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Cousins sharp in Vikings debut.

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Jamie Harmer
Published 8/12/18

Kirk Cousins looked comfortable leading the first team offense on its only series of the night. Going 4 of 4 for 42 yards and finding Diggs for a 1 yard touchdown to cap it off. Stefon Diggs had a impressive 28 yard catch down the right sideline that lead to the score. Latavius Murray added 43 yards of his own to the drive. The running back found open lanes, and was able to capitalize. All in all, I'd say the offensive line did a great job considering the unit was missing 3 starters. Kept Cousins clean and opened up two massive holes for the Tay Train to motor through.

The first team defense was as advertised in its only drive. Getting pressure on Keenum, forcing the Broncos into a quick 3 and out. The defensive line was without starter Linval Joseph, non injury related scratch. Both the Vikings 2nd team units played well. Back up Trevor Siemian lead the Vikings to a pair of scores that included a 78 yard screen pass to rookie UDFA Roc Thomas. Thomas had himself a night. Finishing with 102 yards recivicing and 2 touchdowns. Tightening up that competition for the RB3 spot.

The 2nd team defense held in its only drive of the night. Holding Keenum and crew to a second 3 and out.(Keenum was 1 of 4 for 5 yards on two drives) Jaleel Johnson and Tashawn Bower showed flash. Johnson was able to get pressure up the middle. Bower had a sack and pass deflection. Kyle Sloter played most of the 2nd half. Leading the Vikes on scoring drives, eventually capturing the win in a 42-28 high scoring affair. Players that stood out: rookie kicker Daniel Carlson. He made all his attempts including a 57 yard field goal. LB Eric Wilson, both Anthony Harris and Jack Tocho got in the mix with an interception a piece.

Overall it was a successful preseason opener. From all accounts no serious injuries, and let's face it, that's all that really counts in preseason. Next up the Jacksonville Jaguars at US Bank. SKOL VIKES!

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Preview: Vikings vs Broncos

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Image result for vikings broncos

By: Tanishka Mhaskar
August 10th, 2018

Old friends, new enemies

Vikings visit the Mile High Stadium for a date with the Broncos

The Minnesota Vikings are set to kick off the preseason today, August 11th, 2018 vs the Denver Broncos. Although this is just the preseason, the game is highly hyped. QBs Kirk Cousins and Case Keenum make their debut as a Viking and Bronco respectively. Almost all of the quarterbacks on both teams have a connection to the other team. 

Kirk Cousins was the unicorn of free agency, and the Denver Broncos were one of the teams coveting him. Case Keenum was the former QB for the Vikings, the one that took the team to the NFC championship. The Vikings backup QB Trevor Siemian was the starting QB of the Denver Broncos last season. Third string QB Kyle Sloter was on the Broncos for preseason last year. The Vikings picked Sloter up after he was cut by the Broncos.

Siemian and Sloter would want to show the Broncos how much they've grown and why Denver shouldn't have let him go. Same goes for Case Keenum, who will likely only play 1-2 series. He will still try to outplay Vikings QB Kirk Cousins.

Here are 5 things to keep an eye on as the Vikings play their first game of the 2018 preseason.

1) The offensive line

Did the Vikings draft plan backfire? Should they have drafted an offensive lineman in the first round? These kind of questions have been surfacing since the news of OG Nick Easton being out for the season with a herniated disk. The Vikings have 1 starter from the 2017 season practicing at training camp in LT Riley Reiff. 

In a recent press conference HC Mike Zimmer said "calm is the new." Luckily for us it's August 11th, not September 11th. There is a lot of time for the hard working offensive linemen such as Tom Compton, Cornelius Edison, Josh Andrews, Brian O'Neill, Danny Isidora, Rashod Hill and others to step up

Second year C Pat Elflein should be off the PUP list soon, according to Mike Zimmer. After the preseason game tomorrow, the offensive line can be evaluated again and if needed the Vikings can take a look at free agents. 

2) Mike Hughes 

The controversial Vikings 1st round draft pick will likely battle with CB Marcus Sherels and WR Jeff Badett for the kick and punt return. Mike Hughes will likely play CB, either in the slot or on the outside, so keep an eye out for him and his development under Mike Zimmer.

3) Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins makes his debut as a Minnesota Viking tomorrow. Mike Zimmer says his starting quarterback will play as long as the first team offensive line pays. After all, it would be tragic to see anyone get hurt in the preseason. It will be crucial to see how timing and chemistry is coming with all of his receivers, and if Treadwell will live up to his OTA and training camp hype.

