Giants sign OT Mike Remmers

Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur reached into their recent past to find the player who many believe will become their final starting offensive lineman.

Mike Remmers, who has started all 71 regular-season and postseason games in which he played the previous five seasons, has signed with the Giants, the team announced today. He is the favorite to open the 2019 season as first-team right tackle.

Remmers, 6-5 and 310 pounds, spent the previous two years with the Minnesota Vikings, for whom he started all 16 games last season at right guard. The previous season, when Shurmur was named the NFL Assistant Coach of the Year as the Vikings’ offensive coordinator, Remmers played three different positions; he started 10 games at right tackle before switching to right guard in the regular-season finale, before starting his only two games at left guard in the postseason, including the NFC Championship Game.

Before moving to Minnesota, Remmers played three seasons for the Carolina Panthers when Gettleman was the team’s general manager. He started all 42 games in which he appeared for Carolina, including Super Bowl 50, and twice played in every game.

Remmers, 30, entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with Denver in 2012. After a stint on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice squad, Remmers joined the San Diego Chargers on Oct. 9, 2013. He played in one game that season, the only contest in his career in which he did not start.

Remmers was acquired off waivers by Minnesota on Nov. 25, 2013. After spending time on the practice squads of the Vikings and the Rams, he was signed by the Panthers on Oct. 28, 2014. Remmers started the season’s final seven games, including two in the postseason, before starting every game for Carolina in 2015-16. He signed as a free agent with the Vikings on March 10, 2017.

The breakdown of Remmers’ 64 regular-season starts include 34 at right tackle, 17 at right guard, and 13 at left guard. In the postseason, he has five starts at right tackle and two at left guard.

Remmers is the second veteran offensive lineman acquired by the Giants this offseason. Right guard Kevin Zeitler arrived via trade from the Cleveland Browns.

Zeitler and Remmers are expected to line up next to each other on the right side, though Chad Wheeler will compete to keep the tackle job he held for the season’s final 14 games last year. They will team with left tackle Nate Solder, left guard Will Hernandez and either Jon Halapio or Spencer Pulley at center on an offensive line that has been completely re-staffed since Gettleman was hired less than 17 months ago.

*The Giants also signed defensive end Freedom Akinmoladun, who attended the team’s recent rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. Akinmoladun, a 6-3 and 283-pounder from Nebraska, started all 37 games at defensive end from 2016-18. He finished his Husker career with 106 tackles and 12 sacks.

*The Giants waived kicker Joey Slye of Virginia Tech, whom they signed last week after the rookie minicamp.

*The Giants waived/injured rookie defensive back Jacob Thienemen, who hurt his knee in the rookie minicamp.  Thienemen, from Purdue, was signed on May 2.

Article courtesy of Mike Eisen/NY Giants

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Vikings’ Irv Smith Jr.: ‘I’ve seen snow; I’ve never lived in it, but I’ve seen it; I’ll have to get used to it’

Former Alabama TE Irv Smith Jr. comes to Minnesota with a big game and a big name. Smith is the son of former NFL TE Irv Smith Sr., who played seven seasons with the Saints, 49ers, and Browns.

Smith Jr., who was selected in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Vikings on Friday night, gives Minnesota another option at tight end if they wanted to move on from veteran TE Kyle Rudolph, which some believe could happen. According to the NFL Network’s Albert Breer, teams are calling the Vikings about Rudolph, and if things go as some think, Smith Jr. could be a starter with the Vikings in 2019.

Last season at Alabama, Smith Jr. had 44 receptions for 710 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Growing up in New Orleans, and going to school in Alabama, Smith Jr. is not used to the cold weather that he will experience in Minnesota(fortunately, the Vikings play in a dome), which was one of the topics he discussed on a conference call on Friday night. Smith also addressed his relationship with his dad, Irv Smith Sr., Rudolph, O.J. Howard, and more:

Q: What was it like growing up in a football family?

Smith: It was amazing. My dad doing all the things that he’s done, as a young man having him as a mentor and seeing all his footballs, his helmets, his trophies and everything around the house, just seeing all that motivated me to put myself in this position I’m in today.

Q: What do you know about Kyle Rudolph, and how do you see the two of you working together?

