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Minnesota Vikings Way-Too-Early 2019 53-Man Roster Projection

What's that? It's too early to project NFL rosters, you say? You're correct, but we're going to do it anyway. The Minnesota Vikings just finished rounding...

“The Roughest Six Weeks of My Life”: Mike Hughes is Back...

Rookie corner Mike Hughes was seen throughout the months of October and November driving around the Minnesota Vikings practice facility on a scooter. By day, he couldn’t walk. At night, he struggled to sleep. For the second straight year, the Vikings saw their top pick suffer an October knee injury that halted a promising rookie season. In 2017, it was running back Dalvin Cook, their second-round pick. A year later, it was Hughes, the 30th overall selection. Just weeks prior, Hughes had been holding his own in the Vikings secondary, playing 100 percent of snaps in a road win at Philadelphia. His torn ACL on Oct. 14 against the Arizona Cardinals started the clock on what has become an unfortunately common but nonetheless arduous recovery process that usually takes around 9-12 months. “It was probably the roughest six weeks of my life, honestly,” Hughes said about his post-surgery experience. “I […]

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Vikings Encouraged By Rookie Class at Season’s Halfway Mark

The Minnesota Vikings are one of the youngest teams in football. They also believe they are in the middle of a Super Bowl window thanks to a defensive core in its prime and a franchise quarterback with two elite receivers on offense. That dichotomy could be viewed as troublesome when a team with sky-high aspirations is in a position to rely on its youth in several pivotal areas. It hasn’t been too much of a problem, however, for the 2018 Vikings, who are using rookies for the highest percentage of snaps since 2015, when they unleashed draft picks Eric Kendricks, Stefon Diggs and Danielle Hunter in significant roles. Many of the opportunities this year have arisen through injuries, Terence Newman’s retirement or Everson Griffen’s suspension — unanticipated circumstances that head coach Mike Zimmer knows, through years of coaching, are almost inevitable in the NFL. “I think every team goes through […]

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As ACL Rehabs Evolve, Mike Hughes Faces Less Daunting Task Than...

For the second straight season, the Minnesota Vikings first selection in the draft will have his rookie season cut short due to a left ACL tear. Head coach Mike Zimmer confirmed Monday that Mike Hughes, the promising rookie cornerback and special teamer from Central Florida, will miss the rest of the 2018 season, as the team reportedly feared following his injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win. “He was learning and continuing to learn,” Zimmer said Monday, “and he’s got a lot of great attributes and toughness, and his skillset is really good, but he’s gonna come back and he’s gonna be great. We’ve got great doctors here and great trainers.” If there’s a bright side, however, to losing a contributor for the final 10 games of the regular season, it’s that the Vikings have never been better equipped to handle ACL rehabilitation. Thanks to evolving medical technology, improved […]

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What We Learned About the Vikings in Their Week 1 Win

After watching practices and preseason games that often fail to reveal the deeper nuances of a team’s true plan of attack, getting to watch the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 gave a more authentic glimpse at some of their intentions for the season. Minnesota’s 24-16 victory over the San Francisco 49ers answered several questions and raised several more. Let’s take a look at what this game taught us as we move into regular-season football. Talk of More Defensive Rotations Wasn’t a Joke Throughout OTAs there were subtle hints that the Vikings were going to show different personnel groups on defense: Everson Griffen hinting he could use more rest, Mike Zimmer suggesting he might put extra defensive backs on the field, the Vikings bringing in George Iloka in late August. By the end of Sunday’s game, the Vikings had pulled off a full line change of their defensive line, used Eric […]

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RAPID REACTION: Vikings Secure 24-16 Win Over 49ers

