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Vikings Gab 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Penn State RB Saquon Barkley

Saquon Barkley is a dynamic player who some have going as early as #1 to the Browns in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft. Today we give you a look at what this big-time player has to offer wherever he ends up in the draft.

NFL.com Scouting Report by Daniel Jeremiah

What I liked: I’ll do my best to condense my thoughts here. I pretty much like everything about Barkley’s game. He has patience, vision and power as an inside runner. He can step through tackles or drop his shoulder and run through them. He is very quick laterally to avoid defenders in the hole. He has an excellent burst to the perimeter on outside runs. Once he gets the corner, he’s elusive in space and has the speed to go the distance.

He’s very dependable in pass protection. He’s assignment aware and does a nice job squaring up blitzing linebackers to stall their charge. He also has very strong, reliable hands. He can pluck the ball away from his frame and he’s explosive after the catch. He gets rave reviews from teammates and coaches for his tireless work ethic. His weight-room accomplishments have been well noted this offseason.

Where he needs to improve: There aren’t many areas where Barkley needs to improve. There have been a few occasions where he gets “bounce happy” instead of staying inside and taking a 2-3 yard gain. He has some negative plays as a result of his eagerness to hit the homerun. I’d love to see him used in a more diverse way in the passing game. He has the ability to split out and run routes like a receiver, but his opportunities were limited last year. Hopefully that will change this fall.

Biggest takeaway: Barkley is everything you’d want in a modern-day running back. He can run with power, generate explosive runs and contribute on passing downs. As a player, he reminds me a lot of Ezekiel Elliott coming out of Ohio State. I thought Elliott was one of the best pass-protecting college running backs I’d ever evaluated and Barkley is right on that level. Both guys have that ideal blend of size/speed and they are very instinctive football players.

Walter Football’s Take on Barkely going #1 to the Browns

Another Scouting Report on Barkley:

Strengths

Everything? Yeah, just about everything. Before we even get to his game, it’s worth noting that everyone who knows Barkley describes him as high character guy, including current Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead, describing him as “Smart, humble. He’s the rare guy whose humble attitude supersedes his talent.” On the field he is a powerful and explosive runner between the tackles, showing great vision on cut backs and the ability to run through someone if needed. He also has the ability to get outside on sweep plays and is extremely elusive in space. He has good hands and really improved his receiving game in 2017, contributing 54 catches. Add in that he is a great pass protector, something that can keep rookies off the field, and you are looking at one of the most complete running backs to ever enter the draft. Bonus: want to see someone power clean almost twice their body weight?
Weaknesses

There are basically no holes in Barkley’s game. He can get a bit indecisive in the hole at times and try to make too much happen, but those tendencies are due to him being better than everyone on the field. With his graduation to the NFL, I expect those bad habits to go away. He has a little room to improve on his pass catching as he dropped a couple easy balls over the year, but these critiques are splitting hairs.
Grade: A+

Saquon Barkley is a generational type running back. He’s an athletic specimen with a well-rounded game that will make an instant impact for an NFL team. How well he does immediately in the pros will be much more a function of where he lands than his skill set, he can do it all.

Albert Breer for SI saying that ‘Barkley is the Future of the NFL’

The Titans, built sturdy and tough up front, rushed for 195 yards on the vaunted Seahawks defense on Sunday. The Ravens spent the last two offseason getting younger and quicker on defense, and that group kept the Bengals and Browns out of the end zone in Weeks 1 and 2. Then in London, a Jaguars offense reworked this offseason with size in mind ran for 166 yards on them.

This is how the NFL works. Teams spent the last decade building around quarterbacks and receivers, and defenses are now stocked with 220-pound linebackers and 250-pound pass rushers. And now we’re getting the zig to that zag—personnel czars like Jacksonville’s Tom Coughlin and Tennessee’s Jon Robinson capitalized by building jackhammer offenses to run at those defenses, while creating better environments for their young QBs.

“That’s been going on since the 1970s,” said one NFC personnel exec. “It’s not a new trend, it’s the same cycle. New people rise in the football world, history repeats itself.”

Vikings Hire Eagles QB Coach John DeFilippo as New Offensive Coordinator

The Vikings are hiring Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, who interviewed with Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer in Philadelphia following the Eagles’ Super Bowl parade on Thursday, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.

DeFilippo, who was the Browns offensive coordinator under Mike Pettine in 2015, was the Eagles QB coach the past two seasons, where he worked with Carson Wentz during his first two years in the league and helped the North Dakota State product become an MVP candidate in 2017.

