SHUT YOUR STUPID MOUTH. Football is back. And all your arguments are invalid.
Time with the family? Ha! Good luck, nerd. Gonna maybe catch a Twins game at the end of the season? Sure! If you want to be punched in your dumb, fat face. Maybe you'll go out on a boat and enjoy the last days of summer? Well ... Yeah, probably I guess. That's likely fine. BUT YOU BETTER GOD DAMN BE TALKING ABOUT FOOTBALL FROM NOW ON.
We have all sort of things to get into as the Minnesota Vikings open up their first day of practices at the 2013 training camp in Mankato. As camp starts, former punter Chris Kluwe has chimed in to remind us all that you need to wrap it up and play it safe while in town, but don't let that stop us from having ANY fun at all. So today we're going to get you prepped for all you need to know about the Vikings at camp this season, like what position battles to watch out for, who will be camp stand outs, and who will be the best Shirtless Viking this season. IMPORTANT THINGS.
So shun everything else in your life from here until February. Football talk is back! Hurray purpose in life!
Sex Position Battles:
The Minnesota Vikings are heading into training camp this year with a huge influx of young talent, and some potential dynamic position battles that would rival the Reverse Cowgirl or the Dirty Sanchez. We'll break down the big ones for you that you'll want to keep your brown eye on:
Quarterback: What?! We have a first round draft pick at quarterback! How can this be a Sex Position Battle?! Well, yeah, that's exactly the problem. Early indications through mini camps this spring has said newly signed QB Matt Cassel has actually looked better than Ponder in situations in practice, and ... Holy crap, dude, it's your third year. There better be a REAL huge improvement this year, especially with the new weapons around you, or it's game over. I am not joking. I mean, I'm not much of an online sports betting guy, but if I was rolling in dollar bills I would probably bet ALL THE MONIES that Ponder grades out as"average" this year. I would hope I would go broke, but I would still do it. McLeod Bethel-Thompson is a non-conversation, by the way. If he makes the team again, it'll garner a pretty impressive sigh.
Wide Receivers: Can a team trade someone like Percy Harvin and actually get better? Possibly! If you throw like $75 Million at potential number one receiver, and then use your THIRD first round draft pick on one of the better receivers in the draft. And then re-sign Jerome Simpson, move your back up quarterback to receiver, and give robot knees to a 2012 draft pick, but that's probably less important. Point being, there's a lot of difference in the receiving core from last year, and we have no idea how it's going to come together, but dammit, it COULD come together!
Linebackers: We have Chad Greenway as an outside linebacker. Thattt'sss pretty much it for linebackers. Honestly. And you wonder why people were so concerned about drafting a linebacker in the first round this last year. Well, it's because we're only looking MARGINALLY decent at the position because we had our rival team cut a perfectly decent linebacker in Desmond Bishop, who we're trying to jam into a hole somewhere. He usually plays inside, but it sounds like he'll start at the outside position, while Erin Henderson (who played outside last year) is now playing inside and ... Well, we really don't have any linebackers. And I have no idea how they'll perform or how they'll shake out. Sounds like a blast!
Cornerbacks: Let me ask you this ... Do you think you can cut Antoine Winfield from your team and then somehow get BETTER at the position? Because you can't. It's simple science. But that's what the Vikings did, and now we are left scrambling to find a guy that can fill his roll. Our favorite wife beater in Chris Cook is all of a sudden our "best" cornerback on the team - which is so god damn scary - and he'll be paired with a rookie, and something called Josh Robinson and Marcus Sherels (probably). We also have former Lion Jacob Lacey, but come on ... A former Lions cornerback? This will end well.
Predicted Training Camp Mushroom Stamp of Approval Winner:
We've had a lot of puss bag noobs visit the site recently, so we'll explain how the Mushroom Stamp of Approval works. Each game recap post we do we highlight our player of the game by awarding this Mushroom Stamp. However, when the team loses, we point out the guy that deserves the most blame (rightfully or more often wrongly accused). In this case, we're trying to point out who will be the stand-out player from training camp, the Vikings dude that is going to steal the show and get your purple boner going. Last year we picked Jerome Simpson and were totally wrong in that, clearly, so what the hell. We'll give it another chance. I think in 2013 we're going to see safety Harrison Smith emerge as a leader on the defense, largely because the other "leader" options around him use to play for division rivals or are like 19 years old. Also, Smith hits people SO HARD, which is fun, so I'm pretty confident he's going to become the white Ed Reed, which is certainly something to get excited about.
