Wednesday, October 26, 2016

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A Sunday where Calvin Johnson catches just two passes seems odd, right? Kind of like a game where the Vikings fail to score an offensive touchdown or rush for more than 100 yards, no? But this is the NFL, where missed opportunities are forgotten and memories are just a thing of the past.

The Vikings’ embarrassing loss to the 49ers? Mike Zimmer’s team is moving on. Calvin Johnson’s quiet, 4-target start? An anomaly, according to his Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi:

“So, certainly he’s going to certainly get his touches this year, and I think that was an anomaly that we had this first game.”

Johnson’s lack of touches began in 2014, when he played a shortened season because of injury (13 games) and was targeted just 128 times. That total, the second-lowest of his career, came just one season after Johnson caught 82 passes for 1,492 yards and scored 12 touchdowns. Though not physically diminished, Johnson’s decline can be attributed to the presence of Detroit’s other pass catchers, most notably Golden Tate.

Last season, Tate caught 99 passes for 1,331 yards, scoring five touchdowns and quickly earning the trust of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. In Sunday’s game against the Chargers, Tate was targeted eight times, hauling in four catches for a pedestrian 24 yards. He’s a weapon in the slot, outside, and even in the return game, and Stafford relies on Tate once teams focus their attention on Johnson.

Fortunately for Mike Zimmer, the Vikings may not need to devote extra players to Johnson this Sunday. Why? Enter Xavier Rhodes.

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After an abysmal start to the season against San Francisco Week 1, the Vikings will play their home opener Sunday against the division rival Detroit Lions. In 2014, Minnesota’s offense ranked No. 20 and Detroit’s defense ranked No. 3 in the NFL.

According to, Minnesota is 38-14-1 (.726) at home all-time against the Lions, which is the best home winning percentage against any NFC North team.

Both teams suffered a loss in Week 1 and will be hungry to notch that first game for the “W” column; let’s take a look at how they will match up this weekend.

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Zimmer’s got his “on to Detroit” shoes on as the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings (0-1) open the home season at The Bank Sunday vs the Detroit Lions (0-1). It’s as close as you can get to a must win in a Week 2 game as the Purple try to bounce back from their non-appearance last Monday in San Francisco and the Lions lick their wounds from blowing a 21-3 2nd quarter lead in San Diego.

The winner will have their season back on track. The loser’s fan base will be ready to light cars on fire. They could also tie, but whatevs.

For the Lions perspective, we got Michael Grey (@TheMichaelGrey) of 107.3 WBBL Grand Rapids in the house to talk about the mehness of Matt Stafford, how rumors of Megatron’s demise are greatly exaggerated, and how Detroit could build a winning team if they simply RAN THE DAMN BALL. (Sound familiar?) He also has a Stone Cold Hot Take that will make some Vikings fans vomit if it comes to fruition.

Vikings wise, we have our man Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) of Vikings Journal/Daily Norseman back in the hizzy to rap about how the Vikings rebound from that cratering by the Bay and how we match up against a formidable Lions squad Week 2.

All that and other “Pray For Teddy” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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The mourning period for last week’s embarrassing loss is already over for the Vikings organization, but it will continue for us fans for a couple more days.

Still, the torment is slowly turning towards hope as Sunday’s home opener against the Detroit Lions draws closer.

Nothing can cure a fan base’s disgust for a road loss quite like the good thumping of a division opponent and that is exactly what the Vikings are hoping to provide. Now it is time to take a look around the web and see what everyone is saying about last week’s loss, this week’s matchup, and maybe a couple of other things in between.

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Earlier today, we discussed the biggest negatives from Monday’s loss to San Francisco in Part I of our QOTW segment. This time around, we’re weighing in on the silver linings we saw in Week 1. Feel free to take the poll and leave us comments with your own thoughts on the game!

Brent: Anthony Barr
I’d say the biggest positive was Anthony Barr, who led the defense with 12 total tackles, 10 of which were solo. Barr, who was limited the majority of the preseason, looked like the explosiveness from his rookie season was back in full.

Lindsey: Xavier Rhodes
As rough as the defense looked in general, I thought Xavier Rhodes had a great game. The CB looked strong against San Francisco, offering tight coverage and finishing the evening with seven tackles, all of them solo. Entering his third year in the NFL, Rhodes has big goals ahead of him, and I have no doubt he’ll have a solid 2015 season.

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