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Published: Sat, 22 Jul 2017 03:39:25 GMT2017-07-22T03:39:25Z


The 17 most important Vikings in 2017: No. 1, QB Sam Bradford

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 03:39:25 GMT2017-07-22T03:39:25Z

To count down the days until Vikings rookies, quarterbacks and select veterans report to Mankato on July 23, we will reveal our ranking of the 17 most important Vikings players heading into the 2017 season. Look for the next player on our list every weekday morning at Access Vikings. This list, created by Matt Vensel and Andrew Krammer, is not a ranking of the best players on the team, though sheer talent is obviously an essential factor. It is a ranking of the players whose upcoming season will have the biggest impact on the franchise, whether it’s in 2017 or beyond. Coming in at No. 1 on our list is quarterback Sam Bradford. ————— Considering Sam Bradford plays the most important position in the sport and is also in a contract year, we aren’t going to overthink this one. Simply put: how Bradford plays in 2017 will not only factor significantly into whether the Vikings return to the playoffs, his performance is also likely to impact how they proceed at quarterback beyond this season. Bradford was probably better than the Vikings expected from him last season given the unusual circumstances that led him to Minnesota. They traded their first-round pick to acquire him in early September after Teddy Bridgewater was lost for the season with a knee injury. Two weeks later, Bradford made his first start, lighting up the Packers at home. Despite being under near-constant pressure all season long and having no running game to support him, he put up career-best numbers. Bradford was far from perfect. His gaffes in Philadelphia, Washington and Detroit loomed large as the Vikings missed the playoffs and his reluctance to throw beyond the sticks on third down drove some fans batty. But his record-setting completion percentage, solid 7.0 yards-per-attempt average and 4-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio suggested that if he can finally find stability in his star-crossed NFL career, maybe, just maybe, the 29-year-old can be one of the top dozen passers in the league. In January, coach Mike Zimmer was quick to name Bradford his starting quarterback for 2017 with Bridgewater’s status in doubt. But the Vikings, who have been seeking long-term stability at that position for decades and a competent offense in the four years since Zimmer was hired, were seemingly in no rush to lock down Bradford with a new contract. During spring workouts, Bradford said the Vikings had not contacted his agent. Of course, that could change once the Vikings arrive in Mankato, as they often hammer out at least one lucrative deal during those dog days.  If not, Bradford said he is cool with entering the season without a new deal. After all, he has been through it already, two years ago in Philly. GM Rick Spielman and the Vikings have put the pieces in place for Bradford, who turns 30 in November, to have a breakthrough season. The Vikings signed a pair of tackles in Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers. They drafted speedy rookie back Dalvin Cook and added free agent Latavius Murray, too. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are seemingly still ascending and fellow wideout Laquon Treadwell had an encouraging spring. Plus, play-caller Pat Shurmur gets a chance to make this offense his own. OK, so no one will confuse this cast with, say, the Greatest Show on Turf. But with better blockers, intriguing players at the skill positions and Bradford’s familiarity with Shurmur, the Vikings offense can climb into the middle of the pack if Bradford builds on what he did last season. And should that happen, with this defense, a NFC North title is possible, likely giving him even more leverage with free agency looming. However, the Vikings still have final say thanks to the franchise tag along with a young quarterback hell-bent on returning this year in Bridgewater. For now, the ball is in Bradford’s hands. Where will he go with it? ————— The Star Tribune’s ranking of the 17 most important Vikings in 2017: 1. Sam Bradford, QB 2. Riley Reiff, LT 3. Mike Remmers, RT 4. Danielle Hunter, DE 5. Anthony Barr, LB 6. Dalvin Cook, RB 7. Xavier Rhodes, CB 8. St[...]

Minnesota Vikings, Mankato part ways after one final training camp beginning next week

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 11:42:23 GMT2017-07-19T11:42:23Z

Training camp will move to Eagan facility in 2018.

Could Kirk Cousins wind up with Vikings in 2018?

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 13:43:04 GMT2017-07-18T13:43:04Z

OK, let’s start with the disclaimer: It seems unlikely that Kirk Cousins plays for the Vikings in 2018 because a lot of things would have to happen to make that a reality. That said, let’s back up a bit and talk about what we do know: *Cousins and Washington, the team that drafted him in the fourth round in 2012 (the same year they took Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick in the first round), have failed to come to an agreement on a contract extension. It seems quite possible at this point that Cousins will hit the open market in 2018, something that is very rare for a quarterback of his caliber in today’s NFL. *Cousins is coming off of two very good seasons. He threw for a combined 54 touchdowns and 23 INTs in 2015 and 2016, throwing for more than 4,000 yards in each (nearly 5,000 last season) while starting all 16 games both times. His Total QBR ranked sixth in the NFL both seasons, meaning he is inching toward elite status. *The Vikings have a complicated quarterback situation of their own. Teddy Bridgewater continues to make progress in his injury recovery, but there is no clear timetable still for his return — and no guarantee how effective he will be if and when he does come back. Sam Bradford, acquired in a trade after Bridgewater was injured, is entering the final year of his contract with the Vikings. All of those factors make it at least plausible the Vikings could be in the market for Cousins. It seems far more likely that either Bradford or Bridgewater will be under center in 2018, particularly since one would imagine the Vikings would have their QB situation figured out long before next offseason, but the possibility for Cousins is at least strong enough that ESPN’s Dan Graziano listed Minnesota among his 10 teams that could be suitors for Cousins. He wrote: Odds are, (Bridgewater or Bradford) will be Minnesota’s quarterback in 2018. But health and market factors could mess with the plans and leave the Vikings shopping for QB help. They would come to the table with more than $55 million in cap space. There would seem to be other teams on that list more desperate for QB help than the Vikings. But … What if the Vikings have a bounceback year in 2017 during which their defense is dominant but their offense (particularly QB play) is only average? Say they make the playoffs but stall quickly because they can’t put up postseason points and enter 2018 thinking they are a QB upgrade away from serious contention? Hey, stranger things have happened. That exact thing happened, actually, from 2008 to 2009, culminating in an upgrade to Brett Favre. With the Vikings, never say never. Always say “you never know.”

O.J. Simpson will get his freedom, but then what?

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 22:35:51 GMT2017-07-21T22:35:51Z

As leadership changes at U.S. Bank authority, new tension with Vikings over luxury suites

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 00:35:26 GMT2017-07-22T00:35:26Z

Stadium authority board, new chairman clash with team over move to sell suites for big events.

Vikings sign Chunky Clements

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 20:04:55 GMT2017-07-21T20:04:55Z

Two days before players first start arriving in Mankato for their 52nd and final training camp there, the Vikings have made a roster move. Today, the Vikings announced that they have signed rookie defensive tackle Chunky Clements, whose first name is spectacular. Clements, who is 6-foot-2 and 295 pounds, played collegiately at Illinois. In 46 games, he recorded 99 tackles, 25.5 of them for a loss, with six sacks. To make room for Clements, the Vikings waived rookie defensive end Caleb Kidder, who was with the team throughout spring workouts.

Cowboys rookie Joey Ivie motivated by late sister's memory

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 19:30:34 GMT2017-07-21T19:30:34Z

Cincinnati Bengals' 'Pacman' Jones suspended 1 game

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 18:00:23 GMT2017-07-21T18:00:23Z

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