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Minnesota Vikings News and Links, 5,6 August 2023

To improve is to change. To be perfect is to change often. - Winston Churchill

Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

We are getting closer and closer to the first preseason game where many of us will get our first chance at seeing the players perform even if most of them our not the first string. Injury news is always disheartening. I think that the offense if really going to be better provided that they get some type of running game. Say what you will about Cook but he was a threat to “house” it with every touch. I do not think the team has that now at the running back position. It is tough but the cap hit was too much and his refusal to give some back was the decider. We shall see what he ultimately gets which I believe the team could have matched. Once they went with Mattison it was all but over.

I am cautiously optimistic about the defense and Flores’ has his hands full. This is the time of year when it all sounds great but when the pressure if on in real games, we will see how much the players have truly picked up. I think it is going to be a work in progress but luckily for us, there is only one way to go for this defense. UP!

Since yore last open thread ...

Vikings 2023 Training Camp Megathread


Vikings lose James Lynch for season with torn ACL

Tough break for the young man who was entering his final season of his deal. He’ll probably be released with an injury settlement of some sort.

Vikings 8/3/23 Night Practice Notes


Other Vikings stuff ...

11 Impressions So Far from Vikings Training Camp

1. System momentum for Cousins | by Craig Peters
“I don’t have to grind quite as much pre-practice to make sure I can call the plays,” Cousins said. “I can be focused on other things. I can be thinking about the play clock, thinking about the defensive personnel, thinking about our offensive personnel, the situation while [O’Connell is] calling the play and kind of multi-process while I’m hearing the play.


3. Mattison for sure … and then who? | by Lindsey Young
“Pass protection always seems to be, especially with the looks that we get out here on the practice field, there will be no greater test than that, especially when we’re not game-planning. We’re just traying to install our systems and teach as we allow these guys to compete,” O’Connell added.


5. Continuity key for Vikings offensive line | by Ellis Williams
“I think he’s got a real mindset that this is a year where if anyone hadn’t noticed him – I know the players who play against him certainly noticed – but I think across the league, we’ll be talking about him as one of the elite tackles for years to come,” Phillips said.


6. Versatility and rotation on D-line | by Lindsey Young
The Vikings are weathering the loss of Dalvin Tomlinson, who joined the Browns in free agency this spring. They added former Packers defensive tackle Dean Lowry in free agency, and they also are rotating in Ross Blacklock, James Lynch and Khyiris Tonga up front.
Minnesota has some competition for depth spots on the d-line, as well. Coaches are getting looks at former Golden Gopher Esezi Otomewo, 2023 draft pick Jaquelin Roy, International Player Pathway Program participant Junior Aho, Sheldon Day, T.J. Smith and Calvin Avery.


9. Swiss Army safeties | by Lindsey Young
“[Flores] likes having his own style and then kind of turning it over to his players. It’s been great learning from him, and we just kind of scratched the surface,” Smith said at the beginning of camp. “It’s more of an aggressive approach in general, with things mixed in. You can tell he likes to be multiple with things and not stuck in one way. So, it’s fun to learn new styles and new ways of doing things, and I’m sure we’ll just keep building with that.”

I will say this about that trade down. If Cine and Booth do not amount to naything and Ingram eventually fizzles, it will be pretty awful.

‘Dominating on the field in all three phases’: Kevin O’Connell sends message to Vikings fans

Vikings Not ‘Thrilled’ With Veteran, Could Trade Him Before Season, Insider Says

Signing veteran Joejuan Williams in the offseason, the Vikings deployed the former New England Patriots second-round pick on first-team reps throughout the first week of training camp.
However, Williams’ spot may be up for grabs.
Purple Insider’s Matthew Coller observed during the team’s first padded practice on July 31 that the Vikings “weren’t very thrilled” with Williams and put in third-round rookie Mekhi Blackmon.
“I have wondered if Joejuan Williams is the Jesse Davis of the program,” Coller said, referring to the veteran guard who took first-team reps in training camp last year before second-round rookie Ed Ingram won the starting job, prompting Minnesota to trade Davis to the Pittsburgh Steelers near the end of training camp.
“I think they drafted Mekhi Blackmon to start on this defense. … There is a pretty good chance as it goes along that we see more and more of Mekhi Blackmon starting over Joejuan Williams,” said Coller, who proved prophetic as Blackmon saw more first-team reps on August 1. “This is a guy Brian Flores wanted. They were very excited about him when they drafted him.”

Hot take here. Williams signed for 1.1M with a 25K signing bonus which was all that was guaranteed. Davis got a 1 yr 3M deal with a 1.5M signign bonus. Big difference there but the “veteran” presence angle still applies I suppose. If Williams is cut it is no big deal because his contract should have informed how much the Vikings really liked him. Ain’t nobody trading for him.

If Blackmon is starting then the cornerback depth is pretty awful and Booth is a huge disappointment. I am not saying he is a bust but time is running out for him to be available and to make plays.

NFL News

Sean Payton’s remarks put searing spotlight on Broncos; Justyn Ross poised for star turn on Chiefs?