DeFilippo, 39, beat out Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski, who was thought to be the team’s other leading candidate to replace Pat Shurmur. Stefanski, who has been with the Vikings since 2006, could now follow Shurmur to New York to become the Giants’ next offensive coordinator. If the Vikings allow Stefanski to leave, DeFilippo would likely need to find a quarterbacks coach — one of several significant decisions he would need to make at the position.

Former Vikings WR Randy Moss Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018

When the Minnesota Vikings drafted Randy Moss in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft, no one could have possibly seen even using bet365 canada the star that the former Marshall wide out was about to become.

He was like no other receiver the game had ever seen, making plays no one could have felt possible, and Saturday night he was bestowed with the highest honor of the game, going into the Hall of Fame the first time on the ballot.

Arguably the most talented wide receiver in NFL history, Moss has a fascinating career path. Drafted by the Vikings in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft, Moss fell to 21st overall because of character concerns (he left Florida State and finished college at Marshall). He exploded on the scene, leading the NFL in touchdowns as a rookie (17) while catching 69 passes for 1,313 yards.

Partnering with Cris Carter for several years, Moss would become the most lethal deep threat in the NFL; a highlight reel of his catches over 40 yards lasts more than nine minutes. But things weren’t always smooth sailing for Moss: he drew criticism for his behavior on the field, including a fake mooning of Packers fans at Lambeau Field that brought out the classic “disgusting act” line from Joe Buck on the broadcast.

Moss was traded to the Oakland Raiders during the 2005 offseason and it looked like his career might be winding down. Moss topped 1,000 receiving yards his first year with the Silver and Black but clearly wasn’t happy and later said he didn’t care as much when he wasn’t in a good mood. Moss would be traded to the Patriots before the 2007 season and he exploded in a historical season, catching 98 passes for 1,493 yards and an absurd 23 touchdowns.

Moss in his eight years with the Vikings had 9316 yards on 587 catches, and 92 touchdowns. He ranks fourth in receiving yards (15,292), 15th in receptions (982) and second in receiving touchdowns (156).

Joining Moss in the class of 2018 are Brian Urlacher, Terrell Owens, Brian Dawkins, and Ray Lewis, plus senior selections Robert Brazile and Jerry Kramer, and contributor Bobby Beathard.

The ceremony for Moss and the class of 2018 will take place on Saturday, August 4th in Canton, Ohio.

Future on if Teddy Bridgewater is a Free Agent or Not Might Be Up to the NFL

If Teddy Bridgewater’s contract is tolled for the 2018 season, it won’t be a decision that’s made by the Vikings, Courtney Cronin of ESPN reports.

According to general manager Rick Spielman, Bridgewater is “technically ready to become a free agent,” but there remains the prospect that the Vikings quarterback could have his contract tolled for next season, meaning he would play for the same $1.354 million he earned in 2017, because of the time he spent on the physically unable to perform list for the first six weeks of the season during the last year of his rookie contract.

Spielman did not detail how a decision to toll Bridgewater’s contract would ultimately be made or whether the Vikings would have to make a request to the NFL to take action.

“If it goes into that area, it’s not a Minnesota Viking [decision] — that’s an NFL and player union that will have to decide that area,” Spielman said.

However, if it does get to that point, the NFLPA likely would file a grievance against the NFL and fight the decision in court.

The issue stems from whether Bridgewater was medically cleared to play prior to Week 6. The quarterback dislocated his left knee and tore multiple ligaments, including the ACL, during a noncontact drill in preseason practice on Aug. 30, 2016. He spent nearly 14 months rehabilitating the injury before he was cleared to resume practicing in October.

Bridgewater started the season on the PUP list, which he had to stay on for the first six weeks before being cleared to play. The quarterback was medically cleared to return to practice on Oct. 16, 2017, but has said he felt he could have returned sooner.

“Honestly, I probably could have practiced a while ago, but we wanted to be smart about everything,” Bridgewater said ahead of Week 7. “I probably wasn’t ready to be around moving guys and things like that, so using those six weeks just helped me with different drills and things like that, that apply to practice, that apply to the games.”

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, who clarified that the matter stems from language in the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, said he was unsure how the players’ union would become aware of the prospect of Bridgewater’s contract tolling.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” Smith said. “I don’t know whether it comes from the club or from the league. So, I’m not going to speculate.”

Vikings Want to Talk to Eagles OC John DeFilippo About Coming to Minnesota

The Vikings’ search for a new offensive coordinator will extend at least one more week, according to General Manager Rick Spielman, who wants to interview “maybe one or two” more candidates, Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.

They want to interview Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo after Philadelphia plays in Sunday’s Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium, a league source told the Star Tribune. However, the same source believes DeFilippo is leaning toward staying in Philadelphia.

Complicating the hire is the Vikings’ uncertainty at quarterback. Last season the Vikings had the 10th-ranked scoring offense under Pat Shurmur, now the coach of the New York Giants.

