Vikings sign Mike Zimmer to contract extension

The Minnesota Vikings signed coach Mike Zimmer to a contract extension.
The Vikings finished 11-5 last season and won the NFC North title.

“Our ownership deserves a championship, our fans deserve a championship, and there’s no doubt in our organization’s mind that Coach Zimmer is the right leader for this football team into the future,” Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said

“I feel very, very fortunate to be the coach of the Vikings,” Zimmer said, adding, “It’s good to get it done now and get a chance to move forward.”

Zimmer has gone 18-15 in two seasons.

“We are very excited about the direction of our football team with Mike Zimmer as our head coach,” owner and team president Mark Wilf in a statement. “His leadership and the strong partnership he has with Rick Spielman has helped transform the culture of our football team.”

“All I know is that this is the right organization for me because they have the right people,” Zimmer said. “I believe this team is the right fit for me.”

South Carolina lineman shows off Gamecocks’ new matte black helmets

It looks like South Carolina will have a new helmet in 2016. Gamecocks senior left tackle Mason Zandi shared an up-close view of the team’s new black helmets on his Snapchat account Thursday. Straight 🔥 @MasonZandi pic.twitter.com/G75CElmb1w — Gamecockology (@Gamecockology) July 28, 2016 The helmets, which were first seen in April, are expected to be […]

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Class Sleepers – AFC West

With most NFL draft’s it’s usually the first round picks who receive much of the attention and attract most of the spotlight. Yet over the years when you go back and review successful draft classes it’s typically the “sleepers” or day three selections that make a good class turn into a great class.
With that in mind we reviewed each NFL teams draft class, per division, and attempted to point out who potentially could turn out to be that groups “sleeper”
AFC West
Denver Broncos – Will Parks, S Arizona 6th rd. 44th pick (#219 overall)
Having lost their top two backups at safety, in David Bruton Jr. and Omar Bolden, during free agency the Broncos knew that they needed to replenish some of their depth on the back-half of their defense.
The Broncos used two draft picks in the 2016 draft to add Boston College’s Justin Simmons, and Arizona’s Will Parks to help reload at safety.
Will Parks was a two-year starter and versatile defender for the Wildcats over his four-year career. He leaves Arizona having complied 197 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, 20 pass break-ups, and four interceptions.
Parks is a tough competitor who plays hard down in and down out. At 6’1” and 204 pounds he possesses good size and length for the position. He is an aggressive downhill punisher, who will tackle through his target. He is able to come up and set a hard edge when defending the run, and displayed the ability to shed blockers and find the ball carrier while playing as a box safety closer to the line of scrimmage, as his 20 tackles for loss over the last two seasons can attest to.
Initially Parks will be looked upon to provide depth at both safety positions as well as help on special teams. However, with his ability to tackle and help defend the run, as an in the box safety, Parks could force his way onto the field sooner than many may have anticipated for a sixth-round pick.
Kansas City Chiefs – Dadi Nicolas, OLB Virginia Tech 6th rd. 28th pick (#203 overall)
With Outside linebacker Justin Houston undergoing surgery in February to repair a torn ACL in his left knee you had a feeling that the Chiefs would target an outside backer at some point in the draft. Not necessarily to replace Houston, but just to add some quality depth at the position.
That point came in the sixth-round in the form or former Virginia Tech Hokie Dadi Nicolas. Nicolas is a talented physical specimen who has tree limbs for arms (35 inches) and very impressive lower-body explosion and burst. Nicolas posted a 41 inch vertical, 4.74 forty, and 7.04 three-cone time which speaks favorably to his agility, body control, and quickness.
Nicolas is quick off the line at the snap of the ball and is able to use his speed to provide a consistent pass rush off the edge. Nicolas has good balance and lateral quickness with an active body that is always hustling on the field.
Nicolas, who played defensive end at Virginia Tech, will be converting to outside linebacker with the Chiefs so there will be a learning process he will need to go through initially.
However, the talent and athleticism is there for Nicolas to develop into a genuine pass rushing threat off the edge for the Chiefs in the years to come.
San Diego Chargers – Jatavis Brown, OLB, Akron 5th rd. 38th pick (#175 overall)
Looking to improve some of their overall depth and team speed at linebacker the Chargers took a big step towards that direction by selecting the 2015 MAC Defensive Player of the Year in Akron’s Jatavis Brown, with their fifth-round pick.
Brown, who at 5’11” and 227 pounds ran a 4.47 at one of the NFL’s regional combines, was a tackling machine for Akron. In his four-years he totaled 340 tackles, a school-record 41.5 tackles for loss, 16.5 sacks, and 10 forced fumbles.
Brown possesses terrific instincts for the linebacker position. He plays fast and hard with a non-stop motor. Brown’s ability to quickly change directions, and natural-bend allow him to chase down ball carriers from sideline-to-sideline. He is an explosive tackler who can quickly close in on his targets.
Although he is strong (33 reps at 225-pounds) Brown’s size and ability to take on impact at the point of contact remain a slight concern in terms of how he will hold up physically in the NFL.
The Chargers will start him off at inside linebacker where he will be backing up starters Denzel Perryman and Manti Te’o, but with his speed, quickness, and tacking ability a future move to safety isn’t totally out of the question for Brown.
Oakland Raiders – DeAndre Washington, RB Texas Tech 5th rd. 4th pick (#143 overall)
Washington is a multi-purpose back who led the Big-12 in total yards from scrimmage in 2015 with 1,877, while his 16 total touchdowns ranked third in the conference.
Washington is a thickly-built runner who plays with more power than most would expect out of someone who is 5’8” and 204 pounds. He runs hard with good balance showing off his lower-body strength. He demonstrates good instincts and vision able to quickly identify a hole and hits it hard.
Washington is also a very good pass catcher out of the backfield, finishing his collegiate career with 124 receptions.
He projects more as a change-of-pace back who can come and spell starter Latavius Murray for either a series or two or possibly even on third downs. With no other runner on the roster firmly entrenched as the primary back-up do not be surprised if Washington lays claim to that role coming out of training camp.
Danny Shimon is a graduate of Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp. 
Follow Danny on Twitter @dshimon56

