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New Faces Welcomed To Vikings Offseason Program

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 23, 2013 – 5:40 am

Vikings Launch Offseason Program
Five Vikings Poised For Breakout Seasons

The launch of the Offseason Program means a return to Winter Park for many Vikings players. But it also marks the arrival – for the first time – at Winter Park for other Vikings players. There are several veteran players who are new to the Vikings, and they’ll begin the process of assimilating to their new team this week.

Vikings fans are familiar with Christian Ponder, Kyle Rudolph, Everson Griffen and Chad Greenway. They are not familiar with Matt Cassel, TJ Conley, Greg Jennings, Greg McCoy and Roderick Williams. Now is a great time to get to know them.

Here’s a look at a few fresh faces now playing for the Vikings (you’ll get to know all of them as the offseason program progresses)…

freshfaces-blog

We got Greg!
The Vikings reached across the Minnesota-Wisconsin border to nab a big-time Packers playmaker once again this offseason, signing WR Greg Jennings to conclude the first week of NFL free agency. After being a thorn in the Vikings side for the past 7 seasons, Jennings will now be a helping hand for the Vikings. He instantly upgrades the receiving corps and provides that group of players on the roster with a leader. The signing of Jennings was met with wild excitement from a Vikings fan base that has watched the former Packers pass-catcher torch them for 63 receptions and 10 TDs in 15 games vs. the Purple.

Calling for backup – Cassel signed
On the same day the Vikings made a big splash in signing Jennings, they also secured another QB to add to the mix behind Ponder. The Kansas City Chiefs released Matt Cassel early in free agency, and the Vikings immediately swooped in to pick him up. Cassel is an experienced passer in the NFL (62 starts) who was Tom Brady’s backup in New England when the Patriots went 16-0 and advanced to the Super Bowl in 2007. Also, when asked to play, Cassel has responded. He guided the Patriots to an 11-5 record after Brady went down with a knee injury in Week 1 of the 2008 season and he was also a Pro Bowler as the Chiefs starter in 2010, passing for 27 TDs and authoring a passer rating of 93.0.

From North of the border to the NFC North
The Vikings have reached into the Canadian Football League (CFL) with success in the past. Bud Grant became the second head coach in franchise history after leading the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to 4 Grey Cup titles over 10 seasons. This offseason the Vikings once again reached into Canada to try and improve the franchise, signing CB Roderick Williams. He measures in at 5-10, 180 pounds and he’s 26 years old. Williams is technically an undrafted rookie because this is his first NFL contact, but he’s played at a high level in the CFL for 3 seasons, collecting 11 INTs and 1 all-star honor for the Edmonton Eskimos in that time.

Edmonton released Williams, who attended the same school as Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier (Alcorn State), from his contract specifically so he could pursue an opportunity in the NFL. That opportunity will be with Frazier and the Vikings.

An extra leg
It’s not uncommon for teams to carry an extra kicker or punter during the offseason program and training camp, and the Vikings moved early in the offseason to add a punter to their roster in TJ Conley. An undrafted free agent in 2009 after playing college football at the University of Idaho, Conley 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.

The real McCoy
Sometimes one team’s trash is another team’s treasure. The Vikings will test that theory with CB/return specialist Greg McCoy. He 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. McCoy then spent time on the Arizona Cardinals practice squad. He 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.


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 73 Comments »


73 Responses to “New Faces Welcomed To Vikings Offseason Program”

  1. By Tom L on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    It all sounds like good pieces to me.

  2. By Champ Henson on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    99.9% of CFL players are a waste of a player spot – and the vikings pick up a guy that was released by a CFL team. I hope it works out but the chances will be very slim.

  3. By Danish Viking on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    I can’t possibly be the only one who’s absolutely high on the draft buzz right now.

  4. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    http://www.1500espn.com/sportswire/Pelissero_Impact_from_rookie_receivers_is_a_coin_flip_at_best042213

  5. By secgenfan on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    “Champ”- they released him so he could come to the influx not because he was bad. That being said only time will tell if he makes the final cut. I wish he was a little taller but that doesn’t always mean anything. Good luck to all new vikings and go team

  6. By secgenfan on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    ****nfl not influx dumb t9****

  7. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1608317-2013-nfl-drafts-all-sleeper-team#/articles/1608317-2013-nfl-drafts-all-sleeper-team/page/2

  8. By PurplHaze on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Would have loved to see another “Greg” in here … Greg Childs. Oh well, I’m still patiently awaiting his return. Decent write-up, Wobbs! SKOL VIKINGS!

  9. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1613538-2013-nfl-mock-draft-winning-choices-each-team-must-make

  10. By Northern Norseman on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    There is a player I know the Vikings will draft.

