Vikings Purple Pride Ponderings: Pre-2016 camp edition

Jul 27, 2015; Mankato, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) talks with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) before drills at training camp at Minnesota State University. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 27, 2015; Mankato, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) talks with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) before drills at training camp at Minnesota State University. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports /

What observations could be taken away from the Minnesota Vikings before training camp begins? Here are the Purple Pride Pondering: Pre-2016 camp edition!

Welcome to the first Purple Pride Ponderings on The Viking Age. This is something I started on a sports forum over a decade ago and attempted to keep it going on my own blog. I found it rather difficult to reach an audience via the blog so my entries became sparse. With the new stadium about to open and this Coaching staff hitting their stride going into their third season, I decided I wanted to give this another go. Which is what brought me to The Viking Age and I couldn’t be more excited to share my Ponderings with our Purple faithful here.

Typically I write these as game recaps. Kind of my own take on Monday Morning Quarterback, just specific to the lone Vikings game. As you can see from the title of this one I get the itch to get started so I’ll be following up this Pre Camp Edition with a Post Camp Edition. The Preseason games allow me to ponder to an extent though I normally don’t see a reason to cover the fourth game. That is unless we have some kind of close position battles to discuss. With that said, let’s get on to my ponderings.

Chippy Teddy?

Michael Rand of the Star Tribune recently pointed out that ESPN experts see the Vikings as being among the NFL’s best at all positions except for quarterback.

Surely Teddy will have seen or heard this in today’s media age. With his calm demeanor he’ll just shrug it off and make it a non-issue. But one has to think that deep down; he’ll go into camp with a chip on his shoulder. It will be an interesting development to see how he handles this year’s Training Camp and Preseason. The third year for a young quarterback is always the one fans and analysts expect big things from. What I’d like to see if for Teddy continue to grow as a leader and prove that he can make the needed big plays down the field.

Safety Dance

One of the biggest camp battles to watch this year is who will land the starting spot opposite of Harrison Smith. Going into camp, the Vikings have six safeties on their roster. That means the Vikings will likely cut that number down to four with one possibly ending up on the practice squad. The Vikings also have a bit of flexibility with the aging Newman. Should injuries plague this position once again, Newman could slide into the safety spot if needed.

What this team needs though is for someone to step up and claim this second safety spot and build some cohesiveness with Smith. I’m not sold on the aging Griffin or Sendejo so I’ll be watching rookie Jayron Kearse closely. He has the skills but the big knock on him during the draft was his attitude. Welcome to Zimmer’s world Kearse, attitude gone or you’re gone.

Finkle is not Walsh, Walsh is not Finkle

 Sure there were other plays in the Wildcard game against the Seahawks that attributed to the loss. A certain star running back fumbling and a defensive breakdown on 3rd and long that led to a Tarkenton-like scramble by Wilson come to mind. But it’s the final blunder that everyone remembers and it’s the one that Blair Walsh must purge from his memory.

This is a big camp for Walsh and Locke to get on the same page (laces out Jeff!). I fully expect Walsh to bounce back from this and going into US Bank Stadium, look for him to be one of the top kickers in the league this year.

Time to Turn up the Offense

More from The Viking Age

 Coach Zimmer has the Defense clicking on all cylinders so this year is critical for Norv Turner and the offense. It’s essential for Turner to open up the playbook for Bridgewater and allow him to make some bigger plays down the field. Believe it or not, the Vikings have plenty of play making receivers and McKinnon must get increased touches, especially in the passing game. Moving back indoors for the home affairs should benefit the skilled players on this offense. The offense must move up exponentially in the NFL rankings or this could be Norv Turner’s last woo-rah on the Vikings coaching staff.

Final Thoughts

 That’s all I have for now and I hope you all look forward to my post camp and post game Ponderings. There’s only so much you can break down going into camp so I’m ready to see what transpires starting next week. I usually make my way down to Mankato for family day and stay for the evening scrimmage so I’ll be sure to post some thoughts on that.

Next: Vikings game-by-game 2016 season preview

One last thing to mention is that I will be at US Bank Stadium on August 20th for the big Metallica show. Can’t express enough how excited I am to see my favorite band perform in this beautiful new stadium. It will be a nice way to get a good look before a single Vikings game even takes place. Here’s hoping Avenged Sevenfold and Metallica don’t shatter all the glass!

Till next time, SKOL Vikings!