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Prospect Profile: Alabama TE O.J. Howard

By Eric Smith O.J. Howard Tight end | Alabama | Senior Height: 6-foot-6 | Weight: 249 pounds College Stats 2016: totaled 45 receptions for 595 yards and three touchdowns; had 106 yards and a touchdown in Colleg…

Source:: Minnesota Vikings: News

‘Unfiltered’ NFL exec tees off on Vikings’ offseason in ESPN article

By Matthew Coller

Screen Shot 2017-03-25 at 3.44.31 PM

Last week, ESPN’s Mike Sando gathered analysis of every team’s offseason from fellow team executives and coaches. While the consensus in Minnesota is that the Vikings made a significant improvement on their offensive line (but didn’t magically become the 1990s Dallas Cowboys by signing Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers), one team executive that Sando interviewed said he doesn’t see much of an upgrade.

Not to suggest that this team exec is being a “hater,” but Reiff played left tackle for the first four seasons of his career and posted his highest Pro Football Focus rating in 2015, one season before he was moved to right tackle. PFF grades are not the be-all, end-all, but in the last three seasons, neither Matt Kalil or Andre Smith posted a grade as good as Reiff’s worst at left tackle.

Also, Reiff and Remmers aren’t really replacing Kalil and Smith. Both were done for the year after Week 3, so the two new pickups are really taking the spots of TJ Clemmings and Jeremiah Sirles (who may move over to guard in 2017). Pass blocking by the tackles was so poor, the Vikings were forced to alter their offensive scheme to get the ball out quickly, which cut down on total sacks allowed but had a major impact nonetheless. In pass blocking, PFF ranked Clemmings 73rd of 74 tackles and Sirles 51st.

It is worth saying that teams that spend big on average players do get burned pretty often in NFL free agency. In this case, however, It’s a pretty big stretch to think that two career starters on good offenses wouldn’t improve one of the league’s worst offensive lines.

How much better does Reiff make the Vikings’ offense?

The post ‘Unfiltered’ NFL exec tees off on Vikings’ offseason in ESPN article appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

NFL Draft buzz: Mel Kiper says Jabrill Peppers could drop into the second round

By Matthew Coller

Minnesota Vikings fans can attest to the bizarre nature of the month leading up to the NFL Draft. After all, Teddy Bridgewater went from likely top pick to No. 32 overall because of a bad pro day.

Well, the draft stock for one of the most intriguing players in the draft, Michigan safety/linebacker Jabrill Peppers, has sunk since the NFL Combine as more and more questions emerge about where he projects as an NFL player.

In ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft, he has Peppers going No. 28 overall to the Dallas Cowboys – a significant drop from his first mock back in June in which he projected the Michigan star being selected 16th overall by Baltimore.

“[He is] the wild card in this draft,” Kiper said on ESPN. “You could put him mid-first, late-first or drop him into the second round. I think he goes late-first because he’s an explosive athlete, tremendous versatility, he’s a great return man.”

Peppers played all over the field in Michigan’s defense, which has made him difficult to evaluate. He picked up an impressive 13 tackles for loss last season but only grabbed one interception and was not credited with a forced fumble during his entire Wolverine career.

There has been plenty of debate over where he might fit in. At 5-foot-11, 215-pounds, it’s hard to see him as a linebacker, but without top notch coverage skills, Peppers might not be much more than a sub-package player.

Kiper’s draft-analysis cohort Todd McShay talked on a conference call about where Peppers might fit in.

“I thought he could be a (Arizona Cardinals linebacker) Deone Bucannon for a while, but the more I studied their tape, he’s just not as physical or as strong as Bucannon. I don’t know that he can move inside,” McShay said.

“Now we’re talking about a guy that can play nickel, outside the box and then has to hold up in coverage more, in terms of deep coverage, and I thought he struggled when he was forced to quickly turn and run, change direction, those sort of things. He’s fast on a straight line and he can make up some ground. But he’s really grabby and handsy and he really has to hold on to tight ends and backs that he’s covering. You can get away with it in college when the ball’s not in the air – you can’t in the NFL. So I think he has a lot of developing to do.”

Some reports have citing scouts who suggest that Peppers switch to offense because he runs a 4.46 40-yard dash and is an excellent kick returner.

It seems like a long shot, but if the New Jersey native happened to be available when the Vikings pick at 48, there’s a possibility Minnesota would be interested. While neither cornerback, safety or linebacker are positions of great priority, Peppers’ versatility could make him an interesting option, especially with the loss of Captain Munnerlyn and the increase in nickel packages.

The post NFL Draft buzz: Mel Kiper says Jabrill Peppers could drop into the second round appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

Adrian Peterson: I will play this year, it’s about the right fit

By Michael David Smith Free agent running back Adrian Peterson says he remains unemployed not because he’s asking for too much money, and not because teams aren’t interested, but because he wants to find the right team for him, and that can take time. Apparently annoyed by an ESPN report that he had turned teams off with an $8…

Source:: ProFootballTalk

Prospect Profile: Western Michigan OL Taylor Moton

By Craig Peters Taylor Moton Tackle/Guard | Western Michigan | Senior Height: 6-foot-5 | Weight: 319 pounds College Stats 2016: Started 14 games at right tackle; named First-Team All-MAC, helped Western Michigan …

Source:: Minnesota Vikings: News

Adrian Peterson ‘in no rush’ to find new team

By Despite appearing to not land many looks since departing Minnesota several weeks ago, Adrian Peterson took to Twitter on Friday night to ensure the public his future is going to be fine.

