Friday, September 4, 2015

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Image courtesy of Chris Price

Every once in a while, one’s cynicism can mix with reality to create a sense of optimism during a turbulent time.

Following the news of Phil Loadholt’s torn Achilles that will almost certainly sideline him for the entirety of the 2015 season, my initial feelings were those of sadness for Loadholt as an individual, and also increased worries about an offensive line that was already this offense’s biggest liability.

For Loadholt individually, the situation downright sucks and he has a long road to recovery for the second season in a row. Next season is his last under his current contract and he will be set to make a salary of $7.75 million and, if no adjustments are made, the Vikings would only eat $1.75 million of that if they parted ways with him.

The idea that Loadholt has possibly played his last game as a Vikings might provide some readers with a shock, but the numbers suggest it is possible. Combine that with the fact that he’ll be thirty next year, with injuries continuing to wear on that large frame of his, and it might be closer to “likely” than “possible.”

At the very least, the silver lining in this situation is that Loadholt’s injury provides clarity in that a replacement is needed immediately. If one wants to be a true optimist, you may even go so far as to say the team can now potentially trade in some run blocking dominance for an improved pass blocker.

Of course, all of that optimism is totally contingent on finding an adequate replacement for Loadholt, and that is easier said than done. The Vikings brass are surely going to have their thinking caps on over the next couple of days, but what options exactly do they have to consider?

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Image Courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings topped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26-16 Saturday at The Sauna… I mean The Bank. Mike Zimmer extends his career head coaching preseason record to a robust 6-0, but it came at a price as veteran road-grading right tackle Phil Loadholt was lost for the season with a torn achilles. The much maligned offensive line now has a new set of obstacles. Who’s gonna step up? TJ Clemmings? Austin Shepherd? Babs? (Not Babs)

We dig into the NEW problematic offensive tackle position for the Vikings as well as touch on other “Not-so Famous Jameis” talking points on today’s recap show.

Other “Get well soon, Uncle Phil” Talkers Include
• MIKE ZIMMER IS STILL UNDEFEATED IN THE PRESEASON
• The Dogra Bowl – Welcome back Leslie Frazier
• Phil Loadholt done for the year, career as a Viking?
• Will TJ Clemmings step up?
• Matt Kalil said football is fun again
• Teddy looked sharp & in command
• Was it Zach Line’s birthday?
• McKINNON MAY NEVER SCORE AN NFL TD
• WTF, Cordarrelle?
• Stefon Diggs is a lot of fun to watch
• Blanton is going to start, but it’s close
• Marcus Sherels is under-appreciated. We don’t deserve him.
• We are very lucky to have Tom Johnson
• Long snapper: No one cares. Just pick one.
• Taylor Heinicke. Me likey.
• Good things happen when Gerald Hodges is on the field
• Don’t bet against Adam Thielen (You can bet against Fruechte though)
• Eric Kendricks is an animal
• Give me Brian Peters over Mike Mauti & Brandon Watts #SorryNotSorry
Amazon – Bookmark us & show some love!

All that and other “Next Man Up” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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image courtesy of Vikings.com

Minnesota quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater, Shaun Hill and Taylor Heinicke efficiently connected on 27 of 33 pass attempts for 293 yards and two touchdowns to help the Vikings spoil Jameis Winston’s preseason NFL debut.

Bridgewater started the game off hot by hitting Kyle Rudolph for 18 yards on the first play from scrimmage. Two plays later he hit Jarius Wright for a 26 yard reception helping the Vikings get in position for a Blair Walsh 46 yard field goal that gave the Vikings an early 3-0 lead.

Bridgewater was 7/8 in the game for 86 yards and led the Vikings on a five play 38 yard scoring drive that ended with a Zach Line 1-yard touchdown run on the Vikings third possession.

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Will miss 2015 season

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Injuries affect football teams every day, but some are more devastating than others. And on this fateful August night, none are more brutal to the Minnesota Vikings than the loss of Phil Loadholt.

According to a report from NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Phil Loadholt suffered a torn achilles early in Saturday night’s preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and will miss the rest of the 2015 season.

Loadholt was blocking on a routine play, when his legs appeared to buckle and he collapsed to the ground on the Vikings’ second offensive play of the night. According to reports from A.J. Mansour on Twitter, Loadholt was “visibly upset” on the sideline and seen “head down with a towel covering his head” before being carted to the locker room.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

We got a slightly extended look at the Vikings starters Saturday evening at TCF Bank Stadium. Each played three drives and the Vikings starters outperformed Tampa Bay by a score of 9-3.

Below are some notes for how each of those drives went and a few notes about individual performances.

FIRST DRIVE (OFFENSE)

Cordarrelle Patterson fielded the opening kickoff from seven yards deep in the endzone, but was unable to get past the 20 yard line on a very ho hum return.

Like last week, Bridgewater found tight end Kyle Rudolph for a first down on, this time on a play action bootleg where Bridgewater showed nice patience. On the next play, a nothing-doing handoff to Jerick McKinnon, Phil Loadholt limped off the field and visibly appeared to be in pain.

After a five yard gift on a Bucs penalty, Bridgewater hit Jarius Wright on a nice crossing pattern for a big gain of 26 yards, most of which was found by Wright after the catch. A quick screen to Mike Wallace on the next play gained only two yards and then a deep shot out of the shotgun ended up being a missed connection to Wallace in the endzone. A few yards on a pass to McKinnon was enough to stall the drive and set up the Blair Walsh field goal that put the Vikings ahead on offense.

Bridgewater looked sharp and the offense seemed to move well. Mike Wallace underwhelmed a bit in his two targets, but it isn’t like he was terrible. The biggest news from the first drive, unfortunately, is whether or not Phil Loadholt’s injury will be a long-term problem for this team.

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