Thursday, October 27, 2016

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After a Blair Walsh overtime win against St. Louis last week, the Vikings are now 6-2 and tied with Green Bay to lead the NFC North division. The Packers play the Lions this week, which will most likely be another win for Green Bay, so it’s even more important for the Vikings to come away with a victory Sunday.

The Raiders are No. 2 behind Denver in the AFC West division with a 4-4 record. They are coming off a narrow loss to Pittsburgh and will be hungry for a win at home. Derek Carr is averaging 262 passing yards per game and has 19 touchdowns and only four interceptions on the season. Add in the speed and hands of rookie receiver Amari Cooper, and Oakland is no easy contest. Don’t forget, Minnesota is also going against its former offensive coordinator, Bill Musgrave.

Most experts are choosing the Raiders over the Vikings, so Mike Zimmer and his team have something to prove. Lets take a look at how Minnesota’s offense will match up against its opponents in Week 10.

Offensive Line

The offensive line allowed only one sack against Teddy Bridgewater last week, although he did receive a decent amount of pressure. There have been pros and cons for the line all season, one of the positives being that the unit has reduced the number of penalties committed after last year. The Vikings as a whole are the least-penalized team in the NFL; as Denver’s Aqib Talib found out last week, penalties can prove significant to a game’s outcome. With Joe Berger looking to be the starting center through the rest of the season in John Sullivan‘s absence, the offensive line has been working to hold its own.

While Oakland used to be known for its defense, the team currently ranks No. 30 in the league (above only the Saints and the Giants). Protecting Bridgewater and blocking against the Raiders will not be like defending the Rams or Broncos, and Minnesota’s O-Line should do well in this situation. The Raiders’ largest threat is linebacker Malcolm Smith; Smith has 59 tackles (50 solo) and three sacks on the season thus far. The line will need to contain Smith in order to keep Minnesota in the game offensively.

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Vikings Raiders
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The Vikings have won four straight games. They’ve won on the road, against division foes and, most recently, against a team with a winning record. The Vikings are 6-2 and are now not only in the playoff conversation but also in the division championship conversation. Looking ahead at the schedule. the Vikings have some difficult match ups in front of them. Just a week ago, ESPN found that the Vikings have the hardest remaining schedule in the NFL. It seems like from this point forward, every week is going to be a tough game.

This week is no different as the Vikings travel to Oakland and take on a similarly young and up-and-coming team. Featuring some intriguing player parallels between the likes of Stefon Diggs and Amari Cooper as well as Anthony Barr and Khalil Mack, the duel most people are talking about are between the two sophomore quarterbacks, Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr. Both quarterbacks have had impressive early campaigns in their young careers and it should be fun to watch the two go head-to-head in what is hopefully a display of the NFL’s future at the position.

We still have a couple of days yet until these pillaging teams face off. In the meantime, we’ve compiled a bunch of links to get your prepared for the game and catch you up on the latest Vikings news.

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I’ve been introduced to #RaidersTwitter, so today’s show art should go over real well….

It’s another Arif Hasan Friday here on Purple FTW! We chat with our man about the upcoming throwdown between the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings and the Los Angeles St. Louis Oakland Raiders. Topics covered include: the almost unprecedented level at which Linval Joseph is playing, breaking down which individual skills Derek Carr and Teddy Bridgewater are better at, how Bill “3×5” Musgrave has changed since leaving the Vikings, why Arif wants to marry Anthony Barr, and we go over Pro Bowl picks aka ALL IN FOR JOE WEBB.

All that and other “I Dare Anyone To Do THIS to Zimmer” 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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The Minnesota Vikings don’t pass the ball particularly well (210.6 yards per game), they don’t score a ton of points (21 points per game), and they don’t have an explosive offense (5.15 yards per play). Despite their deficiencies, the Vikings are 6-2 and climbing in the NFC playoff standings. They’re tied with the Green Bay Packers for first place in the division. They’re currently on a four-game win streak. They’re the second-best scoring defense in the league. And yet, they’re three-point underdogs to the Raiders this weekend.

Why? Well, it starts with Derek Carr, who is playing the best football of his young career (19 touchdowns to just four interceptions on the year). Their offense is scoring over 26 points per game, while their defense continues to shut down opposing running backs, allowing just 97 yards per game. Though they’re 4-4, the Raiders are a team on the rise with the weapons to challenge the Vikings on offense, defense, and special teams.

Around the Internet, a mere seven of 32 experts are picking the Vikings to win on Sunday. On paper, it makes sense — the Vikings are statistically inferior to the Raiders in a number of offensive categories. If the game becomes a shootout, it’ll be difficult for Minnesota to keep up. But as they showed last week against the Chicago Bears and this week against the Rams, their strengths far outweigh their weakness. Whomever (and wherever) the Vikings play, their running attack and team defense can carry them to victory.

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For a 6-2 football team, there have been plenty of doubts about the 2015 Vikings. There was plenty of skepticism about the Vikings’ ability to win on the road, especially within the division. How about winning at Soldier Field? Ok, how about beating a team with a winning record?

Thankfully, the Vikings have overcome all of the prior skepticism and have proven to be a legitimate contender, especially because of the defense.

The schedule isn’t getting any easier, by the way. As the Bridgewater led Vikings head to Oakland to face his draft mate in Derek Carr, the Vikings prepare for arguably their most difficult defensive match up on 2015.

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