Saturday, December 10, 2016

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

When Vikings Territory teammates Brett Anderson and Austin Belisle booked their tickets to travel from the west coast to Minneapolis, they expected to see a playoff-destined team coached by Mike Zimmer destroy the Dallas Cowboys and their rookie quarterback.

The joke is on them.

The Vikings released a statement late Wednesday night indicating that the downward plummet that has been the post-bye 2016 season now might include the absence of Mike Zimmer on the sidelines Thursday night.

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Ugh, the Vikings lost again, so much for going back to a winning streak. They did very well keeping the game close and right when Adam and I thought the game would go into overtime, they lost against the Lions, again.

The Vikings will have a lot of work to do from here on out if they would like to make it to not only the Super Bowl, but really just the playoffs. This week the Vikings are playing the Cowboys. This is not going to be an easy game for them, the Cowboys are on a 10-game winning streak. I truly hope that the Vikings can beat them but if not, I have prepared some delicious comfort food.

I made chili this week for the game. As the temperature continues to drop everywhere, including here in southern California, I have been thinking of all of the foods that I love to eat in this time of year. When you think about comfort foods, it is no surprise that everyone loves to eat them. They make you feel warm, full, happy, and often remind people of home and family, all of the important comforts in life, and every family has one recipe that is always made when comforts are needed.

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Examining Rick Spielman's failed record in drafting offensive linemen.

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Rick Spielman is an above average general manager. This is clear to most levelheaded observers.

There are voices online that will tell you otherwise; for a segment of the Minnesota sports viewing public, criticizing Spielman seems to be something of a sport. Just a cursory search of the man’s name on Twitter usually reveals a sizable dose of anger directed at the Vikings GM, often laced with misspelled profanity and other vitriol. The particular grievance is ever-changing, but currently, it has become en vogue to begin proclaiming Spielman’s preseason trade for Sam Bradford is an abject failure. Perhaps it’s the nature of the job he holds, or perhaps it’s the fact that ten years with a franchise is certain to yield at least a handful of bad moves, but for all the observers who tell you Rick Spielman has done good work assembling the Vikings roster, there are just as many who will tell you he needs to be fired tomorrow.

Perhaps it’s the nature of the job he holds, or perhaps it’s the fact that ten years with a franchise is certain to yield at least a handful of bad moves, but for all the observers who tell you Rick Spielman has done good work assembling the Vikings roster, there are just as many who will tell you he needs to be fired tomorrow.

Do not listen to this latter group. They are an emotionally volatile bunch who choose to nitpick over specific happenings rather than step back and look at the big picture. And the big picture is this: with the Vikings, Rick Spielman has been a good GM. I’ve already laid out my thesis at length over the course of examining his best and worst moves with the club, so I won’t drone on here, but in a nutshell, I believe Spielman has built a deep and talented roster that has allowed the 2016 Vikings to remain competitive despite an avalanche of injuries at key positions, and I think his good moves far outweigh his bad ones. There are more early round slam dunks (Barr, Bridgewater, Rhodes, Rudolph, Smith, Kendricks, Peterson, et al) and mid- or late-round steals (Diggs, Hunter, Griffen, Sullivan, Robison) than there are outright draft busts. There are more shrewd, economical trades and free agent acquisitions than there are wasteful, fruitless ones. Overall, Spielman has navigated the cap well and put together an impressive roster of talent, and I think any objective analysis of his work over the long haul will show that.

But.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Apparently the Minnesota Vikings Week 11 victory over the Arizona Cardinals was too good to be true. Here everyone was, all happy and stuff that the Vikings had snapped their four-game losing streak and then they go and drop a stinker in Detroit against the Lions on Thanksgiving Day.

Injuries continue to hamper this team’s chances of doing anything spectacular this season, but that really should not be an excuse. Every team in the league deals with injuries each year and it just comes down to which team is able to deal with them in a better manner.

Speaking of dealing well with injuries this season, absolutely no one envisioned the Dallas Cowboys to come into their matchup with the Vikings this week riding a 10-game win streak.

Like Minnesota, the Cowboys also lost their starting quarterback to an injury before the start of the year and were left scrambling. But instead of pouting and sulking about their injury problems, Dallas has turned 2016 into a season to remember so far.

Perhaps the Vikings should take a few lessons from the resiliency of the Cowboys this year?

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Raise the Bar with Anthony Barr
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Vikings Territory has a long tradition of supporting worthwhile causes. From Chad Greenway’s Lead the Way Foundation to the Mike Zimmer Foundation, giving back to the community is something near and dear to the website’s heart. Through More Than Words, Vikings Territory, members of the Minnesota Vikings, and our loyal readers have raised tens of thousands of dollars for those in need.

And on this Giving Tuesday, an annual holiday where you can donate some of your time, a donation, gift or the power of your voice in your local community, we offer a new cause — Anthony Barr’s Raise the Barr Foundation.

Launched in June 2016, Raise the Barr strives to provide financial support to single mothers wishing to further their education. The child of a single parent himself, Barr learned from his mother the importance of education and the impact it had on the lives of his mother, younger brother, and himself. Inspired by her strength, Barr launched his foundation to improve the livelihoods of single mothers and their children in the Twin Cities.

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