Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Monthly Archives: December 2012

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After trying out three wide receivers last week, the Minnesota Vikings have made their decision, signing former Minnesota State pass-catcher LaMark Brown to their practice squad.

This move comes within a week of electrifying wide receiver Percy Harvin getting the IR stamp. Offensive tackle Troy Kropog was elevated from the practice squad to the active roster to fill the void, which allowed for the Vikings to add a new receiver, Brown, to the mix.

After going undrafted this past April, the 6’3’’, 225-pound Brown enjoyed short stints with the Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills and, most recently, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who released him from their practice squad on Nov. 13.

Brown began his college career at Kansas State, where he spent three years playing running back before transferring to the DII Minnesota State. While with the Mavericks, he made the transition to wide receiver, hauling in 31 passes for 405 yards and five touchdowns. He still received some work out of the backfield as well, amassing 98 yards and four touchdowns on 31 carries.

The Vikings have Brown listed as a tight end, but he will likely be used at both positions while working with the scout team. During his pre-draft pro day, Brown clocked a 4.5 40-yard dash time.

It’s not the impact wide receiver signing that some were hoping for, but who knows what type of player Brown could develop into given the proper time and coaching. The Vikings have never been bashful about giving a homegrown player an opportunity, either.

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Following Sunday’s win it seems that we once again (thank goodness) get to place some votes for who we think gets the game ball.

Here are a few options to choose from:

ADRIAN PETERSON:  31 rushes for 154 yards and 2 touchdowns.  2 catches for 16 yards.

CHRIS KLUWE:  7 punts with 37.4 yard average, 2 inside the 20, and the “Ray Guy” sticker.

JASPER BRINKLEY:  9 tackles, 3 assists

JOSH ROBINSON:  5 tackles, 1 interception

HARRISON SMITH:  4 tackles, 2 assists, 1 interception, 1 touchdown

BRIAN ROBISON:  2 tackles, 1 assist, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble

Consider this statistical analysis for a second.  Christian Ponder completed 11 passes to Vikings receivers during Sunday’s win.

These 11 passes were good for 91 yards and no touchdowns.  Jay Cutler, on the other hand, completed two passes to Vikings cornerbacks and those interceptions were good for 100 yards and a touchdown.

So, to be clear, Jay Cutler was a better Vikings quarterback on Sunday than Christian Ponder was.

Leslie Frazier and his staff decided to go “all in” utilizing a formula many of were calling for weeks ago, and it led to a fairly impressive victory over a divisional foe.  The Vikings fully embraced the idea of having to run the football (accompanied by solid defense) to win football games, and even if it seems they figured it out a little too late, they are still in the playoff hunt because of it.

Against the Bears on Sunday Adrian Peterson had a career high of 31 carries while Christian Ponder tied his season low of 17 passing attempts.  If you throw in some Toby Gerhart and bootlegs, the Vikings ran the ball 21 more times than they threw it.

The Vikings have once again proved that they can win with Christian Ponder at quarterback, but once again it is obvious that they can really only do it if Peterson continues to play out of his mind and the defense continues to come up with big plays.

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As much as I was hoping to host a live chat today, it unfortunately just isn’t in the works.  Instead, I’ve created this post as an “open forum” in the comments section.  I’ll do my best to check in and leave a few comments myself.

Here are the inactives  for today’s matchup:

Vikings:  QB Bethel-Thompson, CB Burton, LB Cole, OL Kropog, OL Asper, TE Reisner, and DE Reed.

Bears:  LB Urlacher, CB Jennings, WR Bennett, QB McCown, WR Sanzenbacher, OL Spencer, and DT Paea.

It is no longer just up to the Vikings. They’ve put themselves in a situation where not only are they going to have to win on the field, but they’ll also be keeping an eye on the stadium scoreboard to see the status of other crucial games. Jared Allen would say something like, “We are no longer in control of our own destiny.”

Last week’s chat that we hosted when the Vikings lost in Lambeau was pretty brutal. Lots of doom and gloom that the Vikings playoffs shots this year are over. Even our very own [favorite] blogger Adam Warwas announced that our postseason aspirations were done. This put me in a precarious position. Here are both my readers and my boss(?) announcing that our playoff hopes are gone. So, do I continue my Path to the Playoffs segment? If the Vikings are done, does it matter?

