Harrison Smith Mr Nice guy in TC

Harrison Smith Mr Nice guy in TC
Hardest hitting safety in the NFL

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Thoughts on the Vikings 2015 season


The Minnesota Vikings schedule was released on Tuesday night April 21st and with that brought a few pleasant surprises.

The schedule is comprised of a few firsts and a 2 game road trip to Detroit and Chicago along with 2 out of the last 3 at home in this the final year of TCF Bank Stadium so the cold elements will be in place.

The Vikes face 5 of last year’s playoffs and will go head to head against 5 teams with brand new coaches.

Week 1 is a Monday night 2nd game of a national TV doubleheader when the Vikes travel to San Francisco with new coach Jim Tomsula in charge after Jim Harbaugh left and took the University of Michigan job, 49ers defense took a he hit in the defense with a couple of unexpected I am truly excited to see Bridgewater in year 2 on national TV. The 49ers took major hits in the linebacker corps due to retirements. It will be fun to see Vikes defense take on Colin Kaepernik and his athleticism.

Week 2 the Vikes open the home schedule when last year’s playoff team, the Detroit Lions comes to TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikes had a 5-3 home record last year including winning the final 3 at home. An NFC North opponent is a great way to start the home schedule.

Week 3 sees the San Diego Chargers come to Minnesota. It is the first time Minnesota has faced the Chargers since the regular season opener in 2011 in San Diego.

Week 4- The Vikes travel to 2014 Playoff team, Denver and take on new coach, Gary Kubiak, Peyton Manning and the rest of the Broncos. The game is scheduled for a 3:25 CST time.

Week’s 1-4 summary sees Vikes have 2 home and 2 away, 2 playoff and 2 non-playoff teams and 2 AFC West opponents in a row giving the Vikes a heck of a way to start the season.

Week 5 is the Bye week which I am not a fan of with it being so early in the season.

Week 6 has the Kansas City Chiefs come to Minnesota. This will be the first meeting of the 2 squads since week 6 in 2003.

Week 7 and Week 8 are back to back road games against NFC North division Lions and Bears in respective order. The Vikes will get their first look at new Bears coach, John Fox. Will Jay Cutler be a different quarterback under a new system?

Week 9 sees the St. Louis Rams come to Minnesota with a new quarterback. I was so excited to see the Vikes defense go against Sam Bradford but with Sam going to Philadelphia we will see Nick Foles in charge. This will be the 3rd meeting in 4 years with the Rams.

Week 5-9 summary sees a bye week, 2 home and 2 away with the 2 away being back to back with Lions and Bears.

 

Week 10 the Vikings travel to Oakland to take on new head Coach Jack Del Rio and the Raiders. This will be the first meeting between these 2 teams since 2003.

Week 11 the Vikes will host the border battle when the Green Bay Packers come to town. The way the Packers season ended last year in the playoffs was something to never forget. Packer’s Coach Mike McCarthy gave up the play calling duty so we will see what the Packers offense will look like.

Week 12 the Vikes travel to Atlanta and take on new coach, Dan Quinn and the rest of the Falcons. It is every time I see the Falcons on the schedule I look back at 1998 and always wonder, what if?

Week 13 the Seattle Seahawks come to Minnesota. This will be a great challenge for the Zimmer lead defense as they take on Russell Wilson and bruising running back, Marshawn Lynch.

Week 10-13 sees 2 home and 2 away once again. The Vikes will face Atlanta and Seattle who are connected by one name. Yes new Falcons coach, Quinn was last year’s Seahawk defensive coordinator.

Week 14 the Vikings travel to play the Arizona Cardinals and play on Thursday night national TV which will be a first time in Vikings franchise history. This game is the 2nd national TV game of the year for the Vikings with Week 1 also. Mike Zimmer’s team is getting noticed and TV wants to show how this young team is developing the right way.

Week 15 and 16 are back to back home games when Chicago comes followed by the New York Giants. How will the weather be on December 20 an 27th? Will cold records be set? Yes, I am a season ticket holder and will brave the weather on matter what!!!

Week 17 the Vikings travel to Lambeau Field and take on the Green Bay Packers. It is the first time in this long border battle rivalry that these 2 will face off in the last game of the season. What if the winner of this game goes to the playoffs? I can only hope the Purple will have this problem.

Weeks 14-17 sees 2 home and 2 away with the 2 home back to back weeks and the season ends in Green Bay. What a way to end the season.

The schedule Is tough but I have so much faith in Coach Zimmer and the team I believe this team can compete and win.

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Vikes news and updates


The week that was in the offseason for the Vikings and the rest of the NFL has been a little busier and yes the mock drafts keep flowing.

