Tuesday, October 13, 2015

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(photo courtesy of Vikings.com)

Carl: Justin Trattou’s interception
The 27 year-old undrafted four-year veteran from Florida only has one tackle in the stats column this season for the Vikings. The backup defensive end has played a whopping six total snaps, all verse the Lions in week two. Believe it or not though, he stands alone atop they Vikings’ leader board in the interceptions category. Maybe he was just in the right place at the right time, but his fourth quarter pick with just over 12 minutes to play gets my vote for biggest play of the game. With the Vikings up by 13, Stafford targets Eric Ebron in the left flat on a 1st-and-10 from midfield. Trattou didn’t rush the passer, nor did he drop back into coverage. With help from Andrew Sendejo covering the tight end, Trattou was able to simple slid into Stafford’s throwing lane and get his hands up in the air. I’m not sure how he made the catch, but his INT and 11 yard return was huge as it deflated the Lions while setting up the Vikings final scoring drive.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Inconsistency isn’t what you want to define your team if you are an NFL team, but over the course of just six days the Vikings have appeared like two completely different teams, and now us fans are forced to wonder which product we’ll see on the field this coming Sunday.

Coming off of a solid home victory against Detroit, news is starting to break of even more injury concerns along our offensive line (Brandon Fusco this time), and it is fair for each of us to wonder just how Minnesota will fare against Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers this weekend.

In preparation for the looming battle, we took a look around the web and brought you all the best links we could find:

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

In this weekly series of articles, I’ll be breaking down what went RIGHT or what went WRONG each game for the Minnesota Vikings. This week, thanks to a turnaround victory over the Detroit Lions, I’ll be focusing on the positives and what the Vikings can build on moving forward this season.

In the NFL, game plans can and do change on a weekly basis. Against a team like the San Francisco 49ers, stopping the run has to be a defense’s number one priority — though that’s not always the result. When playing the Detroit Lions, for example, teams put a premium on shutting down Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, and Matthew Stafford’s other receiving weapons.

On the offensive side of the ball,  finding a balance between running and passing is ideal. Depending on the defense or specific one-on-one matchups, that can change. Take the New England Patriots in Week 2 — Tom Brady threw the ball 59 times against the Buffalo Bills and shredded Rex Ryan’s defense. Meanwhile, the Washington Redskins rushed the ball 37 times against the St. Louis Rams, riding the legs of Alfred Morris and Matt Jones to a victory.

A look at the Vikings’ first three offensive plays from both games illustrates this variation perfectly:

  • (9:19) (Shotgun) T.Bridgewater pass incomplete short right to J.Wright.
  • (9:13) (Shotgun) T.Bridgewater pass incomplete deep left to C.Johnson (T.Brock).
  • (9:07) (Shotgun) T.Bridgewater pass incomplete deep left to J.Wright [A.Lynch].

The Vikings started their first offensive drive on San Francisco’s 26-yard line after a blocked field goal and Andrew Sendejo return, but couldn’t capitalize on the premium field position. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner scripted running plays, but Teddy Bridgewater checked into passes based on the defense’s alignment and coverage. After missing Jarius Wright in the flat and misfiring on two deep balls, Bridgewater and the offense watched Blair Walsh push a 44-yard field goal — giving the ball right back to the 49ers.

Against the Lions, Turner’s first few offensive calls — downhill, inside zone runs — illustrated his plan to feed Adrian Peterson early and often:

  • (14:55) A.Peterson up the middle to MIN 25 for no gain (E.Ansah).
  • (14:26) A.Peterson left tackle to MIN 36 for 11 yards (G.Quin, E.Ansah).
  • (13:57) A.Peterson up the middle to MIN 38 for 2 yards (J.Jones).

In the first quarter alone, Peterson had 13 carries and surpassed his game total of 10 rushes from the previous week. The offensive line established itself against the Lions from the start and Peterson set the tone on the team’s first drive. He looked more patient, more decisive, putting together 11-yard and 25-yard runs as the Vikings marched down the field for their first touchdown.

Special players make special plays, as evidenced by Adrian Peterson’s ability to turn the corner and outrun edge defenders, but their success wouldn’t be possible without the development of effective game plans. From an offense’s first scripted plays to a defense’s blitzes and pre-determined coverages (Xavier Rhodes shadowing Calvin Johnson,) the Vikings’ preparation is key to a victory each week. After the jump, I’ll take a look at some of that preparation (and a few individual performances) that highlight how the Vikings defeated the Detroit Lions in Week 2

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Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia | Modified

There’s always something with this damn team. Of course the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings would be the only team in professional sports history to have a contract dispute with an unofficial mascot that people never really paid attention to. Good job, Ragnar.

Today on the show, I eviscerate Ragnar for demanding $20,000 per game for a gig he should have been happy to be earning only a paltry $1500 per, I list off ten possible mascot replacements, and go into my theory of why team mascots should always be in foam suits.

Dave Berggren (@DaveBerggren) formerly of Kare 11 sports fame drops by to talk about actual football and how the Vikings can keep the positive momentum from Sunday flowing through the rest of the 2015 campaign.

Wrapping up, Di Murphy (@DiMuprhyMN) swings in for her weekly spot as we chat about if Adrian can break his own single game rushing record of 296 yards versus the San Diego Super Chargers at home again.

All that and other “Blair Walsh needs to thank Ragnar” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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Kam Chancellor isn’t playing for the Seattle Seahawks so far this season due to a contract dispute. Right behind him in line for a payday is Minnesota Vikings long-time mascot Ragnar.

The difference, the obvious difference, in those two situation? Chancellor has 31 other potential employers. Ragnar, whose real name is Joe Juranitch, is the definition of niche player, however, and I don’t think too many other organizations are jumping in line for a chance to sign a man whose best attribute is his beard.

That lack of leverage has proven true, as it has been reported that the Vikings have parted ways with Ragnar after he requested $20,000 per game for the duration of a 10 year contract, which would have been a considerable increase over the $1,500 per game stipend he had earned under his previous contract.

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