Danny Isidora

NFC Notes: Lions, Vikings, Bucs, Kelley

With more teams debuting their preseasons Friday night, here’s the latest out of the NFC, beginning with one of the teams that indeed begins its 2018 run tonight.

  • A fourth-round pick two years ago, Miles Killebrew may be moving to a different position in order to increase his chances of making the Lions‘ 53-man roster. The third-year safety’s been working exclusively as a linebacker in practice as of late, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Killebrew started three games at safety for the Lions last season, but Birkett adds that the Southern Utah product was working as the fifth safety during camp in a unit that’s now including former full-time cornerback¬†Quandre Diggs. Rookie Tracy Walker was also running ahead of Killebrew.
  • Nick Easton‘s season-ending injury now has the Vikings down three starters, with Pat Elflein still on the PUP list and Mike Remmers also sidelined. Tom Compton is the favorite to fill in for Easton at left guard, and ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin notes the Vikings were eyeing the former Redskins and Bears blocker in the past prior to signing him this offseason. Compton, though, has only made 16 starts in six seasons. The Vikings are likely to keep Compton at guard rather than have him also work at tackle, Mike Zimmer said. Second-year man Danny Isidora looks to the the top insurance option at the other guard spot in case Remmers, down with an ankle injury presently, doesn’t return soon, per Cronin. A fourth-year UDFA out of Portland State, Cornelius Edison is currently working as Minnesota’s first-team center in Elflein’s absence.
  • The Buccaneers will be without Vernon Hargreaves for a bit, potentially the rest of the preseason, with a groin injury. Dirk Koetter, however, doesn’t expect the former first-round pick to miss any regular-season time because of this malady (Twitter link, via the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud).
  • The 49ers will be dealing with similar timelines involving key personnel. Likely tight end starter George Kittle and No. 2 running back Matt Breida suffered separated shoulders in San Francisco’s preseason opener Thursday night, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. Both will miss the remainder of the preseason calendar. Kyle Shanahan said the earliest either will return is Week 1.
  • Derrius Guice‘s ACL tear deprives the Redskins of a potential impact player being part of their 2018 offense, and they will likely turn to former starter Rob Kelley in his place, Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington writes. He expects Samaje Perine, who was in danger of not making the roster prior to Guice’s injury, to work in off the bench on early downs. Tandler adds the Redskins could go after a veteran back, and while many are available, it’s not certain the team will move in that direction just yet. Kelley rushed for 704 yards (4.2 per carry) in 2016, a season that featured him start down the stretch, but gained just 194 last year (3.1 per tote) in seven games as Washington’s starter.

Vikings Rumors: DeFilippo, O-Line, Barr

John DeFilippo played a big part in the Vikings‘ quarterback search. The new Minnesota offensive coordinator began studying film of the team’s three previous quarterbacks — Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater and Case Keenum — on his first morning with the team in mid-February, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes. This process of finding a potential long-term option in Kirk Cousins also included scouting of QBs that weren’t Cousins or the Vikings’ free agent trio, per Goessling, who adds QBs coach Kevin Stefanski was also involved in this process, along with Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer. DeFilippo and Cousins met at dinner the night before the new Minnesota starter signed his three-year, $84MM contract, per Goessling. Minnesota has not had a quarterback make it through three straight seasons as the primary starter since Daunte Culpepper in the early 2000s, and DeFilippo called the franchise’s signal-caller search as thorough as anything he’s been involved with in the NFL.

Here’s the latest from the Twin Cities:

  • Previously stationed at right tackle at Vikings OTAs, Mike Remmers took reps exclusively at right guard during one of the OTA sessions this week, Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune reports. Third-year UDFA Rashod Hill, in turn, lined up at right tackle. This was the Vikings’ arrangement at the end of last season. Remmers worked as the Panthers’ starting right tackle from 2014-16. Tom Compton, who worked as the primary right guard last week, alternated at left guard with Danny Isidora, per Krammer. Slotting Remmers at guard would give second-round pick Brian O’Neill an easier path to playing time, but it’s uncertain what Remmers’ primary position will be this season.
  • Anthony Barr reported to the Vikings this week and did so after taking out an insurance policy, Krammer notes. He missed the first week of Vikes OTAs while he ironed out this policy, which will cover him for injury while he’s still attached to his rookie deal. Barr remains hopeful he and the Vikings can come to terms before training camp. Minnesota agreed to extensions with Everson Griffen, Xavier Rhodes and Linval Joseph in a 10-day span just as camp began last year, and it would make sense Barr — one of the team’s big re-up candidates this year — would be the top priority for a pre-camp deal.
  • Despite being a first-round pick, Laquon Treadwell has 21 receptions (and no touchdowns) in two years. However, the Ole Miss product is not categorizing 2018 as a make-or-break year, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes. The Vikings cut Jarius Wright and have not re-signed Michael Floyd, potentially giving Treadwell a chance to move into the No. 3 wideout role. However, Minnesota’s Kendall Wright deal could impede that. Neverthless, it could be a stretch the Vikings pick up Treadwell’s fifth-year option in May of 2019 at this rate.

Draft Pick Signings: 5/26/17

The latest draft pick signings from around the NFL:

  • The Raiders have announced the signings of six picks, meaning they’ve now locked up two-thirds of their nine-player draft class. Fourth-round offensive lineman David Sharpe, fifth-round linebacker Marquel Lee and four seventh-rounders – Shalom Luani (defensive back, Washington State), Jylan Ware (offensive tackle, Alabama State), Elijah Hood (running back, North Carolina) and Treyvon Hester (defensive tackle, Toledo) – are now under contract. The 6-foot-6, 343-pound Sharpe was the No. 1 left tackle at Florida over the two previous years, starting 26 games, though he’s likely to serve as a guard in the pros, according to Lance Zierlein of NFL.com. Lee, meanwhile, saw action in all four of his years at Wake Forest and racked up 100 tackles in two of those seasons. All told, he amassed 41 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks (7.5 last year) with the Demon Deacons. Despite that impressive production, Zierlein regards Lee as more of a potential backup linebacker/special teamer than a starter in the NFL.
  • The Vikings have signed two fourth-rounders – defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson (Iowa) and linebacker Ben Gedeon (Michigan) – as well as fifth-round offensive lineman Danny Isidora (Miami), writes Lindsay Young of the team’s website. Johnson became a full-time player with the Hawkeyes in 2015 and combined for 15.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks over the past two years, and could develop into a pass-rushing threat in the pros. Geodeon was quite productive with the Wolverines last season, recording 94 tackles (15 for loss) and 4.5 sacks, though Zierlein contends that he’s not fast enough to become an impact defender at the highest level. Isidora, a three-year starter at right guard as a Hurricane, earned second-team all-ACC honors in 2016. Although Isidora was a late-round pick, he has the potential to start in the NFL, per Zierlein.