Source:: National Football League

Adrian Peterson refutes report that he’s seeking $8 million

By Matthew Coller

Former Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson released a statement late Friday night responding to a report from ESPN’s Field Yates that teams are not showing interest in the future Hall of Fame running back because he is seeking $8 million per year.

— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) March 25, 2017

Another report from Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman painted a slightly different picture, stating that team executives believe Peterson has lost his burst and is too one-dimensional to fit in many of the NFL’s current schemes.

Report: Most teams think Adrian Peterson is ‘effectively done’

The post Adrian Peterson refutes report that he’s seeking $8 million appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

Should the Vikings consider signing Michael Floyd?

By Matthew Coller

How about this for a sentence from ESPN’s John Clayton:

“[Michael] Floyd’s free-agency move was put on hold while he served a 24-day jail sentence. Interest should pick up soon for the former first-round pick.”

The former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver was cut last season after being charged with his third DUI since 2011. He was picked up by the New England Patriots, but rarely saw the field, catching just four passes as a Patriot. In February, the 27-year-old was sentenced to 24 days in jail and 96 days of house arrest. Now he’s looking for a gig.

For a team like the Patriots, signing high-risk players is routine behavior. New England brought in Aqib Talib from Tampa Bay after he was accused of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Not that they exactly knew what he had done, but the Patriots are the team that employed Aaron Hernandez.

For the Minnesota Vikings, adding Floyd would stray a bit from character, even if it would mean a return to his hometown. Last season, the Vikings released Isame Faciane after he was charged with a DWI (though defensive coordinator George Edwards was retained after his own DWI arrest was discovered). In March, posted an article titled “Spielman, Zimmer want high character players on Vikings roster.”

Optics, of course, are only part of the risk of signing the former Notre Dame wide receiver. It’s certainly possible that Floyd’s jail sentence has acted as a wakeup call, but it’s also possible that it hasn’t.

When it comes to making a decision on Floyd, the player and his past cannot be separated. But on the football side, adding him to the Vikings roster would make a lot of sense.

While Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are caught their fair share of deep passes last season, neither is a pure deep threat like Floyd. According to Pro Football Focus metrics, his average depth of target last season was 15.8 yards, while Diggs’ was 8.7 and Thielen 11.2. Floyd has averaged as much high as 17.9 Yards Per Catch during his career in Arizona.

Tossing a downfield receiver into the mix could give the Vikings’ offense a completely different look from last season when the No. 3 receiver was essentially a running back. The average throw in Cordarrelle Patterson’s direction went just 4.8 yards through the air, the lowest in the NFL.

While the majority of Sam Bradford’s passes in Pat Shurmur’s West Coast offense were underneath, when he did go deep, the Vikings’ quarterback had success. The only quarterbacks with a better rating than Bradford on throws qualified by official NFL play-by-play as “deep,” were Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, Dak Prescott, Andrew Luck, Ben Roethlisberger and Derek Carr.

He just wasn’t able to throw deep as often as those quarterbacks because of the Vikings’ struggling offensive line. But the signings of Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers should at least put Minnesota in the middle of the pack for pass protection – a huge improvement from last year.

One of the on-field concerns that has been voiced about Floyd is his drop rate. According to PFF data, he has 25 drops over five years. To put that in context, Diggs, Thielen and Patterson totaled four drops last year. All drops aren’t the same, though. Of the 25, only five came on passes under 20 yards.

A less-talked-about value of an effective deep passing game is getting pass interference calls. Last year, only five teams were the beneficiary of fewer yards via pass interference (Minnesota gained just 87 yards on six penalties). Oakland and Green Bay had nearly four times the yards from pass interferences as the Vikings.

Aside from his skill set making sense with Minnesota’s current receiving corps, another part of the case for Floyd is the total lack of receiving talent remaining in free agency. This week, Kamar Aiken and Brian Quick found homes. They were the last two flawed-but-talented regulars. The rest of the crop – players like Justin Hunter and Rod Streater have rarely shown signs of being above average.

This year’s crop of receivers in the draft are thought to be very good. CBS Sports gives 10 receivers grades between the first and third round, including some quality prospects like playmaker Curtis Samuel of Ohio State and Eastern Washington’s Cooper Kupp, who made a strong impression at the Senior Bowl.

Would the Vikings really want to spend their first pick on a receiver after Laquon Treadwell caught just one pass last year? It shouldn’t influence the decision, but it might serve as a warning that relying on a rookie is risky business.

So, while Floyd is a better option than most of the free agents or rookies and his skill set would be a nice fit with the Vikings’ offense, making a decision on whether to pursue him won’t be easy.

The post Should the Vikings consider signing Michael Floyd? appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

Vikings Waive DL Scott Crichton

By Vikings – WCCO | CBS Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Vikings announced Friday they have waived defensive lineman Scott Crichton.

Crichton was drafted by the Vikings in the third round in 2014. He played in 13 games in 2015 before a concussion ended his season. He was again placed on injured reserve in August 2016 after clearing waivers.

The Vikings reportedly made another move on the defensive line Friday. According to ESPN, veteran defensive end Brian Robison signed a one year contract extension with the team.

Source:: CBS Minnesota

2017 Prospect Profile Recap

By Chris Corso In leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft, has taken a look at 50 different players hoping to hear their names called. The Vikings currently have eight selections in the draft. They do not h…

Source:: Minnesota Vikings: News