Smith: I see him as a player that I definitely looked up to playing football, especially as a tight end. He’s done so much, been a Pro Bowl player, and I can’t wait to work with him and learn from him.

Q: Did you always want to play tight end, considering that was your dad’s position too?

Smith: When I was younger I started out playing receiver. I started playing football in eighth grade, and my sophomore year I started playing tight end. After that I switched over to the position.

Q: Did your dad try to steer you in that direction?

Smith: He definitely did. At first he said, “You can be a receiver, and be slow receiver, or a fast tight end.” I wound up being a fast tight end and it worked out.

Q: What kind of advice has your dad given you throughout this process?

Smith: He’s helped me so much, honestly. Just telling me some of the things to do, some of the things not to do, learning from his mistakes. Just picking his brain. He’s helped me so much and he’s going to continue to help me throughout this.

Q: Do you take pride in your versatility and your ability to play in the slot and out wide?

Smith: Yes sir, that’s really what I pride myself in mostly. All the best tight ends in the NFL and all the greats, they were able to do both; run block and make plays in the passing game. It opens a lot for you and helps the team in all phases of the game. It’s something I pride myself on and I’ll continue to work on and improve as a player.

Q: Talk about your ability to create mismatches.

Smith: It’s something that I really pride myself on. I believe no linebacker or safety one-on-one can stay with me, and I’m going to keep proving to people [why] that’s how I feel.

Q: What did you learn from O.J. Howard, playing behind him early in your career?

Smith: I learned a lot from O.J. I was a freshman and he was a senior, and the way he carried himself as a player and a person, the way he treated everyone, that’s something that I really took from him. On the field he took no plays off, was a complete tight end, I believe, and it’s proven that he’s doing the same thing in the NFL today.

Q: How do you feel you are as a run blocker? Do you think you’re still a work in progress in that area?

Smith: Yeah, I definitely think I’m a work in progress. I went against what I feel like was the top competition in college, and I did a great job of it, but it’s definitely something that I can always improve on and it’s something that is going to be a main focus this coming year.

Q: Have you ever been to Minnesota?

Smith: Never. I can’t wait.

Q: Have you seen snow?

Smith: I’ve seen snow; I’ve never lived in it, but I’ve seen it; I’ll have to get used to it.

Q: Are you going to go out and buy a car now? I heard yours broke down on the way back from Tuscaloosa.

Smith: Yeah, I was driving form Alabama to New Orleans and it ran out on me. I had it since my sophomore year of high school, so yeah, it’s time for a new lift.

Brian Robison signs one-day contract with Vikings, announces retirement from NFL

Former DE Brian Robison has announced his retirement from the NFL after signing a one-day contract on Wednesday, April 24, with the Minnesota Vikings in order to officially retire a member of the organization.

Robison, who is tied for ninth place in club history with 60.0 total sacks, ends his career having appeared in 173 career games, ranking third among all DEs in Vikings franchise history. The 11-year veteran was selected by Minnesota in the fourth round (102nd overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft. Robison missed only three contests in 11 seasons, previously holding a streak of 73 consecutive regular season games from 2012 through 2017. He competed in seven postseason contests, starting three, and recorded 12 tackles (seven solo), one tackle for loss and three QB hits in his playoff career, according to league stats.

Throughout his tenure as a Viking, Robison has been a part of four NFC North Division Championship teams and played in two NFC Championship Games. In his last regular-season game, he grabbed his 60th and final career sack vs. Chicago (12/31/17). Robison set a career high for a season with 9.0 sacks in 2013 and scored his only career touchdown on a 61-yard return of a fumble forced by Jared Allen on a sack at Chicago (9/15/13). His eight passes defensed in 2012 are tied for the second-most by a Vikings defensive lineman behind Kevin Williams’ 10 in 2004. Robison was part of a Vikings defense that amassed 50 sacks in 2011 to tie for the NFL lead and the 2017 Vikings defense that ranked No. 1 league-wide in yards allowed, points allowed and opponent third-down percentage.

