Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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Matt Engstrom Vikings Illustrations Bears Eating Hope
Illustration by Matt Engstrom

Your Norv Turner Criticism Is Legitimate And He’s Earned It.

Somewhere in Winter Park an alarm clock has been going off at weekly intervals, but the Vikings organization continues to hit the “snooze” button.

After last night’s debacle against the Chicago Bears, however, it is time for somebody to wake up.

With Vikings Territory’s unexpected popularity boom over the last few years (due 100% to me surrounding myself with far superior talents) comes a greater sense of responsibility when writing things like this, and calling for another man to be fired is not something I engage in willy-nilly. There are ramifications – team ramifications, family ramifications, long and short term ramifications all around.

Norv Turner is a respected man in the NFL, a well-respected coach whose list of accomplishments would make most others pale in comparison.

If things that were once effective always remained effective, however, I’d have my DVR set to record the newest episode of Friends tonight and would be searching TicketMaster for Nickelback tickets during the commercials.

In the case of Norv Turner, I’ve now arrived at a tipping point and am fully convinced that this offense has been reduced to little more than a greatest hits album, and an antiquated approach that makes for better history segments than live football.

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Minnesota Vikings-Chicago Bears - Blue Door Pub

The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings turned in their 2nd sleepwalking performance of the season Monday Night in Chicago. A failure on both the offensive and defensive lines allowed the Bears to slowly grind the Purple into a slaughtered stuffed animal pulp. Head coach Mike Zimmer has to figure out a way to jump start a lethargic offense (maybe send Norv out to pasture?) and a suddenly not as dominant defense.

Sam Ekstrom (Locked On Vikings) joined me LIVE at Blue Door Pub University to wrap up and put a bow on the Monday Night Madness and help us put The Nightmare On Halloween behind us.

All that and more “The Vikes Went as the Browns for Halloween” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint

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Four thoughts on the Vikings loss to the Bears, because it didn't deserve five.

play calling
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

1. I have rarely seen such poor play calling from an NFL team.

I’m usually the last to criticize NFL coaching. There’s so much going on that the average observer is unaware of (especially from watching a TV broadcast), it’s hard to say what they should be doing. We all have our ideas for what would make the offense work better, but without a full knowledge of why they’re calling it the way they are—and what the coaches are seeing that’s preventing them from doing the seemingly obvious—it’s hard to really say we know better than the guys running things.

And indeed, it seems I’m one of the last holdouts in Norv Turner criticism, but I’ve finally gotten there. The “Fire Norv” calls first came well before the 2016 season, but the Vikings fan base has grown increasingly agitated with Turner’s unimaginative play calling. It’s almost as if we were sold a bill of goods; here was this man who was spoken of as an offensive savant, someone who—while not ideally cast as a head coach—was perfectly suited to design the scheme and call the plays. There were promises of exotic sets and deep passes. Instead, what we’ve largely gotten—save for a few bright spots here and there—has been a rigid scheme that does not adapt to its personnel and an almost religious commitment to running on first down. The national media seem to still be buying the old narrative; even ESPN designed a graphic Monday night touting the “unpredictability” of a Norv Turner offense, and Jon Gruden rhapsodized the man’s offensive mind, while Vikings fans were left shaking their heads.

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Marcus Sherels' Place
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

With Minnesota Vikings punt returner Marcus Sherels out against the Chicago Bears, a few players may see extra special teams playing time on Monday Night. Sherels injured his wrist in the team’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last week and will miss his first game since 2011 when he began fielding punts in purple and gold.

One player who could take his place is Cordarrelle Patterson, who was questionable entering the night but passed the NFL’s concussion protocol in time for Monday Night Football. He’s returned punts before but has primarily been a kick returner for the Vikings. Adam Thielen also fielded punts during the preseason but has never taken a regular season snap at the position.

The rest of Minnesota’s inactive players include:

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