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Top 5 Draft Picks In Vikings History (Pre-Super Bowl Era)

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 21, 2013 – 7:05 am

The 2013 NFL Draft is just 5 days away, and in honor of that we’re going to look at the 5 best draft picks in Vikings history. NFL.com ran a feature story earlier this month that looked at each NFL team’s top 5 picks in the pre-Super Bowl era (this takes Fran Tarkenton out of the picture, for example), and what’s written in this blog entry is what was included in the Vikings section of the NFL.com story.

Let us know what you think by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below this entry.

5. LB Scott Studwell (9th round, 250th overall in 1977)
A linebacker for 14 seasons, Studwell is the standard by which all other Vikings ‘backers are measured. He is the franchise career leader in combined tackles (1,981), defensive tackles (1,928), single-season tackles (230 – 1981) and single-game tackles (24 at Detroit 11/17/85). One of the most enduring figures in Vikings history, Studwell is in his fourth decade with the franchise and in 2013 enters his 22nd season working in the front office.

moss-wp

4. WR Randy Moss (1st round, 21st overall in 1998)
Moss put together one of the best debut seasons of all-time, hauling in a NFL rookie single-season record 17 touchdowns and averaging 19.0 yards per catch for a Vikings team that went 15-1 and scored a then-NFL record 556 points. An elite vertical threat throughout his 16-year career, Moss set the NFL single-season receiving record in 2007 with 23 scores and currently ranks second in NFL history behind only Jerry Rice with 156 touchdown receptions.

3. OT Ron Yary (1st round, 1st overall in 1968)
In 1968 Yary became the first offensive lineman to be drafted first overall in NFL history, and the Hall of Famer’s blend of size, speed and strength helped usher in a new era of offensive line play. He assumed a starting role midway through the 1969 season and was a fixture there for the rest of his career, missing only two games during his career due to injury. Yary was named an All-Pro in six consecutive seasons, played in seven Pro Bowls and started in four Super Bowls.

2. DT Alan Page (1st round, 15th overall in 1967)
A Hall of Famer (1988) and member of the vaunted Purple People Eaters, Page was a mainstay in a dominant Vikings defense that became legendary and led the franchise to four Super Bowls in the 1970s. Page was named to the Pro Bowl nine times in 12 seasons with the Vikings, and in 1971 he became the first defensive player to earn NFL MVP honors. Page played in 236 straight games and had a knack for the impact play, recording 148.5 sacks, 28 blocked kicks and 23 fumble recoveries.

1. RB Adrian Peterson (1st round, 7th overall in 2007)
Peterson hit the ground running as a rookie by leading the NFC in rushing yards (1,341), setting a new NFL single-game rushing record of 296 yards, and helping the Vikings set a new team rushing record (2,634) yards). He earned Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2007 and was named MVP of the Pro Bowl. In six seasons with the Vikings, Peterson has authored five of the franchise’s top six rushing seasons and in 2012 he became just the seventh player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards while going on to earn NFL MVP honors.

*Not included on this list but worth mentioning is quarterback Fran Tarkenton, a third-round selection in 1961 (pre Super Bowl era).


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Loadholt Looking To “Finish What We Started” In Minnesota

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 12, 2013 – 6:36 pm

About this time in 2009, there was question as to where Phil Loadholt would settle in the NFL. In what would he be selected? And what position would he play? Would he use that massive arm span to corral the League’s best pass rushers as a left tackle or would he use his size and strength to maul defenders in the run game as a right tackle?

Eventually, all of those questions were answered, and they were answered by the Vikings when they selected Loadholt in the 2nd round. Loadholt had 4 productive seasons for the Vikings while playing under his rookie contract, and he proved his worth to the point that the Vikings locked him up for multiple more years on Tuesday, the opening day of the 2013 League Year.

Now, there’s no question where Loadholt is settling. Minnesota.