4) Dalvin Cook

Dalvin Cook will be taking reps tomorrow, probably for a couple series. Sources have said that he looks really good in training camp, so it will be interesting to see how he has come back after his injury. The chef is back in the kitchen. Expect Cook to cook up the Broncos defense. 

5) Kai Forbath vs Daniel Carlson

Denver, Colorado has a high altitude. There will likely be wind. The Vikings kicking battle has been neck and neck through training camp. The game tomorrow, and the other three preseason games will hopefully tell the Minnesota Vikings which kicker is better. So far, each kicker has matched the best and worst in the other. 

VKNT is excited for Vikings football to return! The quest to Super Bowl LIII begins today. 

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Randy Moss and his everlasting impact

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Jamie Harmer
Published 8/4/18
Photo: Vikings 

I was 16 years old when the Vikings drafted Randy Moss in 1998. A die hard Vikes fan who lived his whole life in Chicago Bear country. I took a lot of heat from people around me, even family members for my choice to support the purple and horns. I was a sophomore in high school, working at a local sub sandwich shop located right off Notre Dame campus. Shortly after the '98 draft I purchased a replica Randy Moss Starter home jersey. Nothing flashy, just one of the screen printed jobs with the rubber paint applique. It wasn't my first Vikings jersey, but was by far my favorite. Now back in those days media coverage wasn't nearly as easy to access as it is today. Since I wasn't in or near Minnesota the only games I got to see were the ones against the Bears, and if I was lucky, the Vikes would get a Thanksgiving game or lone Monday night game. Since I was a fan from outside of the land of a thousand lakes, I bought a yearly subscription to the Vikings Update.

 A team tell all that was mailed to me weekly. (I had been a subscriber since the age of 10. Pretty much a Christmas gift from my Dad until I was old enough to pay for it myself.)  Now I could stuff this article full of stats that the Super Freak put up over his first 7 seasons with our Vikes, or go on about games like the '98 Thanksgiving day massacre where Moss put up Madden type numbers, but I would rather share the impact the kid from Rand, West Virginia had on a kid from South Bend, Indiana.

Vikings football had been a part of my life since I was just 6 years old.(long story on how I became a Vikes fan at such a young age, but that's for another time.) As I got older, I became more passionate about the team. As each season passed, my passion grew stronger. Then in '98, coming off a winning season(9-7) in which they made the playoffs under the guidance of Coach Dennis Green. The Vikings(Coach Green) took a chance on a kid with a troubled past outside of the game of football. At the time, it was a boom or bust pick. So with the 21st pick of the '98 draft the Minnesota Vikings selected WR Randy Moss! The team already had two great wide outs in Cris Carter, and Jake Reed, but Moss brought a dynamic to the table that wasn't seen in this game before. It was at this point that I became completely immersed in Vikings football. I read about it, wrote about it, talked about it until my face turned purple with anyone who was down to talk football! One really awesome thing that Moss helped bring was respect from the people around me. It was no longer "oh the Vikings suck" it was "Those Vikings got something going up there in Minnesota."

Maybe it was more fear than respect, but whatever it was I sure wasn't complaining. For those next seven seasons I wore the hell out of that number 84 jersey. Every gameday, no matter win, lose or draw. It was me in my Moss jersey.

 As I look back, it's hard to believe it's been twenty years. Yes, Moss spent his career playing for five different teams over a fourteen year career, but no matter where he finished we all knew where he started. Now five years after calling it an amazing career, he got that ultimate call. Today Randy Moss will enter the Pro Football Hall Of Fame as a first ballot Wide Receiver, and as a Minnesota Viking!

So I want to say thank you Randy Moss for changing the game in '98, giving us fans so many spectacular Sunday's, and for turning this Vikes fan's passion up a few thousand degrees!
This is your day 84. This has been a fun ride.


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Storylines For Training Camp

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By: Tanishka Mhaskar
July 23rd, 2018

5 things to keep an eye out when training camp kicks off.

The Minnesota Vikings start their first training camp at TCO performance center on Tuesday, July 24th. Keep reading to keep an eye on some important things to know about your favorite football team. 

1) The offensive line

The 2018 Minnesota Vikings don't have many weaknesses, but this is one that could be very vital for the rest of the team. If the offensive line doesn't hold up through the regular season and a deep playoff run, the Vikings could be in trouble. With the recent passing of offensive line coach Tony Sparano, things are more uncertain than they already were. 

