Every year, one of the unofficial awards that gets discussed on social media concerning the Minnesota Vikings is that of "Mr. Mankato." The award is named for the town where the Vikings have held their Training Camp for over five decades now, and is generally "awarded" to a young and/or unheralded player that impresses in Camp.
So, I thought I’d poll the masses here at The Daily Norseman and ask all of you. . .Who do you think will light it up during Training Camp this year and be bestowed the title of "Mr. Mankato" for 2016?
For my pick, I’m not looking at this year’s rookie class, but rather to a player that got some play at the end of last season. He’s a player that I feel, given the opportunity, could truly be an impact player at a spot where the Vikings could certainly use one.
My pick for this year’s Mr. Mankato award is safety Anthony Harris.
In the span of four days last season, Harris went from languishing on the practice squad to starting at safety against the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday Night Football. He had one play where he looked pretty bad, getting flattened by Larry Fitzgerald on a short pass that turned into a long Arizona touchdown, but outside of that he had a really solid night. Once the Vikings got back to full strength, he settled into more of a special teams role, but in a spot where he had limited prep time, Harris certainly looked like a guy that could be an impact safety in this league.
Leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft, there were some pundits that had Harris going as high as the second round. However, injury concerns led to him going undrafted, and the Vikings swooped in and grabbed him in the UDFA signing frenzy. Again, his opportunities have been limited, but he’s shown why scouts were pretty high on him.
Not only is Harris my pick for "Mr. Mankato" for 2016, but I firmly believe that, barring injury, when the Vikings line up against the Tennessee Titans for Week 1 of the regular season, it will be Harris. . .not Michael Griffin and not Andrew Sendejo. . .who will be lined up next to Harrison Smith at the safety position.
So, who do you think will be this year’s "Mr. Mankato," ladies and gentlemen?