The Vikings have filed their vacant roster spot with defensive tackle Chrishon Rose.
Rose is a rookie free agent from East Carolina, where he played 48 games.
The 24-year-old played 13 games as a senior, recording 41 total tackles.
Rose is the seventh defensive tackle on the roster here in the final week of OTAs. He will compete for a reserve spot behind presumptive starters Sharrif Floyd and Linval Joseph.
Yogi Berra-isms are amusing and plentiful, but many of them contain nuggets of truth buried in juxtaposed words or bad math. One of his best musings on baseball goes like this: “Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.”
It’s fraught with impossible numbers, but the point rings true: baseball is a game played on the field, but so much of it is played inside the head.
Back in the day — like, you know, 2000 or so — a player in a slump would hear occasional boos at a game and maybe needed to avoid reading the work of local columnists or listening to talk radio. Internet commenting on stories upped the ante on the vitriol some, but it was still avoidable.
And then Twitter came along — utterly avoidable but utterly inescapable all at the same time, particularly for a 20-something athlete who grew up in the smart phone era (calling them smart phones makes me feel old, by the way. I want a better word to universally refer to all devices in that class).
Suddenly fans had access to share their thoughts directly with athletes — many times to tell them what a great job they’re doing, but also many times to tell them they stink. Twitter is as wonderful as it is weird, but it can also get pretty swampy.
I get my share of Twitter hate, but it’s relatively minor compared to what a struggling high-profile athlete must go through. After all, I’m not barely above the Mendoza Line for the local baseball team. But the recently demoted Danny Santana is, and it sure sounds like the mental part of the game was eating away at him — and that Twitter was not helping one bit.
Per this item from the Star Tribune’s Phil Miller:
Santana wasn’t helping matters, Eduardo Escobar said, by paying attention to public criticism, some of it over-the-top, on social media.
“Especially Twitter. He sees people talking about him on Twitter, in Spanish, in English, telling him he’s playing bad,” Escobar said. “It’s hard to play in the majors, and he was reading things that were hurting him.”
That’s a problem that bothers Molitor, too, but “it’s hard for a manager to monitor,” he said. “It’s a dangerous thing, in that we all know for the most part it’s an anonymous communication system where people can say what they want without fear of repercussion. You start going on there out of curiosity, trying to find something good — it’s just not going to happen.”
Again, we can say part of that (or even most of that) is on Santana. He doesn’t have to read the tweets, and he will (likely) develop a thicker skin as time goes on — learning to ignore the over-the-top hate by recognizing that it’s coming from a very small but vocal minority of trolls.
But in a sport where 90 percent of the game is mental and half is physical, you can have all the athletic gifts in the world. Until you get your head right, it doesn’t matter.
The Vikings announced that training camp will begin Saturday, July 25.
Players report to the campus of Minnesota State University in Mankato that Saturday. Their first practice will take place the following day.
On Saturday, August 1 the Vikings will hold their first evening practice at Blakeslee Stadium. It will be followed by a team introduction and fireworks.
The Vikings will break camp on Friday, August 14.
In all, the Vikings have 14 days of scheduled practices, all of which are open to the public. For a full schedule of practice dates and times, visit the team’s official website.
Yesterday, we took a look at how the Vikings are spending their money on offense. Today, we will hit the defensive side of the ball and special teams.
While the Vikings are among the league’s top spenders on offense, they rank in the middle of the pack in defensive spending at $64.5 million. That is about $15 million less than what they are shelling out on offense, according to OverTheCap.com, a great resource for all NFL salary cap research.
One reason the Vikings aren’t paying a premium on defensive players is that they have a number of quality young starters who are still on their rookie deals. That list includes safety Harrison Smith, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, cornerback Xavier Rhodes and linebacker Anthony Barr.
Only one Vikings defender, defensive end Everson Griffen at $8.2 million, is among the team’s seven biggest cap hits for this upcoming season.
Of course, this could potentially change soon with second contracts for those young players looming, starting with Smith potentially this summer. But in 2015, the Vikings could have a top-10 defense at a reasonable cost.
Defensive line ($27.72 million, 10th in the NFL): The Vikings invested in Griffen last offseason and he rewarded them with a dozen sacks and solid play against the run. Meanwhile, veteran defensive end Brian Robison, who recorded just 4.5 sacks in 2014, has a big hit at $5.65 million. Floyd should be a bargain at a $2.2 million against the cap and nose tackle Linval Joseph has a cap hit of $4.6 million, so that’s pretty good value on the interior.
Linebackers ($13.59 million, 23rd): They freed up more than $3 million in cap space by restructuring Chad Greenway’s deal (again). He now has a hit of $5.58 million. Beyond Greenway, they have a bunch of youngsters on rookie deals, including Barr, Gerald Hodges and now Eric Kendricks.
Cornerbacks ($18.66 million, 10th): The Vikings have cheap, young corners in Xavier Rhodes and 2015 top pick Trae Waynes. But their positional spending is inflated a little bit by veterans Captain Munnerlyn and Terence Newman. Munnerlyn has a $4.3 million cap hit, which is a little high for a third corner. Newman has a cap hit of $2.5 million, though only $750,000 of that is guaranteed if he somehow doesn’t make the 53-man roster. Still, I was surprised to see that the Vikings were ranked this high at this position given that they aren’t paying big bucks to any one corner.
Safeties ($4.57 million, 30th): This is another position where the Vikings mostly have players on rookie deals. Offseason addition Taylor Mays signed a team-friendly $795,000 contract. The rest of their roster contenders are recent draft picks such as Smith, Robert Blanton and Antone Exum or rookie free agents like Andrew Sendejo and Anthony Harris. Of course, Smith is deserving of a lucrative extension and should get one either this offseason or next. So they won’t be getting cheap safety play for long.
Special teams ($2.57 million): OverTheCap.com does not rank teams based on their cap spending for special teams specialists, but the Vikings would be in the bottom half of the league. Kicker Blair Walsh and punter Jeff Locke are controlled at reasonable costs because they were recent draft picks. Walsh’s deal is up after 2015, so he’s a candidate for an extension, too.
Power Rankings are worth exactly nothing, and we only pay attention to them when a local team is rated particularly high or particularly low — and even then, championships are not awarded based upon what a random set of writers think (at least now that college football changed its ways).
But I will pause to note that the Twins have moved into the top five of the ESPN baseball power rankings for the first time this season, at the No. 5 spot.
Yes, they are deemed the fifth-best team in baseball by ESPN at this moment, and the second-best in the American League behind the Astros. There are no parts of that sentence that would have made any kind of sense two months ago, so let’s just acknowledge it and appreciate it for what it is.
The Royals, who are in town starting Monday night, by the way, are No. 6. It should be a low-scoring series punctuated by whichever bullpen is best, which means it will likely instead be a bunch of 8-7 slugfests.