Friday, February 24, 2017

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I’d really be drinking the Purple Kool-Aid if I said the Vikings were a complete football team. Rick Spielman’s built a competitive and deep roster, but there are holes and deficiencies at a few key positions, including wide receiver, offensive line, and in the secondary. It’s easy to look at the Vikings and think, “Hey, they could make some noise in the playoffs,” but truthfully, they’re a year away.

And that’s okay. Every team’s goal each year is to win the Super Bowl, even if that’s not always a realistic aspiration. Sometimes, unforeseen obstacles like injuries and coaching changes can throw those plans off track. While the Vikings have shown they’re an improved bunch, there are still issues keeping them from moving into the league’s upper-echelon of contenders.

The coaching, across the board, is some of the best in the NFL. The defense, with elite speed at every level, should be aggressive for years to come. And Teddy Bridgewater, despite the criticism, has the chance to become the franchise’s first great quarterback in nearly a decade.

But that won’t happen unless the Vikings make some offseason improvements. To help me find out where Spielman and Zimmer should focus their attention, I asked the VT team to answer this week’s question:

Looking ahead, what position do the Vikings most need to improve this offseason?

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The Week 15 showdown between the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings and the Chicago Windy City Bears is nigh! That’s why we had Bears blogger Jeff Hughes (@DaBearsBlog) of Da Bears Blog in to discuss how his Monsters of the Midway look to try and play spoiler against our beloved Purple who need this home win to help solidify our playoff position.

We chatted about how Jeff likes the new regime in Chicago, how new media like blogs and podcasts have an edge over traditional outlets, if Jay Cutler has turned things around, Matt Forte being on the way out, how Teddy Bridgewater can get the sour taste of Arizona out of his mouth, and how the Vikes and Bears will end up Sunday afternoon at The Bank.

All that and other “Red Red Wine Make the Vikings Feel So Fine” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

Also, I’d rather be in the Red Wine Club than the Donut Club to be honest….

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What’s the difference between an 8-5 record and a 6-7 record? The simple answer would be two wins. Two games separate the Vikings, who are currently 8-5, from a pack of 6-7 teams “in the hunt” for the NFC’s sixth playoff spot. But two games also separate the Vikings from a familiar face — their 2014 counterparts.

At this time last year, the Vikings were 6-7 and eliminated from playoff contention. They’d go on to lose two of their final three games and finish the season at 7-9. Respectable, given the year-long absence of Adrian Peterson and the arrival of first-year coach Mike Zimmer, but not enough to push them into January. It was a season that, despite a losing record, inspired hope in the Minnesota fanbase and promised future success.

This season, the Vikings have built on what made them successful in 2014 and sit firmly entrenched in the NFC playoff picture. Two more wins through 13 games may not seem like a major leap, but these Vikings are a much improved team for a number of reasons. From the emergence of the defense to the return of Peterson, Minnesota has a chance to finish the year with 11 wins and play their first meaningful postseason football since 2012. Will they hit double digits in the win column, or will they flounder to end the season as they did last year?

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It is that time of year again. The time where everyone gathers with their family members around the fireplace, sipping hot chocolate, nibbling on sugar cookies and divulging in everyone’s favorite seasonal pastime.

Going over NFL playoff scenarios.

As far as the Vikings making the playoffs in 2015, Minnesota controls its own destiny. At least for the time being.

If the playoffs began today, the Vikings would enter the postseason as the NFC’s sixth seed. That seed seems like the least favorable spot that Minnesota could land, but it could actually end up being one of the best depending on how everything sorts itself out.

With the top two seeds in the NFC likely locked up by the Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals, the Vikings will be fighting to land either the third, fifth, or sixth seed in the playoffs. Yes, they do need to clinch a berth in the postseason first. But if they do, what seeding could provide them with the best opportunity to succeed?

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The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings begin their stretch run by welcoming in the Chicago Bears Sunday afternoon at The Bank. The Purple can keep their playoff and division title dreams alive simply by winning. What a novel concept.

We welcome in Di Murphy (@DiMurphyMN) of The Daily Norseman for her weekly hot takes as we discuss Week 16 Vikings-Giants being flexed to Sunday Night football, how the Purple can keep position in the playoff picture, if the “Primetime Curse” is a real thing, and how this damn team better get healthy if it wants to do anything in January.

All that and other “Connor McGregor Looks Like a Viking Until He Talks” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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