Saturday, January 21, 2017

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Locker room chemistry in the NFL is underrated. Look at Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy, who yesterday confronted teammates and nearly fought a special teams coach during . Dez Bryant, his fiery teammate, stepped in to stop Hardy from taking the tirade too far, but the damage was already done. Reporters are questioning Jerry Jones for signing a player with a history of domestic violence, and Ian O’ Connor of ESPN believes the Cowboys should suspend Hardy for his actions.

Incidents like that will only divide locker rooms, and the tension’s building outside of Dallas, too. In Philadelphia, one player entered the locker room after last night’s loss to the Carolina Panthers screaming, specifically telling his teammates to catch the football. Eagles receivers dropped seven passes last night, some of which may have kept the team competitive in an important conference game. It’s a problem that’s affecting teams negatively, on and off the field. The Cowboys have lost four straight, the Eagles are 3-4, and they’re losing ground on the division-leading New York Giants.

For the Vikings, it’s a much different story. They’re 4-2 after an impressive comeback victory on the road against the Lions and look like a team that enjoys playing football together. They’re young —with a number of rookies contributing on both sides of the ball — and the mix of veteran leadership and Mike Zimmer’s coaching mentality is creating an environment players want to be a part of. Just look at this clip after Stefon Diggs’s electrifying 36-yard touchdown grab:

Image courtesy of NFL Game Pass
Image courtesy of NFL Game Pass

Mike Wallace appears fired up as he speaks to Joe Berger and Matt Kalil, likely as a result of their sound blocking on the Diggs touchdown. Diggs overhears the excitement and rushes over to give Berger a hug. It was a candid moment caught by the Fox cameras and one that shows the connection at every level of this roster, from the veteran starters to the rookie sensations. Teddy Bridgewater, not unaccustomed to these interactions, spoke to the “Diggs Effect” after the game:

“You have to love that guy because he’s so energetic and so excited about playing in the NFL,” Bridgewater said. “Even (Saturday) at our walkthrough, when everyone was at walking tempo, he was running at full speed. That’s just how he is.”

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The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings got their second divisional road win since 2009 Sunday afternoon at Ford Field, rebounding from a slow start to top the Motor City Kitties 28-19. The Zimmer Hellfire Defense sacked Matthew Stafford seven times en route to a 2nd half defensive shutout as the Purple roll to 4-2 and hope to catch playoff momentum as we barrel along the 2015 campaign.

Other “I Still Think It Was Shellfish” Talkers Include
• #SnuffGate
• Stefon F. Diggs
• Teddy is Tougher Than a $2 Steak
• The Zimmer Hellfire Defense Rebounded Well
• Adrian is Feast or Famine. Like he always has been
• Harrison Smith is the Best Safety in the League. Period.
• Get Sendejo the Hell Out of There (#FreeVereen)
• Cordarrelle Patterson is Done
• Kyle Rudolph. No Comment
• Points on the Table – Redzone Playcalling
• Playoffs? Don’t Talk About Playoffs
• Can Diggs go back-to-back for Pepsi Rookie of the Week?
• Hai, Blair Walsh
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All that and other “Vikings…. Come out and play-ayyyyyy” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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Adrain Peterson was held in check for most of the game, but his 75-yard run in the third quarter set up a 35-yard Blair Walsh field goal to give the Vikings a 25-17 lead and help Minnesota secure a much needed road win over the Detroit Lions 28-19 at Ford Field. Peterson rushed for 98 yards on 19 carries for the day.

Blair Walsh was 5-for-5 on field goal attempts with his longest being a 53-yard kick in the second quarter. Walsh finished the game with 16 points and his three field goals in the first half kept the game close as the Vikings trailed by two 17-15 at the half.

Matthew Stafford and the Detroit offense was clicking on all cylinders to start the game finding the end zone on their first two drives to take an early 14-3 advantage in the first quarter.

Teddy Bridgewater was 25-of-35 for 316 yards and two touchdown guiding the Vikings to 22 unanswered points in the second and third quarters. Rookie Eric Kendricks led the Vikings defense with 6 total tackles and 2 sacks. The Vikings defense got off to a slow start, but they dialed up the heat on Stafford sacking him 7 times and holding Detroit to 1-of-10 on third down efficiency and 0-of-2 on fourth down attempts.