“Whoever the offensive coordinator is, part of the process is do you blow it up and start from a whole new system?” Spielman said. “Or do you continue to build on what we’ve built over the past year and a half? So those are the decisions Coach Zim will have to make.”

Vikings LB Anthony Barr Wants to Stay in Minnesota

Anthony Barr has made three straight Pro Bowls for the Vikings, and he has no desire to play for another team, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

The linebacker said Tuesday he is hopeful of signing a long-term contract extension with Minnesota this offseason.

“Yeah, I love it here,’’ Barr said. “Absolutely. I really love my teammates. I really love this team. I love the city. I could see myself being here for the future.’’

Barr will make $12.306 million in 2018, the final year on his five-year rookie deal. The Vikings are expected to attempt by the start of training camp in late July to lock him up to a long-term extension.

Barr didn’t want to speculate on what sort of deal the Vikings would need to offer for him to sign. He said that will be in the hands of his agent.

“I don’t really worry about that kind of stuff,’’ he said. “Money comes and goes, so I’ll be happy just to be secure.’’

Vikings Team Owner Zygi Wilf Says Fans Should Be Optimistic Despite NFC Title Game Loss

Vikings team owner Zygi Wilf said Monday that despite the NFC Championship loss to Philadelphia, fans should stay optimistic regarding the state of their franchise, Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com reports.

“We’ve been in the business for 13 years and we have our ups and downs,” Wilf said, per the Star Tribune. “Sure, it’s a couple days but afterward you look at the future and you realize that we’re at the top of the game and we’ll be knocking at the door many times.”

Wilf added that the Vikings are expected to make few changes to the coaching staff that pulled off a 13-win season in 2017, despite losing their starting quarterback (Sam Bradford) and running back (Dalvin Cook) in the early goings. Wilf said Minnesota will “just continue what we’re doing with the people we’re doing it with, and we’ll get there.”

“There” is the ever-elusive Super Bowl, in which Minnesota has not played in 41 years despite making six conference championship games since its last berth. In a season riddled by injuries to big names in the NFC (Aaron Rodgers, Odell Beckham, Carson Wentz) and characterized by an upheaval of the previous order, the Vikings had a great opportunity, perhaps their best since 1998, to finally break whatever curse has cast them into football purgatory.

But the title game loss flipped that narrative on its head, and now Minnesota enters 2018 with nagging questions at the game’s most important position, where all three of its quarterbacks are slated to enter free agency.

Saints Assistant HC/TE Coach Dan Campbell to Talk to Vikings About OC Job

The Vikings continue their search for an offensive coordinator, and another name has popped up on the list, that being New Orleans Saints assistant head coach/tight end coach Dan Campbell.

As the tweet says, Campbell has a relationship with Mike Zimmer after playing in Dallas while Zimmer was the defensive coordinator for Big D.

Vikings to Chat with Former Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell About Vacant Coordinator Spot

The Vikings will speak with former Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell about their vacant offensive coordinator position later this week.

Bevell previously served as the Vikings offensive coordinator under Brad Childress from 2006-2010.

“Vikings will speak with Darrell Bevell about their vacant offensive coordinator position later this week,” CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora tweeted Tuesday evening.

He has also had recent interviews with both the Atlanta Falcons and the Arizona Cardinals.

He was fired by the Seahawks a few weeks ago.

Teddy Bridgewater Says He Sees Himself as a Starting QB In 2018

Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater says he “definitely” sees himself as a starter in 2018 according to Dane Mizutani of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press.

The Vikings have big decisions to make at quarterback with all three of Bridgewater, Case Keenum, and Sam Bradford headed to free agency. Considering that the team activated the oft-injured Bradford from injured reserve for the playoffs and then made Bridgewater a healthy scratch, it does not appear that they see Bridgewater as their future behind center. The best-case scenario for the Viking would probably be to re-sign either Keenum or Bradford (Bradford has more talent but Keenum is more durable) as their 2018 starter and then sign Teddy as the back-up. It is clear, however, that the 25-year-old Bridgewater wants a chance to start somewhere and would not settle for a backup role unless he has no other alternative.

So how are teams supposed to evaluate a QB who has only attempted two passes since 2015 due to a devastating knee injury? Bridgewater has a first-round pedigree, great leadership skills, and was the undisputed starter for this team until he suffered that injury during the 2016 preseason. He has shown amazing grit and determination to make it back from an injury that many pundits believed would end his NFL career-but is he all the way back and can he ever be? Plus Bridgewater showed a lot of promise in those first two seasons but his stats were not spectacular. The market for Bridgewater (and Keenum and Bradford) will be one of the most interesting things to watch this offseason.