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Potential Back-Up QB Options for the Vikings

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By: AJ Condon
March, 20 2019
Photo: Vikings.com
As the season is getting closer and closer, and free agency is getting thinner, the Minnesota Vikings might have yet another position they need to fill.

The back-up quarterback position is up for grabs after Trevor Siemian, former back-up for Kirk Cousins, signed with the New York Jets, who seem to love ex-Viking players this offseason. As of now, the Vikings only have one other quarterback on their roster besides Cousins, and that is Kyle Sloter.

Sloter has never played a regular season game in the purple and gold, but has seen plenty of time in the preseason. Sloter has had two seasons with the Vikings and has played in all eight of his preseason games. He has thrown for seven touchdowns, 779 yards and zero interceptions while completing about 73% of his throws.

Now that Siemian has taken it out of the Vikings' hands about his fate, the Vikings now have to either look at free agency or the draft if they don't think Sloter is ready to be the number two option.

After the first few waves of free agency went by, most of the quarterbacks on the market already signed to their new, or former, team. A few key signings were: Nick Foles to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Teddy Bridgewater back to the New Orleans Saints, and Ryan Fitzpatrick to the Miami Dolphins.

That doesn't leave many options for the Vikings to sign, especially with their current salary cap and offensive line needs. It wasn't until earlier today that the Vikings finally made their first move into fixing the offensive line problems by signing Josh Kline, story to come later.

That means, the Vikings will most likely look for a quarterback in the upcoming draft. With the offensive line still the top issue at hand, here are some possible late-round quarterbacks the Vikings could draft.

Kyle Shurmur, yes he is the son of ex-Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, was the quarterback at Vanderbilt and has been the starter there for the last three seasons. He was able to increase his accuracy in each season and finished his senior season completing 63% of his throws for 3,130 yards and 24 touchdowns with only six interceptions.

Shurmur is a 6' 3" quarterback who is able to work through his progressions in a timely fashion. However, just like Cousins, Shurmur hasn't been too lucky with his offensive line and tends to panic when it starts to collapse. When given the time, Shurmur can make tight and accurate throws especially in the intermediate part of the field.

Tyree Jackson, was the quarterback at Buffalo and is a bigger bodied guy at 6' 7". Jackson threw for 49 touchdowns and just under 7,000 yards in his 32 games for Buffalo. The pros of Jackson is that he is a two-way player and has the build of a NFL quarterback. However, he isn't the most reliable or consistent quarterback. He sometimes struggles with his accuracy, which is shown in his 56% completion rate in college, and isn't the best against zone defenses.

How Jackson would fit in with the Vikings is with his awareness and poise. The Vikings have shown in recent seasons that you can't get too comfortable in the pocket, and you need to make decisions quicker. Jackson is able to move in the pocket, but also won't entirely panic if he feels the rush coming.

The last quarterback who I think the Vikings could look at in the draft is Easton Stick who played at North Dakota State University. Stick played all four years and threw for about 8,700 yards 88 touchdowns with 28 interceptions. Stick is able to be used as a dual-threat quarterback and can make something happen after the play is broken up.

He is more like Shurmur in size coming in at 6' 2" and is a very quick while moving. He finished first among the quarterbacks in the 3-cone drill and the 20-yard shuffle. He also isn't the most accurate or consistent quarterback in the draft, but offers a low-risk player in the late rounds or even after the draft. With some competition in the preseason, Stick can turn into a more reliable and confident thrower moving forward.

I would love to see Sloter move into the roll of second-string quarterback and be ready if something were to happen to Cousins during the season. He won't be able to string together a NFC championship run like Case Keenum did when he came in, but he could surprise some people if he gets the chance.

It also wouldn't hurt to draft one of these guys to give some competition for each other for that number two spot on the roster.


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What are the Vikings Options With Their Salary Cap Situation?

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By: Cody Eastman
March 19, 2019
Photo: Pioneer Press

Any Vikings fan is aware of their horrendous salary cap situation. According to Spotrac, the Minnesota Vikings are currently sitting at $6.4 million dollars in cap space, and that does not include Ameer Abdullah just being resigned. It is hard to do anything in free agency with such a low cap space.

