Thursday, August 25, 2016

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A closer look into an increasingly common knock against Teddy Bridgewater.

Teddy Bridgewater Holding Ball 2015
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

After the way Teddy Bridgewater ended the Vikings 2014 campaign, expectations were sky high for the second-year quarterback headed into this season. Though, to this point, his season has largely been up and down, it’s safe to say his development from year one to year two has likely fallen short of expectations. (Again, the expectations were really high – maybe unfairly so.) This really isn’t a knock against Bridgewater. It hasn’t necessarily been easy for the quarterback who’s working, once again, with a patchwork offensive line, a less than stellar group of receivers and an offensive scheme that focuses heavily on running the ball. But it is the truth: Bridgewater hasn’t been the epitome of consistency this year.

One of the most frequent critiques you’ll find of Bridgewater the last three to four games is that he holds the ball too long. That he isn’t making decisions quickly and sometimes putting his [already poor] offensive line in even worse positions.

This is an easy thing to say. And I didn’t feel it was fair for so many people to be making a blanket statement without really checking its validity. So I decided to take a look myself. As soon as the All-22 of the most recent Vikings game at home against the Packers was available, I made myself a cup of coffee, peeled back my eyelids and got to work. (For the sake of clarity, I am referring to the game played on November 22, 2015 at TCF Bank Stadium.)

Here’s what I found.

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(image courtesy of Vikings.com)

The Falcons may have started out 5-0, but things have turned sour for the team playing under first-year coach Dan Quinn. Quarterback Matt Quinn and Co. have now lost four of their last five games and have lost 13 turnovers in the same stretch. If the season would have ended after last week, Atlanta’s 6-4 record placed them one game behind Minnesota in the wildcard race for the playoffs. Therefore, Sunday’s game will be an important one for both teams; a win for the Vikings would be huge, especially after their recent loss to Green Bay.

Let’s see how Minnesota’s offense will match up against the Falcons.


Offensive Line

The offensive line has been holding its own, especially considering its patchwork makeup, but Week 11 was a different story entirely. Green Bay’s defense shook the offensive line significantly, and the results were undeniable. The Packers sacked Teddy Bridgewater six times, and beyond that he received plenty of pressure on (seemingly) most plays. The Vikings were the least-penalized team heading into last week, but they finished the game with eight penalties that cost them 110 yards; four of those were against offensive linemen, and three were against tackle Matt Kalil, who has been having a strong season thus far.

The unit also struggled with blocking, unable to create many holes for Adrian Peterson. Atlanta’s defense ranks No. 10 overall, but its pass rushing is not as much of a threat as one might expect, with only 12 total sacks on the season. That being said, there’s no question: Minnesota’s O-line needs to step it up Sunday in order for the Vikings to be successful. Bridgewater had his highest passing yards of the season against Green Bay, despite being on the ground so often; just think what could happen if he had solid protection.

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Black Friday shopping sucks. You should curl up with a nice podcast instead and join Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) and me as we chat about the 7-3 Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings as we prepare to make Atlanta howl on Sunday. The Purple have a prime opportunity to get back up after the Packer debacle and solidify themselves as a playoff team by going into the Georgia Dome and taking care of business against the 6-4 Falcons. Fake crowd noise be damned.

All that and other “Roasted Dirty Birds” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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

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(photo courtesy of Vikings.com)

In the spirit of the holiday, we decided to have a little more fun with this week’s question. We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section as well. All of us at Vikings Territory are wishing you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving!

Name one Viking (past or present) most likely to ruin your Thanksgiving dinner.

Austin: “The Williams Wall”
Together, Pat and Kevin created havoc for the Vikings defense, with their best seasons together coming between 2006-2008. Their large presence inside helped the Vikings field the league’s best run defense for three years straight, and I’m sure they’d put a stop to leftovers at Thanksgiving as well. While both always seemed like great teammates, I think they’d make terrible dinner-mates, if only because there would be little in the way of leftovers. One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is the leftovers, and Pat and Kevin would easily put a stop to that by eating most of the food on Thanksgiving night. No turkey soup and no turkey sandwiches the day after would ruin Thanksgiving for me.

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Photo Courtesy of Vikings.com

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful. It also falls on a #ThrowBackThursday, so it’s good synergy to revisit one of my favorite podcast interviews, my chat with KFAN personality and Radio Voice of the Minnesota Vikings Paul Allen (@PAontheMic). The podcast has afforded me many opportunities to chat with some great guests and serve an audience of passionate Vikings football fans and for that I have a tremendous amount to be thankful for.

So sit back and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family, watch some football, take a food coma nap, and if you have some time listen to PA and I talk some Vikings football from April (three weeks before the draft). It’s funny to see where our hot takes when both right and wrong.

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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