The Vikings first touchdown of the game was a 1-yard pass to Kyle Rudolph who made a great one handed catch off a nice play action on 3rd-and-goal cutting the score to 17-12. The grab capped off a solid 7-play 79-yard drive that left 1:51 on the clock before the half. The Vikings defense then forced a 3-and-out in 36 seconds giving the Vikings just enough time to move into field goal range before the break.

The Vikings took the lead on the first possession of the third quarter when Bridgewater hit rookie sensation Stefon Diggs on a deep out and up for the score that gave the Vikings a 22-17 advantage that they never relinquished. Diggs caught 6 balls for 108 yards and the go ahead diving touchdown reception that Vikings fans will be talking about all week.

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The Vikings and Lions rematch at Ford Field

In week seven of the 2015 Season, the Vikings travel to Ford Field to take on the Detroit Lions – the two teams’ second contest in just five weeks. Their first encounter was in Minnesota, where the Vikings were dominant, defeating the Lions 26-16. However, the challenge for this team, and the true test this week, has been winning on the road. Though undefeated at home in 2015, the Vikings have not won a road game since October of 2014 where they barely squeaked out a win against the Buccaneers in overtime.

The Vikings are one game into a five game stretch that many people, fans and experts alike, feel the Vikings need to go 5-0 in order to prepare themselves for a gauntlet of difficult games starting Week 11 against the Packers.

Everson Griffen, who was a late scratch last week due to a last minute illness, is expected to start and perform well against an unimpressive Lions’ offensive line. However, Shariff Floyd, coming off a monster game against the Chiefs, is out with a knee/ankle injury. Shamar Stephen is also out leaving a big hole to fill in the middle of the defensive line. Backup Tom Johnson is expected to see a majority of the snaps filling in for Floyd and Stephen.

It was also reported yesterday that Adrian Peterson was dealing with an unknown illness, making him “questionable.” (Though it’s also been reported that Peterson is fully expected to play.)

Once again, I asked the staff here at Vikings Territory to give me their bold, out-of-the-box predictions for Week 7. Those predictions have been included below. Tell us which one is the most asinine and leave us your own predictions in the comments.


“Teddy Bridgewater throws for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns.” – Adam Warwas (Graphic by Brett Anderson)
“Diggs shines again, catching 2 touchdowns and leading the Vikings in receiving yards.” – Austin Belisle (Graphic by Brett Anderson)
“Theo Riddick ends the game with more receptions than Calvin Johnson.” -Brent LaBathe (Graphic by Brett Anderson)
“The Vikings stun Matthew Stafford with 3 interceptions, Xavier Rhodes getting at least one for his second career interception.” -Brian Hall (Graphic by Brett Anderson)
“The Vikings Defense finally pitches a shutout for the first time in over twenty two years.” -Carl Knowles (Graphic by Brett Anderson)
“Kendricks continues to impress with 3 sacks on Matthew Stafford” -Lindsey Young (Graphic by Brett Anderson)

*Super Bonus Prediction*

As if it weren’t crazy enough, the one and only Adam Warwas sent me a second, last-minute bold prediction. Are you ready for this one? Are you sitting down?

In his own words, “The Vikings sack Dan Orlovski twice. Yes, that means what you think it means.”

There you have it, folks. I don’t think it can get any crazier over here prior to this game. The purple-kool aid is obviously on tap and flowing freely right now. Again, make sure to give us your prediction(s) in the comments.


Final Score Prediction:

23-17 Vikings


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With Sharrif Floyd out and just three healthy defensive tackles active, the Minnesota Vikings will need to find ways to generate pressure on Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. Floyd has been a presence inside this season, stringing together strong back-to-back performances, with his best game coming against the Kansas City Chiefs last week. Veteran Tom Johnson, who finished 2014 with 6.5 sacks in a rotational role, will start in his place.

Floyd’s absence opened the door for Cordarrelle Patterson this week, as the Vikings will enter Sunday’s game with six active wide receivers. Stefon Diggs, who was named the Pepsi Rookie of the Week after a breakout game against the Chiefs in Week 6, will start in Charles Johnson’s place.

Below, a look at the rest of the Vikings’ inactives:

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