Browse Category by Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings

Saints sign Zach Line to two-year deal

Fullback Zach Line is sticking with the Saints.

Agent Mike McCartney announced that his client has agreed to a new contract with the team. It’s a two-year deal for Line, who joined the Saints last season after four years with the Vikings.

Line was signed last August and released in September before returning to the Saints the next month. He had seven carries, two catches and a touchdown in 12 regular season games and scored another touchdown in their Wild Card round victory over the Panthers in January.

“I thought today we got better as the game went on and we really started playing our game, our style, our system and it showed on the scoreboard,” Bergeron said. “We’re in a position where we can win the conference. It’s a big feat.”

Senators D Erik Karlsson missed his third straight game, remaining at home with his wife after the couple’s first son was stillborn last month. … Bruins LW Tim Schaller and RW David Pastrnak are the only Boston players to have played in the first 81 games. … Bruins LW Rick Nash missed his 11th straight game with an upper-body injury. … After entering the season on a six-game winless streak against Ottawa, Boston swept all four games.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among thousands who filled the Humboldt Broncos’ home arena for a vigil on Sunday night honoring the junior hockey team involved in a tragic bus accident.

Broncos president Kevin Garinger choked up as he read the names of the 15 people killed, and family and friends cried and embraced.

“Not one of us is alone in our grief,” Garinger said, later encouraging the community to “continue to reach out. Reach out to one another for help and support. Across our province, our country and our globe, we will find strength in each other.”

Minnesota Vikings

The Bears are signing former 49ers defensive end Aaron Lynch to a one-year deal, Rapoport reported.

The Bears re-signed punter Pat O’Donnell to a one-year, $1.5 million contract, Garafolo reports.

Saints free agent pass rusher Alex Okafor, who is recovering from a torn Achilles, is visiting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rapoport reported.

RB Jerick McKinnon, 49ers Grade: F McKinnon hit free agency in pursuit of a deal where he could serve as a primary running back, but his case for a larger role isn’t quite clear.

The Georgia Southern product was hyperefficient over his first two seasons, averaging 4.9 yards per carry over 165 rushing attempts, but as the larger half of a rotation over the two ensuing seasons, his 309 rush attempts have produced just 3.6 yards per attempt.

14.2 percent of his runs have turned into first downs, which ranks 50th among 51 qualifying backs over that time frame.

Some of that could be chalked up to a dismal offensive line in 2016, but McKinnon wasn’t much better behind a much better line in 2017.

Sherman said veteran Seahakws players had “kind of heard every story, every funny anecdote” that Carroll has to tell and that made it easier to tune them out even though those stories were big for team-building in earlier years. Sherman said he didn’t sign with the 49ers for a chance to prove his point about the Seahawks’ player evaluation twice a year, citing location and the 49ers’ level of interest as big factors in his ultimate choice. That won’t make it any less interesting the first time the two teams get together this fall, however.

Ravens free agent center Ryan Jensen, who visited the Buccaneers on Wednesday, is set to visit with the Indianapolis Colts, Rapoport reported.

Minnesota Vikings

In departure, Ndamukong Suh robs Dolphins of success once promised

Ndamukong Suh knew what was coming before the sun had even risen on the West Coast.

While apparently heading to an early Monday morning workout in his hometown of Portland, Suh posted a cryptic Twitter video.

With Judge and Stanton taking their cuts, advertisers are clamoring to buy time in YES’ “Batting Practice Today” pregame show. After Judge memorably cracked a TV camera thought to be unreachable above center field, “Batting Practice Today” posted its highest ratings ever last season. YES is also incorporating new technology into telecasts to better track tape-measure blasts this season.

Joe Thomas announced his retirement on Wednesday, and with that, a Hall of Fame career comes to its close.

There were just two constants for the Browns during Thomas’ 11-year career: They were generally not very good, and they had a constant revolving door at the quarterback position.

As a matter of fact, Thomas blocked for 20 different starting quarterbacks during his time in Cleveland.

Bradford has been solid for the Vikings when he’s been healthy enough to play. Minnesota brought him in via trade with the Eagles as a stopgap when Bridgewater went down with a gruesome knee injury before the 2016 season. Bradford completed 71.6 percent of his passes for 3,877 yards, 20 touchdowns, and just five picks. He completed 27 of 32 passes for 346 yards, three touchdowns, and no picks against the Saints in Week 1 before that knee injury derailed his season.

He showed similar promise with the Rams early in his career, but injuries slowed him down. If Bradford bounces back from the degenerative knee condition he dealt with last season, he has a shot to be a viable starter again.