With the NFL Draft coming up on April 25th, the Vikings will need at least $3 mill in cap space to accommodate their new incoming rookies. On top of that, the second wave of free agency is about to begin and the Vikings won’t be able to do much unless they make some roster moves soon.

Here are some things the Vikings can do to free up some cap space:

Releasing or Trading Trae Waynes, CB

Last offseason, the Vikings picked up Waynes’ fifth year option keeping him in 2019 for a price tag of $9 million. The Vikings can release him with no penalty, but it would make more sense to trade him and get something back in return.

With Waynes being the No. 2 cornerback behind Xavier Rhodes, I am doubtful that the Vikings would just release him, even though they are pretty deep at the cornerback position. Behind Waynes is, Mackensie Alexander, Holton Hill and a promising rookie that tore his ACL, Mike Hughes. If the Vikings can get a good return for Waynes, I wouldn’t be surprised if they traded him.

Restructuring or Releasing Kyle Rudolph, TE

This move might be hard for Vikings fans to swallow, but releasing Rudolph would free up $7.6 million in cap space. Rudolph’s production is not what it used to be, and Spielman might think that he isn’t worth what he’s getting paid.

The Vikings could also look into restructuring his contract, but that wouldn’t free up nearly as much as releasing him. This upcoming draft is littered with tight end talent, so it’s very possible that the Vikings could release Rudolph and look to replace him through the draft.

Restructuring Riley Reiff, LT

If Spielman were to restructure Reiff’s contract, that could free up roughly $5.7 million in cap space. According to PFF, Reiff was the 23rd ranked tackle in the league which is not living up to the contract he was given. Everyone knows that the Vikings need help along the offensive line, freeing up some cap by restructuring Reiff’s contract would give them more room to work.

Restructuring Linval Joseph, DT

This is probably the least likely out of all these scenarios, but it is still possible. If the Vikings were to restructure Joseph’s contract, it would free up roughly $6 million. That wiggle room could be huge going into the second wave of free agency.

Now, the reason I don’t see this happening is that Linval Joseph has been one of the best pieces on their defense. The Vikings could restructure his contract so that he gets less money in 2019 and more guaranteed money down the road, but only time will tell if that will happen.

So What’s Next?

Vikings fans probably don’t want to lose any of these players, and they might not have to. That being said, if the Vikings want to make any “big” moves in free agency before the draft, they will have to make some changes along to roster to free up some salary cap space.

It will be interesting to see what Rick Spielman does before the draft. The Vikings obviously have holes along the offensive line and other parts of their roster, but given the Vikings’ cap space situation, Spielman might have to wait until the draft to address those issues.
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Report: The Vikings are Interested Former Right Guard of the Titans, Josh Kline

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By: Cody Eastman
March 18, 2019

Photo: Dharist


It’s no secret that the Minnesota Vikings need help along the offensive line. It has recently been reported by Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune, that Josh Kline will be visiting Minneapolis this week.

Goessling tweeted this today:

“The Vikings could look to bring in Josh Kline for a visit this week; sources say they’re interested in the former Titans guard.”

Kline, 29, is an experienced guard, having spent 6 seasons in the NFL with the New England Patriots and the Tennessee Titans. He has made 59 starts over his career, and he also started all 16 games at right guard last season with the Titans.

Vikings fans know that Mike Zimmer loves having seasoned veterans in his locker rooms. Adding Kline would definitely be an upgrade to the Vikings offensive line given his experience and consistency.

Vikings Cap Space Situation

If this rumor is true, and the Vikings truly are interested in signing Josh Kline, I would assume the Vikings would have to make some other moves in order to clear some cap space. According to Spotrac, the Vikings currently have just $6.8 million in cap space.

The Vikings need at least $3 million in cap space to sign their upcoming draft picks, so it’s safe to assume that the Vikings will be making some roster moves in the near future. Not only to sign free agents, but to prepare for the draft as well.