“I’m going to be pissed off if this is not a playoff team,” Payton recently told Jarrett Bell of USA Today.
That, of course, wasn’t the only notable quote from the widely disseminated USA Today piece. Payton took a massive shot at his predecessor in Denver, Nathaniel Hackett, calling the ex-head coach’s 15-game stint with the Broncos “one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL.” Payton’s blistering criticism of the 2022 Broncos — which extended beyond Hackett to “everybody else who watched it all happen” — made serious waves across the NFL world, prompting a mea culpa from Denver’s new coach one day after the article was published. But the toothpaste is out of the tube — and the spotlight is now squarely on what Payton can accomplish in his debut season with the Broncos.


The Chiefs’ next star receiver?
If you haven’t yet caught the buzz around Kansas City Chiefs WR Justyn Ross, let me introduce you to an offseason hype bunny who could take the NFL by storm in 2023.
Measuring 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds with long arms and big hands, Ross is a ball magnet who has the potential to dominate on the perimeter as a vertical playmaker/jump-ball specialist. The second-year pro has been going viral on social-media platforms with a dazzling array of acrobatic catches showcasing his ability to win contested balls.
Ross demonstrated similar star-making flashes last offseason after signing with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent — but then foot surgery wiped out his rookie campaign. Now he’s earning rave reviews from coaches and players — in part for how he bounced back from his lost season.
“Yeah, he’s doing good. It was a redshirt year he probably didn’t want to have,” head coach Andy Reid said on Wednesday. “But he’s done a nice job, he had a good offseason, and then he’s worked his tail off here. He just needs to keep doing that. It’s how you answer the bell every day and push through it, but he’s got the right mindset to do that.”


Don’t overlook the Flores-infused Vikings
Minnesota’s defense has fallen into utter disrepair in recent years, as evidenced by the Vikings’ last three finishes in yards allowed: 27th in 2020, 30th in 2021 and 31st last season. This has led to plenty of personnel turnover; just this offseason, Minnesota parted ways with longtime franchise stalwart Eric Kendricks, as well as established veterans like Patrick Peterson, Za’Darius Smith and Dalvin Tomlinson. The overall ineptitude on that side of the ball has prompted many to dismiss the Vikes as serious contenders, regardless of the fact that they’re fresh off a 13-4 campaign.
Despite all the shoddy play and roster attrition, though, the defense could flip the script in 2023 thanks to one significant addition to the coaching staff. With Brian Flores replacing Ed Donatell as defensive coordinator, I believe Minnesota can indeed be right in the mix as a conference dark horse. The reigning NFC North champions have been completely overshadowed by their division foes this offseason, but the Vikings’ ability to create chaos on defense under Flores should enable the team to continue to win the one-score games that ultimately make or break an NFL season.
As a clever defensive architect with a bright mind and adaptable scheme, Flores has routinely confused offensive coordinators around the league with his aggressive pressure tactics. As the defensive play-caller for the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins, Flores used pre-snap disguises and post-snap bluff-and-bail tactics to befuddle offensive play-callers and quarterbacks. His vaunted Cover 0 scheme has produced countless sleepless nights for offensive staffs ill-equipped to deal with the constant mental and physical stresses created by the scheme. Whether it is the offensive line attempting to identify would-be rushers or quarterbacks trying to determine if defenders are playing man or zone, the constant chaos has enabled Flores to maximize the talent of his rosters while minimizing some of the deficiencies.
In Minnesota, the hybrid scheme must accentuate a pass rush with only one truly established presence (Danielle Hunter, who just agreed to a new one-year deal with the team) while creating opportunities for intriguing athletes with the tools to get it done off the edge (most prominently, free-agent addition Marcus Davenport). In addition, the multiplicity of the Vikings’ pressure tactics could result in LB Jordan Hicks and S Harrison Smith producing splash plays.
Although the lack of experience in the defensive backfield could prevent Flores from fully attacking offenses with wild blitz tactics, the group (headlined by Byron Murphy Jr., Mekhi Blackmon, Camryn Bynum, Akayleb Evans and Smith) features the collective football IQ and versatility to play various techniques to challenge the aptitude of quarterbacks attempting to diagnose the scheme on the fly. Moreover, the group’s intelligence could allow Flores to push the envelope with exotic disguises and pressure packages that disrupt the flow and rhythm of the offense.
Flores definitely has a type when he’s building his defense.
“Tough, smart, disciplined and physical,” Flores said during his introductory press conference back in February. “I’m big on versatility — guys being able to play multiple spots. And in order to do that, you’ve gotta get them coached up in those multiple spots.”
After watching the defense work as a unit while covering Vikings camp for NFL Network’s Back Together Weekend, I can tell you that it is easy to see why Flores’ schemes create headaches for opponents. From the constant movement and steady pressure to the attention to detail and fundamentals, Flores’ charges play hard, fast and physical, from snap to whistle.
Minnesota’s defense became a huge thorn in the franchise’s side over the past few years, but now the Vikings have a new architect who can craft game plans that overwhelm opponents. Assuming Kevin O’Connell, Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson and Co. hold up their end of the bargain on offense, Minnesota cannot be discounted in a top-heavy NFC.

