Friday, November 27, 2015

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(photo used with permission)

Although he hasn’t called Minnesota a permanent home since he was five years old, Matt Engstrom lives and breathes the Vikings.

Engstrom was born in Minnesota, and he immediately fell in love with the purple and gold. He remembers spending time with his father and grandmother, watching the games on television or listening to them on the radio. Engstrom was a child of the Purple People Eaters era, and a framed poster of the 1974 team hung in the family’s basement near the pool table—one of his earliest memories.

By the time Engstrom moved to California with his mom, his allegiance to the Vikings had already formed. It is a long-standing devotion; Engstrom bleeds purple into most areas of his life, including his career.

In addition to his love for the Vikings, Engstrom is passionate about art, drawing, and humor. He pursued a profession that would perfectly fit these three things and has been in the animation industry for almost 20 years. In what some might consider a dream job, he currently works as a Supervising Director for DreamWorks Animation Studio.

“My job, simply put, is to take a script and visually tell the story in the clearest, most humorous way [possible],” he explained. “To make sure the viewer is feeling exactly what the moment calls for.  My job is very similar to what a live action movie director’s job would be like—except I don’t deal with ‘live’ actors, I deal with artists that draw our ‘actors.’”

Engstrom’s job mainly consists of setting up scenes to effectively communicate the mood of the moment—whether that be dramatic, scary, tense, or funny—and acting out and drawing the characters’ actions.

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[Note: Brad Davis found methodological disagreements with an article written by the ever-productive CCNorseman at the Daily Norseman, which suggested that Adrian Peterson was in for a decline based on his career numbers. Davis, who doesn’t take a stance on Peterson’s trade value in these pieces, ran through the data with rigorous statistical analysis—here are the results to part one of his study]

by Brad Davis

The 2014 NFL regular season is over, the post season is well underway and the Minnesota Vikings were eliminated from playoff contention back in week 16.  Unfortunately that means that the only thing that Vikings fans have to look forward to is the Dallas Cowboys beating the Green Bay packers this week in Green Bay, free agency and the draft.

One of the most important issues for the Vikings to work out during this offseason is whether or not Adrian Peterson will suit up in Purple and Gold again. This is a pretty complicated problem that has a number of moving parts. Even if Adrian Peterson had played all 16 games for the Minnesota Vikings this past year, that would still serve as no guarantee that this wouldn’t be his last season as a Viking anyway.

The Vikings’ front office have to decide if they will keep him with his current contract, attempt to get him to restructure the deal to make it more affordable in terms of cap space going forward, trade him to another team, or cut him outright.  Similarly, Adrian Peterson might well have wanted a change of scenery anyway.  If he didn’t believe that the Vikings where going to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders in the next year or two, he might prefer to play on a team that is.

Now combining those realities with the fact that Adrian Peterson was placed on the Commissioner’s exempt list for the final fifteen games of the season and his apparent disappointment with the team for their poorly veiled attempts to keep him off the field and you have a situation that makes it seem more likely that Adrian Peterson has played his last game as a Viking.

Still, if these issues between Adrian Peterson and the Vikings could be worked out and he could be brought happily back into the Vikings organization, there is still the question of whether or not the Vikings even want him back.  His contract has him as the highest paid running back in the league next year (and it’s not even close) and that uses a lot of money that might better be spent elsewhere.

Secondly, he will turn 30 years old during his next season, and traditional wisdom says that a running backs best days are before they turn 30.  Now this year off means he’ll have one fewer year of carries on his body, so maybe that would buy him something, but how much?  So with that in mind, people have started to assert that Adrian Peterson’s best days are behind him, and that he is already showing evidence of a decline in the quality of his play.

Thankfully though, we live in a world where we can answer these kinds of questions with data and statistics, instead of trying to rely ‘what we see with our eyes’, and ‘obvious truths’.  In fact, the whole point of statistics is that it recognizes that we’re actually not very good at processing large amounts of data intuitively and coming to the correct conclusions.  So with that in mind, I’ve used data collected from pro-football-reference to look for any evidence that his performance has already started to degrade.


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Per Matt Miller of the Bleacher Report (who has been on-point on this Duron Carter story all year), Duron Carter—son of Vikings legend Cris Carter—will be visiting four teams, the Vikings among them. He has already visited the Colts and the Chiefs, and the Vikings are the next on the list.