Lions sign Anquan Boldin

The Detroit Lions signed wide receiver Anquan Boldin and linebacker Dominique Tovell.
They cut wide receiver Damian Copeland and linebacker Jerry Franklin.
Entering his 14th NFL season, Boldin joins the Lions following a three-year stint (2013-15) with the San Francisco 49ers. Last season he appeared in 14 games (13 starts) and led the 49ers with 69 receptions for 789 yards (11.4 avg) and four touchdowns. He spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Arizona Cardinals (2003-09) before playing three years with the Baltimore Ravens (2010-12), where he was a member of the Ravens’ Super Bowl XLVII championship run.
Last season, Boldin received the NFL’s 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which recognizes an NFL player each season for his positive impact in the community.
Originally drafted by the Cardinals in the second round (54th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft out of Florida State, Boldin has played in 186 career games and 14 career postseason games. His regular season career totals include 1,009 receptions (12th all-time) for 13,195 yards (17th all-time) and 74 touchdowns.
Tovell comes to Detroit after previously signing with the New Orleans Saints earlier this offseason. An undrafted rookie free agent out of Louisiana-Lafayette in 2016, Tovell recorded 238 total tackles in 50 games during his college career (2012-15).

Vikings' Kevin Williams retires

The Minnesota Vikings have signed five-time All-Pro defensive tackle Kevin Williams to a one-day contract so he can formally retire as a member of the team.
The Vikings announced the news Wednesday. Williams will finalize his retirement Thursday after 13 seasons, including 11 with Minnesota.
He was signed to a one-day contract.
Taken with the ninth pick in the 2003 draft by the Vikings from Oklahoma State, Williams is eighth in team history with 60 sacks. His 171 regular-season starts are the most all time by a Vikings defensive tackle, and his five interceptions are tied for the most by a defensive tackle in NFL history.
Williams played for NFC champion Seattle in 2014 and New Orleans in 2015. He was picked for six Pro Bowls.

Cowboys rookie Dak Prescott found not guilty of DUI

Dallas Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott was found not guilty Wednesday on charges of driving under the influence and speeding.
The fourth-round draft pick from Mississippi State was arrested in Starkville, Miss., before the draft.
Prescott was arrested on April 23 and charged with DUI after he was stopped and accused of speeding near the college campus.
“Dak is obviously extremely relieved this process is over,” Prescott’s lawyer Jay Perry told The Clarion-Ledger. “He’s looking forward to going back to Dallas and then to California to compete in camp and learn from Tony Romo.”

