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Lunchbreak: NFL Held Women's Summit Prior to Super Bowl


Two days prior to Super Bowl LI in Houston, the NFL hosted its second annual Women's Summit.

The event was featured on ESPN W and covered by Jane McManus. She wrote:  

[NFL Chief Marketing Officer Dawn Hudson] is one of many smart and effective women in the NFL's front office. Many more of them were in the room at the Women's Summit. The biggest challenge for them is to produce an event that can acknowledge the issues between some female fans and the league, while at the same time celebrating the ground the NFL has covered in recent years.


The summit's intent is to inspire many teenage girls in the audience, and there was also a separate session for the adults in attendance that centered on marketing to that demographic.

The summit featured a number of female speakers, including Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman and NFL Chief Security Officer Cathy Lanier.

The Vikings were represented by two attendees: Vice President of Legal and Human Resources Karin Nelsen and Vice President of Partnerships Activation and Special Projects Tanya Dreesen.

"The energy level was high as the participants heard from inspiring speakers on achieving goals, preparing for challenges, developing mentoring relationships, and the importance of finding their voice," said Nelsen, who added that the "Plays for Life" theme helped attendees "prepare for life's challenges and develop their own unique playbooks for life."

Nelsen said the message was embraced by those in attendance "with a powerful collective commitment: We will learn from each other. We will share our stories. We will learn from our failures. We will succeed."

Tom Johnson makes top 10 list of interior pass rushers

In a postseason series written by's Matt Harmon, he referenced Next Gen Stats data to determine a top-10 list of the league's most effective interior pass rushers* *"at creating pressure by their average raw yards of distance from the opposing quarterback at the time of the throw or sack."

Harmon wrote the following disclaimer about the ranking system:

In order to get a glimpse of some of the premier interior pass rushers in the NFL, only linemen with 200 or more pass rush attempts were considered for this ranking. Other rotational players with great scores are mentioned in the "bonus notes" section. The percentiles quoted are for all interior linemen this season, not just 200-plus attempt players.

The Vikings were represented on Harmon's list by defensive tackle Tom Johnson. Harmon wrote the following of Johnson:

By far the biggest surprise name on this list, Tom Johnson shows up with a pressure score in the 93rd percentile for interior defensive lineman this year. Johnson racked up 12 sacks as a part-time player for the Vikings from 2014 to 2015. […]  While he's not someone most fans would know, Johnson's presence on this list underscores the importance of having a deep defensive line rotation.

The top three players on Harmon's list were Aaron Donald (Rams), Geno Atkins (Bengals) and Mike Daniels (Packers), respectively.

In early predictions, ESPN puts Minnesota in Super Bowl LII

Immediately following the Patriots comeback Super Bowl LI victory Sunday, ESPN's Dan Graziano made 10 extremely early predictions about the 2017 season.

One of Graziano's predictions featured the Vikings, whom he said will "become the first team to play the Super Bowl in its home stadium" when Minneapolis hosts Super Bowl LII next February. Graziano wrote:

*Their opponent is the Indianapolis Colts, who win a 41-38 thriller after Andrew Luck throws a go-ahead touchdown with 1:45 left and Sam Bradford checks it down to a running back with time expiring at the Colts' 15-yard line. *

Graziano's other hot takes included the Los Angeles Rams winning at least 10 games, rookie running back Leonard Fournette becoming "this year's Ezekiel Elliott" after predicting that he would be drafted by the Panthers and Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn being the most successful of the new head coaches starting in 2017.

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