  11. By BlueBird7 on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Pray tell, Norse, Who might that be?

  12. By BlueBird7 on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Pick one from column A, another from column B.

  13. By mjbvikeme on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    We were 24th against the pass last year, 612 attempts (30th.) We need some coverage. Lets bring the D! pound it with Adrian and Toby, but actually use Toby. Build for the outdoors. We need another corner opposite Cook in the worst way.

  14. By liito on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    May the Vikes have an “A” draft!

  15. By GrandDaddyPurp on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    In Spielman I trust!

  16. By Sir Greasy Panda on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Trust in Spielman.

    His vision is working for this franchise.

  17. By SoCalVike on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    With the draft let’s go heavy on the “D”

  18. By Shawn on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Hmmm so Canadian player gets cut … Let me rephrase … Player cut from Canadian team … hmmm one more try … RODERICK WASNT GOOD ENOUGH FOR A CANADIAN TEAM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Comment From Fanopurple Fanopurple : ]
    With the Vikes huge need at ILB: First, is Manti Te’o really a nut job and if he is available at 23, should the Vikings take him?

    Tuesday April 23, 2013 12:04 Fanopurple
    12:05 Dave Thomas: Stay away from him. Minter is the best bet-Teo is the most overrated LB in the draft-I HATE side tacklers

  20. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Check out the live draft chat…This guy scares me…
    He thinks like me ???…hahaha…

    http://min.scout.com/2/1286064.html

  21. By liito on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    In a couple of days, after all the drops and trade scenarios, the PURPLE dream draft surprise includes Lotulelei, Austin, Te’O, and Woods . . . and takes risk on Mathieu.GO VIKINGS!

  22. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Comment From Wolverine Wolverine : ]
    Is Spielman just sending a smoke screen regarding Teo?

    Tuesday April 23, 2013 12:55 Wolverine
    12:55 Dave Thomas: You play poker? You show the others at the table your cards?

  23. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Tank Carradine – DL – Player NFL Draft insider Tony Pauline the “top suitors” for Florida State DE Tank Carradine are the Dolphins, Giants, and Vikings.
    Carradine has had a “lot of recent contact” with the Fins, who are trying to trade down and may target him as the weak-side edge rusher they need to book end Cam Wake. Even if Miami can’t execute a trade, Pauline considers Carradine a “real possibility” for the 12th pick, particularly if the Dolphins acquire Branden Albert. Pauline also mentions Atlanta as a possibility for Carradine. Related: Dolphins, Vikings, Falcons, Giants
    Source: TFY Draft Insider Apr 23 – 1:25 PM

  24. By Champ Henson on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Taking Te’o will rival the Ponder debacle!!!!! I can’t believe Spieman will be that stupid to take a lb that is slower than a lineman.

  25. By Champ Henson on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Taking Te’o in the first round will ruin the rest of the draft.

  26. By Champ Henson on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    We need a fast, mean, mlb with a big chip on his shoulder. Not a ladyboy..

  27. By Champ Henson on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    We need an entire defense that is fast, mean, and with chips on their shoulders – that’s what it will take to wipe the stupid grin off Rodgers’ face; make Cutler give up and cry “mamma”, and give Stafford another reason to fake an injury.

  28. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    http://www.startribune.com/sports/blogs/204222551.html

  29. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    http://www.twincities.com/sports/ci_23088365/vikings-draft-defensive-linemen-could-be-too-good

  30. By rogerthevikefan on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    How much are season tickets for the Vikings?

  31. By GrandDaddyPurp on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    If you ask me Te’o does have a chip on his shoulder, considering he was once projected to be a top 5 pick, his championship game performance, and how most people are saying he will be a bust.

    Te’o could not ask for anymore motivation to be a great NFL player than that.

  32. By Jeremy on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Would sure like to see a new “Sharrif” in town patrolling the defensive line.

    Only a couple days away boys

  33. By Shawn on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Im not sure the MLB job wont belong to Audie Cole. Spielman likes proving his late picks can play and Audie was a Singleterry guy.

  34. By Shawn on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Any here Vikings signed DT named Pat Williams :)

  35. By Shawn on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    grr Anyone hear Vikings signed a DT named Pat Williams? :)

  36. By GrandDaddyPurp on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Going to the Vikings would be the best situation for Te’o, with all the Notre Damers we have this would be the perfect place for him to thrive.

    He would be a big upgrade over Brinkley. The 40 time of a player is the most misleading statistic for any college player. All it shows is how fast you can run in a straight line without pads, which never happens in an actual game.

  37. By GrandDaddyPurp on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    I’m assuming its not the same Pat Williams?

  38. By Jeremy on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Audie Cole will take Erin Henderson’s spot soon….we will draft a MLB for sure this year…..only two we will take is Te’O or Arthur Brown…

  39. By Jeremy on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Anyone see the new Jags uniforms…they are pretty d.a.m.n fresh….Vikings look pretty plain Jane fellas

  40. By Shawn on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    GDP … yea it is the same. They are going to give him a 1 day contract so he can retire a Viking.

