Friday, May 26, 2017

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NFC North
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings are expected to resume practice today, assuming head coach Mike Zimmer doesn’t call another audible, and Vikings fans are hoping to get some relieving news and continue to watch the team march towards what is widely expected to be a very successful 2016 campaign within the NFC North.

Before Vikings news commences, however, here is a quick glance around the division to see what our biggest enemies are up to:

Chicago Bears Show Little Progress

Every year, a team far exceeds expectations and surprises a number of teams along the way to a playoff berth. Usually, hindsight being what it is, a person can look back to August and find signs of growth and opportunity that were clear but still went unnoticed.

That isn’t happening in Chicago.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Open Twitter, read the local paper, or visit Vikings Territory, and you’re sure to see something on Teddy Bridgewater’s shoulder. It’s dominating the headlines, and for good reason; the Minnesota Vikings’ hopes rest on the very shoulder keeping Bridgewater from the field.

The drama started with Zimmer’s sudden decision to keep Bridgewater out of Thursday night’s game. It snowballed at the podium, where Zimmer reiterated his confidence in the young quarterback’s health. And the situation exploded into a full-blown avalanche late Friday, when Ben Goessling reported that Bridgewater missed the game with a sore shoulder.

Now, the Vikings are without Bridgewater, and have been since Saturday. The third-year quarterback hasn’t thrown a pass since practice last week, leaving first-team duties to a pair of reserves. In another surprising move, Zimmer moved Tuesday’s off day to Monday, perpetuating the idea that Bridgewater’s injury is more serious than first reported.

Until Bridgewater begins throwing, the world won’t know what’s wrong with the quarterback. He may be fine, or, he may be suffering something similar to Colin Kaepernick’s “dead arm” in San Francisco. Injury reports aren’t required until the regular season begins, but the NFL’s recent policy update suggests Zimmer’s handling of the situation flies in the face of the league’s new standards.

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Minnesota Vikings Teddy Bridgewater Injury

Teddy Bridgewater has a mysterious and sudden shoulder injury. Matt Kalil bowed out of practice Sunday. Brandon Fusco has a neck. Who the heck knows about Mike Harris. Sharrif Floyd and Eric Kendricks are perpetually banged up. Jarius Wright has a calf. Tre Roberson has a broken hand. Xavier Rhodes has a hamsting. WHAT IS HAPPENING?! WHY CAN WE NOT HAVE NICE THINGS?

Austin Belisle (@austincbelisle) of Vikings Territory joins me again to talk Teddy, preseason, and Vikings as we mercifully rumble towards the regular season.

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

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Vikings Pass Rush Silences Seahawks
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Losing at home isn’t a normal occurrence for Russell Wilson; the Seattle Seahawks quarterback has dropped just five games at Century Link Field since 2012. Outside of his own brilliance and the strength of his supporting cast, Wilson owes some of his success to fans known as “The 12.”

Without Seattle’s raucous crowds, Century Link isn’t one of the league’s loudest, most intimidating stadiums. Sure, the architecture projects the roar in such a way, but its the fans who give life to the Seahawks’ infectious playing style. To win in Seattle takes nerves of steel; the ability to focus in the face deafening noise and outthink a team bred for the chaos. In the Minnesota Vikings, Mike Zimmer has built such a team.

It’s only the preseason, but if the first half of Thursday’s game is any indication, the Vikings are built to ignore the noise. And against the Seahawks’ first-string offense, the Vikings silenced the crowd.

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We have published two final roster predictions here at Vikings Territory since the NFL Draft took place. The first was in May, with Brent LaBathe taking an early stab.

The second was when Austin and I compiled results from reader votes, and Adam Patrick’s “Top 30″ series,” where we just filled in some holes to make a final roster prediction. That one published at the onset of training camp.

Now, with training camp and two preseason games behind us, I’m going to try my own hand at the age-old practice and see how things shake up. Complaints, of which I’m sure many of you will have many, can be dropped in the comments section below.

53-Man Final Roster Prediction

QUARTERBACK

Teddy Bridgewater

Shaun Hill

Thoughts: The Vikings likely will not find it necessary to use a valuable roster spot on Joel Stave or Brad Sorensen. They have been rumored to be eyeballing outside backup options, including Nick Foles at one point, but barring any major developments I see them rolling with Bridgewater and Hill until such point that Taylor Heinicke returns healthy.

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