JOHN SULLIVAN GETS AN EXTENSION

Tuesday the organization announced that John was given a one year extension that adds on to his current deal and will keep him a Vikings until at least 2017. Sullivan is currently ranked 4th all time for Vikings centers with 93 starts. He has not missed a game since 2011 and has only missed 3 games in 7 seasons with the team. 

Brandon Fusco and Phil Loadholt have both been given contracts within the last couple years that will keep at least 3 united. The team cut left guard, Charlie Johnson in the offseason so there is a position open.

Matt Kalil is back but his 5th year option is still up in the air with the team. I found per Matt Vensel, Vikings beat writer for the Star-Tribune this info on 5th year pick up.

In case you need a refresher on these fifth year options, they are only available for teams to use on first round picks. In the case of Kalil and Smith, the Vikings have the ability to keep them through the 2016 season. Their fifth year salaries- $11.1 million for Kalil and 5.3 million for Smith- would only be guaranteed in the event of an injury. So if a healthy Kalil struggles, they can simply cut him before the 2016 league year and won’t have to pay him a dime of the $11.1 million. The deadline for teams to exercise the option May 3rd, the day after the draft wraps up.

VIKINGS PRESEASON OPPENENTS ANNOUNCED

Week 1- Pittsburgh in Hall of Fame game

Week 2- home vs Tampa Bay

Week 3- home vs Oakland

Week 4- at Dallas

Week 5- at Tennessee

I like the 5 games because it means the Vikings start Training Camp in Mankato earlier than normal. The Vikes face Tampa Bay who has the number 1 pick overall in the upcoming draft. Will the Vikes face Jameis Winston?? The team also will see Christian Ponder with the Raiders and it’s a home game. I am anxious to hear any kind of reception he will get.

NFL SCHEDULE DATE RELEASED

Thursday April 17th at 8:00 the teams will know their schedule, Teams know their opponents just not the dates.

Vikes home opponents

Green Bay, Detroit, Chicago, Kansas City, San Diego, St. Louis, Seattle and the New York Giants

Vikings away opponents

Green Bay, Detroit, Chicago, Denver, Oakland, San Francisco, Arizona and Atlanta

VIKINGS DRAFT 11

The Vikings will once again host a draft party on Thursday April 30th at the Minneapolis Convention Center as fans gets together and await the announcement.

I believe the Vikings will draft defense and more specifically 2 names and they are Trae Waynes (DB-Michigan State or Vic Beasley (LB/DE- Clemson). I read an article written by a good friend, @Vikings Corner, Daniel House who made me add the name Beasley. I would be ecstatic with either. I will not be shocked if the Vikes do trade down but I do hope we stay at 11.

I looked up names picked at 11 going back to 1984. Here below is a few names and years they were taken:

1988- Michael Irvin

2000- Ron Dayne

2001- Dan Morgan

2002- Dwiht Freeney

2004- Ben Roethlisberger

2005- DeMarcus Ware

2006- Jay Cutler

2007- Patrick Willis

2011- JJ Watt

This will be the 3rd time since 1984 the Vikes wll have the 11th pick. In 1995 the team took Derrick Alexander and in 1999 the team took Daunte Culpepper.

STADIUM UPDATE

The stadium was announced this past week to be half done. I go up at least 1 time a month and take pictures of the progress and keep them in a photo album. I started with the deflating of the dome roof and went up Saturday April 11th to witness the half done.

I have signed my PSL for my seats in the new stadium and I now see the team has opened to the public the right to sign PSL’s if they do desire. It is going to be an amazing stadium and I am so excited to be part of the future.

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Vikings surprising in free agency


The Minnesota Vikings had said they did not plan to be too much into activity of free agency rather building through the draft.  I was split on my feelings but I do like maybe better building with youth.

The last 2 weeks has been a pleasant surprise with the team’s activities in the free agency. No, they are not spending millions of dollars on players rather getting guys who are still young and giving them shorter contracts.

The one exception would be the signing of former Vikings quarterback, Shaun Hill. I like the move bringing a guy who has a lot of veteran experience he cab share with Teddy. I believe Teddy should feel safe that he is the starter and Hill will be there for advice in helping Teddy grow as a professional.

The Vikings also signed DuJuan Harris, former Packers running back to create some competition in case Peterson does not come back. Harris is 5’8” inches tall and weighs 206. I will not mention my thoughts about AP because the subject is old and has been overly talked about in the media.

The team has also resigned long snapper, Cullen Loeffler and also resigned offensive lineman, Joe Berger.