In addition to his on-field career, Robison solidified himself as a leader within the Minnesota and Texas communities with his philanthropic endeavors. Robison and his wife, Jayme, founded the Brian Robison Reel ‘Em In Foundation, formed to provide financial, emotional and physical support for those in need. Established in 2015, the foundation’s mission is to positively impact those in need through partnerships with existing organizations in local communities in Minnesota and Robison’s home state of Texas. Each year, the Foundation works to raise funds and awareness for a different charitable organization through two marquee fishing tournaments, one in Minnesota and one in Texas. The foundation will continue to research and evaluate organizations and groups on an annual basis that are identified as struggling and are in desperate need of help to enrich the lives of the affected individuals.

The Splendora, Texas, native was selected to the 2013 USA Today All-Joe Team, honoring the unsung players in the NFL. Robison also received the Korey Stringer Good Guy Award in 2014, an honor given annually by members of the Twin Cities media. In his debut pro season, he was named to the 2007 Pro Football Weekly All-Rookie Team. Robison played his collegiate career at the University of Texas where he helped the Longhorns win the 2005 National Championship with a Rose Bowl win over USC. A 2006 NCAA runner-up in shot put as a junior, Robison won Big 12 shot put titles in 2005 and 2006 and still holds the second-best shot put mark in school history with a 68-3.75 at the 2006 NCAA Midwest Regional. He also won a Big 12 discus title in 2006 and ranks seventh in UT history with his discus mark of 195-10.

 

Thielen: ‘Obviously, money is good and everything, but championships are what it’s about’

Vikings WR Adam Thielen has proven to be one of the top receivers in football. Over the past two seasons, Thielen has averaged 102 receptions, 1324 yards, and six touchdowns. All while making the Pro Bowl in both of those seasons(2017, 2018).  This type of productivity is what got Thielen paid as he and the Vikings agreed on a four-year, $64 million contract extension last week.

Thielen, who was an undrafted free agent, has turned himself into an elite wide receiver in the NFL. It’s a remarkable journey for Thielen, and now he gets to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

Thielen addressed the media today to discuss his new deal with Minnesota, his goal of winning a title with the Vikings, and more.

 Q: What did it feel like to finally sign the deal? What has it meant to you?

A: Honestly, it never was about money for me for any of this. It was just about being in the spot that my family and I wanted to be, and to be here locked up for a long time and to just show that we’re willing to do what it takes to be here and to have the opportunity to give back. That’s what it’s been about the whole time, and again, it’s never been about the money or anything like that, it’s just about having the opportunity to be here for a long time and to use those resources to give back.

Q: What does it say about the Vikings getting the deal done so quickly and not letting it linger?

A: It shows what type of organization this is. They’re not here to lowball people, they’re not here to take advantage of people. They want to reward the people that helped this football team win games, and ultimately they want to win games. That’s probably one of the biggest reasons that I want to be here for a long time, because I want to win games. I guess it just shows, it shows what this organization is about and how they treat their players and guys that may deserve to be here, and reward them for that.

Q: There seems to be two goals for football players, to win championships but also get that big contract. It has to mean something to be able to get one of the two?

A: Obviously, money is good and everything, but championships are what it’s about. Maybe a little bit too of feeling appreciated more than the fact that they paid me this amount of money. But like I said, it’s all about winning, it’s all about giving back, and it’s all about being in a situation that you feel comfortable in. When you find a locker room like we have and you have guys like that, you don’t want to go somewhere else. You want to be here and you want to be here for a long time. That’s what my family and I are most excited about.

Q: A lot of teams can preach being a family, but it seems like they’ve been able to show that in a tangible way here in Minnesota, haven’t they?

A: Oh yeah, for sure. You see that with Anthony Barr and other guys, they don’t care about the money. They want to be here, they want to be here for a long time, they want to be around these guys and they want to win. We know we have some pieces that we think we can do it with, and obviously it takes  a lot of hard work and dedication, and that’s why we’re here right now, to get back after it.

Q: How different is this workout from last year?

A: Well we’re only two days in, so I don’t know too much. I guess mindset wise everybody just has a different mindset this year. I think everybody is excited to learn the offense, to be around the guys. It’s not as much excitement about who’s here and who the new guy we signed is, it’s more about, “Hey, let’s get back on the field, let’s take advantage of every single one of these days. We don’t get a whole lot of hours in the building, so let’s take advantage of them.” I think teams that win championships, they win them right now by the work they put in and by doing it the right way. We’re trying to do that.

