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NFL Notes: Patriots, Saints, Cardinals & Vikings

 

Patriots

According to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston, the Patriots could look to sign veteran free agents TE Dustin Keller and LB James Anderson after June 1 given that they wouldn’t cost them a compensatory draft pick.

Both players have visited with the Patriots in recent weeks, so there is clearly at some interest between the two free agents and New England.

Anderson, 30, signed with the Bears last year after spending seven years in Carolina. He too appeared in all 16 games last season and totaled 102 tackles, four sacks, and a forced fumble.

However, Pro Football Focus rated him as the third worst qualifying outside linebacker in a 4-3 system. He was pretty bad when it comes to run defense, but he was actually one of the better linebackers in terms of coverage ability.

Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported a few weeks ago that Keller’s “knee is healed,” so that doesn’t appear to be an issue, which is actually fairly impressive that his knee has healed already given that he tore multiple ligaments while also dislocating his knee.

Miami signed Keller to a one-year, $4.25 million contract after he didn’t fair as well as he was hoping in the free agent market last year.

This was Keller’s first reported visit, so we’ll have to see if he has more scheduled in the coming weeks.

We have him listed as the No. 18 player in our Best Available Free Agents list.

Saints

Mike Tripplet of ESPN.com mentioned over the weekend that former fourth-round pick WR Nick Toon has a chance to secure “significant” playing time heading into his third year in the NFL.

Tripplet was asked if Toon could be in danger of losing his roster to undrafted free agent WR Brandon Coleman, and while he concedes that this is at least a possibility, the fact that Toon has already spent two years in the Saints system should give him a “huge advantage.”

Toon, 25, appeared in just eight games for New Orleans last season and played only 205 snaps. He has two years remaining on his rookie contract with reasonable base salaries of $570,000, and $660,000 coming his way during this time.

This is clearly an important training camp for Toon.

Cardinals 

Sticking with some notes from over the weekend, John Weinfuss of ESPN.com mentioned that it won’t be easy for OLBs Sam Acho and Alex Okafor to see much playing time in 2014 barring an injury.

According to Weinfuss, it appears as though Acho has lost his starting job to veteran Matt Shaughnessy. As for Okafor, Weinfuss “wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a late camp cut.”

Both players are products of the University of Texas and were noteworthy picks, despite the fact that they were both selected in the fourth-round. However, Acho’s playing time has been decreasing since his rookie season and there is some question as to whether or not Okafor will be able to be anything more than a situational pass rusher.

John Abraham and Shaughnessy appear to be locked in as the starting outside linebacker with Lorenzo Alexander and Marcus Bernard being their replacements.

Vikings

Albert Breer of the NFL Network reported over the weekend that the Vikings are “pushing for competition” and are expected to give all three of their quarterbacks reps with the first-team offense.

While it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Matt Cassel and first-round pick Teddy Bridgewater will be competing in training camp, it is interesting to hear that Christian Ponder will also be given the same opportunity.

Breer adds that Ponder has dropped some body fat and gained 5 pounds of muscle this offseason.

Many assumed that Ponder was likely to be the team’s No. 3 quarterback entering the season, and while that’s a possibility, there is at least a chance he could force them to reconsider that idea.

Minnesota elected to not pick up Ponder’s fifth-year option a few weeks ago, so he’ll be entering the final year of his rookie contract.

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3 Comments on "NFL Notes: Patriots, Saints, Cardinals & Vikings"

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William Berry
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Quoting pro-football focus loses this article any creditability

NFL Trade Rumors
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Given that PFF factors in a players performance during every play of the entire season, it’s really one of the best ways to shed some light on players strengths and weaknesses. I’m not saying that their rankings are perfect, but they really do a great job with their content.

William Berry
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2011 they did a list of top ten QBs. I can see not having Brady #1. I can see if the issue includes youth I’d put Luck #1 right now. However if your metric has Romo number 10 but leaves Brady out, then your metric is wrong. I heard them try to defend not having Brady in ten on PFW in progress and was not impressed. (BTW, name ten QBs without some really iffy guys Manning, Brees, Rodgers, Big Ben, Rivers, Cam Newton, Kapernick, Wilson, um, Eli, Matt Ryan, Flacco – that’s ten from now take off Capernick and Wilson… Read more »
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