Thursday, October 20, 2016

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Minnesota Vikings

Life-long Cubs fan and local media personality Phil Mackey joins Purple FTW! at Blue Door Pub to talk parallels between The Lovable Losers and the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings. We also delve into if Sam Bradford is really playing at MVP levels, if we’d rather have a dominant offense or a dominant defense, and if the Vikings would have won any of those Super Bowls in ’98, 2000, or ’09. I also went on a minor jag about PFF, broke down the offensive line by position, and discussed if Norv Turner or Brad Childress would be the better head coaching candidate in the offseason.

All that and other “The Cubs Will Blow This Like the Vikings” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

Listen to Phil weekdays from 9-1 on Mackey & Judd as well as the Touch ‘Em All Podcast (it’s about baseball).

An Andy Carlson Joint

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Bradford MVP
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You’ve surely heard by now. On Wednesday, Peter King named Sam Bradford his MVP through the first quarter of the season. This elicited a wide range of responses, many of which amounted to boundless outrage —just look at the replies to this tweet for a sample. The idea was strongly opposed. And those in in opposition generally did one of the following: they offered a different candidate they found more worthy—Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson were named the most, and both are understandable choices—or, more frequently, they said something to the effect of “the Vikings defense is so good! How could Bradford be the MVP?!?!?!”

For his part, I thought King’s explanation made a lot of sense:

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Eric Kendricks
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The Minnesota Vikings advanced another week and remained undefeated, and with a 4-0 record they have two more wins to their name than any other NFC North opponent, and the early success gives even the most reasonable expectation of a post-season appearance.

They still have to square off against their NFC North foes in five more contests, however, and considering three of those games will be away from the home-field hospitality of U.S. Bank Stadium it is certainly worth keeping a watchful eye on our closest enemies.

The Vikings have a +10 turnover differential so far in 2016. The defense is fearsome at their worst and downright devastating at their best. The offense continues to play efficiently enough to win and take care of the football, while signs of progression give us hope that things can get better in the near-enough future.

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In this week’s episode, we give Odell Beckham Jr. a pacifier, thank Norv Turner for watching the show, and make a few suggestions for the offense. That, plus predicting the outcome of the Texans game and the Somewhat Random Player who will score a touchdown this week.

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And an even better cornerback

Xavier Rhodes is a Bad Man
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Jerick McKinnon finally broke free on the ground. The offensive line finally protected Sam Bradford. Cordarrelle Patterson finally flashed his first round talent.

Plenty went right for the Minnesota Vikings’ offense on Monday night, but it was defense that once again carried the team to victory. And no player was more critical to the win than Xavier Rhodes, who is quickly becoming Mike Zimmer’s ‘Weapon X’ in this bullying defense.

Following a shutdown performance in Week 3 — holding Kelvin Benjamin to zero catches — Rhodes one-upped his season debut by completely eliminating New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Monday night. He set the tone from the first whistle, using his physicality (and his jaw) to crack Beckham’s psyche.

The receiver lashed out, launching himself at Rhodes and focusing more on the matchup than his team’s success. The result? A three-catch, 23-yard outing that did little to help New York’s chances in Week 4. His second quarter unsportsmanlike penalty stalled an early Giants’ drive, and his route running error later in the game led to an easy Rhodes interception.

Rhodes bullied Beckham, but his dominant display was simply an extension of Zimmer’s defensive approach. All three levels of a defense work together, from a relentless pass rush to smothering coverage down the field. Their sustained success breeds confidence, which is evident on every sack, turnover, and tackle for loss.

That confidence has grown, allowing Zimmer’s defense to impose its will throughout this 4-0 stretch. With his size, Rhodes knew he could do just that against Beckham. It was his words that made the difference.

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