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EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings have had four punters in the past four seasons, so it’s understandable they want some stability at that position. And it looks now as if that will happen.

Cheap Britton Colquitt Jersey, an impending free agent who had a strong 2019 season, anticipates committing to re-sign with the Vikings before other teams can make offers on Monday.

“We, my agent and my family, we believe in the Vikings,” Colquitt said in a phone interview. “They’ve made it clear, we believe, they want to make a deal before free agency.”

Colquitt said his agent, Paul Sheehy, has proposed a three-year contract, with two years guaranteed, and the Vikings are on board with the proposal. Sheehy wrote in an email Wednesday that nothing has been finalized. Colquitt and Sheehy did not provide any figures, but the proposed deal is believed to average between $2 million and $3 million per season.

“My agent came up with a deal that is not outlandish and crazy, but it also puts me in a category of what we feel like I’ve earned,” said Colquitt, 34, a 10-year veteran. “(The Vikings) haven’t given us an offer. They’ve just accepted the proposal and said, ‘You know, we think that’s a fair deal. We just have to figure out where we can make some space.’ ”

The Vikings have little salary-cap room, so they might need to create some to lock up Colquitt by Monday, when NFL teams can begin negotiating with representatives of free agents. Free agents can sign deals with other teams starting Wednesday.

Colquitt is eligible now to re-sign. He said the Vikings want to hold off on a move until they see how voting goes for a possible new collective bargaining agreement. Voting by players concludes Saturday, and a new CBA would affect the salary cap for 2020.

“Most organizations would agree they don’t want to have to worry about the punter and holder position, so if I’m bringing that stability, let’s do it,” said Colquitt, also the holder for kicker Dan Bailey. “I think we’re all on the same page and we want it to happen. If there wasn’t this tight cap, I think (re-signing) already would have been done.”

Sheehy wrote in an email that negotiations are ongoing.

“While there is clearly a mutual interest in getting a deal done, nothing has been agreed to by either side,” he wrote. “We’ve had very positive discussions and the hope is it might lead to a contract, but it is certainly premature to say anything at all has been agreed upon.”

Before Colquitt became the Vikings’ punter in 2019, the team had three in three seasons: Jeff Locke in 2016, Ryan Quigley in 2017 and Matt Wile in 2018. Colquitt has been by far the best of the lot.

Colquitt averaged 45.2 yards gross and 42.6 net per punt, and was rated the NFL’s third-best punter by Pro Football Focus. He played for the minimum salary of $930,000 after being cut at the end of the preseason by the Cleveland Browns.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was critical of Wile as a holder in 2018, when Bailey made 21 of 28 field-goal attempts. With Colquitt holding, Bailey made 27 of 29 attempts last season.

“He kind of helped turn the career around for Bailey, the placekicker,” said Colquitt’s father, Craig, a punter for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1978-84. “And I think he contributed well as a punter.”

The Colquitts dub themselves “The First Family of Fourth Down.” Craig won Super Bowls with the Steelers in 1978 and 1979 and Britton claimed one with Denver in 2015. The family added a fourth ring last month when Britton’s brother, punter Dustin Colquitt, won a Super Bowl with Kansas City.

“It’s kind of beyond your wildest dreams,” Britton said of the family’s rings. “We really wanted it for Dustin. Our dad can’t quit talking about it.”

Britton was among 15 family members who attended the Chiefs’ 31-20 victory over San Francisco in Super Bowl LIV in Miami. Three weeks earlier, the Vikings lost 27-10 to the 49ers in a divisional playoff.

“I was doing the tomahawk chop, and I was like the biggest Chiefs fan you’ve ever seen,” Britton said. “I was getting into it with San Francisco fans. Nothing bad. Just standard bantering back and forth. … When (the Chiefs) got a first down, I was going down a few rows and giving the first-down symbol. And (wife) Nikki is like, ‘You’ve got to chill out. You’re going to get in a fight with one of those 49ers fans.’ ”

No skirmishes took place. And now Dustin won’t receive any more family ribbing about not having a ring.

“It means he can relax,” Craig said with a laugh. “I hear his ring’s going to be even bigger than Britton’s. But they’ve still got to get another one (to catch me). How cool would that be if they have a repeat in Kansas City or have that happen in Minnesota?”

Britton hopes to get a ring with the Vikings. Britton, who has four children, said the family already is thinking it could be his final NFL stop.

“We’d love to stay in Minnesota and make it our home for a little while and maybe even ride out in a purple-and-gold sunset,” he said.

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With the NFL Scouting Combine in the rearview mirror, 2020 free agency is just around the corner. That period will officially begin at 3 p.m. (CT) on March 18 when the new league year begins.

