Tuesday, May 31, 2016

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

At this point last year, the Minnesota Vikings were 2-2, having just beat the Atlanta Falcons behind an eye-opening performance from rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. In his first NFL start, Bridgewater completed 19 passes for 317 yards and even scored a touchdown with his legs. The elation in Minnesota would quickly end, though, as the franchise’s newfound quarterback missed the next game and watched as his team fell to the Green Bay Packers.

Suffering from the humiliation at Lambeau Field, the Vikings continued their losing streak against the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills to fall to 2-5. Bridgewater struggled, the running game sputtered without Adrian Peterson, and the defense was a sieve at best against the run. Their 2-2 start, kicked off by a drubbing of the St. Louis Rams, wasn’t enough to keep pace with the NFC’s playoff contenders.

This year, the Vikings find themselves in a familiar, yet much different position. Though they enter the Week 5 bye at 2-2, this is a team that’s deeper, more talented, and playing at a higher level than their 2014 counterparts through four games. The record doesn’t necessarily reflect this, and an ugly Week 1 loss to the 49ers swayed expectations early, but three strong performances against the Lions, Chargers, and Broncos put the Vikings in excellent position to compete for an NFC playoff spot this season.

The Vikings won’t return to the field until Week 6, when they host the Kansas City Chiefs at TCF Bank Stadium in a crucial inter-conference matchup. Until then, head coach Mike Zimmer will have much to assess in his time off, including a few ugly trends in his team’s two losses. After the jump, we’ll dive into the game film from the Vikings’ Week 4 loss to the Denver Broncos and try to figure out what went wrong. As the famous saying goes, “The eye in the sky never lies…”

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(photo courtesy of Vikings.com)

All right, Vikings fans, we’ve made it to Bye Week. With four weeks down and a .500 record, there have been some ups and downs to the season thus far. Looking back over the games under our belt, which Vikings player has impressed you the most? Check out our answers, and as always, leave us a comment to let us know your opinion!

Carl: Adrian Peterson, RB
Mike Zimmer has put his stamp on the 2015 Minnesota Vikings football team, and the result is a roster full of players buying into a team-first approach. Yes, this question is a bit harder to answer because so far this season both the offense and defense appear to be playing good “team” ball. But individually, Adrian Peterson has impressed me the most after four games. His 372 yards leads the NFL in rushing and his 5.0 yards per carry average has been a shot in the arm for the offense. After seeing the run game struggle in the preseason, it has been a joy to see some explosiveness back in the backfield.

Brent: Anthony Barr, LB*
There isn’t any doubt that expectations of Barr were sky high going into his second year, but nagging injuries that lingered into the preseason created some cause for concern. Barr has been outstanding thus far and outside of Harrison Smith is having the best season of any Vikings defender. What has been most impressive is Barr’s improvement in coverage through four weeks. Picking off Peyton Manning will be on Barr’s highlight reel for a long time and for good reason. Imagine if he were to have come away with the second INT.

*(other considerations: Joe Berger, Linval Joseph & Eric Kendricks)

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With the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings bye week upon us, we still roll on because WE GOT NOWHERE ELSE TO GO!

Tom Schreier (@tschreier3) of Cold Omaha rejoins the show to talk about the Purple through the first quarter of the season, ramifications of the Gerald Hodges trade, how Teddy Bridgewater has never really had a decent offensive line (in the regular season), if Daily Fantasy Sports will survive in this country, how the Minnesota Twins are so media friendly, and a general overview of the state of Minnesota sports media.

All that and other “Beat Writers’ Bodies Are Like Greek Gods” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

If I were a smart man, I would have pre-written an article titled “early bye week is ideal for pre-deadline trades” and scheduled it to post on Monday morning.

I’m not a smart man, though.

The Vikings did indeed take advantage of a week off to bring a new center into the fold (and ship off a previously-starting linebacker), as Austin Belisle explained earlier, and they may not be done yet.

It is hard to say what the real motives were behind trading Gerald Hodges away, and acquiring center Nick Easton, and it is natural to wonder if there is more to the story than Rick Spielman let on Tuesday evening. It is equally impossible to tell, at this moment, whether or not more trades are in the works in the near future.

Our friends over at Daily Norseman posted an article citing Benjamin Albright who tweeted, “Have heard the Vikings have solicited more than one team about interest in Patterson.”

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