Q: What do you remember about that tryout with the Vikings six years ago, and what can you say about how far you’ve come since then?

A: I think when I look back at it I honestly get more nervous than I was in the moment. I talk about it a lot, I think back to that time and I think about coming in there and not really thinking much of it. I was just going to play football. When I was on the field I was just playing football, I didn’t feel any different than in college, didn’t feel any different than in high school. I think now when I look back I kind of get nervous, because I know that if I wouldn’t have done this right, or I would have been late to this, or if I would have ran the wrong route, I might have never gotten the chance. It’s just kind of crazy to look back at it, and the confidence that I had going into it, I probably shouldn’t have had, but I did. Again, God gave me an opportunity and he put me there for a reason, so it’s pretty cool to look back at that.

Q: Is that part of what you might say to younger kids in a similar position? To not look at the big picture of the NFL and get overwhelmed by it?

A: Yeah, I think that’s with anything in life. I think you just have to take advantage of the moment and you have to use every moment and you have to make the right decisions, and you can’t think about just how that’s going to affect you that day. You got to think about how that’s going to affect you in the big picture. Sometimes I get myself caught up in that and have to take a step back. I think that’s one thing that’s great about NFL off seasons, you get an opportunity to just kind of step back and look at your life and look at some of the things you’re doing and try to figure out what’s best for you and your family. It was a really good offseason for that, just to take a step back and realize some of the things I need to work on and get better at and then try to do that.

Q: Could you appreciate what you did well and did you take time to admire your successes, like your record-setting stretch of 100-yard games?

A: No, I don’t think I ever will honestly. Those things just aren’t important to me. I think there’s more to life to me than setting records and things like that. I don’t want to leave this world being remembered for that stuff. Honestly, for me it’s just trying to be the best person I can be every day – be the best person on the field, off the field I can be and trying to grow and learn from our mistakes, whether that be on the field or off the field. Try and not to worry about what people think about me, just trying to focus on, again, getting better.

Q: How long did it take to shake off the way last season ended or have you been able to?

A: Yeah, honestly, I know it might be cliché to say but I’m just really excited about being here right now, getting back after it with the teammates and working towards next year. You can’t dwell on the past, you can’t look at the past and try and change things because you can’t go back and you can’t change it. I mean obviously right after the season you start thinking about things and when you have all that time to yourself you start thinking about “woulda, coulda, shoulda”. But at the same time, I think that’s why it’s important to get back into the weight room and try to figure out things that you need to do to get better and focus on that rather than what you could have done better and what you could of changed from the season before.

Q: Do you have any new purchases planned?

A: No. Not yet. My wife does a good job of holding me back on that kind of stuff, but I think it’s a really cool opportunity to be able to give back to this community, to people, and places that have been so instrumental in my career and my life and shaping who I am. Just trying to figure out a game plan with that, but no game plan for purchases that’s for sure.

Q: What are some of the things you will do in the community?

A: It’s something that I have to sit down with my wife and some of the people that we respect as far as counsel, so we haven’t decided on any of that stuff yet.

Q: Do you demand more of yourself now going into this season with this new deal?

A: I don’t think that’s fair to do to yourself. Honestly, I’m going to take the same approach and kind of the things that I just talked about. I’ve been able to step back and figure out what things on the field and off the field that I need to do better and now I got to go and attack that and try to be the best teammate I can be, try to be the best leader I can be and let everything else play itself out. At this point, that’s all you can do. There’s only so many things you can control and everything else you just got to let it play out.

Vikings, Adam Thielen agree on contract extension

The Minnesota Vikings and wide receiver Adam Thielen have agreed in principle to a multi-year contract extension, the team announced today.

According to reports, it’s a four-year, $64 million deal.

Thielen, who will enter his sixth NFL season in 2019, has been named to consecutive Pro Bowls after the 2017 and 2018 seasons and is coming off a career year, recording 113 receptions (third most in team history) for 1,373 yards (fourth most in team history) and nine receiving touchdowns, all career highs. The Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, native became the first player in NFL history to record eight consecutive games with 100-plus receiving yards to start a season, doing so in the 2018 campaign.

