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Grading the Vikings Signing of Ronnie Hillman

With the news that Adrian Peterson is likely done for the season the Vikings went out and brought in Ronnie Hillman.  It’s not the most exciting option out there but Hillman has flashed plenty of potential in his years with the Broncos.  He’s an excellent receiver out of the backfield, and has great top end speed.  The biggest knock on Hillman is his tendency to drop the rock on the turf from time to time.  He will be the third option in the Vikings RB rotation, and gives them some veteran experience off the bench, as opposed to bringing up an unproven guy like CJ Ham.

GRADE – C

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Vikings Who Need to Step Up in 2016 | #1 Sam Bradford

#1 | Sam Bradford

You can argue whether or not Bradford was worth the compensation the Vikings gave up to acquire him, but we won’t do that here.  He is now going to be the starting quarterback of the Vikings, but that may not happen until week 2.  Either way, Bradford’s play will have a tremendous influence on whether or not the Vikings are a playoff team this upcoming season.

Why Bradford’s Performance is so Important

Bradford was brought in because the Vikings front office believe he is a much better option at quarterback than Shaun Hill.  If he can pick up the playbook quickly, and play in the system without turning the ball over, the Vikings offense should run just as smoothly as if Teddy Bridgewater was under center running it himself.  If the offense can be effective and efficient, the Vikings have a team that is poised to make a very deep run in the playoffs.

Best Case
Bradford stays healthy all season long, and plays smart football.  He adapts well to the system, doesn’t turn over the ball too much, and the Vikings offense becomes very productive.  With an already stellar defense in tow, the Vikings go all the way and win the Super Bowl.

Worst Case
Bradford struggles for a few weeks and then gets hurt again.  The Vikings offense sputters under Shaun Hill, and despite it’s best efforts, the defense can’t carry the team to more than 5 wins.  The Vikings end up giving the Eagles a top ten pick, and Spielman and the entire Vikings Nation look like idiots for making the deal.

#10 – Charles Johnson
#9 – “Other Safety”
#8 – Matt Kalil
#7 – Laquon Treadwell
# 6 – Joe Berger
# 5 – Jeff Locke
#4 – Andre Smith
#3 – Blair Walsh
#2 – Trae Waynes

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Predicting the 2016 NFL All-Rookie Team

Always fun to predict the All-Rookie team before the season has even began. This year is a little different from years past, we see a handful of mid rounders make the list, guys like Prescott/Sharpe on the offensive side of the ball, along with Washington/Martinez on the defensive side of the ball. Be sure to rip us apart if you don’t see your teams favorite rookie on the team and check back mid-season to see how we did.

OFFENSE

Quarterback

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

With Romo injured, Prescott steps in week 1 and becomes the starter. Prescott lit up opposing defenses in the preseason but look for him to come back to earth …. quickly. While he will be sure to continue to show flashes, I expect some growing pains early and often. That said, he has a legit shot at being the best rookie quarterback on the field come 2016.

Running Back

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

With talent like the guys listed above these 2 choices were actually pretty easy. Elliot will be looked at to carry the load in Dally, and Henry will get plenty of carries himself while splitting time with Demarco Murray in Tennessee. Look for these guys to be 1 and 2 when it comes to rookie rushing yards at the end of the season.

Wide Receiver

Sterling Shepard, New York Giants
Tajae Sharpe, Tennessee Titans

No Coleman or Treadwell on this list ….. Shepard and Sharpe are set to start week 1 and will no doubt see a handful of balls thrown their way in their rookie campaign. It isn’t complete silly talk to see both of these guys top the 60+ receptions and possibly crack the 1,000 yard mark.

Tight End

Hunter Henry, San Diego Chargers

Henry enters a pretty great situation …. not only does he get to play with a gun slinging quarterback in Rivers but Henry gets to learn and play with one of the best tight ends to ever play the game.

Offensive Tackle

Ronnie Stanley, Baltimore Ravens
Jack Conklin, Tennessee Titans

I would be damn near flabbergasted if these two aren’t on the All-Rookie team at the end of the season. B0th will be stepping in as day 1 starters and have gotten rave reviews throughout the preseason. Not only will these be the best 2 offensive tackle rookies, but they cold be some of the best tackles period in only a handful of years.

Guard

Laremy Tunsil, Miami Dolphins
Germain Ifedi, Seattle Seahawks

Tunsil slides over to left guard as a rookie but that move should only be temporary, but while he is there, look for him to be dominant. Ifedi will be on the right side of the Seahawks line helping pave the way for the plethora of young backs that will be carrying the ball for Seattle.

Center

Ryan Kelly, Indianapolis Colts

The Colts finally get their center, and he is a dandy. Kelly should help add some much needed relief to the Colts offensive line and has the chance to be one of the best young centers during his rookie season in Indy.

DEFENSE

Defensive End

DeForest Buckner, San Francisco 49ers
Emmanuel Ogbah, Cleveland Browns

Buckner steps in day one for the 9ers and is instantly one of their best overall defenders. While Ogbah will most likely find his home at linebacker, I couldn’t resist putting the pass rusher at defensive end.

Defensive Tackle

Jarran Reed, Seattle Seahawks
Adophus Washington, Buffalo Bills

While I don’t see either of these guys putting up eye popping numbers during their rookie season, I do see them both holding down the starting spot for 16 games and instantly improving each of their defensive lines. Reed has the big body that Seattle has lacked in the middle for years and Washington is more of a threat to get his hands on the quarterback and put up a few sacks for the Bills in 2016.

Linebacker 

Blake Martinez, Green Bay Packers
Leonard Floyd, Chicago Bears
Deion Jones, Atlanta Falcons

Out of these 3 only Martinez is penciled in as a starter right now, but don’t be surprised to see the other two on the field quite a bit in 2016. Floyd will be looked at to get to the quarterback while he refines the rest of his game and Jones has been turning heads in Atlanta to the point he might unseat current starter Paul Worrilow.

Cornerback

Vernon Hargreaves, Tampa Bay Bucs
James Bradberry, Carolina Panthers

First rounder Hargreaves has already proven he can sniff out the ball in the NFL notching 2 INTs this preseason. While Bradberry joins an already solid defensive unit in Carolina, the 2nd round pick from Samford already has himself a starting spot and will be a fun one to watch.

Safety

TJ Green, Indianapolis Colts
Karl Joseph, Oakland Raiders

I gotta be honest, I was mildly shocked at how high both these guys went on draft day. That said, they are the best of the bunch and both are holding down starting spots. Green steps in day 1 to help improve a Colts D while Joseph joins an up and coming defense in Oakland.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker

Roberto Aguayo, Tampa Bay

Had a shaky preseason …. but something tells me he will be just fine and might even prove he was worth that 2nd round pick.

Punter

Drew Kaser, San Diego Chargers

Loved this guy leading up to the draft, his big leg will wow Chargers fans.

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