Tuesday, August 23, 2016

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Who should you be rooting for this week in addition to the Vikings? Find out here.

Stefon Diggs Practice 2015
Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

It’s that time of the week again where we look at where the Vikings currently stand in their playoffs aspirations and what needs to happen to seal the deal. Although the Vikings were unable to, against all odds, go into Arizona and beat the Cardinals, their playoff situation didn’t get worse. Most of the other teams that needed to lose did, increasing the likelihood of a Vikings playoff berth.

As of right now (pre-Week 15), according to the NY Times Playoff Simulator, the Vikings make the playoffs in 90% of [144,000] simulations. That’s actually 5% higher than where we were before Week 14 despite the Vikings not winning their game.

However, between last week and this week, the Vikings did drop from the fifth seed to the sixth. This is because the Seahawks were able to [handily] beat the Ravens and move to 8-5 themselves. As you know, likely despite your efforts to erase it from your memory, the Seahawks hold the head-to-head tiebreaker. This means that the Vikings drop a spot, drastically altering their course once they’re in the playoffs. (Adam Patrick did an excellent job earlier this week of outlining the preferred seed.)

But let’s go ahead and kick things off by recapping last week and see what went right and what went wrong.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Winners of their last three games on the road, the Chicago Bears (5-8) will make their annual trip to Minnesota this Sunday to face off against the Vikings. Minnesota (8-5) was able to defeat the Bears 23-20 in Week 8 and the Vikings will be hoping for a similar result this weekend.

Minnesota is likely hoping to win by more than three points on Sunday. A big part of that being able to happen will depend on how the offense performs against Chicago’s defense for the second time this season.

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Star Wars is a thing. And the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings and the Chicago Bears are set to clash at TCF Bank Stadium Sunday like the Rebel Alliance and the Dark Side and the Romulans and the…. I’ve never seen Star Wars…. But Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) has! We talk about The Force as well as the Purple People Eaters as he makes his weekly stop.

We also chatted about which Vikings will make the Pro Bowl (not that the Pro Bowl matters), ask if Rick Spielman is underrated, why Linval Joseph being back is monsterous for our playoff chances, and Arif casts Vikings players as Star Wars characters. Because that’s original.

All that and other “I’ve only seen the Family Guy Star Wars….” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

Read all of Arif’s stuff at The Daily Norseman and Vikings Journal as well as listen to his podcast Norse Code.

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

I’d really be drinking the Purple Kool-Aid if I said the Vikings were a complete football team. Rick Spielman’s built a competitive and deep roster, but there are holes and deficiencies at a few key positions, including wide receiver, offensive line, and in the secondary. It’s easy to look at the Vikings and think, “Hey, they could make some noise in the playoffs,” but truthfully, they’re a year away.

And that’s okay. Every team’s goal each year is to win the Super Bowl, even if that’s not always a realistic aspiration. Sometimes, unforeseen obstacles like injuries and coaching changes can throw those plans off track. While the Vikings have shown they’re an improved bunch, there are still issues keeping them from moving into the league’s upper-echelon of contenders.

The coaching, across the board, is some of the best in the NFL. The defense, with elite speed at every level, should be aggressive for years to come. And Teddy Bridgewater, despite the criticism, has the chance to become the franchise’s first great quarterback in nearly a decade.

But that won’t happen unless the Vikings make some offseason improvements. To help me find out where Spielman and Zimmer should focus their attention, I asked the VT team to answer this week’s question:

Looking ahead, what position do the Vikings most need to improve this offseason?

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The Week 15 showdown between the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings and the Chicago Windy City Bears is nigh! That’s why we had Bears blogger Jeff Hughes (@DaBearsBlog) of Da Bears Blog in to discuss how his Monsters of the Midway look to try and play spoiler against our beloved Purple who need this home win to help solidify our playoff position.

We chatted about how Jeff likes the new regime in Chicago, how new media like blogs and podcasts have an edge over traditional outlets, if Jay Cutler has turned things around, Matt Forte being on the way out, how Teddy Bridgewater can get the sour taste of Arizona out of his mouth, and how the Vikes and Bears will end up Sunday afternoon at The Bank.

All that and other “Red Red Wine Make the Vikings Feel So Fine” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

Also, I’d rather be in the Red Wine Club than the Donut Club to be honest….

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