It has been too long. I won’t bore you with reasons for my absence as none of the excuses are legitimate. Instead, I want to jump right back into being a more involved writer here at Vikings Territory. There have been quite a few things happening behind the scenes here at VT. We’ve definitely evolved in the quality and quantity of content. Above and beyond that, a complete redesign of the entire site should be making its way to all of you soon.

Enough of that, though.

We’re going to start a new reoccurring post here at Vikings Territory. It’s a pretty simple concept. Every week or so I will host various people out there on the interwebs and ask them a series of questions for them to respond to. The questions may be regarding a recent Vikings news talker. It might be an off-the-wall question that has nothing to do with the Vikings. Sometimes there may be a theme to the questions. Other times there won’t. Who knows? Quite honestly, it’s going to be whatever I think is fun and interesting that particular week. I do know that I will try and keep the questions light hearted and the responses blunt.

It won’t always be the same people. And it won’t always be writers from here at VT. We will try and mix it up and have an array of different people join in on the fun. And after our guests have provided their responses, I will end each question with a response of my own. There are two rules to make things more interesting:

  1. Responses must be less than 140 words. If the responder goes slightly over this boundary, they aren’t disqualified or anything. This isn’t a contest. Really, the restriction is to simplify things a little big and get a straight-forward answer.
  2. There are “Unacceptable Answers.” I will decide what these are on a case-by-case basis. Typically, I will try and think of answers that I deem unworthy. (Primarily because they don’t really answer the question.)

With that being said, let’s get to it. As it is the first installment of this post, I wanted to keep things in house. This week our guests are everyone’s favorite Vikings blogger Adam Warwas and our beloved Vikings super brain, Arif Hasan.

Question #1

Sometimes when I find myself bored, melancholy, desperate for football, etc., I do what any other normal person would do and venture over to Youtube to enjoy some Adrian Peterson highlights. There are so many incredible games Adrian Peterson has given to Vikings fans since even his first game as a rookie. Some may say that it would be impossible to pick a favorite. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what I ask of you now. What is your favorite, most memorable, single game performance from Adrian Peterson? Youtube clips of the game are encouraged…

Unacceptable Answers:
- “There are just too many! No way I can choose just one…”
- “Any game the Vikings win.”

Adam
Peterson is a physical beast that can take one to the house at any given time. The same goes for about 30 other running backs in any NFL season. That is why the most defining game in Peterson’s career, in my mind, is not the record-breaker against the Chargers or his return from knee injury or his romp of the Browns on opening day. Instead I select one of the more meaningless games he’s ever participated in: the Pro Bowl of his rookie season. That was when Peterson really set himself apart from every other back in the league and showed everyone he only has one gear, even when everyone else is taking it easy and worried about an injury derailing their career. Peterson’s passion, desire to win, rejection of surrender, uncut willpower… this is why he is the best.

Arif
Aside from the 2012 season as a whole, the 2012 Week 17 performance against Green Bay to will the Vikings into the playoffs in spite of themselves. The record-setting game in 2007 against San Diego and the 2012 Week 9 game against Seattle were more impressive, but that GB game stands out in particular in my head. My single favorite highlight is the Week 1 run in 2009 against the Browns, but I will never forget the game against Green Bay to get into the playoffs.

Brett
I’m not going to try and be cute here, although I do really like Adam’s answer. Ultimately, the decision came down to two games. First, we have the game against San Diego in 2007 where Peterson broke the NFL single game rushing record with 296 yards on 30 carries (and 3 touchdowns to boot). Secondly, we have the final game of the 2012 season where AD single-handedly willed the team to a playoff berth and within 8 yards of the all-time rushing record against the Packers. Having to pick between the two is difficult but ultimately the latter wins. There was just so much emotion in that game. I’ve never seen a single player dominate everyone around him with sheer willpower the way Peterson did that day. It was absolutely incredible.

(Can’t embed the video, but here are some highlights from that amazing game against the Packers.)

Question #2

While some of us are very hopeful (all of us?), it is impossible to say if Teddy Bridgewater will be the franchise quarterback the Vikings have been searching for. But let’s focus on the more immediate. A few weeks away from training camp, we have gotten to see some positive signs from Bridgewater throughout OTAs and mini-camp. While training camp and the preseason will give us an even further glimpse into Bridgewater’s prospects, at this moment I ask you the following: Will Teddy Bridgewater begin the regular season as the Vikings starting quarterback? Obviously, there is much left to see before anyone can accurately answer this question. Yet, the question remains.

Unacceptable Answers:
- Anything along the lines of, “It’s impossible to say right now.”
- Variations of the above including but not limited to, “It depends on _____”

Adam
I think the Vikings have every intention of starting Teddy Bridgewater on Day One. Of course there are a ton of variables here and nothing is a given, but when forced to make a prediction I just think that’s how the tea leaves are reading.

Arif
Bridgewater will not start Week One. I think the Vikings have been as honest as they can reasonably be when they announced Cassel as the preseason favorite to start and have given him more reps with the first team than anyone else.

People think there is a recent trend of starting rookie quarterbacks in Week 1, but they forgot that Gabbert, Locker, Kaepernick and Ponder all didn’t begin the season as starters—coaches still sit players, even if it’s for a shorter period of time. Old-school coaches like Zimmer are less likely to start a rookie if they think they have a viable veteran option, and Turner hasn’t historically started rookies, either.