Predicted Training Camp Mushroom Stamp of Disapproval Winner:
On the flip side, what player on the team is going to disappoint, like, SUPER early? Well, that's an easy one. My expectations for Christian Ponder aren't that high this year, honestly. I'd like to see him finish with 3,500 yards, and even like 15 TDs to 11 interceptions. That shouldn't be THAT hard for a third year quarterback with the talent he's got around him, really. But there's no way he reaches that. Not a chance. We may as well just have signed TarVar Jumppass to come back and start. I think Ponder is going to struggle in camp again, and we'll continue to hear reports of him doing one cool thing (Oooo! A deep pass to Jerome Simpson! Something that will never happen in the season!) followed by two stupid things (stared down a receiver and threw a pick six to Marcus Sherels? WHHHYY??!). Which is quite depressing. I wish we had a quarterback on this team, for F's sake.
Most Attractive Shirtless Man Award:
The Vikings suffered a major blow to their Shirtless Vikings roster this offseason, as they dumped (in some form or another) both Chris Kluwe and Percy Harvin. THOSE IMBECILES!! It's like they don't even WANT to have sexy shirtless men prancing around the field any more. It's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Without those two, we're left with fewer options, but there's still a competition. Rookie Sharrif Floyd has shown a propensity to share his chest with his Instagram followers, and he may be a Shirtless Sleeper at camp this season. Greg Child's may perform better (by that, I mean not break all his legs) and hold on to the Shirtless title as he almost did last year, but I'm uncertain about his longevity with the team this year. If I had to call it for anyone, I'd say Xavier Rhodes will be the silent winner this year. Coming from Florida, he's probably use to losing his shirt when it gets hot out and won't even think twice about it. Until he sees Vikings bros fainting in the stands, then he'll know what kind of sex he's wrought on this state. Hoo-rah!
Training Camp Beer of the Year:
During last season I typically offered SLASH reviewed a scotch every week of the year. I may jump back into that during the game time, but it is so unbelievably hot out all the time during the summer that it makes my forehead perspire while I'm sitting doing nothing. That makes it hard to drink scotch, honestly. Instead, I'm going to suggest you grab a sweet sixer, bro, of Summit's Summer Ale. I've been drinking more beer recently
because I'm an alcoholic for some unknown reason, and I've found that Summit Brewery has bounced back nicely after several years of remaining pretty static with their brews. I've always thought of their EPA as the standard go-to, but it got boring after a while. This Summer Ale is a nicer sipping option though, so it comes recommended from me. Which is a worthless recommendation, but that's just something you'll have to deal with.
Irresponsible 54 Man Roster Prediction:
Has anyone's 53 man roster prediction ever been correct? I'd say no. Last year I thought we'd cut the dead weight of Bethel-Thompson, but we ended up keeping him and cutting Sage Rosenfels, who actually looked good during last preseason and who probably could have won us a game in Lambeau during the playoffs. Teams are dumb sometimes. But I guess we all do what we think will get us to the Super Bowl. And who will get us to that Super Bowl this year?! ... Well, not these guys, but they'll sure try their damndest as the 2013 Minnesota Vikings:
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I'm not too worried about the LBs. Bishop and Hendy should switch spots, and Mauti and Hodges could be awesome soon.
I hope Childs plays.
Harrison Smith is a good looking dude. If I don't win the Ponder jersey from PJD (but I WILL, won't I?), I may have to get a Smith jersey. Dang.
@peterandkelsey Mauti has no legs. I'd call that a concern. Bishop is nice a 3-4 defense, but how does he do in a 4-3 cover? Unknowns there, and a spot where we really need some good production, otherwise NFC North QBs will dink and dunk their way down the field on us all day long.
@PJD @peterandkelsey Good point about Mauti, sure, but I'm not expecting much from him this year. I just like that he's not on the PUP. Bishop has lots of experience in 4-3 defenses - I don't get that concern.
My main beef with the LBs is that they're largely a run-stopping unit even though the team needs more speed there for coverage.
@peterandkelsey That's probably a more accurate way of describing what my concerns are, referencing the speed problem. And it's exacerbated especially in our defensive scheme.
Which is also why I'm super happy we didn't draft Manti Te'o, actually.