Much has been said about the Vikings returning all 22 starters from a team that was ever so close to making it to the Super Bowl, so going into the offseason and with the "final four rule" , the Vikings didn't have a lot to work with in the free agent market and they didn't need to necessarily draft an impact player like in years past. There were though a few positions that needed to be addressed and upgraded. Well not all of those positions like DT for example were addressed in the draft or free agentcy, but now that training camp has started I now realize why the organization did the moves they did and didn't do. My reasoning after the jump.
The depth on this years Viking team is probably the best it has ever been since free agentcy and expansion teams have come into play and the FO has done a marvelous job of assembling talent for now and the future. I would like to recognize some of these players who so far are stepping it up :
Asher Allen CB, during the offseason the FO felt that he wasn't where he should be in his development, but much to there suprise he came in to camp in shape and ready to go. Allen, a good cover CB in college and great tackler, has moved to the top of Depth chart at the RCB position. Allen had been playing the top nickle spot while Benny Sapp recovered from dehydration problems. The second year player who was going to be a top backup, has moved past Lito Sheppard into the starting line up.
Letroy Guion DT, the third year player who just turned 23, looks like the light has finally come on. He added 10 lbs this offseason and actually got faster which is a good thing because he has always had a first good step. he has been known for being good at stopping the run but now he is getting after the QB. Look for him to spell KWill and see a lot of action this year. His emergence saved the Vikings from drafting a DT and they were able to use that draft pick on another position.
Jamaca Sanford S, the second year player and seventh round pick has been a great ST player and was impressive while he filled in due to injury. This training camp he has been getting reps with the first team defense and will be pushing both T.Johnson and M.Williams for their starting spots. He will be the top backup at the S position, as he is a great tackler who brings the noise when he does.
Jasper Brinkley MLB, after being thrown into the fire his rookie season last year with EJ Henderson going down to injury, Brinkley improved every week and continued to do so into the offseason; he spent a lot of time studying his assignments and is not going to give up the starting MLB job easily, EJ is going to have his work cut out. Brinkley is a thumper and this training camp he has left a few guys down for the count with his bruising tackles. The one knock on him was his pass coverage and this training that does not seem to be a problem.With him and Ej we now have the best depth at MLB in the league
Chris Cook CB, our top draft pick this year, he has been great so far in training camp making plays on the ball, he leads in interceptions and seems to have a grasp of this defense after playing in a simular one in college. The report on him coming out of college was that he didn't like to tackle or get physical in run support but this training camp he has been hitting people. He will be Winfield's backup at LCB for now and may be moved over to RCB, with his size and speed and how he has been playing, he definitely looks the part as our top CB going into the future.
Chris Degeare OG, never heard of this guy until we drafted him but now all I hear is great things about him. He played LT his senior year of college and did a fine job at it. He has great size and weight, with a thick build and the strength to go with it. For his size he has really good balance and athletism which will serve him great at OG. He has been given the oppertunity to play with the starters and has more than held his own. Playing in place of Hutchingson he handled All-Pro KWill and has been impressive. If he puts it all together he could be another Jahri Evens he has that much potential.
Albert Young RB, after the Vikings drafted Toby Gerhert, it looked like Young would be battling for the third RB spot but so far he has held down the #2 spot behind AP and just may be our 3rd down back this year. After learning for two years behind Chester Taylor, he seems to have picked up a thing or two. He may be the surprize of training camp thus far.
Everson Griffen DE, he may be the steal of the draft after sliding down in to the 4th round after he was projected as a1st or early 2nd round pick. He has show flashes of what the Vikings may be seeing for years to come, a great pass rusher and also good against the run. As the saying goes for the Vikings D-line "the rich get richer."
Nate Triplett WLB, after playing MLB in college the Vikings have moved him to the weak side to groom him behind Ben Leber, and he has made some plays on the ball as his pass coverage skills are starting to shine at training camp. He is battling Erin Henderson for the backup position and possibly a roster spot.
With a team full of veterans and many Viking fans thinking that our window of oppertunity is closing, the FO has restocked and reloaded this team for now and the future.