Put Up or Shut Up

The Vikings have several players who may be at a crossroads this year -- being given the chance to play now or forever hold their peace.

Since the Mike Tice era has been installed in Minnesota, there has been a lot of talk about how successful the drafts have gone on their watch. From having a multi-layered system for evaluating talent to getting players later than their own board would indicate, the Vikings have been proud of their draft achievements.

Yet, the Vikings have several players who find themselves at a crossroads this season -- not sure if their future is bright or one that may need to play out with someone else. The list is rather impressive.

* E.J. Henderson -- Many believe he can still be the answer. But, after being given the job following the retirement of Greg Biekert, he hasn't held it. That's why Sam Cowart is wearing purple.
* Dontarrious Thomas -- A hot and cold player, Thomas has never seemed fully comfortable in his position.

* Raonall Smith -- He seems to get injured climbing off the team bus.

* Kenechi Udeze -- He was benched late last year and must prove he can be an every-down NFL DE.

* Michael Bennett -- Injuries have shortened all but one season. As an unrestricted free agent after this year, millions are on the line this year.

All five of these players may well be contributors to the Vikings' success this season. But, if they don't answer the questions positively, it could be the last year for several of them.

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