“The question with Sam is two years ago he plays in 15 games, starts, and plays well,” Zimmer said. “This year, he plays in one game and gets hurt, so you go back and look at his track record.”

He’s had his ACL repaired in the same knee twice. That’s the knee that sidelined Bradford for most of last season. There was no structural damage, but Bradford did have to have surgery to clean up the knee. In theory, this is a cost-effective signing that gives the Cardinals a quality veteran starter. But Bradford’s health is the biggest question.

Minnesota Vikings

Upon landing Sherman, the Niners filled their biggest offseason need for help at cornerback.

They almost certainly aren’t done adding to the position that last year contributed to allowing a Total QBR of 87 last season, second-worst in the league, according to ESPN Stats & Information. At the NFL scouting combine, Lynch said it didn’t take a “savant” to see the team’s need at the position.

Once healthy, Sherman will be expected to start opposite Ahkello Witherspoon in the Niners’ Cover 3 defense. That scheme is similar to the one Seattle has run for many years and though the Seahawks have become a bit more diverse defensively in recent years, it’s still the foundation of what they’ve done.

As a bridge quarterback, Taylor is a massive upgrade on AJ McCarron, who seemed like an obvious target in free agency after the Browns tried to trade for him last season. Taylor is under contract for $16 million in 2018 before his contract automatically voids, so this will likely be a one-year deal if the Browns draft a quarterback. If he succeeds, the Browns shouldn’t have much trouble signing the 28-year-old to an extension during the season.

The latest: Cordy Glenn is headed to Cincy. Before that it was Richard Sherman, Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry, Aqib Talib, Michael Bennett, and others on the move. Bill Barnwell evaluates every big move of the offseason.

On Saturday, Sherman met with more of the 49ers brass, including Lynch and Marathe. Included in the visit was a series of medical tests intended to give the Niners a better idea of how far along Sherman was in his recovery from not only the right Achilles injury but also from a more recent and minor surgery to clean up bone spurs in his left ankle/heel.

Ultimately, it became clear to Sherman that his best fit would be with his once-hated rival in San Francisco, a fit Sherman attributed to many things, including a desire to stay on the West Coast, the presence of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, Shanahan’s offensive scheme and, of course, the chance to play the Seahawks twice a year.

“Neither side really wanted to walk away without a deal because we felt like there was a great relationship and great understanding and something that both sides would benefit from,” he said on the conference call. “And we came to an agreement. It was awesome.”

Minnesota Vikings

Joe Maddon wants better plate discipline out of Javier Baez

The Cubs have been busy strengthening their rotation and bullpen this offseason, but Joe Maddon understands the lineup is important, too.

Second baseman Javier Baez flashed breakout potential last season, bashing 23 home runs with 75 RBIs, but the 25-year-old also struck out 144 times in just 469 at bats, often swing wildly at pitches out of the zone.

None of these things matter because Chris Archer is under contract for four more seasons, and those four seasons are very, very club friendly. Archer, a 29-year-old starter who has made more starts than any pitcher in baseball over the past four seasons (133) and has a 3.66 ERA/3.37 FIP in those years, is making just $6.25 million in 2018 and $7.5 million in 2019. There are two club options, for $9 million in 2020 and $11 million in 2021.

The Rays are not trading Chris Archer for anything less than what they feel is his full value as a player. They aren’t DFA’ing and then trading him to save a couple million bucks, like they did with Dickerson. They aren’t dealing him like they did Longoria because Archer doesn’t have no-trade power kicking in anytime soon (at all, actually).

Not because of some unseen weather forecast, but because Sandy Alderson and the Mets won the offseason. Crazy, right? Human sacrifices, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. Since their World Series appearance, the Mets have been allergic to winning like that one kid in your first-grade class who was allergic to peanut butter.

That’s right, the Mets won the offseason. It’s like giving an Oscar to Uwe Boll. It just doesn’t happen.

Despite missing out on big-name free agents — which they have a near 1.000 average in — the Mets did a really good job of filling out their roster with some good, cost-efficient players.

Minnesota Vikings

The New York Giants are letting Brad Wing fly into free agency.

The veteran punter was cut by the Giants on Saturday following an inconsistent 2017 campaign. Wing’s 36.7-yard net average ranked last among NFL punters and his 44.1-yard gross average left him in a tie for 24th last year for the struggling Giants .

New defensive coordinator Paul Guenther needs an explosive?disruptor in the mold of his best Bengals lineman, Geno Atkins. Justin Ellis is a free agent, as well, leaving tackle as a big?need for a unit?being reworked into a base 4-3.