The biggest shock happened on Friday March 13th when I was actually in Miami on a trip and happened to go to the Dolphin pro shop where a life size, Mike Wallace action figure was in the middle of the shop. I took a picture of it only to find out on the plane trip home the Vikings had traded for him. I was in absolute shock and disbelief.

I was in Wisconsin the day the Vikings had signed Greg Jennings two years ago so I question myself where should I go next?

The release of Jennings the day after the trade for Wallace was disappointing for me but also know a lot of dollars would be tied up in these two receivers.

Tuesday, March 24th two more free agents signed contracts to play for the Vikings. Taylor Mays and Casey Matthews signed to play this upcoming season for the Purple.

Mays, in his 6th year was drafted 49th in the 2nd round by the San Francisco 49ers. He was in 66 games and started 10 of those. He has 57 career tackles. In 2013 in Mike Zimmer’s final year as defensive coordinator for Cincinnati Mays had 21 tackles. In 2014 Mays played in all 16 games but primarily on special teams. Taylor had a blocked punt last season. I am excited to see what an ex-Zimmer play and now reunited with old coach can do in the defensive scheme. Welcome to Minnesota, Taylor.

The team then announced the signing of former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker, Casey Matthews who is in his 5th year. He spent the first 4 years with the Eagles playing in 65 games over that span and started 15 of them.

In 2014 Matthews had 62 tackles and 1.5 sacks and in his career total has 109 sacks and 2.5 sacks. Welcome to Minnesota, Casey. It should be an interesting Packer- Vikings battle even more with Clay (Packers) and Casey (Vikings) seeing each other.

DRAFT INFO

The Vikings for now have picks: 11, 45, 76, 110, 137, 228 and 232. They will have no 6th round picks and two, 7th rounders. This of course could change if a trade is made before the draft.

DRAFT LOCATION

Yes, the draft is in Chicago this year. This will be the year of the 50th Super Bowl so many celebrations will occur during the season. The first will happen at the draft where gold carpet will be laid outside the draft headquarters for players to walk on as they enter the building.

NFL SEASON INFO

This is the 50th Super Bowl as I stated earlier and what the NFL has done has scheduled 19 games throughout the year featuring old Super Bowl matchups. The Vikings get to be one of the 19 as they play the Pittsburgh Steelers in the annual Hall of Fame game.

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Combine over and now thoughts on the Vikes number 11 pick


The NFL combine is over and after watching every day and many hours I like what I saw out of a few future hopeful Vikings draft choices.

I do feel the draft does not always guarantee but since it is part of the game it is truly fun to speculate. The NFL draft consisting of 7 rounds and over 230 players is exciting but sometimes what is more exciting is seeing how the kids that are not drafted and come by way of undrafted rookie free agents.

I look at Tom Brady who was drafted in the 6th round and the 199th pick and now a shoe in for Hall of Fame when he is done. Do you ever wonder how many times teams look back and wonder what if we wound have taken him? I look at the undrafted players and give you 2 examples both former Viking players, John Randle and Mick Tingelhoff who were not drafted and now funny, Randle are in the Hall of Fame and Tingelhoff being enshrined this August. The list could go on for each team with draft busts or prizes as well as each team could list their undrafted free agents who made it big. Does anybody really know?

The Minnesota Vikings are coming off a 7 win season making progress however there is much room to improve. I did read Coach Mike Zimmer state there would not be much money spent in free agency rather the team would rather build through the draft. I would like to see the team go after one player in free agency and that is former 49ers guard, Mike Iupati. Yes, he would come at a huge price but I believe it would be worth it.

The team has had very good drafts in the last 3 seasons. There are 2 first round picks that are concerning but I do have hope they will figure it out. I speak of Matt Kalil and Cordarelle Patterson. Matt had a Pro Bowl rookie year and now is struggling and Patterson is blessed with athleticism but now must figure out how to use especially in getting open and running good routes. I have all the faith in the world this coaching staff will do what it takes to get it done.

The Vikings come in with the 11th pick and with Coach Mike Zimmer’s defensive background I would bet my next pay check a defensive player will be taken. I will give you in order the positions and players I would like to see in purple.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Trae Waynes (Michigan State) He ran a 4.31 40 yard dash along with a 38 inch vertical jump and a 10’1” broad jump. He is 6’ tall and weighs 196 pounds. He is a bump and run specialists. The only concern is read is he grabs which may not translate as well into the NFL but again who better to have as a coach than Zimmer that can help this potential problem.

Jalen Collins (LSU) ran a 4.43 40 yard dash and has a 36” vertical jump. He has the rare triple with size, speed and strength. NFL Network has him compared to Terrence Williams from the NFL.