All in all, if general manager Rick Spielman can work out a way to sign right guard, Josh Kline, it would be a great signing for the Minnesota Vikings. His veteran leadership would be a great addition to that offensive line group.
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Should the Vikings consider Donald Penn?

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Should the Vikings consider Donald Penn?


Isaiah J Downing-USA Today Sports

By: Preet Shah
March 17th, 2019

   
With the first phase of Free Agency coming to a close along with the new league year starting many former starters have found themselves victims of  “cap casualties” and are now newly unemployed. One player who fits that description is former Oakland Raiders offensive lineman Donald Penn. Penn was released from the Raiders after an abysmal season that started off with him shifting to right tackle for the Raiders to start their first-round pick Kolton Miller at left tackle. This shift proved to be absolutely horrible and resulted in Penn, a three-time Pro-Bowler, being given a 47.0 PFF grade and a groin injury which ended his season only 4 games in, along with the Raiders signing Trent Brown to an enormous 4-year, 66 million dollar contract. With the acquisition of Brown, Penn was left the odd man out in Oakland and he was subsequently released clearing up 5.45 million dollars in cap space. With the Vikings in dire need for an offensive lineman the question must be asked, should the Vikings pursue Donald Penn? I mean he is a former Viking, albeit he was cut before he could play a regular season in the purple and gold. Let’s take a look into whether the Vikings should consider Penn and how he could potentially fit into the Offensive line.

Though much was made of his poor showing during last season it is important to remember that Penn switched from his natural position on the left side to the right side. When Penn was playing on the left side of the line he was playing at a high standard including the 2017 season where he was the second best-graded run blocker and a pro-bowler, though he was unable to participate due to foot surgery. I personally feel that Penn has a something left to offer to needy Vikings offensive line.

The Vikings have recently come into a bit of money with the Everson Griffen restructuring his deal and taking less, so the potential of signing other free agents wouldn’t be as big of a problem as it previously was. A potential concern would be with health and seeing if after missing 12 games weather Penn is “game ready” or not.  The final concern would be how Penn at his advanced age of 35 would be able to fit into the Kubiak-Stefanski zone blocking scheme.

One question posed by the potential signing would be how the Vikings offensive line starting unit would look in the new season. One idea that has already been kicked around is moving Riley Reiff to guard, much akin to the move that Mike Remmers underwent this year. Though we are acknowledging that Rieff and Remmers are two completely separate players, it’s tough to see Vikings fans loving that idea too much. IF the Vikings sign Donald Penn it will be interesting to see who the odd man out is on the offensive line.

As always thank you for reading, and Skol Vikes.

   



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After Falcons Release Ryan Schraeder, Minnesota Could be his New Home

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By: Alex Condon
March 16,2019
Photo: Dharist
With the start of free agency behind us, and no additions for the Minnesota Vikings on the offensive line yet, fans are getting antsy about when the Vikings are going to make moves.

On Wednesday, March 13, the Atlanta Falcons released six-year T, Ryan Schraeder. Schraeder has been with the Falcons his whole career when he was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2013. Over his six years with the team, he played in 88 games while starting 73 of those.

Schraeder has gone all the way from not even playing football in high school, to playing in five playoff games, including a start in Super Bowl LI. Late last season, the Falcons signed Ty Sambrailo to a three-year deal. Sambrailo was the starter over Schraeder after that signing and saved the Falcons almost $6.5 million in cap space by releasing him.

With the recent defensive re-signings, the Vikings are low on cap space at the moment which will make it a little harder to be able to sign Schraeder if he should come here.

With the Vikings already releasing T Mike Remmers, and the struggles within the entire offensive line, Schraeder might be a player the Vikings take a closer look at. Per Jordan Raanan, the Vikings have shown some interest in bringing Schraeder into Minnesota
This signing wouldn't solve all the problems for line, but it is a start to resolve the problems. The rest of the line should be resolved after the NFL Draft in late April.
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Best Offensive Lineman Options for the Vikings in the 2019 NFL Draft

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By: Cody Eastman
March 14th, 2019
Photo: Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings hold the 18th pick in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft, and they are looking to improve their roster in a lot of areas. One of those areas could very well be the offensive line. This 2019 draft class is littered with talent when it comes to offensive lineman. If the Vikings are looking to upgrade their offensive line through the draft, they’re going to have plenty of options.

