Tag Archives: Minnesota Vikings

2017 NFC North Draft Grades

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Green Bay Packers

First-Round Pick: (N/A)

Best Pick: Round Seven-Malachi Dupre-Wide Receiver-LSU

Grade: B

The Green Bay Packers are hardly ever in contention when it comes to signing the top-tier free agents which means that their focus is always on the National Football League Draft in regards to making roster upgrades. That was once again the case this year as Packers general manager Ted Thompson sought to make things happen for his team at the NFL Draft and maintain their status as the team to beat in the NFC North.

After making a deal with the Cleveland Browns, the Packers traded out of the first round, but they would obtain the first selection of the second round which is where Thompson began to go to work.

After the Packers secondary was torched in their NFC Championship Game loss to the Atlanta Falcons, upgrading the unit became a top priority here in the off-season. The Packers used their first choice of the draft on Washington Huskies cornerback Kevin King which was followed by using their second pick of the round on North Carolina State Wolfpack safety Josh Jones. The Packers would keep the defensive theme going in the third round when they selected Auburn Tigers defensive tackle Montravius Adams, but they may have found a steal in the fourth round when they selected Wisconsin Badgers outside linebacker Vince Biegel.

Vince Biegel

At Wisconsin, Biegel played opposite of outside linebacker T.J. Watt who went on to be a first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers. But Biegel has a motor like no other, and that determination should see him crack the Packers linebacker rotation rather quickly.

Later in the fourth round the Packers selected BYU Cougars running back Jamaal Williams who won’t completely solve Green Bay’s issues at running back, but he can provide them with a player who will be good in short yardage situations as he continues to familiarize himself with the nuances of the team.

The Packers got themselves a steal in the seventh round when they selected LSU Tigers wide receiver Malachi Dupre. Dupre entered college as one of the nation’s top prep players, but a stagnant passing game at LSU didn’t allow him to shine. And now it will be interesting to see if Dupre will be able to take his game to the next level in the National Football League in the same fashion that former LSU Tigers wide receivers in Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants and Jarvis Landry of the Miami Dolphins are currently doing.

If you want to question how and why the Packers have made the playoffs in each of the last eight years, just look at what Thompson has been able to consistently do at the draft as he goes in with a plan of attack, and more importantly he sticks with it.

Detroit Lions

First-Round Pick: Jarrad Davis-Linebacker-Florida

Best Pick: Jarrad Davis

Grade: C

It was going to be interesting to see what the Detroit Lions would do to build off of their surprising trip to the postseason last season as all signs pointed to them attempting to fix the defense. But the Lions main issue on defense in 2016 were a lack of sacks as they were only able to tally 26. And when the Lions were ready to make their first choice of the 2017 National Football League Draft, they had both Missouri Tigers defensive end Charles Harris and Michigan Wolverines defensive end Taco Charlton sitting there for the taking. However Lions general manager Bob Quinn decided to taking Florida Gators inside linebacker Jarrad Davis. Davis does fill a need for the Lions at middle linebacker, but if Davis was their guy they probably could have gotten him in the second round, while still being able to pick up a pass rusher in the first.

Teez Tabor

Three of the Lions first four picks in the draft were used on defense which included taking Davis’ college teammate in cornerback Teez Tabor in the second round. Tabor had first-round potential, but he slipped to the second and only time will tell if the Lions got themselves a steal.

The Lions didn’t take a pass rusher until the sixth round when they selected Arkansas Razorbacks defensive end Jeremiah Ledbetter which is not going to help their issues as far as getting to the quarterback. And until the Lions find a way to consistently put pressure on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, they will continue to play second fiddle to them in the NFC North.

Minnesota Vikings

First-Round Pick: (N/A)

Best Pick: Round Two-Dalvin Cook-Running Back-Florida State

Grade: B

After the Minnesota Vikings acquired quarterback Sam Bradford from the Philadelphia Eagles last year, they knew that they wouldn’t be picking in the first round of this year’s National Football League Draft. But that didn’t prevent Vikings general manager Rick Spielman from coming out of the draft smelling like a rose. The Vikings watched the first round train pass them by, but they struck it rich in the second round with their selection of Florida State Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook.

Dalvin Cook

Cook enters the National Football League as a two-time All-American, while also being one of the most decorated ball carriers in the history of the Florida State program. The Vikings needed to replace running back Adrian Peterson who joined the New Orleans Saints and their rushing attack shouldn’t skip a beat with Cook as the feature ball carrier.

This draft was all about getting better in the trenches for the Vikings which saw them make a run through Big Ten country as in the third round they would select Ohio State Buckeyes center Pat Elflein, while taking Iowa defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson and Michigan Wolverines inside linebacker Ben Gedeon in the fourth round.