LINEBACKERS

Vic Beasley (Clemson) He most likely will be gone by 11 but if not this kid is an animal. He is 6’3” and playing at 235 in college came into the combine at 246.  He ran a 4.53, 40 yard dash with a 41 inch vertical and a 10’10” broad jump. He has been given the compliment as the best edge rusher in the draft.

Dante Fowler Jr (Florida) He ran a 4.6. 40 has a vertical jump at 32.5 and broad jump of 9.3. He is 6’3” and weighs 261. Fowler can play out of 2 or 3 point stance. He is blessed with long arms and is so athletic covering sideline to sideline. He is compared to last season rookie, Khlail Mack. I wanted Mack last year for the Vikings but after seeing what Anthony Barr did last season I was glad we took who we took but still wish Mack a good season and he did not disappoint the Oakland Raiders.

SAFETY

Landon Collins (Alabama)  I was not overly impressed by anyone else. Collins comes from a school that knows how to win. He ran a 4.53, 40 yard dash and has a 35” vertical jump. He is a tremendous run stopper. He also plays better when attacking rather than laying back in coverage. He did have a tendency to drop a few balls. I repeat myself by saying if Collins is the pick who better to have as a coach than Mike Zimmer.

WIDE RECEIVER

Kevin Smith (West Virginia) This man was my favorite player to watch in the combine in all positions. I was so amazed by him. I am doubtful he will still be there at 11 but if he is please turn the card in quickly before time elapses. Smith is the prototypical NFL receiver with his size. He is 6’3” and weighs 215. He ran a 4.35, 40 yard dash with a 36.5 vertical jump and 10.25 broad jump. He would be a true pleasure watching him haul in passes from Bridgewater.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Brandon Scherff (Iowa) He measures at 6”5” and weighs 319. Ho loves the weight room and I read where he could life your house. He has the measurable to play tackle but in the Vikings case would love to this weight lifting beast play at left guard.

RUNNING BACK

This obviously is the biggest area because of the uncertainty of Adrian Peterson’s future. I have read the same as I am sure you have about everything. I have no certainty just a feeling and that is I just don’t think Peterson will be in purple.

Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin) He ran a 4.35, 40 yard dash, had 35” vertical and 10.5 broad jump. I am a Gopher fan and dislike the Badgers but as a football fan it was hard not be impressed with his gist of running. I read on NFL.com that Gordon is compared to ex Vikings back, Robert Smith. Oh would that be fun again. Gordon is 6’1” and weighs 215.

These are my thoughts on the combine. I know you all have your favorites and I encourage you to share your thoughts on who the Vikings should take. I say If Peterson does leave the Vikes should draft Gordon and if Peterson stays I would be happy with Waynes, Beasley or Kevin Smith.

I know the end of April can’t come soon enough. We have seen mock drafts and will see them until the day of the draft. I enjoy them for a while but then I need to be done and just watch the draft on TV. Who are the winners and who are the losers of the 2015 draft?

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

 

 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Vikes offseason update

The Minnesota Vikings along with the other 31 teams are in the offseason but in this league there is no real off season as news continues to flow.


VIKINGS PLAYER NEWS
Minnesota made a surprising pick up on Wednesday when the team announced they signed former Packer tight end, Brandon Bostick. Yes, the same man who will be always known to Packers fans as the player who cost them a trip to the Super Bowl when he let the onside kick go through his hands. Bostick is 6’3” and weighs in at 250 pounds. He played in 24 games for Green Bay with 9 catches for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns. He now is the 5th tight end on the Vikes roster with: Kyle Rudolph, Rhett Ellison, Chase Ford and Ryan Otten.  My hope is this move will come back to haunt the Packers


MY HOME TOWN INVOLVED WITH THE NEW STADIUM
Owatonna, Minnesota is home to Viracon, the company that is producing the glass. Yes, Owatonna is where I have lived the last 26 years as well.
Viracon was awarded the contract in January of 2014. They will be producing 190, 000 square feet of the exterior glass. This breaks downs to about 6500 square pieces of glass. The company is currently shipping 150-200 pieces each week and that will go on through December.
Each piece of glass is individually cut ns fabricated for the customer. There is nothing in stock which makes this company even neater to read and learn about.


