Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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    Image courtesy of Vikings.com

    Less than one week after a disgusting display in San Francisco, your Minnesota Vikings are back in Vikings territory for their home opener and first divisional matchup.

    The 2015 rookie class is getting even less exposure to life in the NFL this week, but our roster is relatively healthy outside of those already known to be out of action, like Phil Loadholt and John Sullivan.

    Austin Belisle has done a great job of explaining the importance Xavier Rhodes has in the outcome of this showdown and I’m looking forward to seeing him line up across from Calvin Johnson. Lindsey Young thinks stretching the field on offense could also be a key to a much-needed victory this week.

    Meanwhile, Brent LaBathe thinks we could see a much different version of Mike Zimmer’s defense this week given that Matt Stafford is far less mobile than Colin Kaepernick. I personally agree with Brent on that aspect and will be mightily disappointed if we don’t see marked improvement on defense this week.

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    Image courtesy of Vikings.com

    Last week, Vikings draft picks Stefon Diggs and Edmond Robinson were healthy scratches against the San Francisco 49ers. Today, another rookie joins them as Mike Zimmer makes changes along the defensive line.

    Daniele Hunter, the third-round selection out of LSU, played 20 snaps in the team’s Week 1 loss but will sit today’s matchup with the Lions in favor of veteran defensive end Justin Trattou. The two flip-flop positions, as Trattou was inactive last week but returns to fill in as a rotational end behind Everson Griffen and Brian Robison.

    In total, six Vikings are inactive, per the team’s official website:

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    Teddy Bridgewater Vikings Week 1 Niners 2015
    Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

    Howdy, everyone! Last week we had an awesome turnout for the first installment of what will be Vikings Territory’s weekly Fantasy Football contest. Not only did we manage to fill our tournament, but we also had a few people who weren’t able to join due to the player limit. While that’s unfortunate (and something we will work to correct by increasing the contest size as needed), it’s a positive sign that people out there are interested in joining in on the fun.

    JOIN THE WEEK 2 VIKINGS TERRITORY FANTASY CONTEST!

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    Image courtesy of Vikings.com

    A Sunday where Calvin Johnson catches just two passes seems odd, right? Kind of like a game where the Vikings fail to score an offensive touchdown or rush for more than 100 yards, no? But this is the NFL, where missed opportunities are forgotten and memories are just a thing of the past.

    The Vikings’ embarrassing loss to the 49ers? Mike Zimmer’s team is moving on. Calvin Johnson’s quiet, 4-target start? An anomaly, according to his Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi:

    “So, certainly he’s going to certainly get his touches this year, and I think that was an anomaly that we had this first game.”

    Johnson’s lack of touches began in 2014, when he played a shortened season because of injury (13 games) and was targeted just 128 times. That total, the second-lowest of his career, came just one season after Johnson caught 82 passes for 1,492 yards and scored 12 touchdowns. Though not physically diminished, Johnson’s decline can be attributed to the presence of Detroit’s other pass catchers, most notably Golden Tate.

    Last season, Tate caught 99 passes for 1,331 yards, scoring five touchdowns and quickly earning the trust of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. In Sunday’s game against the Chargers, Tate was targeted eight times, hauling in four catches for a pedestrian 24 yards. He’s a weapon in the slot, outside, and even in the return game, and Stafford relies on Tate once teams focus their attention on Johnson.

    Fortunately for Mike Zimmer, the Vikings may not need to devote extra players to Johnson this Sunday. Why? Enter Xavier Rhodes.

    Image courtesy of Vikings.com
    Image courtesy of Vikings.com

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