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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Vikings tout improvement

    Posted on Sun, Apr. 30, 2006

    [size=18px]Vikings tout improvement[/size]

    BY SEAN JENSEN
    Knight Ridder Newspapers


    EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - After his Vikings executives selected their sixth and final player of the 2006 NFL draft, team owner Zygi Wilf emerged from the lower level of Winter Park and reveled in their success.

    "Between free agency and the draft," Wilf said, "name a team that's improved more than we have."

    As he nears his one-year anniversary as owner, Wilf is proud of his first offseason, during which he added a new coach, a vice president of player personnel and several players through free agency and through the weekend draft.

    "Our team has improved considerably, and we have tremendous talent for our coaching staff to work with," he said.

    While the Vikings lost starters such as Daunte Culpepper, Nate Burleson, Michael Bennett, Corey Chavous and Brian Williams, they reloaded the talent on their roster by signing 11 free agents, most notably guard Steve Hutchinson, running back Chester Taylor, kicker Ryan Longwell, fullback Tony Richardson, linebacker Ben Leber, safety Tank Williams and quarterback Mike McMahon.

    The Vikings further bolstered themselves in the draft by taking Iowa linebacker Chad Greenway, Texas cornerback Cedric Griffin, New Mexico center Ryan Cook, Alabama State quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, Purdue defensive end Ray Edwards Jr. and Georgia safety Greg Blue. In addition, the Vikings essentially swapped fourth-round picks with the Philadelphia Eagles and gave up a sixth-round pick for guard Artis Hicks, who has started 31 of the 38 games he has played in the NFL.

    But the Vikings might not be done, with $13 million in salary cap space, the seventh most in the NFL. Excluding the estimated $5 million that their rookie pool might take up and $1 million needed to pay the practice squad for the season, the Vikings still have another $7 million in salary cap flexibility that provides a chance still to improve the roster.

    "Every day that I come to work, I am looking to see how we can make this football team better," coach Brad Childress said. "You have to look at that every single day as you travel through this thing because the minute you blink or the minute you get satisfied is the minute that somebody is moving ahead.

    "You always have to pay attention to that and be mindful if there is somebody who is better than somebody else, then you put him in there and let him compete."

    After the draft and free-agent signings, here is where the Vikings stand:

    QUARTERBACKS (SET)

    Brad Johnson and Jackson, for whom the Vikings traded two third-round picks, are locks for roster spots. While Jackson is a developmental player, the Vikings cannot afford to put him on the practice squad. That means veterans Mike McMahon and J.T. O'Sullivan likely will compete for the backup job and the final spot at this position.

    Asked if he would keep four quarterbacks, Childress said, "You always end up thinking about it. But you want to make sure you are not robbing some other position of talent, whether it be a specialist or a special teams guy."

    WIDE RECEIVERS (room for improvement)

    The rookie pool at receiver was thin in this draft, and the veteran market was even thinner; just ask the Green Bay Packers. With Burleson departed, the Vikings are four-deep at receiver but still aren't set at the position.

    The Vikings are one injured receiver away from having serious depth concerns. Can one of their few young, unproven players - maybe a Chris Jones - step up?

    RUNNING BACKS (set)

    In the second round, the Vikings passed on players such as Maurice Drew of UCLA and Brian Calhoun of Wisconsin with their two picks. That shows their confidence that Mewelde Moore and Ciatrick Fason can back up starter Chester Taylor. Adimchinobe Echemandu also remains an option.

    While none of the backs are proven commodities, Childress is high on Taylor's potential in his West Coast offense, and Moore has flashed plenty of talent in his two NFL seasons.

    TIGHT ENDS (room for improvement)

    Jermaine Wiggins and Jim Kleinsasser are an excellent one-two punch. But after them, the Vikings have question marks. Although he was on the roster the entire season, Jeff Dugan played in only one game. At 6 feet 8, Richard Angulo has teased the Vikings and St. Louis Rams with his potential.

    OFFENSIVE LINE (set)

    The Vikings have two Pro Bowl linemen in Matt Birk and Steve Hutchinson, and Bryant McKinnie is on the cusp of winning that distinction. Several players with starting experience will push Hicks for the right-guard spot. Birk, McKinnie, Hutchinson, Marcus Johnson and Cook appear locks to make the roster, leaving three spots for youngsters and veterans such as Hicks, Chris Liwienski, Jason Whittle, Anthony Herrera and Mike Rosenthal.

    "I've said this all the way along: competition makes good football teams," Childress said.