Throughout the week, Eric Smith, Lindsey Young and I will continue diving into Minnesota’s current roster status by position. We’ll offer a refresher on which Vikings are scheduled to become free agents, where potential needs might be and note players from other teams that are set to become free agents.

Up next? The cornerbacks …

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2019 Stats (tackles are team stats)

Boyd: 16 games; 12 tackles (11 solo), 2 tackles for loss, 1 pass breakup; team-high 11 special teams tackles

Fields: 1 game; no stats

Hall: spent part of 2019 on Chargers practice squad

Hill: 8 games (1 start); 12 tackles, 1 pass breakup; 3 special teams tackles

Hughes: 14 games (3 starts); 43 tackles (39 solo), 1 tackle for loss, 1 interception, 11 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles; 2 special teams tackles; 7.4 yards per punt return

Meadors: 2 games; 2 tackles

Rhodes: 15 games (15 starts); 63 tackles (54 solo), 4 tackles for loss, 8 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble

Sayles (with CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers): 18 games, 64 tackles, 3 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries; returned a punt he blocked 9 yards for a touchdown on Aug. 15 and a fumble he forced 24 yards for a score on Oct. 19

Hughes has shown considerable potential but has also suffered tough luck. A torn ACL ended Hughes’ promising rookie season and forced a grueling rehab a year ago, and an injury that he sustained in Week 17 landed him on injured reserve before the playoffs. Rhodes is not far from being named an All-Pro by the Associated Press, but his 2019 campaign was a departure from that level, causing many to speculate on his 2020 status. Hill’s second season was stunted by a pair of four-game suspensions out of the gate. Boyd, Hill’s former college teammate at Texas, showed promise in his rookie season. Fields, Hall, Meadors and Sayles will try to make the most of their opportunities this offseason to impress new position coaches.

SCHEDULED TO BECOME FREE AGENTS:

Mackensie Alexander:

A second-round pick in 2016, Alexander is at the end of his rookie contract. He transitioned from playing on the outside at Clemson to eventually embracing the top nickel cornerback position for the Vikings, making 10 starts the past two seasons. He’s totaled 84 of his 109 career tackles and all 4.5 of his career sacks, as well as 16 of 26 passes defensed since 2018. Alexander missed three games in the 2019 regular season and both of Minnesota’s playoff games because of injuries.

Marcus Sherels:

Known more for his punt returning prowess, the reserve cornerback didn’t record any defensive stats in 2019. The season was a weird one for Sherels, to say the least. After spending the rest of the decade with the Vikings, he signed with the Saints in free agency. Sherels never played for New Orleans, who cut him on Sept. 1. Three weeks later, Sherels re-signed with Minnesota, but he was cut Oct. 22 and joined Miami. After five games with the Dolphins, he was waived in mid-December. The Vikings re-re-signed him on Jan. 3, 2020. Sherels played against the Saints in the Wild Card round. He uncharacteristically struggled the following week, committing two fumbles (one lost) on punt returns at San Francisco.

Trae Waynes:

The 11th overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, Waynes has started 53 of 74 regular-season games for the Vikings, including all 44 he’s played the past three seasons. The Vikings were able to use a club option on the first-round selection to make his rookie contract last five seasons, but it is now set to expire. Waynes has totaled 251 tackles, 1.0 sack, nine tackles for loss, seven interceptions, 51 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

POTENTIAL NEED:

The cornerback position could experience significant changes this offseason. Numerous draft pundits project that the Vikings will invest their first-round selection in a corner to help fill potential voids. With several years of experience logged, Minnesota knows exactly what it has in cornerbacks that are set to become free agents, compared to those that might hit the market on other teams. The position is important in Head Coach Mike Zimmer’s defense, both in pass coverage and run support. Alligator-arming a tackle, for instance, is highly discouraged.

The Vikings needs could involve a starter on the outside (if Waynes leaves), a virtual starter in the slot (if Alexander, who played more than 500 snaps in each of the past two seasons, departs) or both. Hughes has logged experience at both positions over the course of his first two seasons.

WHO’S POTENTIALLY OUT THERE:

NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal and Chris Wesseling teamed up again this year to rate their top 101 potential free agents.

