Thursday, December 14, 2017

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In this episode of Bump & Run, I celebrate making it two straight videos without being shut down by the powers that be. We also discuss the fact that injuries are now irrelevant in football, the proper pronounciation of “Sirles”, and the idiots over at NFL Network. Plus, how badly the Vikings will beat the Giants, and which somewhat random player will score a touchdown this week.

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What Went Right, Week 3

Vikings Offense Shines, if Only for One Drive
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On an afternoon where defense ruled the day, it was the Minnesota Vikings’ offense that propelled the team to a resounding victory. That may sound insane given the way Mike Zimmer’s unit shut down the Carolina Panthers — sacking Cam Newton eight times and forcing three interceptions — but it’s inexplicably true.

The Sam Bradford-led offense looked stagnant through two quarters, totaling just 34 yards before halftime. Bradford threw two near-interceptions, the run game faltered in the face of Carolina’s front seven, and plays broke apart behind a still-shaky offensive line.

Down 8-10 heading into the locker room, the Vikings needed to make serious adjustments to keep their winning hopes alive. Defense and special teams carried Minnesota to the end of the half, but that’s not a formula for long-term success. To stay competitive in any environment, against any team, an offense needs to do the little things right; convert third downs, protect the football, and sustain drives.

Minnesota struggled to do two of the three in the first half, but miraculously found its groove at the start of the third quarter. The offense’s opening drive, a 10-play grind down the field, put the Vikings ahead for good and ensured an undefeated record heading into Week 4.

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Vikings and Packers
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The Vikings and Packers are already separating themselves as the top two teams in the NFC North.

The Minnesota Vikings are 3-0. They are one of only five teams that will head into Week 4 undefeated. They have already won two games on the road. Things are looking pretty good, despite a horrible visit from the injury gremlin, and Vikings fans have plenty to be excited about heading into a little softer stretch of their schedule.

The path to the NFC North championship has to be paved in victories over our worst enemies, however, and today we take our weekly look around the division to see what’s up.

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Five Thoughts from the Vikings' win at Carolina.

zimmer suffocates cam
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1. Zimmer suffocates Cam.

Since Mike Zimmer became the coach of the Vikings, the team has played the Panthers twice, and in those games, Cam Newton is a combined 39 of 70 for 456 yards, with one passing touchdown and four interceptions. You can clearly see the impact Zimmer’s schemes and gameplans have on the 2015 MVP, and on Sunday, the Vikings stifled Newton in a way that few defenses can (21/35, 262 YDS, 0 TD, 3 INT). They also sacked him eight times. It was, quite simply, a magnificent performance, especially considering how prolific the Panthers’ offense usually is at home.

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Alex Boone Injured in Vikings Win
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Lost in the excitement of yesterday’s win over the Carolina Panthers is the potential loss of Alex Boone. The Minnesota Vikings’ starting left guard was injured in the second quarter and did not return to the game. His hip injury will require an MRI this afternoon and adds another offensive lineman to Eric Sugarman’s cadre of “patients.”

Boone’s status is up-in-the-air, leaving the Vikings without two starters up front. Matt Kalil underwent hip surgery of his own on Thursday, ending his season just two games into the 2016 campaign. Second-year tackle T.J. Clemmings stepped into Kalil’s role on Sunday, performing well enough to keep Sam Bradford upright against the Panthers.

Jeremiah Sirles replaced Boone midway through the second quarter and held his own against a stout Carolina front. Asked after the game if he was worried about the injury, Boone simply told Brian Murphy, “All fine, all good.”

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