Archive for April, 2013

Meeting Griz

Posted: April 28, 2013 in Griz
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Here is the moment we first met our new puppy.  We named him Gizzly “Griz” Scott

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Thank you Rick Spielman, GM for the Minnesota Vikings, for what you did for me.  Rick must have known that I will be in the car for most of the draft tonight because we are going to get our puppy.  So Rick said, “lets trade all our day two picks to move back into the first round and take Friday off.”  Thanks Rick!

About the draft.  Ok, they didn’t land the two players I “mocked” the other day.  However, to my defense, I never thought Sharif Floyd or Xaiver Rhodes would be there.  In my mocked draft post I indicated it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Vikings package some picks and move back up.  I figured they would move up in the 2nd round, but Rick moved all the way to number 29 and picked my 2nd favorite WR in this draft, Cordarrelle Patterson.

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Floyd

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Floyd as a Viking

Sharif Floyd is a 6’3”, 300 pound DT from Florida.  His life story reads very much like that of the story of Michael Oher.  The OT for Baltimore that was the subject of the book and movie, Blindside.  Like Oher, Sharif overcame those obstacles and excelled at football and is now a first round pick.  Many of the “experts” projected Floyd to be a top 5 pick.  And for good reason, he was very dominate in college.  Here is some more, courtesy of NFL.com:

Strengths

Athletic three/five-technique prospect with solid overall strength. Possesses a quick and long first step when in pass rush mode, can swim over his opponent or get his hands up into his man’s jersey to push him into the backfield. Often lined up outside the tackle (even standing up) despite his size, showed quickness to rush the passer and quick feet to contain on the edge. Combines good effort and short-area agility for his size to chase plays across the field and get his long arms around ball carriers when closing in. Experienced as a two-gapper, keeps his eyes in the backfield and sheds to either direction to grab running backs coming his direction. Flashes violent hands to swipe away blockers on his way to the ball carrier. Excellent at shooting gaps and reducing his surface area while working through trash inside. Splits double-teams in pass protection well with quickness.

Weaknesses

Has long legs and plays with high pad level, at times causing him problems when trying to anchor. Lacks the elite closing speed to make a lot of plays outside the box. Will stop after initial contact, must prove he has the stamina to make an impact in significant minutes against NFL competition. Tendency to stop his feet on contact. While he has experience two-gapping, he still needs a lot of technique work in that area; he has a tendency to turn his body, especially against double teams, causing him to get washed out or moved upfield. Suffered a torn ACL in high school. Changing positions may have stunted his growth in college, as he has never been allowed to focus on one particular skill set.

NFL Comparison

Muhammad Wilkerson

Bottom Line

A rough childhood did not prevent Floyd from earning national accolades for his play in high school, as he won the 2009 Maxwell Football Club’s National Player of the Year award. And by the end of his sophomore year at Florida, Floyd began showing scouts the athleticism, strength and motor required in a top tackle prospect. He has been an incredibly important and versatile defender up front for Florida, playing both one and two-gap techniques at defensive end, one and three-technique, and as a true zero-technique nose tackle. While Floyd is rough around the edges and will take time to develop as a two-gapper, his quickness, athleticism and scheme versatility could make him a force in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense.

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Rhodes

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Rhodes as a Viking

Xaiver Rhodes is a big corner back from Florida State.  He stands 6’1” and is about 210-215 pounds.  This gives the Vikings two big corners that should match up better against the big WR’s from the North.  This is exactly the format used by Seattle right now.  Big physical corners.  Here are the strengths and weakness according to NFL.com:

Strengths

Big frame and size for the position. Press corner who likes to have a hand on his opponent at all times. Consistently gets contact or jam when pressing, remains balanced without overextending. Contact is the arm mirroring the release side. Stays with quick twitch cuts and release with equally fast movements. Flashes strength to throw receiver to the side when wanting to get in on piles. Improved against the run as the season went along. Can really lay into a hit. Turns to find the football and adjusts well if in the hip pocket of a receiver downfield.

Weaknesses

Had a knee injury in 2011. Very inconsistent on runs to the empty side, loses contain, does not react quickly enough. Misses tackles when lunging at ball carriers and when leaving his feet. Hands are by his waist at the snap instead of higher to punch more quickly. Can be disinterested when play goes to receiver he is not responsible for in man coverage; closing speed lacks urgency. Does not have experience inside as a slot corner in nickel. Performance takes a step back in zone coverage, struggles to pass off and close on receivers entering or leaving his area. Looks sluggish or tight hipped when not asked to mirror movements. Not a blitzer when path is impeded.

NFL Comparison

Brandon Browner

Bottom Line

Rhodes thrives in physical press coverage, something very few college players can put on their resume. At times his tackling technique is questionable, but Rhodes will make his living locking up boundary receivers with a balanced and strong jam followed up by enough speed to stick in their hip pocket. Just don’t ask him to play in zone, because Rhodes shows tight movements when forced to pass receivers to a separate area. His game is somewhat scheme-dependent.