Fortunately, we have 4 of 5 starters returning (Riley Reiff, Nick Easton, Pat Elflein, and Mike Remmers), but who will replace right guard Joe Berger? With the flexibility of Mike Remmers-either at right tackle or right guard-the Vikings can do many things. 

If they choose to keep Mike Remmers inside at RG, they can give Rashod Hill, who played exceptionally well in 2017, the start at RT. Brian O'Neill, the 2018 second round pick is also a viable option. If they choose to slide Mike Remmers to the outside, they can slide in Danny Isidora or Tom Compton at guard. 

The line was an improvement from 2016, but fell apart towards the end of the season. The Vikings must maintain it this year as they face some stellar defensive lines early in the season. 

2) The development of QB Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback. He does most things right. He just has a couple pressing flaws that make people see only the worst in him. When the Vikings signed him this offseason, they believed in him. They believed that he would be the final piece to bring home a Super Bowl. Now, it is Super Bowl or bust for the Minnesota Vikings. 

Can Kirk Cousins handle the pressure? His turnovers and red zone play were on the high side in 2017, but hopefully with OC John DeFilippo and QB coach Kevin Stefanski, Cousins manages to lower those numbers this season.

It should help that he now has the best WR duo in the NFL, and a stellar TE to throw to. It is important for the signal-caller to develop chemistry with the receivers, as well as reducing some of his mistakes.

3) Who will be WR3?

Will Laquon Treadwell have his breakout season? Vikings fans have been wondering this since Treadwell was drafted in the first round in 2016. These days the questions are more along the line, "Will Laquon Treadwell make the roster?" 

Many people have already given Treadwell the "bust" label, but with a new quarterback under center, things could be different. Treadwell has had a great offseason showing, but if that's going to carry over? We will have to wait and see. 

If Treadwell doesn't become WR3, the Vikings have the option of Kendall Wright, Stacey Coley, Tavarres King, Brandon Zylstra, Jacob Wienecke and Cayleb Jones. This is a wide variety to choose from, which include the 2017 Chicago Bears leading receiver [Wright], and a 1,000+ yard receiver from the CFL [Zylstra]. 

4) RB Dalvin Cook's health

Dalvin Cook led the league in rushing before he tore his ACL in Week 4. Many people have forgotten him, but he was Alvin Kamara before Alvin Kamara was Alvin Kamara. Cook will be a good reliever for Cousins to just turn around and hand the ball off to. 

Cook proved early on that he could be one of the league's most versatile backs. His flexibility and durability were some of his best qualities, so it will be critical to see if he still has that after the ACL tear. 

Cook was ahead of schedule and looked good when OTAs started, so if things keep up, expect him to stun you on the field.

5) The Kicker Battle

Kai Forbath signed a one year extension with the Vikings before the 2018 NFL draft. In the 2018 NFL draft, the Minnesota Vikings traded up in the 5th round to draft a kicker. Lots of people were left confused by that move. 

Usually, franchises don't draft kickers that high, and rarely do they trade up to do so. This is going to be a very dramatic situation. The rookie has outkicked the veteran so far, but don't count cobra Kai quite yet. Game situations are very different from practice. 

It would be surprising if such a high drafted kicker didn't make the roster. Carlson has a very strong leg that lets him kick 70 yards. Forbath has performed exceptionally well, but not good enough to be locked in. He needs the competition to keep him motivated. 

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Hunter gets extension, Vikes lock up another '15 draft pick.

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Article by Jamie Harmer 
Published 6/29/18
Photos via: 

   The Vikings showed Wednesday they weren't playing around, agreeing to terms in an extension with defensive end Danielle Hunter. The 4th year DE is just 23 years of age, and already in the last year of his rookie deal. The extension was reported as a 5 year/$72M deal, with $15M being a signing bonus. $40M total in guaranteed money.

Hunter entered the league via the '15 draft. The Vikings spent a 3rd round pick on the raw talented edge rusher out of LSU. At the time, Hunter was considered a "project player" with very high potential. A fair share of analysts deemed him a "reach" by the Vikings. Fast forward three years, and POOF! In 46 games(only 17 as a starter), Hunter has racked up 147 tackles, 25.5 sacks, and the most impressive stat(to me anyway) a whopping 160 QB pressures!

I'd say the young man has earned every cent of his new extension. I'm also inclined to heap praise the coaching staff's way. Their ability to develop raw talent, and get the most out of these guys is as important as the player's themselves.