Good info. I wonder if there is a trade out there that can help the defensive line and secondary (specifically corners)?

Matt Ioannidis DT might not be a bad signing.

2023 NFL training camps: First-stringers who could lose starting jobs

Cordarrelle Patterson · Atlanta Falcons · RB
Davis Mills · Houston Texans · QB
Lawrence Guy · New England Patriots · DT
Adetokunbo Ogundeji · Atlanta Falcons · OLB
Malcolm Rodriguez · Detroit Lions · LB

Browns’ Top Trade Candidates Ahead of 2023 Training Camp

Anthony Schwartz, WR (2 yrs left with salaries of 1.33M & 1.55M)
Harrison Bryant, TE (1 yr left with salary of 1.94M)
Jordan Elliott, DT (1 yr left with salary of 1.92M)


1 Trade Each NFL Team Should Consider Before the 2023 Season Starts

I am going to list the trades of players that I like with the bolded ones being the best.

Baltimore Ravens: Trade for Edge Carlos “Boogie” Basham (2 yrs left with salaries of 1.17M & 1.35M)
Buffalo Bills: Trade Tim Settle to Detroit Lions (1 yr left with salary of 2.5M)
Dallas Cowboys: Trade Dorance Armstrong to New Orleans Saints (1 yr left with salary of 5.5M)
Detroit Lions: Trade for DT Grover Stewart (1 yr left with salary of 9.6M)
Green Bay Packers Trade for CB/S Jalen Mills (1 yr left with salary of 2.05M)
Jacksonville Jaguars: Trade K’Lavon Chaisson to Los Angeles Rams (1 yr left with salary of 2.43M)


Kansas City Chiefs: Trade Clyde Edwards-Helaire to Minnesota Vikings (1 yr left with salary of 1.98M)
Chiefs Receive: 2024 seventh-round pick
Vikings Receive: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire
The running back market is fairly saturated, but the Vikings would make some sense. Dalvin Cook is gone, leaving Alexander Mattison as the lead back. Edwards-Helaire would give them a pass-catching option.


Minnesota Vikings: Trade for QB Trey Lance (2 yrs left with salaries of 3.76M & 5.3M)
Vikings Receive: QB Trey Lance
49ers Receive: 2024 third-round pick, 2025 fifth-round pick
The Minnesota Vikings need an off-ramp for the Kirk Cousins era. The veteran quarterback will be 35 before the season starts, and the team continues to push more of his money into the future in the form of void years.
The problem is that this is a team that shouldn’t be bad enough in the foreseeable future to be in position to draft a blue-chip quarterback prospect. That would require a massive trade like the one the San Francisco 49ers did to move from No. 12 to 3 in the 2021 draft.

This one wont ever die and they just copied it from a previous story. No imagination on their part. Why they think Lance would get a 3rd and a 5th is a mystery considering he is relegated to 3rd string. Either they think Kwesi can be manipulated or that just because the 49ers gave up sooo much for Lance, it is only fair they get something back because Lance’s value is tied directly to the draft capital spent. Ignorance.


New Orleans Saints: Trade Tre’Quan Smith to Minnesota Vikings (1 yr left with salary of 2.7M)
Saints Receive: 2024 fifth-round pick (via Eagles)
Vikings Receive: WR Tre’Quan Smith
The Vikings don’t have the same kind of depth behind their top three options. Assuming After Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison and K.J. Osborn, they have names like Jalen Reagor waiting in the wings.
Smith’s consistency and experience would at least give them a reliable fourth option.


Philadelphia Eagles: Trade Derek Barnett to Jacksonville Jaguars (1 yr left with salary of 3.5M)
Seattle Seahawks: Trade for QB Bailey Zappe (3 yrs left with salaries of 870K, 985K, & 1.1M)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trade LB Devin White to Detroit Lions (1 yr left with salary of 11.7M)
Tennesee Titans: Trade Malik Willis to Arizona Cardinals (3 yrs left with salaries of 939.5K, 1.174M, & 1.4M)

Yore Mock

Trade Partner: Buffalo Bills
Sent: Round 1 Pick 23
Received: Round 1 Pick 29, Round 3 Pick 34
Trade Partner: Philadelphia Eagles
Sent: Round 4 Pick 25
Received: Round 5 Pick 23, Round 5 Pick 37

29: R1 P29 DL Maason Smith - LSU 6’6’ 315

55: R2 P23 RB Blake Corum - Michigan 5’8 213

98: R3 P34 S Malachi Moore - Alabama 6’0” 198

123: R4 P23 LB Cedric Gray - North Carolina 6’2’ 235

142: R5 P6 C Beaux Limmer - Arkansas 6’5’ 307

159: R5 P23 G Tate Ratledge - Georgia 6’6’ 315

168: R5 P32 S Kenny Logan Jr. - Kansas 6’0” 215

173: R5 P37 EDGE Xavier Thomas - Clemson 6’2’ 255

198: R6 P23 QB Grayson McCall - Coastal Carolina 6’3’ 220

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