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2016 Minnesota Vikings Preview: Boom or Bust?

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The theme of the 2016 Minnesota Vikings season may be boom or bust.  The year will be filled with players fighting to prove themselves, fighting to gain or hold starting spots, and for the team as a whole to either cement themselves as a contender, or fall back into pretender status.

Let’s start with a preview of the starting lineup for the 2016 Viks:

Offense
QB: Teddy Bridgewater    RB1: Adrian Peterson  RB2: Jerick McKinnon  FB: Zack Line

WR1: Stefon Diggs  WR2: Laquon Treadwell WR3: Jarius Wright WR4: Charles Johnson

TE1: Kyle Rudolph  TE2: MyCole Pruitt

LT: Andre Smith // Matt Khalil  LG: Brandon Fusco  C: John Sullivan // Joe Berger

RG: Alex Boone  RT: Phil Loadholt

Defense

FS: Harrison Smith  SS: Andrew Sendejo // Michael Griffin  SS2: Antone Exum

CB1: Xavier Rhodes  CB2: Terrance Newman  CB3: Captain Munnerlyn CB4: Trae Waynes

LOLB: Anthony Barr  ROLB: Chad Greenway  MLB: Eric Kendricks
RE: Everson Griffen  LE: Brian Robison // Danielle Hunter

DT1: Linval Joseph  DT2: Sharrif Floyd

Special Teams:

KR: Cordarrelle Patterson

PR: Marcus Sherels

K: Blair Walsh

P: Jeff Locke

Laquon Treadwell via thescore.com

The Vikings 1st round draft pick this year, WR Laquon Treadwell out of Ole Miss, will have plenty of opportunities to prove he belongs.  He’s coming in to give Teddy Bridgewater a deep threat, a big bodied receiver and someone who can win a jump ball consistently. The Vikings have lacked the big receiver for years now, and have no other receiver on the current roster who can win a jump ball regularly.  Stefon Diggs offers top end speed and excellent route running, and Jarius Wright is quick, elusive and has proven to be a valuable receiver of recent years.  Treadwell also gives the Vikings some physicality on the outside, as he is generally regarded as a strong run blocker to benefit the likes of Adrian Peterson and Jerick McKinnon.

Speaking of McKinnon, he is the next guy up behind our generation’s best running back, AP.  McKinnon is a physical beast, and wields excellent quickness, elusiveness, and vision.  He has already proven his worth as a backup, but I see him starting to gain more carries as AP ages and McKinnon continues to improve as a runner. If Jerick McKinnon has another impressive 2016 campaign, I think Zimmer has found himself another star runner for the future.

On the defensive side, two of the players to keep an eye on are Michael Griffin and Trae Waynes.  The

Michael Griffin via titansonline.com

Viks signed Michael Griffin to a contract this past free agency to try to help All-Pro safety Harrison Smith.  Smith has never played with another legitimately capable safety beside him, and if the Vikings can sure up the strong safety position their secondary would take the next step towards greatness. But Griffin is already a veteran at 31 years old, and has to prove he is capable of starting in the SS position and playing well next to Smith.

Trae Waynes is coming off of his rookie year, and is looking to prove his worth in Mike Zimmer’s defense.  In his last appearance, his picked off a Russell Wilson pass in the shoulda-coulda-woulda playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks.  Waynes has shown promise since being the Vikings 2015 first round pick, and has a very good shot at climbing the depth chart into a top 2 role with Xavier Rhodes if he can sure up his coverage skills and limit his penalties.

Another name to keep in mind is Danielle Hunter.  Currently he sits behind Brian Robison in the depth chart, but I chose not to list him as a DE2.  He showed incredible explosiveness last season, and has great strength and skill already at only 21 years old. Robison has been effective for the Viks in the past, but a changing of the guard may be coming a lot sooner than expected if Hunter continues to impress this year.

