Thursday, October 27, 2016

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Last year's first round pick made a splash on Sunday

most important players
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The Minnesota Vikings suffered the cruelest of ends to their 2015 season, but there is hope. It begins with the NFL Draft this spring, when teams have the chance to improve their roster with the best talent that the NCAA has to offer. The Vikings have used their most recent first-round picks — top-12 selections in 2014 and 2015 — to build defensively, but may be in a position this offseason to focus on their most pressing offensive needs. After Sunday’s playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the Vikings will select 23rd-overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.

It was painfully obvious on Sunday that the Vikings have a number of roster holes to fill through free agency and the draft. A porous offensive line struggled to protect Teddy Bridgewater (as they have all year) and a lack of offensive weaponry prevented Minnesota from scoring an offensive touchdown. In frigid conditions, the kicking game also played a major factor in the loss. Punter Jeff Locke averaged just 34.4 yards on five attempts and failed to “spin the laces” out on Blair Walsh’s missed game-winning field goal.

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That was a less than ideal way for the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings to end the 2015 campaign. But let’s not lose the forest through the trees, this season was a damn good year and this young football team is ahead of schedule with Mike Zimmer. We went 11-5, won a division title, and will be in the mix as legitimate Super Bowl contenders next season. Take a while to let this game marinate, but not all is lost. This team’s best football is ahead of it.

Talking Points Include
• Was It Cold Out?
• Bud Grant is My Idol
• Blair Walsh is Not the Reason We Lost
• This is Not Adrian Peterson’s Team
• Free Teddy Bridgewater
• There Are OTHER Pieces on this Offense
• Offensive Line Needs to be Overhauled
• The Defense Was the MVP Today
• Trae Waynes was Impressive
• Josh Robinson was Not
• The Seahawks Did Everything to Lose the Game, We Gave Them a Gift
• Twitter and Facebook Questions
• Why 2016 Will Be HUGEEEEE
• Podcast Offseason Programming Plan

All this and other “WAS IT COLD OUT? I HAD NO IDEA.” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint

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Adam Thielen
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While we try to figure out just where our latest playoff heartbreaker will rank in Minnesota Vikings lore, and some of try to find a suitable nickname for the missed kick that ensured the loss, there also exists an urge to collectively cast our gaze to the future.

One of the first things that needs to be addressed in any offseason are the questions surrounding the current roster and figuring out just which players could end up moving on in the coming months.

As of today, here are the Vikings players set to see their current contracts expire prior to the 2016 season. The list is loosely ranked by playing time and production, so don’t put too much stock into the order in which they appear:

2016 Minnesota Vikings Free Agents

Mike Harris, OL, 27

By quite a large margin, Mike Harris was the Vikings most consistent offensive lineman in 2015. That might not be saying much, but I would hate to have witnessed what the unit would’ve looked like with out him. The Vikings can’t afford to take a step backwards at offensive line this offseason (they need to take a few huge steps forwards) and resigning Harris should be a priority near the top of Rick Spielman’s to-do list.

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Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard potential game winning field-goal with 22 seconds to play as the Seattle Seahawks escaped Minneapolis with a 10-9 victory. Walsh was having an MVP like day connecting on field goals of 22, 43 and 47-yards helping guide the Vikings to a 9-0 fourth quarter lead.

The momentum swung in the Seahawks favor when a shotgun snap sailed past Russell Wilson and he not only managed to recover it, but in Houdini-like fashion, avoided the sack and found Tyler Lockett on a crossing route for the improbable 35-yard reception. Two plays later, Wilson hit Doug Baldwin for a 3-yard touchdown cutting the score to 9-7.

On the Vikings’ following possession, Adrian Peterson fumbled after making a catch out of the backfield which led to a Seattle seven play drive capped off by a Steven Hauschka 46-yard game winning field goal with 8:09 to play.

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Minnesota will play the Seahawks at full strength

Vikings Inactives Wild Card
Image courtesy of NFL Game Pass

The Minnesota Vikings are near full-health in their most important game of the season, a Wild Card matchup with the Seattle Seahawks. The last time these two teams met, Anthony Barr, Harrison Smith, and Linval Joseph were either injured before the game or left the game early because of injuries. This time around, Mike Zimmer’s defense will be primed to contain Russell Wilson and the red-hot Seahawks offense.

On Friday, the Vikings released the weekly injury report, which listed all but one player as “probable” for today’s game. Defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis is out with an ankle injury, and will be replaced by former practice squad player B.J. Dubose. Below, a look at all of the Vikings’ inactives for Wild Card Weekend:

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