VIKINGS LOGO IS IN CHAMPIONSHIP
There is a twitter you can follow, @BracketBattles. They have been running a fan vote for best logo. Minnesota Vikings are currently facing the Philadelphia Eagles in the championship with the Vikings in the lead by a large amount with Sunday the contest ending. Yes NHL, NBA, MLB are all involved. Minnesota beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round, and then the New Orleans Pelicans and most recently defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers and now in the championship vs the Philadelphia Eagles. GO Vikings


HALL OF FAME WEEKEND BIG FOR MORE THAN ONE REASON
Mick Tingelhoff long overdue wait has paid off as Mick will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio on Saturday August 8th. The Minnesota Vikings then take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Hall of Fame game on Sunday August 9th at 7:00pm


NFL COMBINE THOUGHTS
The Adrian Peterson saga is one that just does not end either way. The draft is just around the corner. The speculation talk gets old and never seems to go away.
I am not a guy who does mock drafts although I love to read what people think. I say this after watching the Saturday combine all day Saturday. I say this if Peterson does not come back I will say the Vikings will take with the number 11 pick a running back. I would love to see Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin) or Todd Gurley (Georgia) in purple. I know Gurley did not participate but with the amount of college football I do watch gives me the hope that Gurley would be the future.
If Peterson does come back I see the Vikings taking a safety or linebacker at 11 I would like to see Shaq Thompson who interviewed with Coach Zimmer this weekend and reports are it went good but Thompson said he would like to be in a linebacker position. The other player I would like to see and is a team need and that would be, Landon Collins, safety from the University of Alabama.
I truly enjoyed watching the receivers work out Saturday. I know at 11 I don’t believe 2 of the top receivers would be there. If you saw Kevin White’s workout you would love to see him at the next level. The man is a freak with size, speed and strength. The other would be former Alabama standout, Amari Cooper.
The draft is just a few weeks away and trades could be made to move up by teams. I turned the TV Saturday afternoon just shaking my head at White’s performance. I believe whoever gets him will be in for a treat.
Football is more than the game it is everything from combine to the draft to free agency to mini camps and then training camp. Football is 365 a year and I love it.


Thanks for reading
Todd Walkingstick
Go Vikes!!!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

9 weeks down with so many storylines


The 2014 season was going to be the year I truly felt would be something special. The team hires defensive minded coach, Mike Zimmer and add offensive coordinator guru, Norv Turner which I thought was a great start.

Training Camp went by with no major injuries and preseason sees the team goes undefeated so my hopes are really getting revved up.

It seemed in a short matter of time the Adrian Peterson saga go down along with season ending injuries to Matt Cassel and Brandon Fusco and lose Kyle Rudolph for an extended period of time. You have got to be kidding me?

The first 5 weeks the team sees 4 of the top quarterbacks in the league with: Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers. I thought if we could go 2-3 in the first 5 after last season 2-3 would be a huge success.

It did happen and without Adrian Peterson and Matt Cassel. The team is 2-3 and came home for a big home game vs Detroit. A chance to get to .500, a home game which is a division opponent makes it even bigger. The team is beat up badly by the Lions. A loss where the home fans repeatedly booed. I was discouraged but as always get back on the horse and look forward to the next week.

Enough with the schedule as we swing to players who have stepped up. I start with the guys replacing AP and that is rookie, Jerick McKinnon and veteran Matt Asiata.  These 2 have become a two headed monster with McKinnon ringing up the yardage and Asiata scoring the touchdowns.

The defense each week is showing promise slowly but surely. In the offseason the Vikes let Jared Allen leave by way of free agency and instead resigned Everson Griffen to an extension. The signing has paid off big with Griffen already close to double digit sacks for the year.

The defensive after week 9 is number one on the NFL with 30 sacks. It is not just one guy it is a collective group effort spreading the sacks amongst them.

The hero thus far is one I did not seeing happen and that is Anthony Barr. I will painfully admit when he was drafted I did not understand why he went so high. I have no problem admitting I was wrong because this beast is playing towards defensive rookie of the year and if he continues has a shot at a Pro Bowl honor.

Cordarelle Patterson’s play confuses me the most the first 9 weeks. His week one rushing for over 100 yards and his kick returns gave me so much hope he will have a huge year. The time since has found him being questioned by the coaches his ability to get open and his efforts have been questioned.

The Vikings future is now with Teddy Bridgewater and what we are seeing is a young 21 year old developing into the hope for the future. Yes, there are needs to improve for him but also plenty to be excited about.

I love the job Coach Zimmer has done. A game lost in the literal final seconds and now win two in a row is showing me this team does not want a repeat of last season.

The home games thus far have been very nice weather wise as we sit in the sun side and so far 4 home games we have had sun. I do miss the dome for the noise factor. The majority of the games just are not loud. I do look forward to the Packers coming November 23rd which I believe will be the best test if the stadium can get ear blowing loud.

Thanks for reading thus far and I hope you enjoy the rest of them. I look forward to serving you with thoughts on the Purple.

Thanks

Todd Walkingstick