Friday, February 24, 2017

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Adrian Peterson had just one catch for 17 yards against the Arizona Cardinals last Thursday, but his impact in the passing game was felt far beyond the stat sheet. Not typically known as a third down back or receiving option, Peterson played much more in two and four-minute situations, creating new opportunities for Teddy Bridgewater and the Minnesota offense.

He’ll never be a great pass blocker or receiver, but the threat of Peterson in the backfield is enough to alter the alignment and assignment of a defensive front. When Peterson is on the field, defenders stack the box, piling bodies near the line of scrimmage to sell-out against the run. This opens up the coverage down the field and exploits mismatches in the secondary, especially for big-bodied players like Kyle Rudolph and MyCole Pruitt. After the game, Mike Zimmer explained Peterson’s expanded role on passing downs and the team’s plan for him moving forward:

“We’ll probably continue to want more. When he’s in there, he’s a threat. One of the first things you do before you make the calls are, ‘Who is the back?’ so you can determine run-pass kind of things. So the more he’s in there, the more it helps your passing game as well.”

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Vote for the player you think deserves the "Player of the Game" award for Week 14 at the Arizona Cardinals.

Teddy Bridgewater Week 14 Cardinals
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The Thursday Night game threw us for a bit of a loop here at VT, as we’re creatures of habit and try to adhere to a schedule of weekly programming during the season. However, better late than never and we we refuse to miss a week where one of these Vikings players who worked so hard isn’t gifted the highly sought after Vikings Territory Player of the Game award.

There were a lot of new faces on the field Thursday night against the Cardinals. In fact, the Vikings started six rookies in Arizona – the most in Vikings history. They weren’t perfect, but the team showed a ton of fight and came just within reach of achieving a major upset against a Superbowl contender during prime time.

Though the Vikings didn’t come away with a win, there were quite a few impressive performances. Before we jump in to this week’s nominees, let’s recap our previous 13 awards this season.

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The Minnesota Vikings are getting healthy just in time for the final stretch of the season. With three games remaining to secure their playoff positioning, they’ll need all the help they can get, especially in the secondary.

According to the team’s official website, Justin Trattou has been signed to the active roster and safety Shaun Prater, who was signed last week, has been waived. His release should register as a good sign for the collective health of Minnesota’s safeties, including starters Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo. Both players were inactive against the Arizona Cardinals last Thursday and were sorely missed; Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer threw two touchdowns of 40-plus yards against the Vikings.

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The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings did NOT lose by fiddy points as most of #VikingsTwitter expected, but did fall to the Arizona Cardinals 23-20 Thursday night. Teddy Bridgewater played one of the best games of his young career, yet will only be remembered for the strip sack that sealed the game for Arizona, the second game ending strip sack to end a 23-20 road game this season…

We discuss the game that was and look forward to the remaining games on the schedule while determining if the Vikings can hold off Tampa Bay for the Wild Card or if Green Bay can still get got for the NFC North crown (spoiler: they can).

Other “Such a Vikings Way to Lose” Talking Points Include
• Two Ways to Look at Teddy’s Game
• The Mandatory Norv Turner Talking Point
• Adrian Peterson Got Fed
• Wide Receiver Run Down
• Tight End Play is Official
• The Offensive Line Was What It Was
• The Injured Defense Played Decent
• Xavier Rhodes. Cmon Man
• Hai, Anthony Harris
• Trae Waynes Assessment
• 10-Days Off is Huge
• Playoff Picture

All that and other “Gotta Get To 10-6” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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The Minnesota Vikings scored 10 unanswered fourth quarter points to tie the game at 20-20, but Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 47-yard field goal with 1:23 to play lifting the Arizona Cardinals to a 23-20 victory Thursday night.

On the Vikings final drive of the game Teddy Bridgewater hit Kyle Rudolph, Stefon Diggs and Jarius Wright to move the Vikings to the Arizona 31-yard line. With no timeouts and only 13 seconds to play, Dwight Freeney strip-sacked Teddy Bridgewater on 3rd-and-long to end the game. In heartbreaking fashion, Blair Walsh was robbed of the opportunity to kick a 47-yard field goal to tie the game.

Bridgewater threw for 335 yards on 25 of 36 attempts finding 11 different receivers in a career performance. Unfortunately, three fumbles by the Vikings offense (Bridgewater, Wright, and Peterson), spoiled their heroic upset effort in the desert.

Adrian Peterson scored the first touchdown of the game on a 9-yard run to give the Vikings a 7-3 first quarter advantage. Carson Palmer (25/35 for 310 yards), hit John Brown down the sideline for a 65-yard score to regain the lead near the end of the first quarter. Blair Walsh kicked a 44-yard second quarter field goal knotting the game at 10-10.

The Cardinals scored a touchdown on a 42-yard pass from Palmer to Michael Floyd in the third quarter and added a 23-yard field goal to move ahead 20-10.

Walsh was perfect on the day and connected on a 54-yarder to cut the score to 20-13 with just over 12 minutes to play.

Chad Greenway, Anthony Harris and Eric Kendricks led a short handed defense with 8 tackles each and forced a big three-and-out with 10:05 to play. The Vikings then mounted a 13 play 88-yard drive capping it off with a Mike Wallace’s 7-yard game tying touchdown reception.

Peterson ran the ball well early in the game but finished with 69 yards on 23 carries and a fumble on a reverse handoff to Wallace. The Vikings fall to 8-5 and remain in the Wildcard playoff picture.

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