Mayfield is the biggest wild card in the first round once Darnold, Allen and Rosen are off the board. The idea of Miami taking him for coach Adam Gase built some momentum at the Combine. The Dophins likely?have hit their ceiling with Ryan Tannehill. Mayfield offers a more dynamic opportunity.

Sherman said he wants to play for a contender, and the 49ers could be one rather quickly based on the success enjoyed by the team after acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo . Sherman discussed Friday on KIRO-AM in Seattle what he was looking for in a new team.

“I want to go to a contender,” Sherman said. “I play at a high level. I’ve always been a guy that can work well with others and continue to elevate if my teammates elevate and elevate others.

“…Would I go to a young secondary that is like we were when we were younger and help them grow and help them advance? Sure, if the number looks right and the situation is comfortable for me and my family.”

That second scenario sounds a lot like the 49ers .

Since the wild-card games were instituted in 2012, just two teams, the 2014-2015 Pirates and the 2012-2014 A’s, made the playoffs in consecutive years with a bottom-10 opening day payroll. One caveat, of course, is that some teams in that bottom tier raise payroll into the top 20 in July or August once contention is viewed as a possibility.

Minnesota Vikings

The one free agent every NFL team must sign in 2018

It’s the season of hope in the NFL, when teams add new players through free agency and the draft, giving fans reason to be optimistic.

With that in mind, here’s one free-agent signing every team should make this offseason based on which players would be ideal fits for each franchise. A team’s projected cap space, needs and potential scheme fits were weighed.

Another in a long line of NFL-ready Ohio State cornerbacks, Ward is a different type of player than last year’s star prospect Marshon Lattimore. But Ward has the potential to make a similar impact in the NFL.

Listed at cornerback but able to be graded there or at safety, Fitzpatrick was the star of Alabama’s fierce defense with his outstanding instincts, lateral movement and timing as a tackler and pass defender.

Guice took the reigns from Leonard Fournette at LSU, and while he didn’t rise to the same level as a prospect, he is a first-round pick in his own right. He should wow at the Combine.

A long, powerful cornerback with outstanding physicality, Davis has the makings of a lockdown press Cover 3 defender, potentially taking the mantle from Richard Sherman.

While he lacks some of the high-end interior pass-rush upside generally coveted for a high draft pick at defensive tackle, Hurst is a powerful, gap-containing and disruptive interior presence who can help pillar a defense.

Go all-in, Winnipeg. This is your moment. While we’ve been so impressed by the Jets’ depth this season — who expected rookie forward Kyle Connor to break out like this? — adding a player like Patrick Maroon to the bottom six would be even more fabulous.

The Saints rarely go after the most expensive tier of blockbuster free agents, but expect something similar to last year when they spent big on one high-end guy (guard Larry Warford at $8.5 million per year), then found a handful of other key players in the second and third tiers (A.J. Klein, Ted Ginn Jr., Alex Okafor, Manti Te’o, etc.). — Mike Triplett

Minnesota Vikings

Former NFL cornerback Charles ‘Peanut’ Tillman earns FBI badge, source says

Former Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman has graduated from the FBI’s Training Academy in Quantico, Va., and is now an agent, Sporting News has learned.

The 13-year NFL veteran entered the 20-week program last year, as first reported by the Chicago Tribune, and had until his 37th birthday (Feb. 23, 2018) to earn his badge due to a stipulation that a new agent must be appointed before he or she reaches that age.

A spokesman for the bureau told Sporting News that it does not comment on personnel matters, and Tillman’s family couldn’t be reached, but a source close to the situation said on the eve of Tillman’s 37th birthday, “He is currently working for the FBI. (He) has his badge and everything.”

Charles Tillman spent the first 12 years of his NFL career in Chicago, making first-team All Pro in 2012 and helping the Bears reach Super Bowl 41, which they lost 29-17 to Peyton Manning and the Colts. He spent his final NFL season with the Panthers but suffered an ACL tear in the 2015 regular-season finale. That injury ultimately led to him missing out on a chance to face the Manning-led Broncos in Super Bowl 50, which Carolina lost 24-10.

Tillman finished that season with 55 tackles and two interceptions, giving him 911 and 38, respectively, for his career. The 2013 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year amassed 44 forced fumbles over 168 career games, using a technique that became known as the “Peanut Punch.”

The letter was addressed to Saundra Adams — Cherica Adams’ mother and the grandmother of Carruth’s son, Chancellor — who has raised the boy since his mother was killed in 1999.

In an interview with WBTV regarding the letter, Carruth apologized for his role in Adams’ death saying, “I’m apologizing for the loss of her daughter. I’m apologizing for the impairment of my son.

