Monday, August 31, 2015

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Will miss 2015 season

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Injuries affect football teams every day, but some are more devastating than others. And on this fateful August night, none are more brutal to the Minnesota Vikings than the loss of Phil Loadholt.

According to a report from NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Phil Loadholt suffered a torn achilles early in Saturday night’s preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and will miss the rest of the 2015 season.

Loadholt was blocking on a routine play, when his legs appeared to buckle and he collapsed to the ground on the Vikings’ second offensive play of the night. According to reports from A.J. Mansour on Twitter, Loadholt was “visibly upset” on the sideline and seen “head down with a towel covering his head” before being carted to the locker room.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

We got a slightly extended look at the Vikings starters Saturday evening at TCF Bank Stadium. Each played three drives and the Vikings starters outperformed Tampa Bay by a score of 9-3.

Below are some notes for how each of those drives went and a few notes about individual performances.

FIRST DRIVE (OFFENSE)

Cordarrelle Patterson fielded the opening kickoff from seven yards deep in the endzone, but was unable to get past the 20 yard line on a very ho hum return.

Like last week, Bridgewater found tight end Kyle Rudolph for a first down on, this time on a play action bootleg where Bridgewater showed nice patience. On the next play, a nothing-doing handoff to Jerick McKinnon, Phil Loadholt limped off the field and visibly appeared to be in pain.

After a five yard gift on a Bucs penalty, Bridgewater hit Jarius Wright on a nice crossing pattern for a big gain of 26 yards, most of which was found by Wright after the catch. A quick screen to Mike Wallace on the next play gained only two yards and then a deep shot out of the shotgun ended up being a missed connection to Wallace in the endzone. A few yards on a pass to McKinnon was enough to stall the drive and set up the Blair Walsh field goal that put the Vikings ahead on offense.

Bridgewater looked sharp and the offense seemed to move well. Mike Wallace underwhelmed a bit in his two targets, but it isn’t like he was terrible. The biggest news from the first drive, unfortunately, is whether or not Phil Loadholt’s injury will be a long-term problem for this team.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tonight, and Vikings Territory is here to cover all of the action. Once the game starts, we’ll be hanging out in our live chat, but first, here’s a list of the players who won’t be participating in this evening’s game:

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2015 Training Camp Vikings Fans
Photo Courtesy of Chris Price
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers with rookie quarterback Jameis Winson travel to TCF Bank Stadium to take on the Vikings. Winston, in his first NFL start ever, will go up against a Vikings defense that was able to get after the quarterback early and often last week in the Hall of Fame Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Mike Zimmer has yet to lose a preseason game in his young tenure as the Vikings Head Coach. We’ll hope that trend continues today as we hang out here at Vikings Territory and shoot the crap in our live chat with all of you.

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And that's okay

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Behind a leaky offensive line and without star running back Adrian Peterson, Teddy Bridgewater found himself in quite a few uncomfortable situations last season. According to ESPN Stats and Info, the rookie quarterback was sacked 39 times, hit another 14, and was pressured on 29.9 percent of his 469 dropbacks in 2014.

In an effort to improve his durability, the team set a 215-pound weight limit for the 6’3″ Bridgewater this offseason, and the quarterback believes the added weight will help him “withstand some hits” he’s “going to take throughout the year,” per ESPN’s Ben Goessling. The muscle, along with a slightly retooled, improved offensive line, are all preventative measures to ensure the longevity and sustained success of the franchise’s most important player.

If I were to step into Rick Spielman’s shoes for a day, though, I’d enact one more policy to protect Teddy Bridgewater’s health:

Don’t Let Teddy Run the Read-Option

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