In all the Vikies made 11 selections in the draft as they added depth. And whereas that Cook will rightfully grab the headlines of this draft class, there will be other impact players who’ll emerge from this group.

Chicago Bears

First-Round Pick: Mitchell Trubisky-Quarterback-North Carolina

Best Pick: Round Four-Eddie Jackson-Safety-Alabama

Grade: F

The last three years have seen the Chicago Bears combine to lose 34 games and after their performance at the National Football League Draft, they aren’t any closer to turning things around. This off-season has already seen the Bears sign former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon to a three-year deal that is worth $45 million with $19 million guaranteed. The Bears entered the draft with the third overall pick with all signs pointing to them improving their defense. However Bears general manager Ryan Pace got trigger happy when he made a trade with the San Francisco 49ers to move up one slot to select North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky.

Mitch Trubisky

In making the deal the Bears sent three additional picks to San Francisco this year, while also parting with their third-round pick next year for a player in Trubisky who some people feel might be a one-year wonder. The Bears bet against themselves since there wasn’t going to be another team that was seeking to move up to select Trubisky and have now mortgaged their future in the process.

The Bears failed to address their issues in the secondary until the fourth round when they selected Alabama Crimson Tide free safety Eddie Jackson who missed the majority of the 2016 college football season due to an injury.

In all the Bears only had five picks as they failed to properly address their needs on the offensive and defensive line, as well as in the secondary. And thus it could be another long season in Chicago for the Bears and their fan base.

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Still Snakebitten

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At the conclusion of Super Bowl XI on January 9, 1977, little did the Minnesota Vikings know what was waiting for them. The 32-14 loss to the Oakland Raiders marked the Vikings fourth Super Bowl loss in eight years with each defeat being more painful than the previous one. By this time the Vikings were an aging team with a core that included future Hall of Famers such as quarterback Fran Tarkenton and defensive tackle Alan Page. That era of Vikings football would be remembered for producing quality teams who couldn’t win it all. However since then the Vikings would love to have that problem.

Since that time the Vikings have never been able to get back to the Super Bowl as they’ve been denied a trip back to the big game in five NFC Championship Game appearances. In 1977, the Vikings were no match for the precision of the Dallas Cowboys who won 23-6. In 1987, Minnesota was five yards away from a potential game-tying touchdown against the Washington Redskins when running back Darrin Nelson dropped an intended pass. In 1998, the Vikes were 15-1 and appeared to be destined for a Super Bowl Championship. But at home in the NFC Championship Game, kicker Gary Anderson who hadn’t missed a field goal or extra point all season long failed to connect on a 38-yard field late in the fourth quarter which would have sealed a win over the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons would score a touchdown to tie the game at 27, and subsequently win in overtime on a 38-yard field goal from Morten Andersen to send the Vikings home heartbroken. Two years later the Vikes made it back to the NFC Championship Game where they appeared to be the better team against the New York Giants. However the Giants would win the opening kickoff and march down the field on a touchdown and never look back as they won 41-0. In 2009, the Vikings would once again make the NFC Championship Game; this time as they were led by former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre and running back sensation Adrian Peterson as this appeared to be their year. And with the game tied at 28 late in the fourth quarter, Minnesota had a chance to win. However with the Vikings on the edge of field-goal range, Favre was intercepted by New Orleans Saints cornerback Tracey Porter. The game would go to overtime and after the Saints won the coin toss, they marched down the field as their kicker Garrett Hartley would connect on a 40-yard field goal which once again denied the Vikings a chance to play in the Super Bowl.

But all of the Vikings heartache hasn’t necessarily been saved for the NFC Championship Game. In 2003, Minnesota began the season with a record of 6-0, however they would fail to make the playoffs as that year will always be remembered by them allowing the Arizona Cardinals to complete a touchdown pass on 4th and 25 to defeat them in Week 17. During the 2015 NFC Wild Card Game, the Vikes welcomed the Seattle Seahawks to town with a game-time temperature of minus-six at TCF Bank Stadium. Late in the contest the Vikings were trailing 10-9, but they would have a chance to win. However kicker Blair Walsh would miss a 27-yard field goal. And how could we forget about last season when there was a consensus that the Vikings could make the Super Bowl. But late in training camp, Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a torn ACL and this team never recovered.

Since the Vikings lost to the Saints in the NFC Championship Game, they have failed to win a playoff game and in the process they’ve wasted to play making ability of Peterson.