    DEFENSIVE LINE (set)

    Kevin Williams and Pat Williams, the interior linemen, are as good a duo as any in the NFL, and the Vikings have several solid options at end. They also have plenty of depth, with players like C.J. Mosley and Spencer Johnson pushing for key backup spots.

    LINEBACKERS (room for improvement)

    Ben Leber will start, most likely at strong-side linebacker. Everything else is wide open.

    E.J. Henderson would appear to have the edge at weak-side linebacker, with Greenway pushing him. That means the middle-linebacker job could come down to Napoleon Harris and Dontarrious Thomas. But these positions are not firm, with the coaches sure to take advantage of the elasticity of their defense to mix players around.

    [b]SECONDARY)/b] (set)

    The additions of Griffin and Blue bolster the depth of this unit. Griffin will compete with Dovonte Edwards for the fifth defensive back job, while Blue will push everyone in front of him because he could prove to be a steal as a sixth-round pick. Also, Ronyell Whitaker is excelling in NFL Europe, and he has history with Joe Woods and Mike Tomlin from their days in Tampa.

    Vikings tout improvement

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    Prophet Guest

    Re: Vikings tout improvement

    "Between free agency and the draft," Wilf said, "name a team that's improved more than we have."...

    ...But the Vikings might not be done, with $13 million in salary cap space, the seventh most in the NFL. Excluding the estimated $5 million that their rookie pool might take up and $1 million needed to pay the practice squad for the season, the Vikings still have another $7 million in salary cap flexibility that provides a chance still to improve the roster.

    "Every day that I come to work, I am looking to see how we can make this football team better," coach Brad Childress said. "You have to look at that every single day as you travel through this thing because the minute you blink or the minute you get satisfied is the minute that somebody is moving ahead.,,

    QUARTERBACKS (SET)
    WIDE RECEIVERS (room for improvement)
    RUNNING BACKS (set)
    TIGHT ENDS (room for improvement)
    [size=18px]OFFENSIVE LINE (set)
    DEFENSIVE LINE (set)[/size]
    LINEBACKERS (room for improvement)
    [b]SECONDARY)/b] (set)
    What an offseason so far. The lines are set, just like Childress promised, he focused on getting the lines improved. The secondary is set, it has been a long time since the Vikings could even try to say that without the entire NFL laughing. Rock on TOA.

  3. #3
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    Re: Vikings tout improvement

    "singersp" wrote:
    "Between free agency and the draft," Wilf said, "name a team that's improved more than we have."
    I like what the Vikings have done, but I think there are several teams that can claim to have improved at least as much as the Vikings. How about the Texans, Redskins, Cowboys(likely preseason NFC favorites), Dolphins (they got Pep!), Saints, or Cardinals? I think it's at least arguable that each of these teams has improved more than the Vikes on paper.

    That said, the appraisal of each position above looks right. Looking forward to having a coaching staff that can get the most out of these guys so that when we're talking about the team in the fall we're just as optimistic.
    When the age of the Vikings came to a close, they must have sensed it. Probably, they gathered together one evening, slapped each other on the back and said, "Hey, good job." - Jack Handey [Deep Thoughts]

  4. #4
    cajunvike's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings tout improvement

    "Prophet" wrote:
    [quote]"Between free agency and the draft," Wilf said, "name a team that's improved more than we have."...

    ...But the Vikings might not be done, with $13 million in salary cap space, the seventh most in the NFL. Excluding the estimated $5 million that their rookie pool might take up and $1 million needed to pay the practice squad for the season, the Vikings still have another $7 million in salary cap flexibility that provides a chance still to improve the roster.

    "Every day that I come to work, I am looking to see how we can make this football team better," coach Brad Childress said. "You have to look at that every single day as you travel through this thing because the minute you blink or the minute you get satisfied is the minute that somebody is moving ahead.,,

    QUARTERBACKS (SET)
    WIDE RECEIVERS (room for improvement)
    RUNNING BACKS (set)
    TIGHT ENDS (room for improvement)
    [size=18px]OFFENSIVE LINE (set)
    DEFENSIVE LINE (set)[/size]
    LINEBACKERS (room for improvement)
    [b]SECONDARY)/b] (set)
    What an offseason so far. The lines are set, just like Childress promised, he focused on getting the lines improved. The secondary is set, it has been a long time since the Vikings could even try to say that without the entire NFL laughing. Rock on TOA.[/quote]

    How about this instead:

    Between free agency and the draft, name a team that could have improved more than we did by making better draft choices!!!