Seahawks Somehow A Sleeper Heading In To 2016 Season ?

The Seattle Seahawks have been led by Pete Carroll for six seasons. During that time frame, Carroll led the club to five playoff berths, three division titles, two conference titles and one Super Bowl title. Seattle is just one year removed from making back-to-back Super Bowls. And yet, it feels as though the Seahawks are slipping out of the NFL forefront.
Part of that is self-explanatory. The salary cap has been catching up with this organization for a couple of years now. With so many highly talented players reaching the end of their deals, Seattle was forced to jettison a lot of depth as well as pay stars their market worth.
It started by moving on from players like Red Bryant, Percy Harvin and Zach Miller. Then it was Golden Tate, Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith and Brandon Browner.  As the years went, Max Unger and Cary Williams were out the door in a trade and a release respectively. Russell Okung, Bruce Irvin, Brandon Mebane, Jaye Howard and J.R. Sweezy ventured elsewhere as well. Then Marshawn Lynch retired. Suddenly, the Seattle roster, which had been the envy of the league in terms of depth, looked like a stars-and-scrubs knockoff.
With those changes, it was only natural that the team would begin to decline. Even still, last year, while they were worse than they had been, the Seahawks still put together a pretty impressive season overall. I mean, making it to the to the second round of the playoffs is a huge achievement to most organizations. But that was far from the level of expectations of the fan base or the team itself.
This brings us to the 2016 NFL season, where Seattle seems to have taken yet another step back in the public consciousness. Another offseason has resulted in even more roster turnover. Perhaps more importantly, another season has seen the advancement of the Arizona Cardinals, who are now deemed the cream of the NFC West crop to most observers. It’s not necessarily that Seattle has gotten any worse, though its offensive line will certainly be an area of concern even after the selection of 2016 first-round pick Germain Ifedi; instead it’s that Arizona has passed it over.
But the Seahawks still have a case as an NFC title contender. They are still led by Pro Bowler Russell Wilson at quarterback. They have the breakout star at running back, Thomas Rawls, to fully take over for the departed Lynch after he played so well in a relief role a season ago. They have another full year of Jimmy Graham pending as the former Pro Bowl tight end gets acclimated into the offense. They still have the Legion of Boom and most of its founding members, as well as a fearsome linebacking corps.
Suddenly, the two-time conference title winner is looking like an underrated and under appreciated foe entering this season. Even the fans were starting to question some of the moves made by the Seahawks, leading to this feeling of disappointment. It is hard to imagine that a team that has won double-digit games for four straight seasons is being disregarded, but here we are. Just don’t bury the Seahawks among their past cap casualties just yet.

Jets inking Ryan Fitzpatrick to one-year, $12 million deal

The standoff between quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and the New York Jets is over.
The two sides agreed to a one-year, $12 million offer that includes an additional $3 million in incentive clauses.
The deal was increased Wednesday and Fitzpatrick was given until Wednesday to accept the deal or the team would move on.
Fitzpatrick repeatedly declined a three-year, $24 million deal that includes $15 million guaranteed.
He passed for a career-high 31 touchdowns and 3,905 yards last season.
Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL
Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.

Kentucky among four college football teams to claim 1950 national title

Did you know the Kentucky Wildcats capped off the 1950 season with a national title? It’s true, at least according to this trophy prominently displayed in the team’s brand-new football facility. 1951 national championship trophy and mannequins showing uniforms greet you in lobby of new training center pic.twitter.com/sSEesoZOz3 — Jon Hale (@JonHale_CJ) July 22, 2016 KENTUCKY FOOTBALL […]

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Rams cutting Nick Foles

The Los Angeles Rams cut veteran quarterback Nick Foles after being unable to trade him.
“We have been in contact with Nick and his representation throughout the offseason and we feel that this is the best decision for all parties involved,” coach Jeff Fisher said in a statement released by the team. “We appreciate the contributions that Nick has made to our organization in his time as a Ram and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”
Jared Goff was drafted first overall.
Rams also have Case Keenum and Sean Mannion.
Los Angeles paid Foles a $6 million roster bonus in March.