Adrian Peterson

Aside from being of the better players of this era, Peterson is arguably one of the better running backs in National Football League history. Through ten seasons in the NFL, Peterson’s 11,747 career rushing yards are 16th all-time, while his 97 rushing touchdowns are tenth. Peterson is a seven-time Pro Bowl selection, while he was the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2007. But what solidified Peterson’s legacy was in 2012 when he gained 2,097 rushing yards after suffering a torn ACL in the previous season. However Peterson isn’t immune to age, or the NFL’s salary cap crunch catching up to him as he was limited to just three games last season, and thus the Vikings weren’t willing to pick up the $18 million option for the 31-year old running back heading into the 2017 campaign. There is still the possibility that Peterson could return to Minnesota on a reduced salary. However I see Peterson going to a team that’ll give him a chance to win the Super Bowl, which would lead a huge hole for the Vikings to have to fill.

Mike Zimmer

The Vikings had a championship defense last year under head coach Mike Zimmer, but they could not win games without a consistent offense which could see them take a turn for the worse during the upcoming season.

Aside from potentially losing Peterson, the Vikings have questions at the quarterback position once again which could cast doubt over the upcoming National Football League season before it starts. It’s not a guarantee that Bridgewater will be ready when the regular season rolls around. And even though that quarterback Sam Bradford who was acquired by the Vikings last year from the Philadelphia Eagles was able to complete 71.6% of his passes while only throwing 5 interceptions in Bridgewater’s place, he isn’t a signal caller that you envision ultimately being able to lead Minnesota to a Super Bowl Title as he has never appeared in the postseason.

Sam Bradford

The Vikings were desperate for a quarterback last year and thus they surrendered a first and fourth-round pick in the upcoming National Football League Draft to the Eagles in order to obtain Bradford which could hurt them this April when the league’s selection process rolls around. The Vikings want to compete, but with questions at the quarterback position, along with having a tough chore in potentially replacing Peterson, the term rebuilding might have to be thrown around with this franchise that has been so close in the past to glory, only to always fall short.

And with U.S. Bank Stadium set to host Super Bowl 52 next February, I will go out on a limb and state that the National Football League’s streak of the host team not making it to the big game will remain in tact.

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2016 Week 16 NFL Picks

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The New England Patriots can see the finish line in regards to getting home-field advantage in the playoffs.

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2016 Week 9 NFL Picks

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After starring for the Ohio State Buckeyes, running back Ezekiel makes his return to the State of Ohio, but now he is shining for the Dallas Cowboys?

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2016 Week 8 NFL Picks

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Will Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders be able to make it consecutive wins in the State of Florida?

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2016 Week 2 NFL Picks

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Will it be the good Andy Dalton or the bad Andy Dalton when the Cincinnati Bengals clash with the Pittsburgh Steelers?

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2016-2017 NFL Playoff Projections

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AFC

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

2. New England Patriots

3. Oakland Raiders

4. Indianapolis Colts

5. Cincinnati Bengals

6. Baltimore Ravens

AFC Wild Card Round

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Indianapolis Colts

As dysfunctional as the Cincinnati Bengals are, not even they can lose in the Wild Card round in six consecutive years; especially since they are much better than the Indianapolis Colts.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Oakland Raiders

The fans in the Bay Area have waited a very long time to see an Oakland Raiders playoff game and they wont be disappointed.

AFC Divisional Playoffs

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Bengals will finally be happy to get the playoff monkey off of their backs, but their big brothers from the AFC North in the Pittsburgh Steelers want to show them that they are still in charge.

Oakland Raiders vs. New England Patriots

The Raiders are happy to win a playoff game, and the battle tested New England Patriots will be too much for them.

AFC Championship Game

New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been on a mission to put “Deflategate” behind him and get back to the Super Bowl.

NFC

1. Seattle Seahawks

2. Green Bay Packers

3. Carolina Panthers

4. Dallas Cowboys

5. Arizona Cardinals

6. Minnesota Vikings

NFC Wild Card Round

Minnesota Vikings vs. Carolina Panthers

The road to a consecutive Super Bowl berth for the Carolina Panthers begins with a home victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Dallas Cowboys

The Arizona Cardinals could be a team on a mission as they steamroll the Dallas Cowboys.

NFC Divisional Playoffs

Carolina Panthers vs. Green Bay Packers

In a battle of MVP quarterbacks in Cam Newton of the Panthers, and Aaron Rodgers of the Packers, the legs of running back Eddie Lacy will lead Green Bay to the NFC Championship Game.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks

The Cards-Seahawks rivalry is quickly becoming one of the best in the NFL. And for the Cardinals, they are definitely one team that isn’t afraid to travel to Seattle and seek a victory.

NFC Championship Game

Arizona Cardinals vs. Green Bay Packers

With the frozen mystique of football in Green Bay being a thing of the past, the Cardinals have what it takes to get a victory there and reach the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history.

Super Bowl Bowl 51-NRG Stadium-Houston, Texas

New England Patriots vs. Arizona Cardinals

These two teams began the year against each other, and it’s only fitting that they’ll finish they year on the gridiron. But the Patriots will find a way to win their fifth Vince Lombardi Trophy.

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