Tuesday, October 13, 2015

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photo courtesy of vikings.com

When it comes to roster depth, Minnesota is doing quite well at the cornerback position.

On Monday, the Vikings added Jabari Price back to the active roster, leaving only Josh Robinson inactive. Robinson suffered a torn pectoral muscle prior to team OTAs and is currently on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Head coach Mike Zimmer came to Minnesota with experience as a defensive coordinator, and it’s no secret that his specialty lies on that side of the field. Even more specifically, defensive backs seem to have a special place in his heart.

Associated Press Dave Campbell wrote the following last month:

Zimmer coaches [cornerbacks] as critically as any players on the Vikings, and if there were a contest held to determine his favorite position on the field the others would probably be fighting for second place.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

So much has changed since November 4, 2007. The Metrodome is gone, soon to be replaced by the Vikings’ new home, U.S. Bank Stadium. LaDainian Tomlinson, the league’s leading rusher that year, has since retired and joined the crew at NFL Network. And the Vikings finally have a legitimate starting quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater.

One thing, however, remains the same. Despite a number of obstacles — a terrifying knee injury, last season’s year-long suspension, and a bitter contract dispute — Adrian Peterson will line up in the Vikings’ backfield when Minnesota hosts the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

Why is November 4, 2007 so important? It was Adrian Peterson’s explosive introduction to the NFL, a 30-carry, 296-yard performance that set the league’s all-time record for rushing yards in a single game. The rookie and seventh-overall selection out of Oklahoma had already put together a 224-yard outing against the Chicago Bears in Week 5, but took his game to another level against the Chargers.

“It was a like from the beginning of the game, he was on a different level. He was running at a different speed,” Tomlinson told Chris Tomasson in a recent interview. “He was playing at a different level than what our defense was playing then.

As the Vikings prepare for the Chargers this week, all eyes are on Adrian Peterson, who will try to elevate his game a second time and break a still-standing record from eight years ago.

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image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Vikings announced Monday that cornerback Jabari Price has been reinstated onto the 53-man active roster. Price was serving a two-game suspension, and the Vikings held an open place for him during the first two weeks of the season.

Reporters interviewed Price in the locker room Monday morning, and he said the following:

“It feels good to be back. The last couple weeks have been really tough for me watching at home, watching the games on television and watching us come up short against San Fran. I didn’t think it was going to be difficult but it hurts.”

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Two weeks into the NFL season, it’s hard to make overarching judgements or statements on a particular player or team. For the Minnesota Vikings, an ugly Week 1 loss to the San Francisco 49ers was just that — a small blemish in a 16-game slate. That’s why head coach Mike Zimmer, he of short tongue and temper, took a different approach to his team’s preparation before Sunday’s matchup with the Detroit Lions.

Rather than lay into his players on a short week, Zimmer encouraged the Vikings to focus their energy and attention on the Lions. “We’re going to let that game go,” he told the team last Wednesday, according to the Star Tribune’s Matt Vensel. And let it go they did, winning a convincing, dominating game yesterday against the division rival Lions.

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who shouldered much of the blame last week, spoke to reporters after the game and shared how Zimmer’s criticism motivated him to step up his play on the field:

“Definitely, and I love it that Coach Zimmer is tough on me. He’s tough on all of the guys and it just shows that he cares about us. He wants us to give our all and play at our best every week. Last week we didn’t execute the way we were supposed to, but this week we did a great job of putting last week in the past and coming out and starting fast today.”

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This week’s edition is far more enjoyable than last week’s (where Anthony Barr ran away with the voting) as the 26-16 win over Detroit featured a much better on-field display from Mike Zimmer’s Vikings.

Once again, the Vikings appear to have escaped the game without any major injuries to fret about (apologies if that turns out to be untrue) and they got their first home win, first divisional victory and first overall victory all taken care of in Week Two.

This team looked very different from what we saw in San Francisco. Matt Stafford looked flat-out defeated by the fourth quarter. The Lions ran nowhere. Our offense wasn’t exactly high-flying, but it was efficient and productive. The special teams was mistake-free outside of the obligatory Blair Walsh miss that needs to be discussed in greater detail later this week.

For now, we focus on the positives, and want you to help us assign this week’s award for Player of the Game.

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