VikingBuzz BLOG

A Labor Day roundup of news, analysis and observations a week before the Vikings' regular-season opener against the Green Bay Packers.

Grigsby steps up

Entering training camp, defensive end Otis Grigsby was a longshot to make the team.  He showed some flashes in limited duty late last season, but the addition of Jared Allen and the sheer number of players “ahead” of him on the depth chart made him an unlikely candidate to make the 53-man roster.

However, Grigsby simply played too well not to make the team, no matter what the numbers would have been at the position.

“Otis Grigsby is playing a different speed,” head coach Brad Childress said after the preseason finale.

Throughout training camp and the preseason, Grigsby has shown exceptional upfield quickness as a pass rusher and a non-stop motor.  He has consistently made plays and shown improved technique since joining the Vikings.

The season-ending knee injury to Jayme Mitchell solidified his spot perhaps, but Grigsby made the plays that demanded he have a spot in the rotation.

Keys to winning the NFC North

Hopes are high for the Vikings in 2008, and this realfootball365 report offers five reasons they will win the NFC North:  1. run defense, 2. Jared Allen, 3. Madieu Williams, 4. Adrian Peterson, 5. Tarvaris Jackson.

If the Vikings can indeed continue to shut down the run, it will turn opponents into one-dimensional offenses.

The addition of Allen could enable the defense to actually take advantage of that, especially if the first half of the Steelers preseason game is any indication.

A neck injury, which is rumored to be even more concerning than has been reported, could scuttle the impact of Williams in the secondary.  Rookie Tyrell Johnson might negate the impact of his absence.  However, one could easily substitute the addition of Bernard Berrian and the positive affect he should have on the passing game as a key to success.

Adrian Peterson always gives you a chance to win and break any game wide open.  He can turn the tide just about anytime he touches the ball.

Despite the persistent criticism of Jackson as the weak link, he has continued to progress at a pace on par with any good young prospect with his level of experience.  Jackson only has to play within himself, he doesn’t have to carry the team.

“He’s clearly way ahead of where he was a year ago at this time,” quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers said when the Vikings closed training camp.  “But that’s got to translate into how he plays under real guns.”

Cowboys targeting Bollinger?

According to a story in the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the Dallas Cowboys are targeting former Vikings backup Brooks Bollinger as a potential third quarterback, according to two sources.  Bollinger, in his sixth season, was part of the final round of cuts by the Vikings after spending the past two seasons in Minnesota.

The Cowboys are looking for a third quarterback with experience and opted to release Richard Bartel.

Bollinger has 10 career starts, including nine with the New York Jets in 2005.  Despite former Tampa Bay quarterback Chris Simms being available after his release Saturday, it appears the Cowboys are more interested in Bollinger, according to the story.

If Bollinger does sign, it likely wouldn’t be until next week so the team can avoid paying the guaranteed salary vested veterans are due if they are on the season-opening roster.

Another ex-Viking, Brad Johnson, is Tony Romo’s backup with the Cowboys.  Bollinger and Johnson were teammates in 2006.

Dontarrious available

After four seasons with the Vikings, linebacker Dontarrious Thomas signed with the San Francisco 49ers during free agency this summer.  Despite getting a chance to lock down a starting inside linebacker spot, Thomas was never able to earn a major role and was released on Sunday when the ‘Niners claimed LB Ahmad Brooks on waivers from Cincinnati.

So are the Vikings interested in bringing Thomas back?  Probably not, as quite frankly, he may not be any better than the three backups they already have at linebacker – Erin Henderson, David Herron and Vinny Ciurciu.

Thomas has all the tools to succeed, but it seemed the light just never went on in terms of his instincts and consistency with the Vikings.  His struggles continued with San Francisco.  And, although a contributor on special teams during his time with the Vikings, he was never truly a standout there, either.

Despite his failure to make it with the 49ers, Thomas did pocket a $400,000 signing bonus.

Extra Points

Former Vikings DE Darrion Scott was among 11 players to be suspended by the NFL.  Scott received a three-game suspension for his off-field legal troubles during the offseason.  He has still not signed with another team.

Fullback/tight end Richard Owens, who spent a couple seasons (2005-06) with the Vikings, initially made the Rams 53-man roster only to be released when they signed ex-Bears cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. and claimed safety Brannon Condren on waivers from the Colts.

DT Conrad Bolston, who spent most of last season on the Vikings’ practice squad before being claimed by the Packers on waivers, was among Green Bay’s final roster cuts.

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