    Face it, the draft SUCKED for us!!!
    BANNED OR DEAD...I'LL TAKE EITHER ONE

  5. #5
    DCPologirl is offline Team Alumni
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    Re: Vikings tout improvement

    "Overlord" wrote:
    "singersp" wrote:
    "Between free agency and the draft," Wilf said, "name a team that's improved more than we have."
    I like what the Vikings have done, but I think there are several teams that can claim to have improved at least as much as the Vikings. How about the Texans, Redskins, Cowboys(likely preseason NFC favorites), Dolphins (they got Pep!), Saints, or Cardinals? I think it's at least arguable that each of these teams has improved more than the Vikes on paper.

    That said, the appraisal of each position above looks right. Looking forward to having a coaching staff that can get the most out of these guys so that when we're talking about the team in the fall we're just as optimistic.
    The redskins take the cake in my book!

    DCPologirl:Maybe Randy will make Aaron Brooks look better......roflmao Del Rio: I guarantee he will

  6. #6
    VikesfaninWis's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings tout improvement

    Lookin good thus far.. I am sure Artis Hicks is a starter, Childress has already stated that much.. Greenway will start, just which position is unknown.. I hope all of this hype doesn't go for nothin like it did last season.. We should be pretty solid right now as it looks.

  7. #7
    Prophet Guest

    Re: Vikings tout improvement

    "cajunvike" wrote:
    "Prophet" wrote:
    [quote]"Between free agency and the draft," Wilf said, "name a team that's improved more than we have."...

    ...But the Vikings might not be done, with $13 million in salary cap space, the seventh most in the NFL. Excluding the estimated $5 million that their rookie pool might take up and $1 million needed to pay the practice squad for the season, the Vikings still have another $7 million in salary cap flexibility that provides a chance still to improve the roster.

    "Every day that I come to work, I am looking to see how we can make this football team better," coach Brad Childress said. "You have to look at that every single day as you travel through this thing because the minute you blink or the minute you get satisfied is the minute that somebody is moving ahead.,,

    QUARTERBACKS (SET)
    WIDE RECEIVERS (room for improvement)
    RUNNING BACKS (set)
    TIGHT ENDS (room for improvement)
    [size=18px]OFFENSIVE LINE (set)
    DEFENSIVE LINE (set)[/size]
    LINEBACKERS (room for improvement)
    [b]SECONDARY)/b] (set)
    What an offseason so far. The lines are set, just like Childress promised, he focused on getting the lines improved. The secondary is set, it has been a long time since the Vikings could even try to say that without the entire NFL laughing. Rock on TOA.
    How about this instead:

    Between free agency and the draft, name a team that could have improved more than we did by making better draft choices!!!

    Face it, the draft SUCKED for us!!!
    There is no way the draft sucked. They picked up the needs that they wanted based on what they already have and what was picked up in free agency. If you look at the draft as an isolated event (which it isn't) you could say that. If you look at the whole offseason I am very happy with where the Vikings organization is right now. Factor in the salary cap situation and we're in really good shape.

    The coaching is still a question mark, can they put the pieces of the puzzle together and make them perform? Nobody knows.

  8. #8
    gt66's Avatar
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    Your thoughts about the Vikings draft picks...

    Now that we have had some time to think about it, how do you feel about the Vikings picks?

    I have seen good and bad ratings from the critics (SI, CBS sports, etc.) but here are my thoughts...

    Hate to say it but aside from Greenway (who should start at weakside LB) and Griffin (cornerback) the rest of our picks are questionable at best. Not that they are not good players, but more so in regards as to when they were selected.

    In fact, we should have selected Maroney (RB from Minnesota) in the first round. With Bennet and Smith gone, Mewelde Moore is not a 1st or 2nd down back to use on a regular basis and Chester Taylor was a back up for years. However, maybe Chester can do the job?

    But I feel that we still need a big time running back.

    So who chose Maroney in the first round?
    The smartest team in the NFL the past 5 years... the Patriots - thats who.
    This despite already having a good running back in Corey Dillon.
    In fact, I was surprised to see Maroney still available when it was our turn to pick, but its all over now.

    Griffin at corner was a good pick. He might even start. Me thinks Smoot will be gone or traded.

    As for selecting a 6'6" center, I have my doubts unless they switch him over to tackle.

    With Johnson and McMahon, did we really need to use a 2nd round pick on a QB this year?

    Regardless, we should have a good year and make the playoffs providing Johnson stays healthy. Go Vikes!!!

  9. #9
    Prophet Guest

    Re: Your thoughts about the Vikings draft picks...

    Nice post, but try putting posts within an existing thread...especially when there are a dozen or so that are discussing the same topic.

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