Thursday, November 26, 2015

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The image of Teddy Bridgewater motionless on the ground last week left many wondering if he’d miss today’s game against the Oakland Raiders. Fortunately for the Minnesota Vikings, Bridgewater passed the concussion protocol and will start in less than an hour. His play will be critical as the Vikings look to attack the league’s worst-ranked passing defense, which is allowing 314 yards passing per game.

Bridgewater is also joined by Anthony Barr, who’s been battling a hand injury he sustained against the Rams. He will, however, be missing his partner in crime, Eric Kendricks. The rookie linebacker is fighting through a painful rib injury and his scratch appears to be a precaution. Six other players are inactive, including:

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Last week, the Minnesota Vikings and St. Louis Rams battled under windy conditions as the broadcast team was sure to remind you every three seconds. As it turns out, the wind greatly impacted the flow of the game with special teams adjustments and an overtime coin toss decision from Mike Zimmer.

This week, it looks like the Vikings could be playing under similar circumstances in Oakland.

As of this posting, is noting a wind advisory for the entire area until 10:00 PM tonight. Sustained winds of 20 to 30 MPH are expected by game time, with gusts as high as 40 to 50 MPH also expected to make an appearance.

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Vikings Injury Report
NamePositionInjuryWed.Thur.Fri. Status
Trattou, JustinDEFootLimitedLimitedLimitedOUT
Kendricks, EricLBRibsDNPDNPLimitedDoubtful
Barr, AnthonyLBLow BackDNPDNPLimitedQuestionable
Bridgewater, TeddyQB ConcussionLimitedFullFullQuestionable
Sherels, MarcusCBShoulderLimitedLimitedLimitedQuestionable
Floyd, SharrifDTKnee/AnkleLimitedLimitedFullProbable
Joseph, LinvalDTFootLimitedLimitedFullProbable
Newman, TerranceCBConcussionLimitedFullFullProbable
Patterson, CordarrelleWRShoulder________LimitedFullProbable
Robison, BrianDEAnkleFullFullFullProbable

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After a Blair Walsh overtime win against St. Louis last week, the Vikings are now 6-2 and tied with Green Bay to lead the NFC North division. The Packers play the Lions this week, which will most likely be another win for Green Bay, so it’s even more important for the Vikings to come away with a victory Sunday.

The Raiders are No. 2 behind Denver in the AFC West division with a 4-4 record. They are coming off a narrow loss to Pittsburgh and will be hungry for a win at home. Derek Carr is averaging 262 passing yards per game and has 19 touchdowns and only four interceptions on the season. Add in the speed and hands of rookie receiver Amari Cooper, and Oakland is no easy contest. Don’t forget, Minnesota is also going against its former offensive coordinator, Bill Musgrave.

Most experts are choosing the Raiders over the Vikings, so Mike Zimmer and his team have something to prove. Lets take a look at how Minnesota’s offense will match up against its opponents in Week 10.

Offensive Line

The offensive line allowed only one sack against Teddy Bridgewater last week, although he did receive a decent amount of pressure. There have been pros and cons for the line all season, one of the positives being that the unit has reduced the number of penalties committed after last year. The Vikings as a whole are the least-penalized team in the NFL; as Denver’s Aqib Talib found out last week, penalties can prove significant to a game’s outcome. With Joe Berger looking to be the starting center through the rest of the season in John Sullivan‘s absence, the offensive line has been working to hold its own.

While Oakland used to be known for its defense, the team currently ranks No. 30 in the league (above only the Saints and the Giants). Protecting Bridgewater and blocking against the Raiders will not be like defending the Rams or Broncos, and Minnesota’s O-Line should do well in this situation. The Raiders’ largest threat is linebacker Malcolm Smith; Smith has 59 tackles (50 solo) and three sacks on the season thus far. The line will need to contain Smith in order to keep Minnesota in the game offensively.

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Vikings Raiders
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The Vikings have won four straight games. They’ve won on the road, against division foes and, most recently, against a team with a winning record. The Vikings are 6-2 and are now not only in the playoff conversation but also in the division championship conversation. Looking ahead at the schedule. the Vikings have some difficult match ups in front of them. Just a week ago, ESPN found that the Vikings have the hardest remaining schedule in the NFL. It seems like from this point forward, every week is going to be a tough game.

This week is no different as the Vikings travel to Oakland and take on a similarly young and up-and-coming team. Featuring some intriguing player parallels between the likes of Stefon Diggs and Amari Cooper as well as Anthony Barr and Khalil Mack, the duel most people are talking about are between the two sophomore quarterbacks, Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr. Both quarterbacks have had impressive early campaigns in their young careers and it should be fun to watch the two go head-to-head in what is hopefully a display of the NFL’s future at the position.

We still have a couple of days yet until these pillaging teams face off. In the meantime, we’ve compiled a bunch of links to get your prepared for the game and catch you up on the latest Vikings news.

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