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Patterson

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Patterson as a Viking

Cordarrelle Patterson is a dynamic WR that plays similar to the guy we traded, Percy Harvin.  Patterson can return kicks, play in the slot, run reverses and line up in the backfield.  He did a little of everything at Tennessee.  The biggest difference between Percy and Patterson is that Patterson is 6’2” and almost 220 pounds.  He excels with the ball in his hands and seems to have great vision and the ability to make guys miss.

Patterson only played one year of major college football.  He played previously at a junior college and because of that, he remains a bit raw.  And there are some that question his route running ability which is probably the reason he fell so far in the draft.

Again from NFL.com:

Strengths

Easily separates on vertical routes when given a free release. Very few wasted steps on cuts. Very smooth in his breaks. Finds soft areas in zone coverage between corners and safeties. Looks to turn upfield immediately after the catch. Very good with slants, quick head fake out allows for inside release, strong step forward, body catches to prevent pass breakup while shielding corner. Flashes swiping inside arm bar away on back-shoulder throws to allow for free turn. Frequently hauls in the difficult catches, especially when the defensive back is draped on him. Not afraid to hand fight all the way along the sideline on vertical routes to create a sliver of separation. Understands hot read recognition when the corner blitzes. Builds speed quickly after the catch, almost gliding when in stride. Good vision with the ball in his hands, cuts upfield when he sees a lane. Used occasionally at running back, has the speed and wiggle to beat defenders to the edge while utilizing hesitations moves. Very nimble on his feet, especially for size. Makes plays out of nothing when carrying the ball. Numerous natural qualities to his game.

Weaknesses

Consistently a body catcher, even when it is not necessary. Was not frequently asked to go up and get the football at its highest point. Large number of his snaps start while off the line of scrimmage, allows for a better release. Doesn’t use his hands enough against a jam, tries to dip or side-step rather than slap or push. Tends to throttle down in his breaks. Burst after the catch or return is only adequate but does accelerate quickly. Tries to do too much when the ball is in his hands at times. Dropped a few very catchable balls, including easy bucket throw over shoulder. Inconsistent blocking effort.

NFL Comparison

Demaryius Thomas

Bottom Line

He’s raw with his ability to handle physical coverage, but Patterson is one of the more naturally talented pass catchers to come along in the last few years. He only has one year of tape against FBS competition, but from the first game Patterson showed his versatility by making plays from a variety of alignments. If the Vol can start using his hands to release off the line and tighten up some technique issues, he should be one of this class’ top playmakers.

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Jackson

On top of addressing 3 of the 4 needs in the first round.  The Vikings announced they signed former Lions DE Lawrence Jackson to a one-year contract.  Jackson is a former first round pick from Seattle that spent the past three seasons with Detroit.  He adds some valuable depth at the DE spot.

Now, the Vikings HAVE to address the remaining hole on the team, MLB.  Without a doubt, the Vikings should reach out to former Chicago Bear ICON Brian Urlacher.  His experience would be invaluable to the Vikings young defense.

Spring?

Posted: April 25, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Tuesday

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ImageAre we finally seeing the beginning of Spring in Minnesota?  If feels like it!  Leaving work early tomorrow and heading north to get our new puppy.

ImageRegarding television, my favorite thing in the world is watching the Vikings.  After that, it’s the NFL draft.  I had every intention to do an NFL mock draft for my blog.  However, life is busy and I haven’t had time.  But, more than that, this might be the worst year to do a mock draft.  From the reports I hear, there is going to be a ton of activity in this draft with teams trading up and trading down.  So, a few trades here and there will blow up even the best of mock drafts.

So, I am just going to focus on who I believe the Vikings should take.  The Vikings have the 23rd overall pick and the 25th overall pick (from the Percy Harvin trade).  Having two first round picks allows the Vikings the flexibility to move up, if they want to.  And since this draft is deep and without a large number of players that clearly stand out, the cost to move up is probably going to be much cheaper than previous years.  So, if there is a player they identify as a must get, this is the year to move up.

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Tavon Austin

There are two players that will be gone by 23 and I would consider moving up to draft.  Tavon Austin, a WR from West Virgina.  He would basically be your Percy Harvin replacement and plays a similar style.

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Star Lotulelei

The other player I would trade up for is Star Lotulelei, a DT from Utah.  Star is a player once considered a top 5 pick, but has fallen a bit because of some issues with his heart.  Although, he will still be picked well before the Vikings pick.  So, if you want him and need a DT, which the Vikings do, you have to trade up.

