Thursday, February 23, 2017

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The 2nd installment of our NFL Draft Forecasts is here. Luke Inman (@Luke_Spinman) of eDraft and Cold Omaha is back to drop knowledge on 10 impact skill position players today. Names both Vikings fans and fantasy football gurus should tabs on as the draft approaches.

Prospects Include
• Ezekiel Elliott, RB Ohio State
• Derrick Henry, RB Alabama
• Devontae Booker, RB Utah
• Laquon Treadwell, WR Ole Miss
• Michael Thomas, WR Ohio State
• Corey Coleman, WR Baylor
• Josh Doctson, WR TCU
• Tyler Boyd, WR Pitt
• Jake Butt, TE Michigan
• Hunter Henry, TE Arkansas
• De’Runnya Wilson, WR Mississippi State

All that and other “WHERE IS KJ MAYE?!” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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The holiday season, as Andy Williams so famously sings each December, is “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The glimmering lights of a Christmas tree, the taste of fresh-baked sugar cookies, and the sound of jingle bells remind me of my childhood, when my only concern was what I’d put on my annual wish list to Santa. Did I want a scooter? A PS2? A pair of headphones? I made my list, and the big man in red always checked it twice, leaving unwrapped presents under the tree each Christmas.

The joy of Christmas doesn’t come from the gifts we receive, though. It’s the traditions, the quiet moments with family, and the act of giving that make Christmas so special for me. Whether we’re baking Grandma’s favorite cookies or watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation for the hundredth time, I’ll always cherish the memories I make each December with my closest family and friends. It’s this time of the year, in particular, that reminds me of the things I appreciate the most in my life.

Unfortunately, that anxious, greedy child in me lashes out when I think of the Minnesota Vikings. They’re 8-3, sitting alone atop the NFC North, and yet, I want more from my favorite football team. With Christmas just 24 days away and the stress of holiday shopping upon us, there’s no better time than the present to start a new tradition at Vikings Territory and share my grown-up, Vikings Christmas list with you. Hey, maybe Santa will deliver a few of these presents by season’s end.

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There was wide spread excitement in 2014 when newly appointed head coach Mike Zimmer selected Norv Turner as offensive coordinator.

The selection made a lot of sense, at first pass. Turner would likely mentor the soon to be drafted quarterback, had worked with a top tier running back (LaDainian Tomlinson) in San Diego and would serve as a knowledgeable peer to Zimmer embarking on his first stint as a head coach.

Some credit can be given to Turner’s influence on an 8-3 football team, but after the victory in Atlanta, I can’t help but wonder if Turner is the the right man to lead the Vikings offensively.

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Some critics of the Minnesota Vikings were quick to point out the “strength of schedule” that they faced early on in 2015 as a reason for their success. The convincing 20-10 victory against the Atlanta Falcons, however, is a good start to quieting that crowd one week after the Vikings suffered their worst loss of the year at the hands of the Green Bay Packers.

This week featured numerous solid performances across the roster, but this will be the shortest list of nominations for our heralded (by me) weekly award. I’ll get to that in a second, but first we should review the 2015 winners thus far:

WEEK ONE: Anthony Barr

WEEK TWO: Adrian Peterson

WEEK THREE: Harrison Smith

WEEK FOUR: Linval Joseph

WEEK SIX: Stefon Diggs

WEEK SEVEN: Stefon Diggs

WEEK EIGHT: Stefon Diggs

WEEK NINE: Linval Joseph

WEEK TEN: Terence Newman

WEEK ELEVEN: Teddy Bridgewater

This week’s nominations feature only two guys. You can click “OTHER” if you like, and cast your vote via the comments section, but if you think someone outside of these two guys deserves the game ball this week then you are simply overthinking things.

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Mike Zimmer is a man of few kind words on the field. Read his lips during a broadcast or listen to him after a game in the locker room; you’ll be sure to hear some “bleeps” and “beeps” as he chastises a referee, grills his players, or reacts to the play of his defense. Zimmer’s an old-school coach, one who leaves the pleasantries at the door every Sunday in favor of a certain few four-letter words.

And every so often, Zimmer lets his guard down to tell the media how he really feels. When Bobby Petrino deserted the Atlanta Falcons — and Falcons defensive coordinator Zimmer — in 2007, Zimmer left nothing to the imagination, calling Petrino a coward and a “gutless MF“. Maybe that’s why yesterday’s 20-10 win over the Falcons was so important to Zimmer.

More important to Zimmer, though, is the progression of his young players and the growth of his football team. He’s opened up at the podium before, most notably last January when effusing praise on the team’s top cornerback, Xavier Rhodes. He did the same yesterday when asked about Anthony Barr, Minnesota’s second-year linebacker, who forced two fumbles on Sunday and continues to improve as an every-down linebacker in the league:

“Anthony is a special player, a special kid, as he continues to play he will be even better. I really think the sky is the limit for the guy. There are so many things you can do with him. He has been limited the last couple of weeks because of the hand and today we decided we would let him loose a little more, that was good and I think he has a very bright future and can be a tremendous football player.”

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