Carter will be visiting the team today and having dinner with receivers coach George Stewart and working out tomorrow in the facility. In May, he identified Coach Stewart as a primary reason he was interested in the Vikings and knows of his work around the NFL, including with Terrell Owens and Roddy White. According to Vikings Update, the Vikings are a frontrunner to sign Duron Carter, and may close in on a deal as soon as Friday.

Duron, the son of former Vikings receiver Cris Carter, is scheduled have dinner with receivers coach George Stewart and a member of the team’s front office Thursday and work out for the team on Friday morning. According to a source, the Vikings “have a very competitive offer on the table” and “if his workout goes well, he’ll agree to a contract.”

Duron Carter has identified Minnesota as one of his favorites for some time (for relatively obvious reasons—his father played for the franchise and the Vikings did his father a favor by providing him a tryout), though Matt Miller has heard Indianapolis was a favorite earlier in the process. I’m not sure why; the Colts have quite the accomplished receiver corps with T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne, and they’ve been producing more this year than the Vikings’ corps has. Beyond that, it seems like the bottom of the receiver roster is a little bit more accomplished than the bottom of the Vikings’ roster (Donte Moncrief and Hakeem Nicks against Jarius Wright and Adam Thielen) so it would be tougher to crack.

If Carter would rather play with Andrew Luck over Teddy Bridgewater or Pep Hamilton over Norv Turner, that might also explain why the Colts were his top choice at one point. It may even be something that would be difficult to predict; he could have been impressed with their handling of Da’Rick Rogers (a receiver on their roster last year who was very talented but like Carter had off-field concerns) or he knows someone on the Colts staff that he trusts.

Carter has had a checkered college history and openly expressed a distaste for school. He started out at Cris Carter’s alma mater, Ohio State, and saw the field enough for 13 receptions before transferring to Coffeyville Community College, likely related to the same reason he was barred from the 2009 Rose Bowl—academic problems. He moved on to Alabama, but never played in a game because of the same eligibility concerns and moved on to Florida Atlantic. At FAU, same story: he didn’t play because of academic issues.

I’ll get a scouting report on Duron Carter up as soon as I can, but for now know that he’s likely quite a bit raw, and his hands aren’t as good as you’d hope given his background—which isn’t to say they’re bad, so much as inconsistent. He’s not a traditional burner, but he might be the kind of player who doesn’t have to have blazing speed to get open deep, having led the CFL in yards per catch. In 2012, with the Alouettes, he worked with recently fired Chicago coach Marc Trestman to lead the CFL in yards per game (ranked 11th in total receiving yards, but he only played 11 of 19 games).

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Purple For The Win Podcast

Andy has finished up Part 3 of his Season Wrap-Up Extravaganza! You can listen to Part Two here and Part One here. From Andy, this is what Part 3 promises:

We round out our 2014 Vikings Wrap Up Extravaganza trilogy with an EPIC trilogy of those you know and love.

Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL), Editor for Vikings Territory & Senior Writer at Vikings Journal joins us in segment one to eulogize the 2014 Vikings as well as look forward to a promising 2015.

At intermission, I regale you with a jaunty tune while paying up on my bet from Week 16 with Frank from The MN Skinny (@MNSkinny).

Then Di Murphy (@DiMurphyMN) and Ted Glover (@purplebuckeye) of The Daily Norseman bring it on home with some piping hot Vikings, shoe, and Buckeye takes. (Go Ducks)

All of this and other shenanigans on Part 3 of the 2014 Vikings Wrap Up Extravaganza!

Listen by watching the youtube video, playing the audio player below it or downloading the episode!

[Download the Podcast.]

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Somehow, the 2014 season is long over and we’ve already watched the wildcard playoff games come and go. Aside from the Detroit vs. Dallas game, the playoffs have kind of been a bore this year. I had hoped Cincinnati would finally do something in the post season, but Andrew Luck’s awful (glorious?) beard overcome all.

Because there is very little news coming from Winter Park this time of the year, I wanted to hand out some end of the year ‘awards’ for the heck of it. This is the first part of a series where that leads up to naming the 2014 Vikings MVP.

Today, we’ll look at two categories specifically.

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