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Jared Allen seems to be plenty aware of the incredibly low expectations that fans, the media, and analysts have for the Vikings in 2012.  Allen, however, doesn’t seem to think of low expectations as a particularly bad thing.

“I truly don’t know what our expectations are,” Allen said. “That can actually be a good thing. There are no preconceived notions of where you have to get, so you just work your butt off and everybody goes out there and lays it on the line. Everybody is working toward one common goal and that’s to win this game.”

“When we had Brett, you’re expectation goes through the roof that you’re going to make it to the Super Bowl,” Allen continued. “Anything less than that is unsatisfactory. Coming off a 3-13 season, no one expects us to do anything. So, we can fly below the radar and focus on being a solid team and just try to put win after win together.”

I have iterated a number of times that I am genuinely looking forward to watching this young Vikings team play, grow, and improve over the course of the 2012 season.  “Win after win” isn’t a phrase you hear projected very often, but it isn’t out of the realm of possibility and it is nice to hear the leader of the defense express it as a possibility.

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Vikings Defensive End Chris Doleman

A couple of months ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. I told some of our regular visitors on Vikings Territory that I would write about my experience and report back at how amazing it all was. Unfortunately, it was during holiday season, I was visiting family, stuff came up and I just never got around to it.

Needless to say, the Hall of Fame was incredible.

Being surrounded by so much history and the legacies of so many football greats was really humbling and enriched my appreciation for the great sport of football. As an avid Vikings fan, upon entering the actual hall itself, I immediately began scouring the walls for all the Minnesota greats. Fran Tarkenton, Bud Grant, Alan Page, John Randle… I saw all of them. And while I am not lucky enough to have experienced watching [most] them while they were still playing, I stood in front of each – paying my respects.

You can’t help but be bothered by it, though. You know what I’m talking about… Vikings fans know what I’m talking about. How in the world is Cris Carter not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame? How is Chris Doleman not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

Well yesterday, one of those questions was addressed while the other went unanswered. Chris Doleman, Vikings defensive end great,  has officially been announced as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012. He will be accompanied by center Dermontti Dawson, defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, running back Curtis Martin, cornerback Jack Butler and offensive tackle Willie Roaf (notice the name “Cris Carter” is nowhere to be found in that list).

Obviously, it is awesome that Chris Doleman is receiving such a great honor. Unfortunately (at least for me anyway), the disappointment of Cris Carter being overlooked again dampers the occasion a bit. I’m sure Carter will end up in the Hall of Fame eventually – it would be an outrage if he somehow didn’t. But one has to wonder, why hasn’t it happened yet? Carter is undeniably one of the NFL’s greatest receivers of all-time. Only Jerry Rice has surpassed him in career receiving yards. Carter was never able to win a championship, but that isn’t really a reflection of his greatness. Isn’t being granted entrance into the Hall of Fame an acknowledgement of personal achievement (not to suggest that the team doesn’t matter… but you know what I mean)?

I would love to hear the reasoning behind Cris Carter being snubbed entry… again.

And guess what? It doesn’t end there…

Jared Allen, the man who fell short a half a sack behind breaking New York Giants Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record with 22 sacks, was not selected as the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. Instead, the Ravens Terrell Suggs, who totaled 14 sacks on the year, was bestowed the honor; leaving another Vikings player high-and-dry. Obviously, I’m biased here, but when comparing the stats of these two players, it seems obvious to me that Allen had the better year. Unfortunately, these awards for individual achievement tend to be majorly influenced by how well their team did – a category Allen did not fare well in.

How do you all feel? Is there any justification for Carter being denied (again) entry into the Hall of Fame? Did Suggs deserve the Defensive MVP award more then Jared Allen? Try and be objective (if you can – it’s tough) and tell us what you think in the comments.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Earlier this year (December 4, before his last four games and omitting the hot streak he finished the season on) we looked at how Teddy Bridgewater compared to some of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game, as well as many former Vikings quarterbacks. Since then, Teddy had been on fire to close the season and finished the final five games with the second-highest completion rate in that time (behind Tony Romo), the seventh-highest yards per attempt, the eighth-highest passer rating and the seventh-highest adjusted yards per attempt (out of 30 quarterbacks who threw the ball at least 100 times in that span). In those five games, he ended up as Pro Football Focus’ second-highest graded quarterback, behind only Aaron Rodgers.

It’s safe to say that the statistics in the second-half of his season have buttressed those in the first half, providing Bridgewater with more statistical support in these kinds of comparisons.

As a refresher, I’ll quote the original piece to describe the methodology, then show you the updated tables:

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After a few fairly obvious choices in recent weeks, the Vikings edged out a win over Washington with many contributors and few flawless performances, which will likely make this week’s poll a little more competitive.

Here are the winners from the first eight weeks of this season:

Past Winners:

WEEK ONE:  Cordarrelle Patterson

WEEK TWO: Harrison Smith

WEEK THREE:  Harrison Smith

WEEK FOUR: Teddy Bridgewater

WEEK FIVE:  Harrison Smith

WEEK SIX:  Linval Joseph

WEEK SEVEN: Everson Griffen

WEEK EIGHT:  Anthony Barr

Nominations for this week’s award, and the poll itself, can be found after the jump.

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