“I love being in Minnesota, love the community, and my family feels really at home,” Loadholt said. “It’s been great settling in Minnesota and calling it home. I was drafted here, and I wanted to come back and finish what we started here. I have a good feeling about where things are going with this team. We’ve just got to continue to build on what we’ve got and keep improving.”

A combination of ability, size and age made Loadholt an attractive option for teams looking to beef up their offensive line. The Vikings valued the 6-8, 343-pound road-grading run blocker more than anyone else, though. With Loadholt now retained as the team’s starting right tackle, the Vikings have invested heavily and wisely in their offensive line. Left tackle Matt Kalil, a 1st-round pick just a year ago and already a Pro Bowler, bookends the line with Loadholt. John Sullivan, who signed a contract extension in December of 2011, anchors the line and has emerged as one of the top centers in the NFL. At right guard the Vikings have developed 2011 sixth-round pick Brandon Fusco into a solid player and Charlie Johnson slid inside to left guard once the team selected Kalil fourth overall in 2012.

“It was important to keep the consistency we have on the line,” Loadholt said. “The more we keep working together the better we will be as a group. If we continue to stay healthy and work hard we can reach our goals.”

Of course having Adrian Peterson to block for doesn’t hurt, either.

“Having the best running back in the league makes blocking a lot more fun,” Loadholt said of his fellow Oklahoma Sooner. “Adrian makes everyone’s job easier and knowing what he can do makes you want to work even harder.”


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Monday Morning Mailbag Extra: Free Agency Primer

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 6, 2013 – 7:54 am

While putting together a few questions and answers for next week’s Monday Morning Mailbag, I came across a good question that required a thorough answer. The answer became complicated enough that I thought it would be too long-winded for the Mailbag. So, I thought we could make a blog entry out of it and let the readers take it from there.

Take a look at the question and my answer. Then be sure to leave your thoughts on the matter by utilizing the comments section below the blog entry.

I know the Vikings new direction is to draft players instead of pick them up from free agency. I agree wholeheartedly with their direction. However, what type of contract deal does Mike Wallace want? What are the chances of the Vikings picking him up? Are there any free agents that you would personally like the Vikings to go after?
— Derek P.
Pearl Harbor, HI

Building the team through the draft as opposed to free agency is not a new direction for the Vikings. This has been GM Rick Spielman’s philosophy during his tenure in Minnesota. It may feel new to some fans because they are starting to see the wisdom in that philosophy given the Vikings recent success in the draft, but it’s nothing new for veteran NFL GMs.

I’m not sure what kind of contract Wallace will demand once free agency opens on Tuesday, but my sense is his camp will be seeking top-end type of money – something in the neighborhood of what Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald and Detroit’s Calvin Johnson are making. Whether that’s what he deserves or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is what the market bears. That’s why free agency can be dangerous, and that’s why teams prefer to use the draft as the primary tool to build their roster. In free agency, you’re not paying players based on their ability to perform. Rather, you’re paying them based on supply and demand. Those are two entirely different propositions.

The Vikings are a run-oriented team that features the NFL’s best running back and one of the League’s top run-blocking offensive lines. As such, it’s fair to wonder whether it makes sense then for the Vikings to invest such a large amount of money in a single receiver. If you’re a team that can run the ball effectively up to 30-35+ times per game, are you also a team that wants to pay a free agent wide receiver upwards of $15 million a season? I’m not saying the answer is yes or no in the Vikings particular case, I’m just suggesting it’s a question every team must ask itself when it comes to drawing up a plan for free agency.

