Saturday, December 10, 2016

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

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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Photo courtesy of vikings.com

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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The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings (6-2) are preparing to enter palatial and historic O.co stadium Sunday afternoon to take on the Los Angeles Oakland Raiders (4-4). To get some insight on the opposition, we welcomed in Asher Mathews (@AsherMathews) of Thoughts From the Dark Side Raiders blog to talk a little Silver and Black.

We talked about the Derek Carr-vs-Teddy Bridgewater debate, how our former boy Bill “3×5” Musgrave is doing things in Oakland, why the Zimmer Hellfire Defense™ vs said offense is the key to Sunday’s matchup, how the Raiders defense can get got by Teddy and the Vikings, and I demand gratitude from Asher as we saved his franchise from the stank of Troy Williamson (because you know Al Davis would’ve loved that speed).

All that and other “Vikings Fans are Sadomasochists!” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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(photo courtesy of vikings.com)

Adam: Linval Joseph, DT
This one is easy, to me. It doesn’t matter if you are his teammate or his opponent. There are no excuses about injuries to the guy next to him. There is no matchup too tough. Analytical types are every bit as high on him as a casual observer. He is disruptive, impacting both the run and the pass, and his impact has been as consistent as anybody on this defense… and there are plenty of consistent producers on this defense. Mid-season? I say Joseph is the clearest Pro Bowler on this team, without a doubt.

Brent: Anthony Barr, LB
Trying to stray from the pack here a little bit as the obvious answer is Harrison Smith, and rightfully so. Smith has been dominant in 2015, and I believe should be in consideration as the best safety in the league. That said, Barr plays a massive role in the Vikings defense and goes into Sunday’s game as the 3rd-highest-rated linebacker by PFF standards. Looking at Barr statistically, you note that he is second on the team in tackles, has a fumble recovery, 1.5 sacks and an INT. Not bad for a second-year linebacker some feared would be slow to adapt to the NFL level. What isn’t noted in Barr’s stats is his role he plays bringing pressure on the ‘A’ gap that has become so popular in Mike Zimmer’s defense. He might not always blitz, but his presence is enough for quarterbacks to be ever aware of where No. 55 is.

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The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings are 6-2 at the midway point of the 2015 campaign. It’s a hellagood start so let’s celebrate by handing out some hellabad fake mid-season awards!

The Categories Are….
• Best Offensive Lineman
• Best Rookie
• TJ Maxx Best Value
• Best Zimmer-ism
• Best Offensive Player
• Best Defensive Player
• Best Comparison of a Vikings Player to a Food Item
• Best Special Teams Player
• Best Injured Linebacker
• Most Underrated Viking
• Most Overrated Viking
• Best Game So Far
• Best Vikings Podcast….

We also pay tribute to the recently departed, and former love of my life, Chase Ford. #RIP #ItsAllAboutTheU

All that and other “Bradley Cooper should replace Sendejo” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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