The following cornerbacks are listed in order of their overall rankings, along with their 2019 teams: 8. Byron Jones (DAL), 24. Chris Harris, Jr. (DEN), 37. James Bradberry (CAR), 49. Logan Ryan (TEN), 50. Kendall Fuller (KC), 56. Trae Waynes (MIN), 58. Bradley Roby (HOU), 68. Darqueze Dennard (CIN), 70. Eli Apple (NO), 72. Ronald Darby (PHI), 83. Jimmy Smith (BAL), 90. Bashaud Breeland (KC), 91. Prince Amukamara (CHI), 92. Jalen Mills (PHI) and 96. Daryl Worley (OAK)

Other cornerbacks set to become free agents that didn’t crack the top 101 are as follows (listed in order of 2019 team): Blidi Wreh-Wilson (ATL), Levi Wallaceand Kevin Johnson (BUF), Ross Cockrell and Javien Elliott (CAR), Anthony Brown (DAL), Davontae Harris (DEN), Rashaan Melvin (DET), Tramon Williams and Chandon Sullivan* (GB), Johnathan Joseph (HOU), Morris Claiborne (KC), Michael Davis (LAC), Aqib Talib (MIA), P.J. Williams (NO), Grant Haley (NYG), Maurice Canady, Brian Poole and Arthur Maulet* (NYJ), Artie Burns and Mike Hilton* (PIT), Jason Verrett (SF), Akeem King (SEA), Tramaine Brock and LeShaun Sims (TEN), Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Aaron Colvin (WAS)

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There’s a bevy of regular-season and Super Bowl experience set to hit the market among players in the top 101 and those that didn’t crack the list. Nine of the 14 players in the top 101 have been part of at least one team that has claimed a Lombardi Trophy. Ryan was part of two Super Bowl wins in New England.

Several names in the “others” category also will ring a bell for many Vikings fans. Tramon Williams, who will turn 37 on March 16, has appeared in 199 games, including 159 with Green Bay, and recorded 34 interceptions. Johnathan Joseph, who will turn 36 in April, has played in 200 games, totaling 31 career interceptions.

Brock, a former Golden Gopher, played 11 games for the Vikings in 2017 and has started 56 of his 117 appearances.

Talib, 34, is a five-time Pro Bowler who was part of Denver’s win in Super Bowl 50. He has started 134 of 148 games and has 35 career interceptions. Rodgers-Cromartie will be 34 in April. He has recorded 30 picks and made two Pro Bowls.

Experience can come at a high premium during free agency, and the Vikings placement against the salary cap is well-documented.

If the Vikings don’t replace a departure with a veteran through free agency, it could mean they believe a young player is ready for the next step or the team likes the look of a draft-eligible player, which would allow them to allocate financials elsewhere.

Cheap Nike Elite Minnesota Vikings Irv Smith Jr. Jersey 2019

EAGAN, Minn. — Irv Smith Jr. has caught his first passes in Vikings Purple.

The 2019 second-round pick participated on Friday in the first walk-through session and practice of the Vikings three-day rookie minicamp.

He made a nice adjustment on a corner route and spent a considerable amount of time in blocking drills, which was perfectly fine with him.

“I’m definitely a versatile tight end,” Smith told the media between the walk-through session and practice. “I feel like I can do all of the things a tight end needs to do well. In-line, be in the backfield, split end, out wide. I feel like I can bring all of those aspects to the team.”

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He later added: “I don’t want to be classified as a receiving tight end. I want to be classified as a complete tight end.”

Smith did plenty at Alabama, moving to different places in formations, making blocks for a potent rush attack and creating big plays through the air.

He finished his three-year career with 58 receptions for 838 yards and 10 touchdowns in 38 games. Of those receptions, 33 gained a first down or scored a touchdown.

In his final campaign with the Crimson Tide, the 6-foot-2, 237-pounder caught 44 receptions for 710 yards (16.1 yards per reception) and seven touchdowns in 15 games. Smith was named to the All-SEC Second Team by coaches last season after 28 of his receptions went for a first down or scored a touchdown and 11 catches gained 20 or more yards.

“I definitely feel like I made improvements each year, from my freshman year to sophomore year to junior year,” Smith said. “I definitely feel like I’m going to make more improvements this year.”

 

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said during his media session that it is good to start working with the rookies, even if it was in a limited capacity.

“You always like to see them with your own eyes,” Zimmer said. “I know we had someone down at the Alabama workout, but I wasn’t there.”

Smith is the youngest player selected in this year’s draft (he’ll turn 21 in August), but he didn’t seem wide-eyed the day after signing his first pro contract.

He can credit the experiences of his father, a first-round pick by the Saints in 1993, and his time at Alabama for helping him ready for this dream-come-true moment.

“Coach [Nick] Saban, his philosophy is not only preparing us for football but for life,” Smith said. “Just coming here now and being here, he definitely prepared us. You know there’s definitely going to be a difference, but I feel like it’s the closest thing to NFL.”

The New Orleans native was asked to compare his emotions between Friday and when he first arrived on campus in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

“Coming in as a freshman in college, you’re moving into a dorm,” Smith said. “I was 17 years old; you have a lot of maturing to do, so I feel like I matured a lot through that process, and my family, my team and my coaches at Alabama helped me prepare for this moment.”

