Monday, September 25, 2017

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Cordarrelle Patterson, Marcus Sherels "Return" to Top of Special Teams Rankings

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Keeping the positive energy going with our third installment in a series recapping the greatest moments of the Minnesota Vikings’ tumultuous 2016 season. 

The Minnesota Vikings may have struggled to convert extra point attempts at a high rate and Blair Walsh certainly earned his release amid the 2016 season, but just about every other special teams group was exceptional. Walsh’ replacement Kai Forbath, however, has absolutely no clue how it feels to miss a field goal as a member of the Vikings, having converted all 15 of his attempts in Minnesota.

Cordarrelle Patterson and Marcus Sherels continued their reign as the best at their respective return positions and combine to form the most lethal return specialist combination in professional football — and no, this is not debatable because it’s as close to fact as a subjective statement can be.

Even punter Jeff Locke, who I have literally been saying screaming should be released by the Vikings since 2014, produced both his best and most consistent season as a professional.

While there were moments the team would take a mulligan on — Adam Thielen’s fumble on a punt return against Dallas, in particular — each of the aforementioned elements plus Patterson’s flat-out dominant efforts as a gunner, Mike Priefer’s unit was about as good as it gets in the NFL.

Many teams don’t produce five highlight-reel special teams plays over the duration of an entire season, but the Vikings could put together a nice collection with just their snaps against the Arizona Cardinals. Without further ado, here are our Vikings Top-5 Special Teams Plays in 2016.

Be sure to check out our previous rankings as well, and keep an eye out for the remaining articles in our series highlighting the most thrilling Vikings moments from the 2016 season:

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Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes Atop Defensive Play Rankings

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Keeping the positive energy going with our second installment in a series recapping the greatest moments of the Minnesota Vikings’ tumultuous 2016 season. 

It goes without saying that Minnesota’s season did not end the way fans would have hoped, but the Vikings still managed to produce their finest defensive year since 1995. During the team’s five-game win streak to open the season, Mike Zimmer’s defense was essentially impenetrable, posting a long list of ridiculous statistics:

Over the course of the entire year, the Vikings defense came in at No. 3 in yards allowed (5,038), No. 6 in points allowed (307) and No. 9 in Football Outsiders‘ efficiency-measuring statistic, DVOA, which is determined by a collection of situational details. And if it weren’t for a couple of stinkers against the Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers (ew) late in the year, these rankings would have been even higher.

Naturally, Minnesota’s star-studded, Super Bowl-caliber defense produced an endless supply of highlight-reel moments, which we collected and attributed rankings to below.

Be sure to check out our offensive play rankings as well, and keep an eye out for the remaining articles in our series highlighting the most thrilling Vikings moments from the 2016 season.

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Bradford
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

As we shift to offseason mode for the Minnesota Vikings, so begins the long and abundant period of speculation. Foremost on the minds of fans and media members is the quarterback position—namely, who will start in 2017?

Will it be Teddy Bridgewater, the team’s original quarterback who often looked like a budding star before a gruesome knee injury knocked him out for the 2016 season?

Or will it be Sam Bradford, brought in via trade to fill in in Bridgewater’s absence, who went on to throw for 3877 yards, 20 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, and an NFL-record 71.6% completion percentage?

On Tuesday, Mike Zimmer provided some clues in his year-end press conference. There were no big revelations, because a.) coaches are rarely forthcoming with that type of thing, and b.) there are still eight months until the 2017 season begins, and a lot can change in that time. But reading into Zimmer’s comments, we can safely assume that at this point, he believes Bradford will be the starter.

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Minnesota Vikings 2017 Free Agency
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer addressed the media this morning, taking questions one last time to close the 2016 season. He touched on Sam Bradford’s record-setting year, Adrian Peterson’s potential return in 2017, and a host of other topics.

One subject he didn’t touch, though, was that of Minnesota’s impending free agents. A question on free agency near the end of Zimmer’s press conference did, however, elicit a humorous response from one attending reporter:

If you don’t know how many free agents the Vikings have and ended up Googling the answer, we’re happy your search brought you to Vikings Territory. After the jump, we’ll take a look at each of Minnesota’s 19 free agents heading into the offseason.

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Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen Dominate Offensive Play Rankings

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Unfortunately, the offseason has started a little earlier than the Minnesota Vikings would have hoped.

While Minnesota ended its season on about as high of a note as it could have with a dominating 38-10 victory at home over the Chicago Bears, the Vikings will be watching the postseason from their couches as the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions compete for a Super Bowl.

The worst-case scenario has been engaged with the happiness of Vikings fans now in the hands of the Seattle Seahawks and, more so, the New York Giants — a pair of teams that are certainly capable of bringing peace and harmony back to Vikings Territory in one fell swoop this weekend.

There is not a single Vikings fan in the world who is happy to see the offseason arrive so soon, but there are a few benefits to this heartbreaking situation:

  1. Vikings have extra time to prepare for a critical NFL Draft and Free Agency period
  2. Vikings won’t control your happiness on Sundays for roughly 9 months
  3. Excellent offseason content from your favorite source, Vikings Territory

With a dark cloud currently hovering over Mike Zimmer’s kingdom, the best place to start the Vikings Territory offseason content cycle may very well be through a series of articles highlighting the most thrilling and critical moments and performances that we shared together throughout this rollercoaster ride of a 2016 season:

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