Monday, October 24, 2016

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Not much time to breathe for the Vikings this week as they only had three days to prepare for their Thursday night matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. Minnesota’s offense is coming off a game against the Seattle Seahawks in which they scored as many points as did the fans watching them in the stands last Sunday.


Coincidentally, the Cardinals (10-2) are coming off their Week 13 game against the St. Louis Rams in which they held the Rams to a grand total of three points. The Vikings (8-4) may have to find other, less conventional, ways to score points against one of the NFL’s top defenses on Thursday night,

Minnesota’s offense (bottom) and the Cardinals’ defense (top) show up on the opposite ends of the league’s rankings, but how do each unit’s individual position groups stack up against each other?

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I’m just a 30 year old guy with a $200 Chromebook.

I am not a former NFL player or coach. I don’t have some crazy insider access. I’m not the guy that’s going to feed your football analytics craving. Heck, I’m not even that strong of a writer.

I’m just a guy that loves Vikings football, started a website, and surrounded himself with enough talent to make this whole thing fairly successful.

Since Sunday’s epic failure at TCF Bank Stadium, I have been reading everything I can get my hands on about this Vikings team, and I can tell you that the media coverage of this team has abruptly changed their narrative. Perhaps to an even stronger degree, the fan reaction to those articles and radio shows has gone to an extreme end of the spectrum, as well.

I’ve told you what I’m not, as a writer, but what I am is someone that’s been around the block a time or two covering this team. And, let me tell you, writing about a team’s failures is enormously E-A-S-Y.

It is far easier to write about glaring mistakes leading to a loss than it is to illustrate for a reader just how, exactly, a team found success. It is easier to write a powerful article about a player hurting a child than it is to pen a compelling piece about a linebacker that helps them every single day (Vote for Chad!). It is easier to call for a man’s head than it is to produce a list of adequate replacements.

It is just easier to point out the negatives at every turn, both as a writer and as a fan, than it is to articulate the positives.

So, why the ramblin’ preamble?

Well, I want you to know that what I am about to write isn’t an attempt to pile on. I’m not trying to kick this Vikings team while they are down. It isn’t coming from a place of wavering fanhood. I’m not trying to be negative simply because it is E-A-S-Y and popular to do it at this moment.

I’m just a guy at his keyboard… a guy who has carefully observed the 2015 Minnesota Vikings… a guy who says there is no way in hell this is the year they bring home the Super Bowl victory.

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Well at least #CheeseburgerGate was a fun distraction as the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings limp into University of Phoenix Stadium tonight to take on the red hot 10-2 Arizona Cardinals. All the odds seem stacked against the 8-4 Purple as we struggle to keep our playoff hopes alive. At least McDonalds gave the team 100 burgers though…

Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) joins us for his weekly spot and we chat about how the Vikings can attempt to right the ship out in the desert. We also touch on whether Norv Turner needs to be fired for not catering to Teddy Bridgewater, if Adrian Peterson has a right to gripe about his usage, how the Zimmer Hellfire Defense can rebound from all of the injuries, and I complain about Jarius Wright not being a “true” slot receiver.

All that and other “I got the burgers that… will… I just got burgers” 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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Anthony BarrLBGroin/HandDNPDNPLPOut
Scott CrichtonDEConcussion/NeckDNPDNPDNPOut
Charles JohnsonWRAnkleDNPLPOut
Harrison SmithSKnee/HamstringLPLPDNPOut
Everson GriffenDEShoulderDNPDNPLPQuestionable
Linval JosephDTFootDNPLPLPQuestionable
Robert BlantonSKneeFPFPFPProbable
Andrew SendejoSKneeLPFPFPProbable
Brandon WattsLBRibLPFPFPProbable

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Cross your fingers, knock on wood, say a prayer, wish upon a star. Whatever you do, send positive vibes to the Minnesota Vikings this week. They’ll play the Arizona Cardinals this Thursday, likely move to 8-5 without four of their defensive starters available for the game, and prepare for a brutal three-game stretch to end the regular season. If they want to make the playoffs, the Vikings will need to win at least nine games by year’s end.

While 10, 11, or even 12 would be ideal, nine victories almost ensures Mike Zimmer’s team sneaks into the postseason as a Wild Card contender. After tomorrow’s matchup, they’ll host the Bears and Giants before a crucial Week 17 game at Lambeau Field, which could very well decide their playoff fate and determine the winner of the NFC North. But if you’re the Vikings, who would you rather play come January?

Win the division, and they’d enter the playoffs as the NFC’s third seed. Based on ESPN’s projection models (adjusted for win percentage), the third seed would host the Seattle Seahawks in the first round; definitely not an opponent the Vikings want to meet again this season. Finish second in the division, and the Vikings (fifth seed) would travel to play the winner of the NFC East, which has been lackluster as a whole for the majority of the year.

There’s a few ways the rest of the regular season can play out, and all but one guarantees the Vikings a shot at the playoffs. The question is, who would you rather see the team play on the road to Super Bowl 50?

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