“I feel responsible for everything that happened. And I just want her to know that truly I am sorry for everything.”

MORE: Most heinous crimes connected to athletes

He also expressed regret for his actions and how they affected his son, who was born prematurely with cerebral palsy after his mother was shot four times by men hired by Carruth.

Saundra Adams has said that she and Chancellor will be there when Carruth is

Minnesota Vikings

Wacha has been a consistently good-but-not-great fantasy starter for years now.

Tanaka’s ERA (4.74) and WHIP (1.24) left a lot to be desired, and then there was that silly narrative about being a night-game pitcher, as he had a 6.99 ERA in his 10 starts in day games. That was flat-out hogwash, as he had a 3.02 career ERA during the day entering 2017, and a closer look at his numbers instead suggested he merely struggled with the command of his splitter for a period of time in the season’s early-to-middle stages. Tanaka also set career highs with a 15.9 percent swinging-strike rate and 64.5 percent first-pitch strike rate, and keep in mind that he had a 3.18 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 28.7 percent strikeout rate and .125 well-hit average allowed in 15 second-half starts (playoffs included).

Since Tanaka appeared to recapture the feel for his go-to out pitch, the splitter, late last season, better luck alone would do the trick. His .307 BABIP, 71.5 left-on-base percentage and 14.2 percent home run/fly ball rate were all career worsts.

This is perhaps best evidenced by his being one of only 23 pitchers to have managed a sub-4.00 FIP while pitching at least 100 innings in each of the past four seasons. But from that group, only he and Bartolo Colon have never finished among the top 20 starting pitchers on the Player Rater.

An improved pitch to use against right-handed hitters, who have .283/.333/.477 career slash rates against him, would help him even more than better luck in the health department. Anderson’s changeup has been a work in progress and might be the key to his taking another step forward.

Here’s a list of players to appear on the Blackhawks’ defense this season: Jan Rutta, Erik Gustafsson, Gustav Forsling, Jordan Oesterle, Cody Franson, Carl Dahlstrom, and Michal Kempny. If the point of sorting through all of those places was to try to find a stable, functional defense, then Joel Quenneville remains on the search.

With the decline of Keith and Seabrook on the back end, Chicago needed some of these players to step up. They’ve tried, too, whether it’s Oesterle’s extended foray on the top line or the month where Forsling-Rutta was aggressively used as a shutdown pairing. But each lineup play has come with problems, and now it’s too late in the season to feel like this will get solved.

Minnesota Vikings

Steelers teammates and coaches have admired Shazier’s determination and positive outlook since the injury.

General manager Kevin Colbert said last week that Shazier is in the team facility five days a week working out and breaking down film with scouts.

Never once has he said, ‘Why me?’ Colbert said.

Earlier this month, Shazier stood in front of the PPG Paints Arena crowd during a Pittsburgh Penguins game — I felt everybody needed to see that, he said — and also posted a picture of himself standing with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

That was before his velocity took off on him, packing one of those sticks with a bandana around it, its absence felt in the first season of its departure in 2012. It was the first season since his debut that his ERA was above four and his innings fell below 200, and they never turned back.

But this offseason, he emerged from the ashes as a really jacked phoenix. I’m sure you remember the tweet. He might not be The Freak again, but maybe The Freak Who Settled Down in The Suburbs With a Wife and Kids. According to the reports out of his Feb. 15 showcase, he seems on track to do so. While he didn’t find his peak velocity, he wasn’t in the 88 MPH range like he was in 2015. In fact, he was tracked at 90-93 MPH.

It’s kind of a foregone thing when you’re there, to a certain point. Everyone ends up leaving, whether it’s time or dollars, Odorizzi said Monday afternoon after putting on his Twins uniform for the first time. I’m out, so I’m happy to go to be here to be on a contending team.

The Twins, meanwhile, have added about $21 million to the 2018 payroll, with Odorizzi enhancing the rotation and free agents Fernando Rodney, Addison Reed and Zach Duke boosting the bullpen. They’re also paying Michael Pineda $2 million while he rehabilitates from Tommy John surgery for the chance to add him to the rotation in 2019, and they have an agreement in place with reclamation project Anibal Sanchez for another $2.5 million this year, pending a passed physical exam.

Ameer Abdullah’s time in that drill was 6.79 seconds, and he was also a top performer in the 20-yard shuttle. Amari Cooper posted a 6.71 and excelled in the 40, while Michael Thomas ran it in 6.8 seconds and did well in the vertical jump and bench press, too. Never mind the fact that I can find zero evidence that any of these three have ever skied. They have the agility and overall athleticism to be solid additions to Team USA.