  41. By Goldvike on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Hold the Te’o

  42. By Shawn on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    According to Mike Mayock this might work ..

    23- DT Sylvester Williams
    25- ILB Manti Te’0
    52- WR Aaron Dobson or Quinton Patton
    83- DB Tyrann Matheiu

    http://www.nfl.com/draft/story/0ap1000000161676/article/2013-nfl-draft-mike-mayocks-top-100-prospects

  43. By Frederick Jones on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    @Granddaddy,

    While it is true that the 40 time does not mean a lot, there are certainly times when one must run all out in a straight line.

    If that’s not true then how did Bob Hayes revolutionize the game in the late 1960s and early 1970s?

  44. By northwoodsv2 on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Audie Cole looked really good in pre-season. But he played against 3rd stringers and burger flippers.

    Hopefully he’s been developing.

  45. By iaVIKE on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    I’m not sure if someone posted the link to this article earlier, but it makes me think it’s very likely Rick goes all D with the first 2 picks if he doesn’t trade back.

    http://www.1500espn.com/sportswire/Pelissero_Impact_from_rookie_receivers_is_a_coin_flip_at_best042213

  46. By liito on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Dear Vikings Management,
    May this coming draft be your BEST EVER. Please help Adrian Peterson achieve his target goal of 2500 rushing yards. He does what he says. Aim high to get players who are dominant, game changers, community-spirited, humble, repentant, and those who doesn’t give your coaches headaches. Good luck.

  47. By k28seer on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    They all seem like good pieces to the puzzle. I am excited for the 2013 season and can not wait for the draft. I like the idea of going defense with our two first round picks and I would love to see us draft WR Robert Woods out of USC. I think he would be a great fit to our receiving core and with G Jenn leading the squad, opposing teams will have a hard time defending the pass let alone the run with All Day Adrian taking the hand offs. Ponder will finally have some targets he can trust throwing the ball to. SKOL Vikings!!!!!

  48. By Vikings#1fan on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    The vikes will have a good draft and hopefully ponder will pull his head out of his ass so that we may go to the playoffs with this new draft class

  49. By RichardA1 on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Lets trade our top draft choices for proven players from other teams!!

  50. By rogerthevikefan on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    http://network.yardbarker.com/all_sports/article_external/vikings_new_uniforms/13465576

  51. By Goldvike on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    There is nobody good out there that we need

  52. By Spencer on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    What’s the first thing you would buy if you someone gave you this much money?

  53. By Goldvike on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    The Vikings

  54. By Goldvike on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Where is everybody @

  55. By Danish Viking on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Have you guys seen the press conference? My jaw dropped to the floor when Spielman said “We’re gonna sign Pat Williams back”

  56. By liito on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Phat Williams back for one day. I miss the Williams Wall. Defensive line is not the same without Pat. Don’t know if Vikes will get Sylvester W., but Lotulelei drops to Vikings.

  57. By Goldvike on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    What r they signing him 4 a day 2 retire a Viking

  58. By old vike fan on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    now that cassel is here webb will get his walking papers.

  59. By Parody on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Yes – Pat liked it here so much, he wants to retire here. It’s starting to sound like they may hold a retirement party for him at the dome over the weekend.

  60. By Parody on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    So…after watching some highlight videos on the top ILBs of the draft class, I don’t really care for what I see in Te’o. It looked a lot like what some others have been saying about him – he has the stats because he happened to find himself in favorable situations. I didn’t see much of any agression or power to his game. Arthur Brown was a bit better, but similar in those respects.

    The two I liked were Ogletree and Alonso. Ogletree may have been the most agressive out of the bunch and played a lot faster than his 40-time would make you think. He got some good hitsin the video for it, but there wasn’t much dropoff to Alonso’s game. So I think I’d like to see the team draft Kiko in the 2nd or 3rd round. He’d still be a big upgrade at ILB, and we’d have the first 2/3 picks to spend on the other areas of need.

  61. By BlueBird7 on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    old vike fan

    The old saying with age becomes wisdom. That doesn’t apply in your case.

    Webb isn’t going anywhere, chum.

  62. By Northern Norseman on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Vikings Could Move Henderson To MLB

    See this is what I have been explaining to people.

    Depth at OLB is much better than ILB. Vikings could go either way with Henderson.

    So it all depends on what direction the Vikings go in the draft. If the Vikings go OLB then they’ll move Henderson inside. If the Vikings go ILB then they’ll keep Henderson outside.

    That’s why in one of my latest mock’s, I had the Vikings drafting OLB Jamie Collins ,of Southern Miss, in early/middle 2nd round. Jamie Collins could play ILB too but is much better suited to play OLB.

