Monday, July 25, 2016

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Star Wars is a thing. And the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings and the Chicago Bears are set to clash at TCF Bank Stadium Sunday like the Rebel Alliance and the Dark Side and the Romulans and the…. I’ve never seen Star Wars…. But Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) has! We talk about The Force as well as the Purple People Eaters as he makes his weekly stop.

We also chatted about which Vikings will make the Pro Bowl (not that the Pro Bowl matters), ask if Rick Spielman is underrated, why Linval Joseph being back is monsterous for our playoff chances, and Arif casts Vikings players as Star Wars characters. Because that’s original.

All that and other “I’ve only seen the Family Guy Star Wars….” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

Read all of Arif’s stuff at The Daily Norseman and Vikings Journal as well as listen to his podcast Norse Code.

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

I’d really be drinking the Purple Kool-Aid if I said the Vikings were a complete football team. Rick Spielman’s built a competitive and deep roster, but there are holes and deficiencies at a few key positions, including wide receiver, offensive line, and in the secondary. It’s easy to look at the Vikings and think, “Hey, they could make some noise in the playoffs,” but truthfully, they’re a year away.

And that’s okay. Every team’s goal each year is to win the Super Bowl, even if that’s not always a realistic aspiration. Sometimes, unforeseen obstacles like injuries and coaching changes can throw those plans off track. While the Vikings have shown they’re an improved bunch, there are still issues keeping them from moving into the league’s upper-echelon of contenders.

The coaching, across the board, is some of the best in the NFL. The defense, with elite speed at every level, should be aggressive for years to come. And Teddy Bridgewater, despite the criticism, has the chance to become the franchise’s first great quarterback in nearly a decade.

But that won’t happen unless the Vikings make some offseason improvements. To help me find out where Spielman and Zimmer should focus their attention, I asked the VT team to answer this week’s question:

Looking ahead, what position do the Vikings most need to improve this offseason?

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The Week 15 showdown between the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings and the Chicago Windy City Bears is nigh! That’s why we had Bears blogger Jeff Hughes (@DaBearsBlog) of Da Bears Blog in to discuss how his Monsters of the Midway look to try and play spoiler against our beloved Purple who need this home win to help solidify our playoff position.

We chatted about how Jeff likes the new regime in Chicago, how new media like blogs and podcasts have an edge over traditional outlets, if Jay Cutler has turned things around, Matt Forte being on the way out, how Teddy Bridgewater can get the sour taste of Arizona out of his mouth, and how the Vikes and Bears will end up Sunday afternoon at The Bank.

All that and other “Red Red Wine Make the Vikings Feel So Fine” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

Also, I’d rather be in the Red Wine Club than the Donut Club to be honest….

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

What’s the difference between an 8-5 record and a 6-7 record? The simple answer would be two wins. Two games separate the Vikings, who are currently 8-5, from a pack of 6-7 teams “in the hunt” for the NFC’s sixth playoff spot. But two games also separate the Vikings from a familiar face — their 2014 counterparts.

At this time last year, the Vikings were 6-7 and eliminated from playoff contention. They’d go on to lose two of their final three games and finish the season at 7-9. Respectable, given the year-long absence of Adrian Peterson and the arrival of first-year coach Mike Zimmer, but not enough to push them into January. It was a season that, despite a losing record, inspired hope in the Minnesota fanbase and promised future success.

This season, the Vikings have built on what made them successful in 2014 and sit firmly entrenched in the NFC playoff picture. Two more wins through 13 games may not seem like a major leap, but these Vikings are a much improved team for a number of reasons. From the emergence of the defense to the return of Peterson, Minnesota has a chance to finish the year with 11 wins and play their first meaningful postseason football since 2012. Will they hit double digits in the win column, or will they flounder to end the season as they did last year?

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Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

It is that time of year again. The time where everyone gathers with their family members around the fireplace, sipping hot chocolate, nibbling on sugar cookies and divulging in everyone’s favorite seasonal pastime.

Going over NFL playoff scenarios.

As far as the Vikings making the playoffs in 2015, Minnesota controls its own destiny. At least for the time being.

If the playoffs began today, the Vikings would enter the postseason as the NFC’s sixth seed. That seed seems like the least favorable spot that Minnesota could land, but it could actually end up being one of the best depending on how everything sorts itself out.

With the top two seeds in the NFC likely locked up by the Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals, the Vikings will be fighting to land either the third, fifth, or sixth seed in the playoffs. Yes, they do need to clinch a berth in the postseason first. But if they do, what seeding could provide them with the best opportunity to succeed?

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