Saturday, February 28, 2015

Monthly Archives: November 2012

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The Minnesota Vikings have one of the best offensive backfields in the NFL, headed by superhuman Adrian Peterson. Toby Gerhart isn’t too shabby either.

Unfortunately, the depth behind No. 28 and No. 32 took hit on Tuesday when the Jacksonville Jaguars signed second-year running back Jordan Todman off of the Vikings’ practice squad.

Todman, who the Vikings signed off of the San Diego Chargers’ practice squad near the end of the 2011 season, was a promising young running back who appeared to have a future in Minnesota as a third-down back. Injuries, however, limited his playing time during the preseason, which allowed fellow second-year man Matt Asiata to lock down the No. 3 running back spot.

The Jaguars signed Todman in hopes of providing depth to a positional group that has been mutilated by injuries. Star runner Maurice Jones-Drew has been hobbled all season long and is currently nursing an ankle injury while Week 12 starter Jalen Parmele was sent to the IR on Tuesday due to a leg injury.

It was expected that Todman would give both Asiata and Gerhart a run for their money as Peterson’s main backup in 2013, but the Jaguars had other plans.

It’s sad to see such promising young talent ripped away from the Vikings, especially by a inept team like the Jaguars. That’s the NFL for you, though.

Some would argue that Sunday’s loss to the Chicago Bears was the end of the Vikings season in terms of participating in any week 18 games.  What we know for sure is that Jared Allen’s blind side block ended Lance Louis’s season.

On an Antoine Winfield interception, Allen launched his body at the offensive lineman in an attempt to block during the return, but the result was a knee injury that has brought more criticism Allen’s way than he has seen since he did this to Matt Schaub in 2008.

The hits to Schaub resulted in the NFL making a rule change the following offseason, but this time around Allen’s hit on Louis was one that is already illegal despite the fact that he wasn’t penalized for it.  Allen can expect a hefty fine from the NFL and plenty of jabs from the team that currently leads the NFC North but now has to finish out the regular season without their best offensive lineman.

Head Coach Lovie Smith offered up his take on Monday.

“Jared Allen plays the game a certain way, a good player in our league,” said Smith.  “I think there are some plays when you look at them again, you say, ‘Hey, we could have done without that.’ I think our game could do without that play. We have an injured player right now based on it. I think he could have gotten blocked a little bit differently, but that’s about all I can probably say about it. I’m sure the league will look at it and give another opinion about what they think.”

I can’t honestly say that I believe Allen is a dirty player that intentionally hurt Louis, and he echoed that in his post-game comments about the play and his apology to Louis and his family, but I also think the play is one that the NFL could indeed do without and that Allen will (and should) hear from the league office.

What do you think Allen should expect provided the evidence and testimony mounting against him on this one?

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When the Vikings got walloped by the Chicago Bears on Sunday, I found myself really missing two players:  Percy Harvin and Chris Cook.

Harvin has been the difference maker in a number of games for the Vikings this season and was in the MVP discussion prior to the ankle injury that knocked him out three weeks ago.  The sure-handed juggernaut was greatly missed in a game that featured far too many drops and not enough explosions from the Vikings receivers.

Harvin’s direct replacement, Jarius Wright, had a decent day while hauling in a team high seven passes for 49 yards.  However, the nice birthday performance for the rookie was overshadowed by an inexcusable drop in the back of the end zone.

In week four Calvin Johnson was held to five catches and 54 yards, thanks in large part to efforts of Chris Cook.  The following week Kenny Britt had two catches for 23 yards.  No Washington receiver topped 50 yards in the next game.  Larry Fitzgerald was then held to 29 yards.  Vincent Jackson had only two catches for 40 yards on Thursday Night Football.

Cook got hurt in that game.  Since then the Vikings have faced Sidney Rice, Calvin Johnson, and Brandon Marshall.  They have combined for 28 receptions, 353 yards, and two touchdowns.

The Vikings secondary wasn’t perfect when Cook was on the field, and it isn’t absolutely disastrous without him, but it is tough to argue that they are a better unit with Cook on the field willing and able to go toe-to-toe with the NFL’s best receivers.

The injuries to Cook and Harvin have exposed what we all know the Minnesota Vikings are: A young team with consistency and depth issues that will take some time to correct.

Until then, the phrase “Next Man Up!” is a scary one for Vikings fans.

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Today the Vikings have travelled to Chicago (and there is no truth to the rumors about Adrian Peterson not making the trip) and we have your inactives list for Game Day:

Vikings:  QB Bethel-Thompson, WR Percy Harvin, CB Brandon Burton, LB Audie Cole, OL Mark Asper, TE Allen Reisner, and DE D’Aundre Reed.

Bears:  WR Alshon Jeffery, QB Josh McCown, WR Dane Sanzenbacher, DT Matt Toeaina, T James Brown, DT Amobi Okoye, and DE Chets Ozougwu.

Nothing on that list should be too big of a surprise (other than that I didn’t know there was an NFL player with the name Chets Ozougwu, which is completely awesome) but the fact that Jay Cutler is active, and Percy Harvin is not, will be the biggest pre-game news.

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