    Jamie Collins is a true freak of nature. He scored among the top on nearly every physical test. Has great size and his instincts are great as well.

    LB — Jamie Collins — Southern Miss …………… keep an eye out.

    http://thevikingage.com/2013/04/23/vikings-could-move-henderson-to-mlb/

  63. By Northern Norseman on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Also, the whole drafting a DE is finally starting to come around on the internet.

    I’ve said many months ago that if a high caliber DE is available early in the draft, don’t be surprised.

    How many on this website thought I was ridiculous for saying such a thing?
    Don’t you dare make me go back and start listing off names because many here thought it was an absurd comment. I would go to other sites around the web and once again people would think how dumb it would be to draft a DE, saying it’d wrong way to go.

    Well it looks like people are starting to get what I’ve been preaching for multiple months. People cannot always see the forest through the trees.

    A name that I have thrown around is DE Cornelius Carradine, of Florida State. If not for an injury he would be projected to be drafted top-10. So some here saying they wouldn’t consider Carradine at #23 or #25 are delusional. He appears on his way to a full recovery and on track to be a great player. You’d have to at least consider drafting a potential star DE given the Vikings current DE situation.

    Look now….

    Carradine is a possible top-20 draft selection. Vikings have been linked to him..

    It appears my statements are not as crazy as one may think. I put in an absurd amount of hours daily/weekly on the draft and the Vikings in general.

  64. By RichardA1 on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    The intensity is growing, getting pumped, feel like the Vikes are on the 1 yard line after 99 yard drive! I’m on the edge of my seat! its almost draft day! high fives, screams going tofill the room!!

  65. By Northern Norseman on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    ***NOTE***

    In no way am I saying the Vikings WILL draft a DE early in the draft.

    I am just addressing that if the Vikings have a DE rated high enough on their board, is sitting there for them at one of their selections early in the draft….. don’t be surprised if that is the route they take.

    It’s just about being open to the very REAL possibility of the Vikings drafting a DE in the top half of the draft.

    My gut feeling….. NO, I would say the Vikings will get a DE later in the draft but there are a handful of names, that if around when the Vikings are to select, then I won’t be surprised at all if the Vikings do indeed draft him.

  66. By Northern Norseman on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    @RichardA1

    HAHA!

    I definitely share your enthusiasm!

  67. By Carl K on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    In the regular season finale against Greenbay, Henderson played 64 snaps and Brinkley only played 14. The Viking were only in a base defense for 10 plays.

    Yes Henderson playing middle is an option because it is not much of a change for us… Against Greenbay, Chicago and Detroit the Vikings play a lot of nickel.

    Henderson is not that great in coverage anyway… He left Greg Jennings wide open for a 5 yard TD in the 3rd quarter. Henderson is out of position a lot.

    A lot of people dog on Manti Te’o, but if you watch tape on him his initial read and react time and his quick burst to the ball is outstanding. He is usually always in good position

    I will agree Te’o is not a big hitter and his tackles are NOT pretty, but he seems to always bring the ball carrier down.

    At ND his quick read and burst to the play left him unblocked most of the time… So my big question is: can he shed blockers in the NFL?

    Alabama exposed him because they didn’t try to run a lot of sweeps, screens draws or misdirections. Alabama took Teo out of his game by running a power attack and putting a body on him. With that say, the NFC North doesn’t have any team that has a running game or power style as good as what Alabama does.

    Te’o doesn’t waste movement… He doesn’t get faked out or take bad steps. Watch his tape again… His initial burst and movement is outstanding. He is so quick in his first 4 or 5 steps he goes unblocked on most of his tackles.

    Will that mean success at the next level? I don’t know, but I am comfortable with Te’o because his quick read and burst puts him in good position.

    His instinct is so good, I think he would be an up grade over Henderson even in the nickel.

  68. By LongTime Vike on Apr 27, 2013 | Reply

    The Vikings need a productive No.2 RB. What about Ahmad Bradshaw (The Packers are interested in him, shouldn’t we?), What about Michael Turner?

    Sorry Toby, but the stats just aren’t there. When Peterson’s out nobody’s afraid or even concerned about a running play.

  69. By Edward L. Dunn on May 14, 2013 | Reply

    Are we going to also signed Abraham , Charles Woodson and Tebo to learn cornerback ? Tebo needs to get stronger and faster. mainly faster.

  70. By norsejeremyw on Jun 2, 2013 | Reply

    Glad I can perhaps, finally watch Webb, as a WR~ I like most of the Vikes’ offseason pickups~ :)

  71. By BlueBird7 on Jul 14, 2013 | Reply

    yep, I’m still around, having fun, fun till my HCG took my T-Bird away.

  72. By Spoony on Jul 28, 2013 | Reply

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  73. By Frederick Jones on Sep 25, 2013 | Reply

    What happened to all you former Vikings.com posters? What are your thoughts on the purple?

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