Viking Talk

Every year for the fans, draft time is one of the best times of the year. If you’ve read my previous articles, you should know by now that I get almost as excited for draft day as I do for the opening day game. However, there are some people who strongly dislike the draft: current NFL players.

Wright
Wright

Every year for the fans, draft time is one of the best times of the year. If you’ve read my previous articles, you should know by now that I get almost as excited for draft day as I do for the opening day game. However, there are some people who strongly dislike the draft: current NFL players.

For current players, draft day means the team you have bled for might be bringing in your eventual replacement. With the average NFL player only in the league for 3.3 years according to the NFL Players Association, every guy on the roster knows his time could be up at any moment. Now that draft day and the majority of free agency is over, it’s time to take stock of the current roster. Today, I will be looking at 3 players who should be looking over their shoulders.

The first player is Cordarrelle Patterson. Cordarrelle was drafted in the first round two years ago, and after an impressive rookie season in which he was selected to the Pro Bowl as a return specialist, there were high hopes for him coming into his sophomore season. Every “players to watch” article from here to Timbuktu had Cordarrelle pegged as the next great wide receiver. Even Norv Turner proclaimed that he was already drawing up plays for number 84, just days after being named Offensive Coordinator.

All of this would leave one to believe Cordarrelle was already firmly entrenched as a starting receiver for the Vikings, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Maybe Cordarrelle enjoyed his sudden success too much, maybe he believe what all the magazines were saying, or maybe we were all looking at him through purple tinted glasses. But needless to say, number 84 disappointed last season. There were many plays he looked lost on the field, as well as many plays where he clearly wasn’t giving 100% effort.

Now this is only Cordarrelle’s third season, and he was a raw prospect coming out of college after only playing a year at the Division 1 level, so there is still reason to be optimistic about his chances. But after the Vikings traded for Mike Wallace, after the emergence of Charlie Johnson last season and after the Vikings drafted Stefon Diggs in the fifth round of this year’s draft, it’s fair to say number 84 should be looking over his shoulder.

The second player I’d like to highlight is Captain Munnerlyn. Captain was brought in last offseason to be the starter opposite Xavier Rhodes and provide Minnesota with a solid cornerback tandem. After reviewing game film and looking at Pro Football Focus, there is no doubt Captain had a down season last year.

With the passing attacks of the NFC North, the Vikings need a solid starter opposite Rhodes, and they believe they found him in the first round of the draft.

By the Vikings selecting Trae Waynes, Captain Munnerlyn is already looking over his shoulder I’m sure. But it’s not just his starting spot that he could lose. If Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes create the tandem Mike Zimmer envisions, that will leave Captain, Josh Robinson and the veteran Terence Newman to battle it out for the nickel corner position. If Captain were to lose that battle, his cap hit of 4.3 million dollars would be a lot of money for a player sitting on the bench and he very well could be cut.

The last player on this list is Matt Kalil. While the Vikings just recently picked up his fifth year option keeping him under contract for two more seasons, this year could potentially be his last in Minnesota.

Kalil had a wonderful rookie season and was seen as the franchise left tackle who would anchor the offensive line for the next decade. Unfortunately for Kalil, injuries hampered his second season and he performed significantly worse. Everyone expected Kalil to regain his rookie form last year, but it never happened.

There are reports out there that Kalil had offseason surgery on both of his knees, and if that is true it could be the reason he underperformed for the second straight year. Knowing that Kalil could be another player who is constantly injured, the Vikings went out and drafted three offensive linemen in the hopes that if Kalil doesn’t pan out, they will have his replacement waiting in the wings.

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