Vikings GM, Rick Spielman is known for making moves on draft day.  So, it would not surprise me to see the Vikings move up in this draft.  What would surprise me is if they decide to move back in order to acquire more draft picks.  While the Vikings have many needs, I don’t think they need to add additional picks.  They have 11 picks already:

Round 1, Pick 23, No. 23 Overall

Round 1, Pick 25, No. 25 Overall (from Seattle Seahawks)

Round 2, Pick 20, No. 52 Overall

Round 3, Pick 21, No. 83 Overall

Round 4, Pick 5, No. 102 Overall (from Detroit Lions)

Round 4, Pick 23, No. 120 Overall

Round 5, Pick 22, No. 155 Overall

Round 6, Pick 21, No. 189 Overall

Round 7, Pick 7, No. 213 Overall (from Arizona Cardinals)

Round 7, Pick 8, No. 214 Overall (from Seattle Seahawks)

Round 7, Pick 23, No. 229 Overall

Just standing pat with the picks they have will ensure them five of the top 100 players available.  You should be able to fill most of your needs with those five picks.  In fact, if it were me…I might parlay some of the extra picks and move up in the 2nd round.

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DJ Hayden

Here is what I think the Vikings will do in the first round.  I believe they pick defense with the first two picks.  They have a huge need for a corner back since Winfield signed with Seattle.  They also don’t have a MLB, unless they look into signing Urlacher after the draft.  They also need a DT to play along side of Kevin Williams.  So, with pick number 23 I think the Vikings will pick CB DJ Hayden from Houston.  He’s a tough corner that can play the slot and is a good tackler.  Something Winfield was great at.  In addition, he also ran a 4.3 in the 40 at his pro day.  There is also an injury factor to consider, but I believe he’s answered those questions.  He actually tore the inferior vena cava (and almost died) and it cost him the rest of this season.  He fits a need for the Vikings, but is also a very good football player.

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Manti Te’o

With the 25th overall pick the Vikings select the most controversial player in this years draft.  MLB, from Notre Dame, Manti Te’o.  He’s only controversial because he had a fake girlfriend that died.  He’s guilty of be naïve for sure, but that doesn’t make him a bad person.  And that sure as hell doesn’t take away from his four years of excellence at Notre Dame.  Sure, he played poorly in the National Championship game.  But, his body of work shows a MLB that has excellent instincts and a nose for the ball.

There are my picks for round one: DJ Hayden and Manti Te’o.  I believe the Vikings address another glaring weakness in round two.  I think we see them draft a WR in round two and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them trade up even higher in round two to do it.  Perhaps a WR like Robert Woods from USC.  I also believe the Vikings are very interested in LSU defensive back/kick return Tyrone Mathieu, also known as the Honey Badger.

Will I be right?  Probably not.  But we will find out tomorrow night when the first round is conducted.

Here is an update to my changing shades post about the Minnesota Vikings new uniforms.  I have come across what is believed to be leaked pictures of the actual uniforms to be unveiled Thursday at the Vikings Draft party.

I can not say, with 100% certainty that this photo is legit; however, Kevin Seifert tweeted the photo.  Kevin is an NFC North blogger for ESPN and a former beat writer for the Vikings with the Star Tribune.  So, he is well connected.

Here is the tweet from Seifert with a picture of what he believes are the new Vikings uniforms:

Freakin Snow

Posted: April 23, 2013 in rant
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ImageA view from a window here at work.  A classic winter day, a beauty of a scene.  Fresh snow hugging the limbs of a tree.  Until you notice the date on the photo.  Will this winter wonderland ever end?  Damn you Jack Frost!

Our Husky, on the other hand, is loving this right now.  And he seems to mock me while sitting on our deck in 6 inches of snow.  While we have had a month of spring ripped away from us.  He’s gotten an extra month of winter.

70’s by this weekend.  It’s about time.

It’s April 22nd and we are expecting 6-10 inches of snow today here in Minnesota.  ENOUGH ALREADY!  There does seem to be light at the end of this winter tunnel.  Early reports show we should be hitting 70’s by this weekend.  But, it’s depressing to think we have already lost almost a month of spring.

The end of this week will bring about more change than just the weather.  I have talked often about getting a new puppy and have shown updated pictures of the litter throughout.  Well, either this Friday or Saturday, we will be heading north about 3 and a half hours to pick him up.  At this point, he is nameless.  My wife and I have arguing back and forth with names we prefer and so far, neither has budged.  We will come up with something, hopefully in the next day or two.

Here are the most resent pictures we received.  The litter weights range from 15 to 23.1 pounds.  Our boy is the largest puppy in the litter, by far.  Just look at those feet!  He’s going to be a giant.  Which is remarkable considering we went into this process as the last pick of 7 with the preference of the largest male.  We got exactly what we wanted.  To make things even better, the reports we get back about his temperament and personality are very similar to that of Kodi.  We can’t wait to finally meet him.

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