Harrison Smith Mr Nice guy in TC

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

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

Sunday, November 2, 2014

No quit Vikes win agian



On Sunday the Vikings (3-5) hosted the Washington Redskins (3-5) with so much on the line. The two teams are coming off wins on the road and now with a win Sunday will at least keep the playoff hopes alive.


The way Sunday morning started out with a Redskins team bus getting in an accident as one team bus rear ended the other on the way to the stadium. I add thankfully no one was seriously hurt.


The other big pregame event was the protest being conducted outside the TCF Bank Stadium. My wife and I were walking to the stadium and saw two helicopters straight overhead. We walked down as my curiosity got the best of me and wanted to see the protest. It seemed to be packed. I know I read after the game that there were over 3000 protestors.


It was quite a morning with 2 big events and the kickoff has not even happened yet. Sunday was NFL alumni weekend which as on display in the pregame.


Former Gopher and Vikings player, Tyrone Carter blew the Gjllarhorn to signal the Vikings were coming. The National Anthem was sung by Esera Tuaolo who played for the Vikes from 1992-1996. I have heard him before and can assure you it is beautiful to listen to. The honorary captain for the coin toss was Carl Eller.


I really thought the crowd with player introduction and even much of the first half was very quiet. I do miss the dome for the ear blowing noise at times.


I really liked the first play of the game play call even though it was not successful. I love the deep ball and for a split second I thought Greg Jennings may have a chance.


I had another deep ball down in front of me where I saw Cordarrelle Patterson running free in what I thought was a for sure touchdown. It seemed Patterson quit on the route. I did hear after the game the sun was a factor. I would have liked to see a better effort.


I get frustrated with special teams this year because it seems like 90 percent of punt returns the Vikes are called for blocking from behind. Once again Sunday I see it again. The other frustration comes with 3rd down for the Redskins and 5.5 yards for a first down. I see a Vikings defensive player encroach and there goes a free 5 yards.


I feel at 3-5 the Vikes are on the slimmer side of making the playoffs but perhaps the play that saved the day was Captain Munnerlyn intercepting an RGIII pass with less than a minute left in the half. The Vikes end up scoring a TD before half sending the team off the field in front of some happy fans and now are back in the game being down 10-7.


I am starting to feel when the Vikes get the ball late in the game and put it in Teddy Bridgewater’s hand the team has a chance and on Sunday Teddy did his thing calmly leading the team to the go ahead touchdown. I loved the call going for two putting the game at 29-26.


The Redskins get the ball back and it is time to hold your breath. I saw RGIII drop back on 3rd and 20 I get up yelling,” Get him, Get him and I thought the defense did but all of a sudden there RGIII goes running for 16. You have got to be kidding, I thought to myself. It sets up 4th down with the game on the line. The entire stadium is standing and I see RGIII get loose again and see a receiver open. It is so loud in the stadium and what do we see next, we see the incompletion. Game over and fans are going bonkers. The fans filing out were chanting, TEDDY, TEDDY,TEDDY


Thanks for reading


Todd Walkingstick


 


 


 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Look out Vikings rookie records here comes Teddy


The Vikes find themselves at 2-4 and by no means are they out of anything. It has been a couple of tough weeks so let’s look at one of the bright spots and that is Teddy Bridgewater.

Teddy is fast moving up or passing former rookie Vikings quarterbacks’ records already and he is literally in his first couple of weeks. Sunday’s game will be his first start on the road.

Earliest start in season by a rookie

1) Fran Tarkenton- Week 2 at Dallas on 9/24/61

2) Teddy Bridgewater Week 4 home vs Atlanta on 9/28/14

3) Christian Ponder Week 7 home vs Green Bay on 10/23/11

Passing yards in game by rookie first season

1) Christian Ponder vs Denver on 12/4/11- 381 yards

2) Teddy Bridgewater home vs Atlanta on 9/28/14- 317 yards

3) Fran Tarkenton home vs San Francisco on 11/26/61- 277 yards

Passing Attempts in game by Vikings rookie

1) Christian Ponder home vs Denver on 12/4/11- 47

2) Teddy Bridgewater home vs Detroit on 10/12/11- 37

3) Tommy Kramer at Oakland on 12/11/77- 34

Pass completions in game rookie season

1) Christian Ponder home vs Denver on 12/4/11- 29

2) Teddy Bridgewater home vs Detroit on 10/12/14- 23

3)Fran Tarkenton home vs Los Angeles on 12/3/61-21

2014 Draft Class passer Rating

1) Teddy Bridgewater- 111.2

2) Blake Bortles-110.0

3) Derek Carr 108.2

4) Jim Garoppolo 99

Bridgewater set a Vikings rookie passer rating in his first start in the NFL with a 98.9

If the Vikings can figure out a pass protection and I feel comfortable they will Bridgewater will smash every Vikings rookie record there ever was.