Cordarrelle Patterson via hngn.com

The last player to watch closely in 2016 is Cordarrelle Patterson.  Patterson has been an embattled player of sorts after being a first round pick along with top corner Xavier Rhodes and starting DT Sharriff Floyd.  Patterson is essentially just a kick returner, one of the NFL’s best at that. But with the kick return dying out slowly, and Patterson’s contract and first rounder status, he’s expected to be a solid receiver as well. He has been working diligently this offseason to sharpen his route running, sure up his hands and earn the WR status that was expected of him.  As a note, Patterson’s team option was declined this past offseason as his draft-mates Rhodes and Floyd had theirs picked up.  Adding fuel to his fire by declining his option publicly before the season may be what he needs to improve as a whole player.

The Vikings 2016 schedule does not look terribly difficult; however it is no cake walk either.  They play road games against Tennessee, Carolina, Philadelphia, Washington, and Jacksonville as well as division foes Detroit, Chicago and Green Bay. Their home games include the Giants, Texans, Cardinals, Cowboys, and Colts.

Overall, I see a lot of potential in this Vikings team. Coming off of an 11-5 record and NFC North division title in 2015, the Viks know what it takes to win the division. They won’t walk into another crown, and this team still has a lot to prove. A young quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater still has tons of room to improve, but also the chance to stall.  The receiving core needs to grow as well and mature, while the secondary has to prove itself once again. The Vikings also need to find Chad Greenway’s replacement sooner than later, with the other two starting linebacker jobs locked down by UCLA alumnus Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks. With optimism, I see the Vikings going 10-6 this year and, in all likelihood, securing a playoff spot once again.

Can the Vikings close out a playoff game in 2016 finally? Time will tell.

I am a 21 year old sports enthusiast who is currently studying Actuarial Mathematics and Finance at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI. I live in Milford, CT and have lived in NY or CT my whole life. I'm looking forward to bringing readers both new information and history that is either forgotton or overlooked! Feel free to follow me on twitter: @redheaddrohan

Minnesota Vikings

NFC: What’s At Stake on Championship Sunday?

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NFL Championship

In the National Football League, today is known as championship Sunday. Back in August 32 teams had hopes and dreams of playing in Super Bowl LII in Minnesota on February 4. In the NFC, 16 teams started. Four are all that remain. Minnesota and Philadelphia. Before the game starts, here’s how they got here.

Minnesota Vikings

In the first four weeks of the regular season, they went 2-2. Then, they went on a nine-game winning streak. To close out the regular season, the Vikings won their final three games. Overall, the Vikings finished the 2017 regular season with a 13-3. The won the NFC North division and got a bye in the playoffs.

During Wildcard weekend, the Vikings watched as the New Orleans Saints defeated the Carolina Panthers. Then in last weeks thrilling NFC Divisional game, the Saints traveled to Minnesota to face the Vikings. With 10 seconds left in the game, quarterback Case Keenum threw what is known as the Minnesota Maricle. Now, with one game away from not only hosting a Super Bowl but also playing in it, they must go through Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles. As for most recent seasons, this is the first time the Vikings are in the NFC Championship game since the 2009 season.

Philadelphia Eagles

In a tough NFC East division, it looked like Dallas was going to run away with the division title. But, it was the Eagles who stole that from them. Not only that but for being a 13-3 team, they earned a first-round bye and home-field advantage. Last week, the Philadelphia Eagles took on the Atlanta Falcons. Thanks to the Eagles defense, the Eagles have advanced to the 2017 NFC Championship game. This is the Eagles first championship game since the 2004 season.

My Thoughts

My thoughts on the game are that I would like to see Minnesota be in the same Super Bowl considering they are hosting. Eagles deserve it too, but not as much as the Vikings.

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2018 Opponents Set For Each NFL Team

Anthony DiMoro

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Now that the 2017 regular season in the books, it’s time to look forward to the 2018 season right?

Just like eating at some of the top restaurants in the nation, it’s good to know what’s on your plate next, regardless of how far away you are from your next dish.