But when I started doing this little segment a few weeks ago I said that I would keep doing it until the Vikings were completely eliminated from participating in the playoffs. While their shots are slim, their is still a chance it could happen. Our buddies over at KAB pointed out yesterday that the Vikings odds of making the postseason, as established by Football Outsiders, is 3.3%. The sad part? That was before Percy Harvin was put on injured reserve.

It definitely doesn’t look pretty. At 6-6, there are five other teams ahead of the Vikings in the wild card race. While most of these teams are also 6-6 the bad news is that four of them currently have a tie-breaker over us.

Let’s just take a look at the standings:

Playoff Picture

  1. Atlanta Falcons (11-1) – Clinched Division
  2. San Francisco 49ers (8-3-1)
  3. Green Bay Packers (8-4)
  4. New York Giants (7-5)
  5. Chicago Bears (8-4)
  6. Seattle Seahawks (7-5)
  7. Washington Redskins (6-6)
  8. Dallas Cowboys (6-6)
  9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6)
  10. Minnesota Vikings (6-6)
  11. St. Louis Rams (5-6-1)
  12. New Orleans Saints (5-7)
  13. Detroit Lions (4-8)
  14. Arizona Cardinals (4-8)
  15. Carolina Panthers (3-9)
  16. Philadelphia Eagles (3-9)

What We Need To Happen

We need people to lose. Can everyone lose except for us? Can we just make that happen? 15 NFC losses, one win! That would help our playoff hopes. Are all the other NFC teams playing AFC teams this week or something?

What’s that? They’re not? That’s not possible?

Crap.

St. Louis at Buffalo – Rams loss.

The Rams are only one spot behind us at #11. Honestly though, if we lose this week, it doesn’t really matter what happens with them. But, because they’re an NFC team playing an AFC team, we want the Rams to lose.

Atlanta at Carolina – Toss-up.

Honestly, this one doesn’t really matter. Carolina isn’t going to make the playoffs and Atlanta has already clinched their division.

Dallas at Cincinnati – Cowboys loss.

With the same record as us (6-6), the Cowboys are now a legitimate playoff contender and someone we need to be rooting against moving forward. This week they travel to Cincinnati which will likely be a close match-up. With a loss against the Bengals and a Vikings win over the Bears we would move back ahead of them in the conference standings. Plus, it’s the Cowboys.

Philadelphia at Tampa Bay – Buccaneers loss.

This is a big one for us… We really need the Eagles to win this weekend in Tampa Bay. Not only are the Bucs tied with us at 6-6 but they also hold the head-t0-head tiebreaker over us.

Baltimore at Washington – Washington loss.

This is basically the same scenario as the Philly / Tampa Bay game. Washington is tied with us at 6-6 but they also hold that darn head-to-head. This is why it’s so important to beat fellow NFC teams throughout the regular season. Baltimore hasn’t been playing light’s out lately and they’ll be in Washington so I could see this one going either way. Plus, I suppose anything’s possible for the Redskins with RGIII at the helm.

Miami at San Francisco – San Francisco win.

This one realistically doesn’t mean that much. But, might as well root for the 49ers to win so, if for some reason it comes down to it, we have the better strength of schedule.

New Orleans at New York Giants – Giants win.

A Giants win is preferred here because they’ll likely win their division while the Saints will be playing for a wildcard spot. Our wildcard spot.

Arizona at Seattle – Seattle loss.

We need Seattle to lose. They ended up beating the Bears last week which put them a game ahead of us. Plus, they hold the head-to-head tie breaker. I swear, the more and more I say that the hardest this thing seems. Everyone holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over us! This will be a tough game for Arizona but they’ve upset teams they were supposed to lose to as the visitor already this season (See New England).

Detroit at Green Bay – Green Bay loss.

As if you didn’t want the Packers to lose already…


So, let’s summarize. There are a lot of teams the Vikings need/want to lose. Here are the big ones, though (I’ve underlined them above): Seattle loss, Tampa Bay loss, Washington loss, Packers loss. It’s very unlikely that all the teams we want to lose this weekend will do so (although, it’s already happened once). What absolutely has to happen though is the Vikings beat the Bears in front of thousands of desperate fans tomorrow at the Metrodome. If they don’t and, say, the Packers and Seahawks win, this thing could really be over.

Bonus Prediction Time!

I’m going to publicly predict a Vikings win tomorrow for one reason and one reason alone. The Vikings will sustain the hope of fans until the very last second and then deliver a crushing blow that eats at us throughout the entire offseason. Vikings win, 20-14.

Until then, I’m gonna stay sippin’ that purple kool-aid. You guys know you love the hope. You need the hope!

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