Brett
I don’t think Bridgewater will be our starting quarterback in Week 1. Of course, Teddy could blow everyone away in preseason and prove me wrong but at this present moment, I believe Cassel will get the nod. This isn’t a bad thing. We all know how great Bridgewater was (or at least most of us do) in college but time to become fully acclimated with an NFL system as well as time to maybe put on a few more pounds is not going to hurt this very promising prospect. With all this being said, I will not be surprised at all if/when Bridgewater is starting by mid-season.

Question #3

Somewhat staying in the position battle category… What would you say is the most interesting position battle headed into training camp?

Unacceptable Answers:
- “Quarterback.”
- Any answer including more than one position battle.

Adam
The most interesting position battle is at linebacker. Here you have a bunch of names and a whole ton of upside, but nothing proven outside of a struggling Chad Greenway, and plenty of reason to expect improvement. Most specifically, I think the middle linebacker spot is the most interesting position battle of the year with Audie Cole and Michael Mauti in that mix.

Arif
Linebacker. I’m really curious as to how the Vikings will use Anthony Barr and what the linebacker configuration will look like. Installing Barr as the Sam and figuring out where to put Chad (his schematically similar Will spot or a new Mike spot) as well as determining the rotation will be a big part of figuring out how the defense will go and what the philosophies behind the Vikings defense will be.

Brett
I’d be kidding myself if I said anything other than linebacker. I want to go with something else here to simply mix it up a little but, quite honestly, it is the most interesting position battle this year. Other contenders? I think the other safety spot alongside Harrison Smith will be interesting. Jamarca Sanford? Andrew Sendejo? Robert Blanton? Antone Exum? There are a lot of possibilities there. Also, I think the spot for left guard will be interesting to watch develop between Charlie Johnson, David Yankey and Jeff Baca.

Question #4

Much has been made recently of the Washington’s Redskins team name and logo. Without getting into this issue specifically, it did make me wonder one afternoon after finally getting bored with Adrian Peterson highlights, “What if there was a similar issue with the Vikings and the team ended up changing their name?” That got me to thinking of alternate names for the Minnesota Vikings. What would your name be for Minnesota’s football franchise if it could absolutely not be the Vikings?

Disclaimer: I am not by any means attempting to down play the issue surrounding Washington. I really just thought it would be fun to see some creative ideas for alternate names.

Unacceptable Answers:
- Anything synonymous with the word “viking”.
- Multiple names without ultimately choosing one.

Adam
Now this is an interesting question and one I hope never has to be answered in reality. I’m a big fan of the “Wild” name in the NHL and would probably lean towards something similar. The “Wolf Pack” would be cool except for we already have the Timberwolves and hearing the word “Pack” makes me vomit and throw things. The best I can come up with is like the Minnesota “Ice” which represents the lifestyle of Minnesota while also presenting some fun uniform and marketing ideas. Yeah, I’ll go with that.

Arif
An interesting question that I haven’t really thought of. Presumably other nicknames for people as well as synonyms for Vikings (like “Norseman) would be out for the same reason, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable with the Minnesota Ducks (as cool as that would be) because of the Anaheim thing. I would be OK with “Blizzard,” but that might just be my love of gaming.

Brett
I’m just going to brain vomit here and throw a bunch out at you. I’ll still choose one, but I came up with a bunch of different names.

- Minnesota Nice
- Minnesota 10K
- Minnesota Un-Packers
- Minnesota Bobcats
- Minnesota Shield
- Minnesota Reign
- Minnesota Loons

Personally, I like Minnesota Shield the most. I did my homework… Ever heard of the Canadian Shield? Really? Summarized ever so eloquently by everyone’s favorite site Wikipedia, “The Canadian Shield is a broad region of Precambrian rock that encircles Hudson Bay.” This shield extends into the U.S. and encompasses a portion of Minnesota. So, it’s geologically applicable as well as pretty cool sounding! Plus, the designer in me is infatuated with the cool branding / marketing opportunities there. I’m with Adam though… Hope we never have to actually ask this question.

Bonus Round! Question #5 – World Cup Edition!

Bonus question! I’ll keep it simple… Who wins the World Cup? My heart is absolutely broken after our loss to Belgium in the Round of 16. I need someone else to root for and my Vikings fan heart cannot simply take another let down.

Unacceptable Answers:
- “Don’t care. Soccer sucks.” (Adam)
- Any answer that does not select (1) team
- Teams already eliminated from the World Cup, obviously…

Adam
While reading the question I was able to deduce that Belgium has not yet been eliminated and is a real team.  That fact now represents the entirety of my knowledge of the World Cup – scratch that – the sports of soccer, and so that is my guess:  Belgium.

Arif
“UUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH.”

Bad World Cup for favorites. No one has looked dominant and haven’t done a good job taking care of easy opponents. So, I’ll say Colombia, because they’ve at least looked good consistently.

Brett
I feel a little bad for Adam and Arif because I took a little longer getting this out than anticipated. Obviously, they’ve made their answers before Belgium and Colombia were eliminated so they did follow the rules. Now I’m going to look like a punk when my selection is Germany. But, to be 100% honest, I have had Germany atop my World Cup bracket from the very beginning (I can even show it to you on ESPN if you don’t believe me). I think Germany just outclasses a lot of the other teams this year. Their roster is absolutely stacked with talent and I really like how they play tactically. Seriously, watch these guys move the ball effortlessly. It’s beautiful. ( How did we hold these guys to one point!?


I hope you all enjoyed the post. Stay tuned for the next edition in a week or so! Also, let us know what you would choose if you had to pick between the three alternate Vikings names.