Friday, September 4, 2015

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

According to a report from the Star Tribune’s Matt Vensel, Minnesota Vikings rookie tight end MyCole Pruitt missed Monday’s practice with a sprained left ankle:

The fifth-round draft pick out of Southern Illinois has been an important player for the Vikings this offseason, and looks to be a weapon for Teddy Bridgewater in the team’s passing attack in 2015. His potential in Norv Turner’s offense became clear during the Hall of Fame Game, when Pruitt led the team with 51 receiving yards on four catches.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Antone Exum is learning the hard way that Mike Zimmer’s expectations are higher than most. After Saturday night’s preseason victory over the Buccaneers, Zimmer vowed to continue “pushing” and “grinding” his players because he believes the group has “a chance to be a good football team.”

His comments come days after the Vikings head coach cut practice short and criticized his players for their sloppy performance, which seemed to find its way onto the field Saturday night — the Vikings turned the ball over three times and committed seven penalties for 60 yards.

On the defensive side of the ball, Exum has shined through two preseason games. Against the Steelers in the Hall of Fame Game, he recovered a fumble and returned it into Pittsburgh territory. And against the Buccaneers on Saturday, he intercepted Jameis Winston en route to a 32-yard return.

However, two highlight plays aren’t enough to vault Exum into a starting role, and Zimmer wants to see cleaner play from his second-year safety moving forward:

“He’s active, he’s active. He obviously made a nice play on the interception. He got down in there one time on a run, he was in good position,he didn’t finish the tackle. Those are things he’s going to have to improve on. Safeties have to be able to tackle. But he’s a very good athlete and we just have to get him disciplined.”

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Image courtesy of Chris Price

Every once in a while, one’s cynicism can mix with reality to create a sense of optimism during a turbulent time.

Following the news of Phil Loadholt’s torn Achilles that will almost certainly sideline him for the entirety of the 2015 season, my initial feelings were those of sadness for Loadholt as an individual, and also increased worries about an offensive line that was already this offense’s biggest liability.

For Loadholt individually, the situation downright sucks and he has a long road to recovery for the second season in a row. Next season is his last under his current contract and he will be set to make a salary of $7.75 million and, if no adjustments are made, the Vikings would only eat $1.75 million of that if they parted ways with him.

The idea that Loadholt has possibly played his last game as a Vikings might provide some readers with a shock, but the numbers suggest it is possible. Combine that with the fact that he’ll be thirty next year, with injuries continuing to wear on that large frame of his, and it might be closer to “likely” than “possible.”

At the very least, the silver lining in this situation is that Loadholt’s injury provides clarity in that a replacement is needed immediately. If one wants to be a true optimist, you may even go so far as to say the team can now potentially trade in some run blocking dominance for an improved pass blocker.

Of course, all of that optimism is totally contingent on finding an adequate replacement for Loadholt, and that is easier said than done. The Vikings brass are surely going to have their thinking caps on over the next couple of days, but what options exactly do they have to consider?

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Image Courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings topped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26-16 Saturday at The Sauna… I mean The Bank. Mike Zimmer extends his career head coaching preseason record to a robust 6-0, but it came at a price as veteran road-grading right tackle Phil Loadholt was lost for the season with a torn achilles. The much maligned offensive line now has a new set of obstacles. Who’s gonna step up? TJ Clemmings? Austin Shepherd? Babs? (Not Babs)

We dig into the NEW problematic offensive tackle position for the Vikings as well as touch on other “Not-so Famous Jameis” talking points on today’s recap show.

Other “Get well soon, Uncle Phil” Talkers Include
• MIKE ZIMMER IS STILL UNDEFEATED IN THE PRESEASON
• The Dogra Bowl – Welcome back Leslie Frazier
• Phil Loadholt done for the year, career as a Viking?
• Will TJ Clemmings step up?
• Matt Kalil said football is fun again
• Teddy looked sharp & in command
• Was it Zach Line’s birthday?
• McKINNON MAY NEVER SCORE AN NFL TD
• WTF, Cordarrelle?
• Stefon Diggs is a lot of fun to watch
• Blanton is going to start, but it’s close
• Marcus Sherels is under-appreciated. We don’t deserve him.
• We are very lucky to have Tom Johnson
• Long snapper: No one cares. Just pick one.
• Taylor Heinicke. Me likey.
• Good things happen when Gerald Hodges is on the field
• Don’t bet against Adam Thielen (You can bet against Fruechte though)
• Eric Kendricks is an animal
• Give me Brian Peters over Mike Mauti & Brandon Watts #SorryNotSorry
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All that and other “Next Man Up” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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image courtesy of Vikings.com

Minnesota quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater, Shaun Hill and Taylor Heinicke efficiently connected on 27 of 33 pass attempts for 293 yards and two touchdowns to help the Vikings spoil Jameis Winston’s preseason NFL debut.

Bridgewater started the game off hot by hitting Kyle Rudolph for 18 yards on the first play from scrimmage. Two plays later he hit Jarius Wright for a 26 yard reception helping the Vikings get in position for a Blair Walsh 46 yard field goal that gave the Vikings an early 3-0 lead.

Bridgewater was 7/8 in the game for 86 yards and led the Vikings on a five play 38 yard scoring drive that ended with a Zach Line 1-yard touchdown run on the Vikings third possession.

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