Monday, October 5, 2015

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On Sunday, I had the opportunity to represent Vikings Territory on Kare 11’s Vikings Extra show. I received a message from sports producer Dan Edwards, and I jumped at the opportunity to make my television debut. It was an absolutely fantastic experience. The entire sports crew at Kare 11 was fantastic—down-to-earth, welcoming, and just plain fun.

Every week, Vikings Extra features a writer/media person, a football fan, and a Minnesota athlete (former or current). Last night’s panel featured myself as the writer, Apple Valley football coach David Paradeise, and former San Antonio Spur and Minnesota native Rich Melzer. Eric Perkins facilitated the panel discussion; the three main topics covered during the TV portion were the following: (1) what will the second half of the Vikings season look like? (2) the AP situation, and (3) who is your biggest disappointment on the Vikings roster thus far?

A six-minute edited segment played on Kare 11 following the Sunday Night Football game, and the entire piece is online. Watch below and comment!

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Last season, Josh Robinson was called on to replace Vikings veteran Antoine Winfield in slot coverage—and the results were less than impressive. This year, however, the story could not be more different. With a new coaching system under Mike Zimmer and the addition of new defensive players to the roster, Robinson is able to play primarily outside and is really finding his groove.

Offseason transactions brought in Captain Munnerlyn to play the slot, and Robinson looks much more natural playing on the outside. Additionally, he fits better in Zimmer’s defensive scheme that utilizes more man coverage and boundary corners.

“I believe [Coach] Zimmer is doing a great job with a lot of things, which are all helping us become better players,” Robinson said. “Teaching players techniques that work and stressing the importance of accountability and consistency are the biggest contributors to our success.”

“Zimmer came to Minnesota with a reputation for being able to get the most out of defensive backs, and Robinson is probably the team’s most improved player,” said Star Tribune‘s Matt Vensel. “He is a young player with speed and cover skills, and his play this year is a reminder of the dangers of writing off a player after he struggles early in his career.”

Robinson’s 2014 numbers are certainly impressive. At the end of October, the CB was allowing one completion for every 12.4 coverage snaps, compared to 6.9 last season. Robinson also continues to demonstrate improved play-making skills, already notching seven pass breakups and two interceptions.

The more significant of the two picks—if it is fair to say that—occurred on Sept. 7 against the Rams. St. Louis set up at its 19-yard line with 1:13 remaining in the first half, and the play proved pivotal in the game. Robinson executed his coverage of Rams tight end Jared Cook, and the CB was able to intercept the pass and keep his feet in bounds on the way down. The Vikings capitalized on the turnover with a touchdown to go up 13-0 at the half, and they continued on to win the game. Robinson referred to Game 3 as the “most consistent and confidently” played contest of his career, and it’s clear these qualities were not a single-game fluke. The 23-year-old attributes several things to his sudden upswing in performance.

With a 4-5 record, the Vikings enter their bye week in third place within the NFC North.  Certain aspects (ahem, offensive line) have been disappointing enough that the words “Vikings” and “playoffs” are not mentioned in the same sentence very often these days.  Still, there is a lot to be excited about with the way this team seems to be headed, and certainly plenty of storylines to discuss.

Here is the best from around the internet we could dig up on this week off.  Click the link, read the words, and tell them who sent you:


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UPDATE 4: Sponsors care. Nike just terminated their relationship with Adrian Peterson after suspending it on September 17th per multiple media reports. That should give us pause in assuming the NFL will be lenient.

UPDATE 3: Per Ian Rapaport, the NFL will not consider time missed on the exempt list as part of any punishment and that a “suspension looms”

Also, it could take weeks:

Strong language. Seems like a suspension is a near-certainty at this point.

UPDATE: It looks like Mike Florio’s speculation on ProFootballTalk may have had some basis in fact, as Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune wrote that the delay may be coming from the team, as the Vikings are determining whether or not they want Adrian to play for them this year. But I wouldn’t read far too far into it, as the same article indicates that they are still looking from direction from the league on the matter.

UPDATE2: Both Adam Schefter and Ian Rapaport report that Adrian Peterson has been informed that his case will fall under the personal conduct policy, not the domestic violence policy. They also report that the NFL has requested that Adrian provide all relevant information regarding his case and that he has a right to a hearing before they hand a decision down. The NFL will consult with designated experts, and through that consultation will make a decision.

This means we don’t have to worry about the NFLPA pushing back on the definitional problems of using the DV policy or that any precedents set in the DV policy apply. The commissioner has full discretion with regards to the personal conduct policy and can punish how he sees fit, though that doesn’t mean the NFLPA wouldn’t push back. Michael McCann, a sports law expert, speculated that it would be possible to suspend Peterson for games already missed and take those game checks, which would be good news for Peterson’s playing time and fans who want him back, but it seems like that isn’t the direction this is going in.

The NFL is proceeding with extreme caution on this one, and wouldn’t even let Peterson know what the impact of any plea negotiation would be. The more cautious they are, the more likely it is their sensitivity to bad PR leads to a harsher punishment for Peterson.

The NFL has told Peterson that he will remain on the exempt/commissioner’s permission list until they make a decision regarding any punishment from the league.

Note: Further clarification in regards to the DV policy vs. the personal conduct policy—the domestic violence policy falls underneath the personal conduct policy, but the NFL specifically chose not to use wording regarding the DV policy in order to not constrain themselves. That they didn’t inform Peterson his case would fall under the domestic violence policy is perhaps significant in itself. The NFL would probably not hesitate to use or publicize the policy they crafted to shield themselves from criticism.

Original story below:

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Because I’m working with a little less time constructing this week’s power rankings, I’m going to go through this a little bit quicker and skip one set of rankings (the Drive Success Rate rankings). Still, there’s a lot to digest and dissect, so let’s get going. The easiest set of rankings will be the first, as always, and it will just be the simple point differential system, adjusted for opponent.

Below the jump:

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