As for free agents I’d like to see the team pursue, I don’t have anyone in particular in mind. Of course it’d be great to add a receiver the caliber of Wallace or Greg Jennings. But to me, the Vikings had a good plan in free agency last season. Spielman and Co. waited for the high-priced free agents to fly off the shelf early in free agency, and then once the second and third wave of free agency came along the Vikings picked up a few. While the additions of tight end John Carlson and Jerome Simpson didn’t work out as planned, the book on both of their Vikings tenures may not be over yet. Also, the signing of fullback Jerome Felton was brilliant. At the time, the Felton signing was an under-the-radar move that didn’t yield much more than a sentence or two buried at the bottom of the lead story. In the end, though, it turned out to be one of the better offseason additions and it resulted in a Pro Bowl berth for Felton following the best season of Adrian Peterson’s career.

Long story longer, the key to free agency is not making the biggest splash or identifying the best players at each position and then pursuing them. The key to free agency is identifying and signing players who fit the scheme and can be obtained with reasonable salaries. That leaves cap space and cash for the best kind of free agent signing – the re-signing of your own free agents whom you know fit with your team, which in the Vikings case could be players such as right tackle Phil Loadholt, safety Jamarca Sanford and even a future free agents such as Everson Griffen.


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Vikings Hit The Road To Collect Hardware

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 4, 2013 – 11:47 am

Adrian Peterson had already won and collected NFL MVP honors earlier this year. But Peterson’s sensational 2012 season continues to collect hardware.

This past weekend Peterson was in Atlantic City to collect The Maxwell Club’s Bert Bell Professional Player of the Year Award. It’s the second time he’s received the award (2008). Also this past weekend, Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier and Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave were in Kansas City to accept on Peterson’s behalf the NFL 101 award for NFC Offensive Player of the Year honors.

Peterson rushed his way into the history books in 2012, less than a year removed from a serious knee injury and grueling rehabilitation process. He finished the season with 2,097 yards rushing, the second-highest total in League history and just 9 yards shy of breaking Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson’s NFL record (2,105).

The historic season Peterson authored was instrumental in the Vikings generating the greatest single-season win increase in franchise history, going from 3 wins in 2011 to 10 wins in 2012 in addition to making the playoffs as a Wild Card team.

More on the Maxwell Club
The Maxwell Football Club is an organization involved not only in football at all levels but the community in general, not just once a year, but all year. It’s an organization dedicated to the concept that young people are the potential of this nation.  The Maxwell Football Club wants to help young people realize that potential as leaders now, and as the future leaders of this country.

More on the 101 Awards
Following each National Football League season, a civic organization called “The Committee of 101” hosts the 101 Awards, Kansas City’s Salute to Professional Football. This nationally-renowned event was initiated in 1969 by a group headed by Kansas City businessman Jack O. Wheeler to honor outstanding achievements in professional football. Each year, 101 members of the national media select the Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year in the American Football Conference and National Football Conference.


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MVPeterson — Adrian Named NFL’s Most Valuable Player

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 2, 2013 – 7:53 pm

Adrian Peterson is the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.

It’s not often a NFL franchise has one of its former players elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s even more infrequent that a NFL franchise has one of its current players win the NFL’s MVP award. The Vikings had both happen on the same day, as two of the greatest players in franchise history provided a Hall of Fame-MVP sweep on Saturday in New Orleans.

Peterson was named the 2012 NFL MVP on Saturday night at the annual NFL Honors Awards Show, and earlier in the day Cris Carter was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Peterson also won the following awards: AP Offensive Player of the Year, FedEx Ground Player of the Year and NFL.com Fantasy Football Player of the Year.

“As an organization, we are extremely proud of Adrian’s accomplishments this past season,” said Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf. “He is a great representative of the Minnesota Vikings both on and off the field, and we want to congratulate him on this incredible honor.”

Peterson rushed his way into the history books in 2012, less than a year removed from a serious knee injury and grueling rehabilitation process. He finished the season with 2,097 yards rushing, the second-highest total in League history and just 9 yards shy of breaking Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson’s NFL record (2,105).