Smith, who was born Aug. 9, 1998 (the day of Minnesota’s first preseason game of the season, a 28-0 victory at New England), said he has a personal reason for why he’s excited to wear the No. 84 donned by 1998 Rookie of the Year (and future Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver) Randy Moss.

“Well, it’s funny because I wore 82 in college, and my dad wore 82 in the league,” Smith said. “He wore 84 in college, so I felt like it would be cool to switch it up a bit.”

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After bringing a wooden statue of a hawk into the Minnesota Vikings locker room that has acquired all sorts of nicknames from the players and has worn many hats and t-shirts, safety Andrew Sendejo put a holiday touch in the locker room.

Sendejo has been at the heart of several measures to keep the locker room light-hearted, including a printout of the many faces of former QB Shaun Hill, but this time Sendejo came in on his day off to set up a Christmas display in two adjacent, empty lockers.

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“We can always depend on Dejo doing something like that. Every holiday, Dejo’s doing something, so that’s nothing new to us,” cornerback Xavier Rhodes said. “But he loves doing it. He loves doing it.”

The display has stockings hung at the top of one locker, a decorated Christmas tree nearby with a toy train on tracks below the tree, Santa and reindeer figurines, and another Santa that climbs a ladder with Christmas lights in tow.

“It’s a little early,” linebacker Anthony Barr said upon seeing it on Monday. “We could have waited until December, but we’ll take it. Hopefully, [head coach Mike Zimmer] doesn’t see it. He won’t be happy.”

But, just for good measure, the hawk (now donning a Christmas hat) is guarding the display.

Cheap Authentic NFL Vikings Sam Bradford Jersey

MINNEAPOLIS—The quarterback who had to do everything on fast-forward last year — learn a new offence eight days before the season, deliver the ball in two seconds or less behind a ramshackle line — had the perfect metaphor for his first year with the Vikings.

“(It’s) like the first time you drive a car — you’re freaked out,” Sam Bradford said. “I was comfortable; you have to be comfortable to be out there to go play. But last year, there was still a lot of thinking going on. I just said 15 words in the huddle, but what do those words mean?

“Now, when you get to the line, you can skip steps 1 through 3. You can start at step 4.”

Read more:

There’s no glory in backing up Eli Manning

Clueless NFL fumbles opening kickoff: Arthur

If what the Vikings have planned for this offence works, it won’t only be Bradford taking giant strides. When Minnesota hosts New Orleans on Monday night, the offence will be calibrated, for the first time in a decade, around something other than a preternaturally talented running back in Adrian Peterson.

The two newest members of the Vikings’ three-man backfield — free-agent addition Latavius Murray and second-round pick Dalvin Cook — will be expected to log frequent shotgun carries, catch passes out of the backfield and pick up blitzes, all while being compensated at prices just above (in Murray’s case) or well below the NFL average.
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The $36.8 million the Vikings guaranteed tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers was meant to shore up the team’s 32nd-ranked running game, yes, but it was done in the hope that a balanced offence would give Bradford more time to throw downfield.

And, at the heart of it all, is Bradford, who has the offensive co-ordinator (Pat Shurmur) who groomed him in both St. Louis and Philadelphia, and perhaps the best supporting cast of his nomadic seven-year career.

“You want to see the desire to constantly improve, to constantly get better, and when they’re adding pieces throughout free agency, throughout the draft, it gets you excited to get back and get to work,” said Bradford, who turns 30 in November.

There’s still the question, of course, of whether it will all pan out.

The first-team offence is coming off a tepid pre-season, having produced only three points in 12 drives. Bradford completed 74.4 per cent of his passes but was sacked five times, as lingering injuries prevented the new starting offensive line — from left, Reiff, Nick Easton, Pat Elflein, Joe Berger and Remmers — from playing together.

Of those five players, only Berger, who got five starts at right guard last year, is in the same place he ended 2016.

If an overhaul was needed, there was no point in being subtle about it.

“We got to a point last year where our passing game was essentially an extension of our running game,” Bradford said. “We were calling pass plays that were essentially designed to be effective run plays. We were calling pass plays to gain five yards, to gain six yards. I think there will still be some of that, but I really think this offence is going to be more balanced this year.”

It was clear well before Feb. 28, when the Vikings announced they wouldn’t exercise Peterson’s $18 million option for 2017. Minnesota, with Shurmur, wanted its running backs to do more than one thing.

“Defences are too good,” Shurmur said. “So if they know there’s a player in the game that can only do one thing, and can’t do another, it kind of tips the scales in their favour.”