Hunter becomes the second player of the Vikings 2015 draft class to earn an extension. Earlier this off season, Linebacker Eric Kendricks agreed to a 5 year/$50M deal. The Vikings have stuck to their word of retaining core players to keep this team a contender. So far, they have done just that. SKOL!
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Four names to watch come training camp

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Article by Jamie Harmer
Published 6/23/18
Photographs via 

    Now that OTA's and mini camp have concluded, let's take a look at four players to watch when training camp gets under way.
The first of the four on my list is second year guard Danny Isidora. The Vikings selected Isidora in the 5th round of the '17 draft. Isidora is a natural mauler interior lineman which is where the Vikings currently have an opening up front with Joe Berger now retired. Isidora is a load at 306 lbs, but can move well for a big guy. With the team forced to shuffle the deck up front in OTAs due to the absence of starting center Pat Elflein, the Vikes used starting sets that had right tackle Mike Remmers move inside to guard. I'm a fan of keeping Remmers at RT, and seeing a guy like Isidora take the starting guard position. Entering '18, the Vikes question mark continues to be the offensive line. Hopefully the questions will find answers within the current roster by week one.

Name number two on my list is UDRFA Mike Boone. The Vikings have two locks at running back in Dalvin Cook, and Latavius Murray, but with the departure of Jet McKinnon the team has an opening for that RB3 spot. Boone had a strong mini camp with the Vikes. His name came up when asked about players who stood out. Boone isn't a huge RB, but has a very physical running style. He can run up the gut or find himself in space out of the backfield. New OC John DeFilippo sent praise his way after a productive three day mini camp. So watch for the name Mike Boone to surface during camp. I think he will win a spot on the 53 with a solid preseason showing.

Number three on my list to watch is second year defensive end Tashawn Bower. The Vikings signed Bower as a UDRFA in '17 after an impressive rookie tryout. Bower came in as a raw pass rusher, seen very limited playing time in '17 as most UDRFA's would on a team that has the likes of Griffen and Hunter. With a year in the system under his belt, Bower could provide much needed rotation at the rush edge position. To do so, he will need to take that next step in camp, and show the coaches he is ready to share the workload.
I had asked Bower about the off season programs over Twitter shortly after wrapping up mini camp, his response above.
I feel that Tashawn Bower is a name you will hear during camp and preseason.

I'm wrapping my list up with the Vikings first round pick from this year's draft, corner back Mike Hughes. The 30th overall pick of '18, Hughes finds himself in quite possibly the best situation out of any of the '18 rookies. Drafted to a team coached by the corner back guru himself Mike Zimmer, a supporting cast around him in the secondary with the likes of Newman, Rhodes, and Smith. Hughes has the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the league. Early returns on Hughes so far have been positive. Coach Zimmer praised him for his retention of the workload he had been given during the off season programs. Hughes worked mostly in the slot, a position the team is in need of filling. My guess is Hughes will see the field in '18 in one form or another. I'm excited to see how his preseason goes. We all know Zimmer doesn't like to play rookies early, but if the kid has it, I say let him at it!

These are my four names to watch as we set sail towards training camp. Feel free to leave comments below on who you feel will be names that surface during camp and preseason. SKOL!
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Dalvin Cook: The Kitchen is Heating Up

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By: Tanishka Mhaskar
June 9th, 2018
Photo: Pioneer Press

Dalvin Cook Participates In Team Drills

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook returned to team drills on Tuesday, June 5th. Cook was back on the field with the team for the first time since his ACL tear vs the Detroit Lions. During the first two weeks of OTAs, Cook participated only in individual drills. Being able to participate in team drills was another milestone in his journey to recover.

After the drastic end to a very promising campaign, Cook has high hopes for his sophomore season. In an interview done after OTAs, Cook said, "I'm still that same guy. I just need to pick up where I left off at. I'm just going back out there and playing football. The motivation is still there, and my talent is still here. I'm just a little bit older, that's all."

Cook will be a big part of this offense and will, hopefully, help QB Kirk Cousins settle in a little on game day. Before he went down, he was the leading rusher in the league, and he was on full track to win ROTY.

Dalvin Cook is fully ready for training camp and he believes that getting more reps in will help him settle into new OC John DeFilippo's offense. "I was excited to get back into action get out there and just get some live reps." 

The Vikings have been taking it easy during Cook's rehab and assuming that there are no setbacks, Cook could very well be ready to retake his role as the workhorse of the Minnesota Vikings offense.

Be careful because the the chef is back and the kitchen is heating up.

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