receptions for 13,899 yards and 130 TDs. His receptions and touchdown totals still rank him fourth all-time and his eight total Pro Bowl selections are tied for second-most all-time. No one had more receptions (779) or touchdowns (90) from 1993-2000 than Carter and only Tim Brown had more receiving yards than his 9,456 during the same time period.

Known for his durability, Carter played full 16-game seasons in 13 of his 16 years in the NFL, had 10 or more touchdowns in a season six times and led the NFL in receiving touchdowns three times (1995, 1997, and 1999). He recorded 70 or more catches in a season 10 times and had 100-yard receiving games 42 times during his career.

Carter spent 12 seasons (1990-2001) with the Vikings and crafted a brilliant career in Minnesota. He was a part of teams that suffered losing seasons only twice in 12 seasons, made the playoffs eight times in 10 Vikings seasons, and his teams were 76-29 (including playoffs) in games in which he caught a touchdown.


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Team Names Greenway, Peterson, Walsh MVPs

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 10, 2013 – 1:21 pm

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman met with reporters on Thursday and one of the disclosures he made was that the team voted on its MVPs. This has been an annual ritual for the team the past several seasons, with a MVP being named on defense, offense and special teams. The awards are  voted on by Vikings coaches and players.

Chad Greenway was named the defensive MVP, Adrian Peterson was named the offensive MVP and Blair Walsh was named the special teams MVP. Greenway and Peterson recorded career-highs in tackles and rushing yards, respectively, and Walsh was arguably the NFL’s best kicker.

Spielman also said the team would announce its rookie of the year in April following this year’s draft at a special event. Who would you vote for as the Vikings Rookie of the Year for 2012? Let us know by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below this entry.

Previous Team MVPs
2006: Antoine Winfield, Chester Taylor, Heath Farwell
2007: EJ Henderson, Adrian Peterson, Heath Farwell
2008: Kevin Williams, Adrian Peterson, Ryan Longwell
2009: Jared Allen, Brett Favre, Ryan Longwell
2010: Chad Greenway, Adrian Peterson, Chris Kluwe
2011: Jared Allen, Percy Harvin, Eric Frampton


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Vikings Named Presenting Sponsor Of 2013 “Honoring Legends-Inspiring Leaders” Awards Event

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 10, 2013 – 9:45 am

The Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation announced today that the Vikings will be the Presenting Sponsor of the 2013 “Honoring Legends-Inspiring Leaders” Awards Event. This prestigious event honors outstanding individuals in Minnesota football, including legendary figures and the state’s top scholar athletes.

“The Vikings are honored to partner with The National Football Foundation on their awards dinner,” said Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman. “We look forward to the event that honors the best in football at all levels in Minnesota and recognizes leadership off the field.”

“We are thrilled to partner with the Minnesota Vikings as our 2013 presenting sponsor,” said Sean Gothier, President of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation. “This natural alliance will build upon the strong momentum of the Minnesota Chapter and the deep roots of the Minnesota Vikings.”

This year will mark the sixth year of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation’s annual awards event. In previous years, the annual dinner has attracted some of the biggest names in Minnesota football and is considered one of the premier football events in the state. The event will be held at the University of St. Thomas on Sunday, April 28. For more event information please visit www.nffmn.org.

About the Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation:
Established and chartered in 2007, the Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation has been recognized as one of the fastest growing chapters in the nation.  The mission of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation is to serve Minnesota and the nation by developing leadership, sportsmanship, competitive spirit, and academic excellence in America’s youth through promoting amateur football.  For more information please visit www.nffmn.org.


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Vikings Sign Punter Conley And DB/Returner McCoy To Futures Contracts

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 10, 2013 – 7:31 am

The Vikings 2012 season ended last Saturday night, and the front office has wasted no time in getting moving on building the roster for 2013.

Earlier in the week, the Vikings signed 8 players who were on the practice squad at season’s end to Reserve/Future Free Agent contracts. And then on Wednesday, the Vikings signed another pair of players to futures contracts.

Wednesday’s acquisitions were P T.J. Conley and CB Greg McCoy.

Conley played college football at the University of Idaho and was an undrafted free agent in 2009. He joined the NY Jets from 2009-2011 and was a free agent in 2012. He was the Jets starting punter in 2011, the only year he recorded statistics, and in that season he punted 92 times in 16 games for a gross average of 42.7 and a net average of 38.8. None of his punts were blocked and none were returned for TDs, while 32 of them landed inside the 20 and 32 were returned for an average of 7.5 yards.

McCoy was a 7th-round pick of the Chicago Bears out of TCU in 2012 and was cut on final cutdown day heading into the regular season. He spent time on the Arizona Cardinals practice squad. McCoy had 7 INTs in 51 career college games at TCU and he was named his conference’s special teams player of the year in his final season after averaging 30.6 yards per return and scoring 2 TDs on 37 kickoff return attempts.

