Last week, writers and editors for The Monday Morning Quarterback highlighted "what they like most about the NFL."
Kalyn Kahler wrote about teams' pregame hype videos, which she called "an underappreciated part of the game day experience." After evaluating videos across the league, Kahler tabbed Minnesota's as the best. She wrote:
My favorite pregame hype video from this past NFL season came from the Vikings. Their 2018 winter-themed entrance video is a brilliant masterclass. Flaming swords! Torches! Players punching through walls of ice! A scary looking forest! A slightly British sounding narrator!
The deep sound of the Vikings gjallarhorn repeats itself throughout the video, which is an especially dramatic touch because the gjallarhorn happens to sound exactly like the long, low groan of ice shifting. The narrator sounds like he could be straight out of Game of Thrones.
And somehow, he makes you excited for winter, which I didn't think was possible.
Kahler quoted the video's narrator and explained the way players "encased in the ice fortress break out" with fiery swords and physical strength.
If that doesn't get you excited for some football, then you're probably dead. The Vikings went above and beyond because the themes of fire and ice actually became real. Seconds after the video ends with a fiery Vikings logo, a huge ball of fire would shoot out of the Viking ship at U.S. Bank Stadium, and the players would run onto the field from underneath the ship. If you were in the stadium, you could actually feel the heat from the flames on your cheeks. The video really comes alive with the actual flames, good for bonus points in my book.
Kahler gave an "honorable mention" to the league's use of the halo board at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for Super Bowl LIII.
Coller: Cook has opportunity to be 'elite' RB in the NFL
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is entering his third NFL season and has 15 games under his belt.
Cook's rookie campaign was cut short by a torn ACL, and he struggled with a nagging hamstring injury last season. SKOR North's Matthew Coller asked, if the running back is fully healthy for year three, what is his ceiling?
Coller pointed out that in 11 games last season, Cook carried the ball 10 times or fewer in six of them. The Vikings new offseason system, however, should see Cook carry a larger role for the team. Coller wrote:
The Vikings are likely to rely heavily on Cook to carry the load in 2018.
Based on his production — albeit in a limited sample size — over the first two seasons of Cook's career, there will be an opportunity for him to emerge as one of the elite running backs in the NFL, especially if the [offense led by Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski and Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Advisor Gary Kubiak] uses him as much as [former Offensive Coordinator] Pat Shurmur did in 2017 and as Kubiak did in the past with running backs like Arian Foster in Houston.
If you take Cook's final three weeks with Stefanski at the helm as interim OC in 2018, it projects to 245 carries, 1,323 yards, 43 receptions over 16 games. He had a similar 16-game pace over the first four weeks with Shurmur of 296 carries, 1,416 yards, 44 receptions.
View images from the Vikings final minicamp practice on June 13 at TCO Performance Center.
Coller said that Cook's per-carry numbers over 15 games provide a "snapshot of Cook's potential, especially considering the offensive line issues the Vikings dealt with" in 2018.
If the Vikings offensive line improves, there's both potential for Cook to average more yards per carry and to see more passes out of the backfield. A Mile High Report study on Kubiak's offense found 23 percent of targets went to either running backs or fullbacks. If he isn't required to stay in and block or chip block as often as 2018, Cook could become a more used checkdown option. That goes along with a highly higher usage in screen/swing passes. He even has the potential to line up as an outside or slot receiver.
Raise the Barr Foundation now accepting scholarship applications
Anthony Barr this offseason signed an extension to stay in Minnesota. Not only will the linebacker continue his on-field contributions for the Vikings, but he also is remaining committed to the Twin Cities community.
He recently announced that his foundation, Raise the Barr, is accepting applications for tuition and childcare scholarships to single-parent undergraduates in California and Minnesota.
Established in 2016, Raise the Barr's mission is to help break the cycle of poverty for single-parent families through access to post-secondary education.