Mike Hughes, welcome to the NFL. With Mackensie Alexander (ankle) out and Trae Waynes (knee) injured during the first half, the Minnesota Vikings rookie first-round pick starred in Minnesota’s 24-16 win, intercepting Jimmy Garoppolo for a touchdown in the third quarter to turn the tide the Vikings’ way as they took a 17-3 lead. Receiver Kendrick Bourne fell down on his route, giving Hughes a clear path to the end zone — one play after tight end George Kittle dropped a deep pass by Garoppolo that might’ve gone the distance. The Vikings led 24-6 at one point but had to survive an onslaught by the 49ers, who pulled to within eight points at 24-16 and got the ball back with a chance to tie with a two-minute drill, but Harrison Smith picked off Garoppolo for Minnesota’s fourth takeaway of the day. Despite their very successful clock-killing drive late in the […]

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Jaguars and Vikings Both Bolstered Strengths With Their First-Round Picks —...

Coming one game away from the Super Bowl stings. The 2017 Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars are the latest members of that fraternity, and as they meet this week for a pair of joint practices, it’s easy to see other commonalities between the two franchises that were oh-so-close a year ago. Both clubs were carried by their defense. Jacksonville had the top pass defense and second-best overall defense last year. They came in second in sacks, tied for third in fewest touchdown passes allowed and tied for fifth in the take-give. Minnesota was the top overall defense — second against the pass and second against the run. It allowed the fewest passing touchdowns, fifth-fewest yards per rush and lowest percentage of third-down conversions in recorded history. By virtue of reaching their respective conference championship games, the Vikings and Jaguars selected adjacently in April’s draft. Jacksonville picked 29th; Minnesota 30th. Both […]

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Compliments Abound For Young Corners, But What Do They Really Mean?

Usually around the time the calendar threatens to turn to August, the hype train has reached full speed on the most promising Minnesota Vikings rookies. Considering that most interviews elicit positive responses and players aren’t put in positions to be overly exposed in practice, there’s rarely reason to believe anything but the best about the next generation of talent. But stay cautious, especially when it comes to corners. First-round pick Mike Hughes is the latest project for Mike Zimmer, who has groomed three young corners since arriving in Minnesota. He inherited second-year corner Xavier Rhodes, drafted Trae Waynes in the first round in 2015, then snagged Mackensie Alexander in the second round in 2016. The truth is: All three of his previous proteges have been lauded for their early progress, but none of them have been immediate impact players. Rhodes was given praise for his size and strength by then-coach […]

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VIKINGS TRAINING CAMP GUIDE: Cornerbacks

The Vikings have four first-round picks at cornerback and a second-round pick to add to the group. Behind them awaits a blood bath of talent hoping to secure one of the one or two remaining spots, something not even guaranteed to the multi-talented, multi-phase special teamer Marcus Sherels, who is among the best at what he does. This breadth of cornerback talent is where the Vikings have the most depth, and it makes sense, given how important the position has been to Mike Zimmer and the evolution of the Vikings defense. There’s a lot of drama about which player might be able to fill the nickel role and what could happen long-term with Trae Waynes, but ultimately it means that there’s a lot of talent to work with. presUMED STARTERS LIKELY BACKUPS DEPTH NEXT POSITION –> Safeties ALL POSITIONS Check out the rest of the training camp guide: Sam Ekstrom’s […]

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Workout Comps: Which Veterans do Vikings Rookies Compare To?

Now that the Vikings have signed every drafted rookie — except for Mike Hughes — to their contracts, it’s worth some speculation to see which professional players track closest to Vikings rookies from a measurable standpoint. Measurable comparisons aren’t the end-all, be-all of rookie futures, but we know that the Minnesota Vikings themselves build some of their analytic models based on direct comparisons to historical players. We might as well do something similar. It should be stressed that these don’t represent the ceilings of the players in question; if a poor player gets compared to one of the rookies, it may very well be that the veteran had poor mental acuity, sloppy technique or unfortunate off-field incidents that prevented them from reaching their full potential. Not only that, these tests are not weighted towards ones that historically matter; if two offensive linemen are very close in the bench press, 40-yard […]

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