Here is a look at 5 of the top offensive lineman options that the Minnesota Vikings can choose from in the 2019 NFL Draft:

1. Jonah Williams, Alabama | Height: 6-5, Weight: 301 lbs | OT

Jonah Williams has great size and agility to keep up with some of the best NFL defensive lineman. His technique and footwork are among the best in the country. Williams often gets knocked for his arm length, but what he lacks in arm length, he makes up for in agility. He would be a great pick if the Vikings could get him at 18, and he could be an immediate starter for them at tackle.

2. Cody Ford, Oklahoma | Height: 6-4, Weight: 338 | OT, OG

Cody Ford’s burst off the snap is like nobody else’s in this draft. With his rare combination of size and athleticism, Ford has the ability to make an immediate impact for the Vikings. He played for Oklahoma, who won the Joe Moore Award (best offensive line in college football). Ford played both left guard and right tackle for the Sooners, so we know that he is versatile and can help in different ways. If he is not taken before the Vikings pick, Cody Ford will be hard to pass up on.

3. Jawaan Taylor, Florida | Height: 6-5, Weight: 328 | OT

Jawaan Taylor is an experienced offensive tackle who has the potential to be an immediate starter in the NFL. He mostly played right tackle at Florida, but also spent some time playing left tackle as well. Taylor was named All-SEC Second Team in his final year at Florida. His footwork is outstanding and his athleticism is off the charts. The Vikings could plug him in at tackle to start right away.

4. Dalton Risner, Kansas State | Height: 6-5, Weight: 308 | OT, C

Dalton Risner is one of the grittiest offensive lineman in this draft class. Having experience at both center and right tackle makes him that much more desirable. His physicality really comes out in his run-blocking. There are some questions about his footwork and pass-blocking ability, but with proper coaching, Risner has all the potential to be an elite lineman in the NFL. If he is available at 18, this would be a great pick for the Vikings, plus; he’s used to wearing purple, so it’d be an easy transition.

5. Andre Dillard, Washington State | Height: 6-5, Weight: 310 | OT

As one of the most athletic offensive lineman in this draft class, Andre Dillard has crept his way into mid first round talks. His pass-blocking ability is undeniable, having only allowed ONE sack in his collegiate career. As far as run-blocking, he still has some room to improve. With his athleticism and a good coach who will help clean up his mechanical issues, there’s no doubt that he can be great in the run game as well as the pass. Dillard has the ability to make an immediate impact at the tackle position, and it would be a great pick for the Vikings at 18.

Each of these prospects would be a great choice for the Minnesota Vikings if they are looking to choose an offensive lineman in the first round. There is no guarantee that they will be available at 18, but if you know anything about Rick Spielman, you know that he is very capable of moving up or down in the draft to get what he wants. Pay attention to these names because they could end up holding that purple and gold jersey in Nashville, TN.
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Getting to Know Dalton Risner

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By: Tanishka Mhaskar and Preet Shah
March 7th, 2018
Photo: kstatesports.com

The NFL Draft is coming up in about two months, and with no NFL football to watch, fans are clamoring to familiarize themselves with draft prospects they could hear called to the podium come April.


We decided to interview a player, who’s already a fan favorite, on the offensive line, after he had endeared himself to many Vikings fans with his comment on how it would be “an honor” to play for the Vikings. Vikings fans have been desperate for offensive linemen this offseason, so we decided to get to know Dalton Risner on both a personal level along with his thoughts on himself and the upcoming draft. 


A total of ten questions were asked. Hopefully this helps you get a better take on what kind of person Mr. Risner is and what to expect out of him if he does, indeed get selected by the Vikings. 


Below is a transcript of the interview.


Who do you look up to as the person to model your game?
“A lot of Tim Tebow. I’m really big into my faith, so I looked up to Tim a lot. Like the type of football player he was. I really strive to be like him. I know you’re probably wanting more of a football related, and that would definitely be Joe Staley...Nate Solder, kind of like that.” 



