Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Good morning, Vikings fans. Guess what day it is? Did you get any sleep last night? You couldn’t? You were just far too excited about the start of the regular season? The thought of the Vikings going all the way and winning it all just consumed you?

Well, we’re right there with you this morning; the excitement is thick here at Vikings Territory. Before the season gets kicked off shortly here against the St. Louis Rams, we wanted to hit you with another VT Talkers (Episode 3) where we go game-by-game and make our predictions for the season. Arif, Adam and myself will give you our win/loss prediction for each match-up which will be used to create a VT Consensus Prediction for each game.

Do you have your purple sunglasses on? Sipping on that purple Kool-Aid for breakfast? Let’s do this.

Photo courtesy of Vikings.com
Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

Week 1 | @ St. Louis Rams | Sunday, September 7th

Brett: WIN – While I’m not ready to anoint this defense, I think it’s improved enough to cause some problems for veteran journeyman Shaun Hill. Expect Adrian Peterson to exploit a defensive line that will over pursue in an attempt to put pressure on Cassel and then destroy a weak Rams second level.

Adam:  WIN – A tough defense will test our offense, but Mike Zimmer’s defense will begin the transition to greatness starting in Week One.

Arif: WIN – I initially marked this as a loss, but a suspect secondary and transitioning linebacker corps cannot be made up for by their defensive line. On offense, Zac Stacy is good but not great and Shaun Hill is throwing to a bunch of receivers who are all potential but no talent (Cook, Britt, Austin, Quick)

Consensus:  WIN (1-0)

The regular season opener in St. Louis is just about here.  Thus, we are here to help you take one last look around the web at what is being said about the 2014 Minnesota Vikings:

The Minnesota Vikings have signed Brandon Fusco to a five-year, $25 million contract extension on top of his current (expiring) deal. This gives Fusco an average of $5 million for the final five years of the deal, which ranks 16th among all guards in average salary, according to Spotrac—though only 3.7% of the salary cap at signing, unlike those around him who largely committed their teams to over 4% of their salary caps at signing. $6 million of Fusco’s contract is guaranteed, which sounds like a signing bonus with first year’s salary guaranteed.

Brandon Fusco Cropped

Fusco has quietly become one of the best guards in the country after beating out an injured, but better, Geoff Schwartz in a camp competition two years ago to become the starting right guard after Anthony Herrerra would not longer fulfill that role. Pro Football Focus ranked him as the top right guard in 2013, and center John Sullivan said Fusco was the best-performing lineman of last year when I talked to him in camp.

Pro Football Focus called Brandon Fusco a “secret superstar,” which I wrote about here. Two GIFs from that piece:

Fusco Block - Chicago 2 Fusco Block - Chicago 1

Great signing by the Vikings. Offensive guards are extremely difficult to find, and are one of the shallowest position groups in the NFL.

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Sorry for the delay on this post, but the Vikings Week 1 Injury Report is out.

Three Vikings are reported to be out: Michael Mauti (Foot), Brandon Watts (Knee) and Zach Line (Ankle). With that, two players are questionable—Everson Griffen (Illness) and Mike Harris (Shoulder). Jabari Price (Shoulder) and Rodney Smith (Neck) are probable.

Despite being listed as questionable and not participating in practice, Everson Griffen has confirmed that he will play. I suspect that Mike Harris will be on the inactives list, along with Mauti, Watts and Line (which means we only have to figure out the other four if we were so inclined). Here’s the practice report from the website:

Griffen, Everson DE Illness DNP DNP Questionable
Harris, Mike T Shoulder LP LP LP Questionable
Line, Zach FB Ankle DNP DNP DNP Out
Mauti, Michael LB Foot DNP DNP DNP Out
Price, Jabari CB Shoulder FP FP FP Probable
Smith, Rodney WR Neck FP FP FP Probable
Watts, Brandon LB Knee DNP DNP DNP Out

As of right now, the full, four-person roster at safety is healthy.

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