The other 8 players signed to Reserve/Future Free Agent contracts by the Vikings this past week are: DT Chase Baker, RB Joe Banyard, TE LaMark Brown, DB Bobby Felder, TE Chase Ford, G Tyler Holmes, OT Kevin Murphy and WR Chris Summers.


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Notes And Quotes From Frazier’s End-Of-Season Press Conference

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 8, 2013 – 1:43 pm

Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier held his annual end-of-season press conference on Tuesday afternoon. Frazier meets with reporters multiple times per week during the regular season, but Tuesday’s press conference represents the last of these regular meetings of the 2012 season. Frazier will, of course, speak with reporters during the offseason, but this is the last extensive question-and-answer session he’ll have until most likely the Scouting Combine in late February.

Here are several notes and quotes from Frazier’s end-of-season press conference…

Proud of his team
The Vikings fell short of their ultimate team goal – winning the Super Bowl. But they accomplished many other goals throughout the 2012 regular season, including collecting enough wins to earn the franchise’s first playoff berth since 2009. For that, and for other unstated reasons, Frazier said he was proud of this year’s team.

“I’m very, very proud of our football team and what they accomplished this season,” Frazier said. “Our guys worked extremely hard going all the way back to April 23 when they came back into the building to really set a foundation for this 2012 season. Because of their hard work, we were able to secure a playoff berth. The foundation has been set for our team, without question.

“Our core identities showed up. The traits that we talked about throughout the year…being a tough, smart, disciplined football team. It was exemplified through this group of young men.”

Developing a young roster
I didn’t pay much attention to this aspect of the team until Frazier referenced it during his press conference, but 22 of the 53 players currently on the Vikings roster are listed as being in their 1st or 2nd season. It’s impressive that this team played so well so late in the season and qualified for the postseason with so many young players and so many young players at important positions.

Frazier credited his coaching staff for the work they did in developing young players and he also expressed gratitude to his veteran players for their leadership roles as well.

Frazier also said he didn’t anticipate changes to his coaching staff, barring any promotions some of them may receive.

Dome-field advantage is back
Frazier has said many times in the past that he understands how difficult an environment Mall of America Field can be for opposing teams. He mentioned it once again during Tuesday’s press conference, expressing appreciation for the support of Vikings fans and for the noise the crowd creates in the Vikings home stadium.

“I think for any team that comes to Mall of America Field, our goal going into the season, we wanted to make it extremely difficult for anybody to think that they could come here and win. Our guys, they got that done. To go 7-1 at home, with the support we got from our fans, that was a big deal for our success during the season.”

Injury report
Frazier listed DE Jared Allen (shoulder) and P Chris Kluwe (left knee) as players who will likely undergo surgeries for ailments. He also listed LB Tyrone McKenzie (shoulder), RB Adrian Peterson (core muscle), QB Christian Ponder (triceps) and CB Antoine Winfield (hand) as players also dealing with injuries, but he didn’t indicate surgery would be needed for any of those players. Overall, none of the injuries should impact any of those players’ ability to participate minicamps, training camp or the 2013 regular season, according to Frazier.

Ponder is the Vikings starter going forward
Frazier was asked a series of questions about the team’s quarterback situation. He was unequivocal in saying that Ponder would be the team’s starter going into the offseason. He was vaguer about the depth chart after Ponder, saying Joe Webb would compete for the backup job behind Ponder and also mentioning McLeod Bethel-Thompson as someone who was involved in the team’s plans. Beyond that, Frazier wisely pointed out that it’s hard to prognosticate what will happen at that position – or any position – at this point in the offseason.

Futures for Kevin Williams, Antoine Winfield
Kevin Williams and Antoine Winfield have been productive players for the Vikings for many seasons, and both were vital components to the defensive effort in 2012. But both guys are also quite long in the tooth, with Williams having completed his 10th season and Winfield having completed his 14th. As it stands right now, though, it sounds like Frazier would love to have both guys return for the 2013 season.

“The intangible in this is a big deal when you’re trying to get the locker room the way you want it,” Frazier explained. “And both Antoine and Kevin are guys who have achieved a lot in our League, a lot of success. So to have star players with the demeanor and leadership qualities that they both possess, helped our football team in 2012, there’s no question about it.

“Would love to have those guys on our team going forward. That’s something we’re going to talk about when we have our personnel meetings with (General Manager) Rick (Spielman) and our personnel department. Just talk about their fit going forward. But from my vantage point, very appreciative of the leadership they provided this season, what they’ve meant in my time here in Minnesota, and I want them to remain Minnesota Vikings. They are great, great players and great people as well.”


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Vikings Improved, But Not Satisfied

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 8, 2013 – 11:56 am

A huge takeaway from the Vikings 2012 season will be that the team made a 7-win improvement from the 2011 season. That 7-win improvement represents the largest single-season turnaround in franchise history.

That’s good news. But don’t for a minute think players in the locker room will identify satisfaction in that improvement as the dominant emotion as they depart for the offseason. This is a Vikings locker room that is encouraged by its improvement, but is now hungry for more.