“I just want to use my platform of football to impact people in a positive way, especially if I can through sharing the word of God, you know.”


Who was the toughest opponent you faced in college?
“I’d probably say Montez Sweat out of Mississippi State. He just ran a 4.40 at the combine. I think that kind of shows...he’d be out on first and second down and come in on third. Just a really long and lengthy guy. A great pass rusher man, very dynamic with his size and length of his arms. He’s a good football player.” 


How do you think you would fit in a zone blocking scheme?
“I think I’d fit in really really good. We did a lot of zone at Kansas State. That’s something that we pride ourselves in. That’s a lot of big arm, big blocking. You gotta be good at working double teams with your teammates and I did a lot of that man. I think I kicked ass at it.”


What’s the best advice you’ve gotten through this entire process? 
“I would say, just from you know guys that went through the process telling me to be myself and letting me know that like you can get really caught up in trying to figure out where you’re gonna go in the draft and how things are gonna pan out and you know so many guys don’t enjoy this process so I’m really trying to enjoy the process for what is. You know, whatever happens at the end of April, I sure hope that’s gonna be a blessing and gonna be exactly what I want...It’s a once in a lifetime deal.” 


What are some of your hobbies when you’re not playing football? 
“I love basketball. I grew up playing basketball. It’s one of my favorite sports. I broke the rebound record in my small town with 22 rebounds per game average, which is pretty cool. I just love the game of football. I love hanging out with friends and family—I’m a huge relationships guy. I’m not big on hanging out by myself. Anytime I can hangout with my friends and family, I'm doing that."


What type of music do you listen to before games?
“Ooh. I like that. Mostly country, especially coming from the small town I’m from. People give me crap about that all the time. I’m a big country guy, man. I also listen to a little bit of rap and hip hop occasionally.”


How has versatility with being able to play all five positions along the offensive line helped you?
“You know, I just hope that coaches recognize the fact that I’m comfortable playing across the board. Not everyone in this draft class is comfortable doing that. When you draft Dalton Risner, you don’t just get a right guard, but you get a guy that can plug and play every position across the offensive line. I think that that’s a huge advantage to have and I really hope the coaches have noticed that.”


What players tape do you watch to improve your game?
“So, what I do a lot of is I watch a lot of myself. I think a lot of guys underestimate how much better you can get by watching yourself. Seeing what you do good. Seeing what you do bad. I watch guys that played at Kansas State who are playing in the NFL, like Cody Whitehair, second round draft pick. I compared his film to my film, Senior year. Little things like that kind of let me know where I’m at and let me know what I need to start doing better.”


“Working on weaknesses, but not forgetting about the strengths.”


How do you use your position on the offensive line to be a leader for the whole team?


“Offensive linemen are one of the most important players on the field. The team realizes that. 


You go out there and you set the tone and you push guys in the dirt and you give the quarterback time to make but plays and the running back holes to run through. So as an offensive lineman, you can really take charge of the team. You see a lot of linemen that do because guys respect offensive lineman for the work they put in and the work they put in without getting noticed. So an offensive line position is definitely a position that requires leadership. Someone always has to take control of an offensive line and bring them together, something that I obviously take pride in and hope to do wherever I end up. That type of leadership usually echoes throughout a whole team and whether it's a running back, offensive lineman or a defensive guy, every position requires leadership. I think it’s a cool type of leadership that comes from the offensive line.”


What’s your mentality as an offensive lineman?


“My mentality is putting guys in the dirt, playing with an edge. We’re a different kind of breed of people. You know, we go out there and we work our asses off. We expect no kind of reward for the work we do. It’s a switch. As soon as I touch the football field I flip the switch. I turn into someone else. My main goal is just to kick some ass. You know, to have that type of attitude, I take pride in that and that's the type of attitude I try to keep all week.”


That concluded our interview with Mr. Risner, We thank him for his time and allowing us to put this on our website. Let us know what you now think of him and your opinions of the interview in the comments below. Thank you, and as always, Skol Vikes.

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