Aside from ranking #1 in the NFL in rushing yards, Peterson also ranked#1 in yards per attempt (among RBs) at 6.0, #1 in carries of 20+ yards (27), #1 in rushes for a 1st down (85), #2 in carries (348), and #3 in rushing TDs (12). Peterson tied Earl Campbell for the most games with at least 150 rushing yards in a single season (7) and from Week 7 through Week 15 he accumulated 1,313 yards in 8 games, the most over any 8-game span in a single season in NFL history.

The historic season Peterson authored was instrumental in the Vikings generating the greatest single-season win increase in franchise history, going from 3 wins in 2011 to 10 wins in 2012 in addition to making the playoffs as a Wild Card team.


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Rudolph, Walsh And Teammates Help NFC 62-35 Route AFC

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 27, 2013 – 9:37 pm

Kyle Rudolph had a 3-yard TD reception and led the NFC with 122 receiving yards on 5 receptions. Blair Walsh hit FGs of 48 and 26 yards to go along with 8 PATs. Chad Greenway had a fumble recovery. Jerome Felton had a 4th quarter TD run. It was a good night for Vikings at the Pro Bowl.

Those contributions plus many others from the rest of the NFC squad led to a 62-35 victory over the AFC in the Pro Bowl. Rudolph’s TD came from NY Giants QB Eli Manning and it gave the NFC a commanding 31-14 lead as the squads went into the locker rooms at halftime. Felton’s TD came midway through the 4th quarter, with the game out of hand, and it gave the NFC its 62nd point and a 34-point lead.

Matt Kalil played much of the game while rotating between LT and RT, while Jared Allen also played much of the game and emphasized the importance of players participating in the game when voted in by their peers during a sideline interview during the 4th quarter. It’s notable that Allen made the statement because he’s played through a shoulder injury all season and did so once again during the Pro Bowl.

Adrian Peterson, who won Pro Bowl MVP honors after the 2007 season, had 5 carries for 13 yards and made a quick exit.

The NFC’s victory this year marks their 4th in the last 6 games.

Other standouts from the game included:

– Packers C Jeff Saturday snapping the ball to Broncos QB Peyton Manning. Saturday played for the NFC and Manning for the AFC, but the snap was a special moment because the two were long-time teammates with the Indianapolis Colts, and Saturday is set to retire this year.

– NY Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul intercepting a pass intended for Houston DE JJ Watt and thrown by Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck.

– Bengals WR AJ Green grabbing 7 receptions for 119 yards and 3 TDs.

– NY Giants QB Eli Manning going 16 of 23 for 191 yards and 2 TDs.

– Seattle QB Russell Wilson going 8 of 10 for 98 yards and 3 TDs.

– Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson and NY Giants WR Victor Cruz combining for 16 receptions for 187 yards and 3 TDs.

– Saints QB Drew Brees throwing for 131 yards and 1 TD on 8 of 11 passing.


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Maxwell Football Club Names Peterson Its Player Of The Year

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 16, 2013 – 9:22 am

Maxwell Football Club President Ron Jaworski announced on Tuesday that Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has been selected as the winner of the 54th Bert Bell Professional Player of the Year Award. Peterson, a unanimous 1st-team All-Pro selection who became just the 7th player to rush for 2,000 yards in a seson in 2012, also won this prestigious award in 2008.

Click here to view a running tally of the postseason awards collected by Peterson and his fellow teammates.

Also on Tuesday, the Maxwell Football Club announced that the tandem of Chuck Pagano and Bruce Arians of the Indianapolis Colts have been selected as the winner of the 24th Greasy Neale Professional Coach of the Year Award.

The formal presentation of the 54th Bert Bell Award and the 24th Greasy Neale Award will take place at the Maxwell Football Club National Awards Gala which will be held on Friday March 1, 2013 at the Harrah’s Atlantic City Resort. Several other awards will be presented at the event as well. Event tickets are available on the Maxwell Football Club website www.maxwellfootballclub.org or by calling 215-643-3833. Tickets for the event are available on a first come first serve basis and seating is limited.


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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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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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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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