Go Teddy and Go Vikings.

Thanks for reading

Todd Walkingstick

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Let the Teddy era begin


The Vikings came to New Orleans Sunday with not many media people giving the Vikes a chance. I know I look up Vegas odds this week and saw the Saints were favored by 9.5.

The Vikes get to play New Orleans in the Saints first home game of the year after starting 0-2 losing both games on the road. My heart says this Saints team is going to want to crush the Vikes and show America they are not a 0 win team.

I was running errands and listening to KFAN Vikings pregame show and I just happened to catch the game prediction segment. Mark Rosen and Dan Bariero were both asked to make their prediction and both guys had the Vikes losing by 13 and 14 respectively.

I went to New Orleans for the 2010 NFC Championship game and can assure you that stadium is louder than you could ever image. The place is huge and those Saints fans can make some ear blowing noise.

I was nervous admittedly worried about a potential blowout with so much stacked against the Vikings. The first 2 drives I thought to myself oh no guys please stop someone. The Saints made it look so easy. Saints quarterback, Drew Brees was feasting on the defense not missing a pass.

I actually thought maybe the game changer at the time was when Vikings player, Everson Griffen blocked the Saints extra point attempt. I being down 13-0 instead of 14-0 maybe the break we needed.

I really liked the effort by Vikes quarterback, Matt Cassel’s effort to guide the offense down the field and get some much needed points for the Vikings making it 13-3. The effort Cassel made to run the ball to get closer to the goal line resulted in Cassel getting injured and not returning to the game.  A touchdown obviously would have been sweeter but at least it points in a hostile environment.

It was just last week home vs New England fans were chanting Teddy, Teddy, Teddy through most of the 2nd half and then Sunday Cassel goes down and fans get their wish.

It seemed to me the team just played more inspired ball. Yes, there were mistakes made in the secondary, the offensive line struggled badly and not much of a running game. In saying that I still feel the overall team effort was much better,

You hold a powerful Saints team that had gone an NFL record of 24 straight games in a row at home scoring at least 21 and this young Vikings group with 7 new starters breaks the streak could be a confidence builder.

Yes, the Vikes have a 2 game losing streak giving up 30 last week and now 20 Sunday may seems to be a lot but I feel this team is showing progress.  Last Sunday the defense played with such a short field with all the turnovers by the offense and then Sunday other than the first 2 drives the team put the hammer down on the Saints.

The play of Harrison Smith at safety is just awesome to watch. The hustle he exhibits each weeks and the toughness he shows when tackling never gets old.

It was great to see 2014 first round pick, Anthony Barr get his first NFL sack. I know Chad Greenway couldn’t finish the game but a player I thought showed well for himself was 2nd year player, Gerald Hodges (#50).

The play that broke the Vikings back may be a play talked about all week. Yes, I refer to Saints quarterback, Brees being sacked by Captain Munnerlyn which the refs felt that was roughing the quarterback. I don’t know if I can agree with that. I also feel Brees should have been flagged for retaliation. I have to go one step farther and recall the 2010 NFC Championship game when the Saints literally assaulted Brett Favre to the point of nasty bruises. I am only a fan and sometimes need to get things off my chest.

It was a back breaking call that killed any momentum the Vikes were building on. It is the game of football that I love and calls like that make it sometimes make you want to yell at the TV and hope the refs can hear you.

The play of Teddy Bridgewater I could not be more pleased with. I know his drives he led did not result in any touchdowns but the poise he showed was simply amazing.

I am very concerned with the left side of the offensive line with Charlie Johnson and Matt Kalil getting beat. The athleticism of Bridgewater will be a huge asset if the blocking does not shape up over there.

Saints defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan I felt threw the kitchen sink at Bridgewater with multiple blitzes yet Teddy just did not seem to be in panic mode.

I do think the next time Teddy does play he should tape his shoes up because I can remember 2 times specifically he lost his shoes.

We saw the future on Sunday with Teddy. I know we lost but I am leaving this game optimistic. I do wish the team would involve Cordarrelle Patterson more.

I never like to see the Vikings lose but if they do I try and find positives moving forward to the next game.

I am concerned with the injury to Vikings tight end, Kyle Rudolph because I feel he is potentially a major part of the offense.

I know after the game the Vikes announced Cassel has broken bones in his foot as well so the Teddy future started today and will continue.

The snaps Teddy will get in practice this week will be huge as he now gets the majority. A 21 year old kid will be guiding the offense. How remarkable is that?

I have a lot of Packer friends so it is nice to say that the Vikes are tied with the Packers (1-2)

I am so looking forward to the Atlanta game at home next Sunday. I look for a big win and the Vikes being 2-2 after the game,

Thanks for reading

Todd Walkingstick