“It was a big improvement from last year, but we’re not satisfied with just making the playoffs,” DT Kevin Williams said. “We wanted to stay in a little longer and try to make it to New Orleans (site of this year’s Super Bowl). It’s a step. We’ve got to keep improving.”

One of Williams’ teammates along the defensive line, a pretty important teammate at that, echoed that sentiment.

“We’re not in the business of just making the playoffs,” DE Jared Allen said. “It’s a feel-good story, it’s a great turnaround from 3-13 to 10-6 and being in the playoffs. But that’s not what we’re here for.

“Typical offseason now…you’ve got to let your body rest up and use this as motivation to get back, and next year win it.”

Although Vikings players departed Winter Park for the 2013 offseason following a disappointing playoff loss to Green Bay and having not accomplished their ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl, you could sense an aura of momentum and positivity. The key now is for those positive sentiments to yield ambition and hunger rather than satisfaction and complacency.

Judging by the above-comments from some of the team’s leaders, that won’t be a problem.


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Highlights From Move-Out Day At Winter Park

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 8, 2013 – 8:50 am

Move-out day in the Vikings locker room at Winter Park is a bitter-sweet experience. It typically follows a disappointing conclusion to the season because only one team each year in the NFL finishes the season having accomplished their ultimate goal. Unfortunately, this year the Vikings will not be that team.

But move-out day also represents a time for players to get away, spend time with family and loved ones, and recharge their batteries for the offseason program and for the upcoming season.

On their way out the door, several Vikings players took a few moments to chat with reporters about what transpired this season and what the future might hold for this team in 2013 and beyond. Here are a few highlights from a few of the guys…

Jared Allen
On what Adrian Peterson meant to the Vikings: “What Adrian did this year, I mean it’s inspiring. Not even just on a football level, just on a level of commitment. I think he’s a true example of never letting someone put limitations on you. So many people said he couldn’t do it, and he proved them wrong. It’s just like that in life. You can’t let people put limitations on what you want to do and what you want to achieve. And for him to be a walking testament to that is awesome. For that, it was an inspiring season from him.”

A Rookie Kicker?: “Blair had an unbelievable season. I’ll be the first one to say, you get a rookie kicker and you’re like ‘Ah crap, here we go. We let one of the best in the League go in Longwell, and how’s this guy gonna fit? Is he going to choke the very first opportunity he has to make a pressure kick?’ You know what, he was incredible.”

Adrian Peterson
No wow factor: “No, I didn’t at all. I didn’t wow myself. This is what I expected. I know that sounds nonchalant, like ‘Oh, I’m sure you did.’ But I did. That’s why I’m able to take things as it is. But I feel like there’s room for me to get better, and I look forward to doing that.”

Standout moment of 2012: “Just getting back to practicing with the guys. That was the best feeling. To be kind of bummed out once I actually got back to training camp and found out they put me on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list, I was kind of bummed out. But once I got back on the field with the guys and was able to participate, that felt good. There was nothing like it. And just coming back in September for that first game in the dome against the Jaguars, that was a defining moment for me. That felt good.”

Who should be named NFL Coach of the Year?: “Leslie Frazier, without a doubt. He’s a great guy, he’s helped me on and off the field. He’s demeanor, spiritual faith, just the man that he is. He radiates positive energy…you can’t help but feed off of him. He has really been a big part of my development, not only as a football player but as a human being. He’s very inspirational.”

Christian Ponder
What did you learn in 2012?: “That I can do the things to help this team be in a position to be successful. And not just me, but this whole team can handle the pressure of what it takes to get to a playoff berth. We knew that if we lost (vs. Green Bay in Week 17) we wouldn’t make it. So just to handle that pressure as a whole team, especially with how young we are, I think that showed a lot. I need to play at that level consistently for sixteen games. I’ll learn from that, and use what I did in those games to work on next year.”

Anticipating improvement: “We were able to get into the playoffs, but next year I expect to, I made a pretty good leap from first year to second year, I expect an even greater leap from the second year to the third year.”

John Sullivan
Success begins at the top: “Our GM (Rick Spielman) has done a great job. Rick’s done a great job with his vision. Building a young roster, guys who are hungry and want to work hard. And having good veteran leadership. I think we’re definitely a team on the upswing. Obviously we’re still disappointed, the loss (to Green Bay) is pretty fresh. We didn’t accomplish our ultimate goals, but we made huge strides, and as long as we go about our business the right way this offseason, rest up right now while it’s time to do that, get healthy and come back ready to work once the offseason program starts, we’re definitely a team on the upswing.”

Harrison Smith
What did you like about being in the NFL?: “I just like the chemistry of the team. Every guy on the team is a guy that you want to play with, and guys that you have fun playing with and can count on. It seems like with the guys we have here, the leadership we have with the coaches, the front office, things are going in the right direction.”


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