Here is the rundown of the opponents for each NFL team in 2018:

AFC EAST

 

New England Patriots
Home: Buffalo BillsMiami Dolphins, New York JetsGreen Bay PackersHouston TexansIndianapolis ColtsKansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings
Away: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Chicago BearsDetroit LionsJacksonville JaguarsPittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans

Buffalo Bills
Home: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee Titans
Away: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings

Miami Dolphins
Home: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans
Away: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets
Home: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings
Away: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans

AFC NORTH

 

Pittsburgh Steelers
Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Atlanta FalconsCarolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, New England Patriots
Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Baltimore Ravens
Home: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Away: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee Titans

Cincinnati Bengals
Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers

Cleveland Browns
Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Jets
Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

AFC SOUTH

 

Jacksonville Jaguars
Home: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins
Away: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants

Tennessee Titans
Home: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins
Away: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants

Indianapolis Colts
Home: Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants
Away: Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins

Houston Texans
Home: Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants
Away: Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins

AFC WEST

 

Kansas City Chiefs
Home: Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Francisco 49ers
Away: Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks

Los Angeles Chargers
Home: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans
Away: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks

Oakland Raiders
Home: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks
Away: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers

Denver Broncos
Home: Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks
Away: Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers

NFC EAST

 

Philadelphia Eagles
Home: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings
Away: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans

Dallas Cowboys
Home: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans
Away: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks

Washington Redskins
Home: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts
Away: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans

New York Giants
Home: Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans
Away: Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers

NFC NORTH

 

Minnesota Vikings
Home: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers
Away: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks

Detroit Lions
Home: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks
Away: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers

Green Bay Packers
Home: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers
Away: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins

Chicago Bears
Home: Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Away: Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers

NFC SOUTH

 

New Orleans Saints
Home: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins
Away: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants

Carolina Panthers
Home: Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks
Away: Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins

Atlanta Falcons
Home: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants
Away: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Home: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins
Away: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants

NFC WEST

 

Los Angeles Rams
Home: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles
Away: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders

Seattle Seahawks
Home: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings
Away: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders

Arizona Cardinals
Home: Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, Washington Redskins
Away: Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings

San Francisco 49ers
Home: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders
Away: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Minnesota Vikings

Replacing Dalvin Cook: Florida State Football Doesn’t Rebuild They Reload

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In 2017 Florida State football will have to replace the most productive running back in school history. Dalvin Cook was drafted by The Minnesota Vikings with the 41st overall pick to help replace Adrian Peterson. Now, Florida State will have to try and replace him.

Conventional wisdom says they will take a step back, but Florida State football does a lot more reloading than rebuilding these days. As great as Dalvin Cook was during his record breaking career, Florida State’s backfield will probably be their biggest strength this season.

The Seminoles will have two five star running back recruits coming into the program this year, Cam Akers and Khalan Laborn.

Akers was the number 1 ranked running back in the country and the number 2 player overall. The Mississippi native and former high school quarterback accounted for 8,140 passing yards and 5,103 rushing yards in his four years as a starter.  He also tallied 149 total touchdowns.

Laborn was the number 1 ranked all-purpose back in the country. As a starter he compiled over 4,000 yards rushing and 45 touchdowns in his career with an average of 10.5 yards per carry. He was also MVP of the 2017 Under Armour All-American Game.

The Virginia Beach product is definitely ready for the spotlight. He elected to wear number 4, Dalvin Cook’s old number, and he announced his commitment to FSU by hopping out of a Lamborghini and waving a giant FSU flag at the Nike sponsored “The Opening” combine.

Junior, Jaques Patrick and sophomore, Amir Rasul will compete with the two freshman for a majority of the carries this season. Both Patrick and Rasul have game experience. Patrick served as the primary backup for Cook last season.

The running back by committee movement will be pretty fun to watch in 2017.


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