Thielen, who attended Minnesota State University, Mankato, was named Second Team All-Pro by the Associated Press after the 2017 season when he helped guide the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game after posting 91 receptions (ninth most in team history) for 1,276 receiving yards (10th most in team history) and four touchdowns.

Originally entering the NFL in 2013 with the Vikings after going undrafted, Thielen has appeared in 80 career games with 46 starts and has totaled 293 receptions, 3,897 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns. Since the start of the 2016 season, Thielen ranks tied in the NFL in third-down receptions (82), seventh in receptions (273) and seventh in receiving yards (3,616).

Vikings sign AAF standout Karter Schult

The Minnesota Vikings signed AAF star DE Karter Schult, the team announced today.

While in the AAF, the Northern Iowa alum recorded 26 total tackles in eight games with the Stallions before the league was suspended. Smith grabbed seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss or no gain on the season, ranking third in the AAF in both categories and led the league with 49 pressures.

Originally a rookie free agent in 2017, the Tripoli, Iowa native signed with Cleveland and finished the preseason with 11 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, four tackles for loss and three quarterback hits. Smith was waived by the Browns (9/1/17) and spent rookie mini camp as a tryout in May 2018 with the Carolina Panthers prior to being released (8/1/18).

Vikings sign OG Dakota Dozier

The Minnesota Vikings have signed OG Dakota Dozier, the team announced today. Entering his sixth NFL season in 2019, Dozier was originally selected by the New York Jets in the fourth round (137th overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft.

In six seasons with the Jets, Dozier appeared in 38 career games with seven starts, spending time at both left and right guard.

The former Furman Paladin most recently spent the 2018 season playing under current Vikings Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator Rick Dennison, making six game appearances and two starts.

Vikings sign G Josh Kline

The Minnesota Vikings have agreed to terms with G Josh Kline, the team announced on Wednesday.

According to ESPN.COM’s Courtney Cronin, it’s a three-year deal worth $15.75 million.

Kline joins Minnesota for his seventh NFL season in 2019. The Mason, Ohio, native originally signed with the New England Patriots as a rookie free agent on May 3, 2013, and most recently spent the 2016-2018 seasons with the Tennessee Titans.

Kline has started 64 of his 79 career regular season game appearances, including an active streak of 46 consecutive starts at right guard, the longest active streak in the NFL among all guards.

Prior to being claimed off waivers by Tennessee on September 8, 2016, Kline spent three seasons with New England from 2013-15, appearing in 33 regular season games with 18 starts. The Kent State alum has also appeared in six career playoff games, starting five, and was a member of the New England team that won Super Bowl XLIX after the 2014 season.

 

Vikings re-sign K Dan Bailey

The Vikings and Dan Bailey have a agreed to terms on a new contract, the team announced today.

According to the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, it’s a one-year, $1 million deal, and $2 million max with incentives.

Bailey originally signed with the club on September 18, 2018.

Bailey finished his first season in Minnesota making 21-of-28 field goal attempts and 30-of-31 point after attempts.

The ninth-year kicker out of Oklahoma State is the fifth-most accurate kicker in NFL history, converting 86.6 percent of his career field goals (207/239). The former Dallas Cowboy has appeared in 122 career games and has connected on 11 career game-winning field goals.

Eagles, Andrew Sendejo agree on one-year deal

The Philadelphia Eagles and S Andrew Sendejo have agreed to terms on a one-year contract.

A nine-year NFL veteran, Sendejo has played in 99 career games (including playoffs) and has totaled 432 tackles, seven interceptions and 31 passes defensed.

Sendejo entered the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys in 2010 and joined the Minnesota Vikings in 2011. He went on to play eight seasons in Minnesota and had a breakout season in 2013. That year, Sendejo started 10 games at safety and set a career high in tackles (104), while also adding 13 tackles on special teams.

After being named the Vikings Special Teams Player of the Year in 2014, Sendejo earned a full-time starting role in 2015, opening 13 games at safety and registering 100 tackles, one interception and six passes defensed. Dating back to 2015, Sendejo has started every game in which he has played and has recorded 308 tackles, six interceptions, 26 passes defensed and three fumble recoveries.