Who is going to take Mr. Mankato honors for the Minnesota Vikings?

CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 15: Bucky Hodges /

The Minnesota Vikings have started training camp, so who takes Mr. Mankato honors? The Sporting Sota team gives their predictions.

With Minnesota Vikings training camp already on the way, everyone is talking about it. What, you say? Well, Mr. Mankato, of course. In other words, the unofficial honor given out to an under-the-radar Vikings player who exceeds expectations in training camp. Something that has become a hit to predict among Vikings fans. A bit popularized by 1500 ESPN and enjoyed by many.  So, it only makes sense that the members of the Sporting Sota team make their predictions for who becomes the next great Mr. Mankato.

Now, before we get into it, let’s establish the qualifications. Some believe that the Mr. Mankato honor can be given out to any young player who performs extraordinarily, while others believe it has to be a Day 3 draft pick or undrafted player. For the purposes of these predictions, our qualifications for Mr. Mankato is that he is any player that performs far beyond the limited expectations placed on him by outsiders in training camp.

With that, here’s the Sporting Sota team’s Mr. Mankato predictions:

Jake Andersen – I’m going out on a huge limb with my Mr. Mankato prediction, but everything I’ve seen and heard about this guy intrigues me. That is, tight end Nick Truesdell. At 6-foot-7, 250 pounds, he has eye-popping size at tight end and runs an insane 4.6-second 40-yard dash. Truesdell comes from the Arena Football League where his best season came in 2015 when he scored 23 touchdowns in 16 games. If all goes well, he could develop into a strong offensive weapon at a position that is far from settled. Besides Kyle Rudolph and David Morgan, there’s likely one or two spots open for the taking, giving Truesdell a chance to shine.

Justin Ekstrom – It’s only fitting that the final year in Mankato yields more Mr. Mankato nominees than most can count. That being said, I’m going with an early favorite among Vikings Twitter posts in Bucky Hodges. The tight end position is absolutely stacked with potential as training camp begins, but the former quarterback recruit will show the fans what they want to see. Perhaps it’s his 6-foot-6-inch frame I like or the fact that he was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, a place in which I called home in my early years. Either way, Hodges has the talent that will wow the fans into crowning him the final Mr. Mankato this year.

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Carl Vagle – My Mr. Mankato pick is Rodney Adams. Adams was drafted in the fifth round (170th overall) in this year’s NFL draft out of the University of South Florida. With Cordarrelle Patterson leaving for Oakland the kick returner spot is wide-open for Rodney. He also has speed with a 4.44 40-yard dash and will have every opportunity in training camp to showcase his ability. Stacey Coley suffering an injury opens the door even more for Adams to run away with the final Mr. Mankato Award. The only question left is can he follow in Stefon Diggs footsteps?

Collin Kottke – If there is something I love about my homeland of rural southern Minnesota, it is our international flair. That flair will result in Moritz Boehringer being named this season’s Mr. Mankato. The German was a popular pick last year and has been under-the-radar recently. Head coach Mike Zimmer has been recently throwing some praise the way of Boehringer and that is a good enough sign for me. The wide out is going to go all out in Mankato.

Next: What are the Vikings' top position battles in training camp?

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