Wednesday, June 29, 2016

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(image courtesy of Vikings.com)

The Vikings are coming off a big win over Atlanta and have plenty of momentum rolling into Week 13 to face Seattle. That being said, the Seahawks are also coming in strong, having won four of their last five games. Both teams have had their share of up and down games in 2015, and the experts this week are divided on which squad will take the “W.”

Let’s take a look at how Minnesota’s offense will match up against its opponents.


Offensive Line

After a less-than-impressive performance Week 11 against Green Bay, the offensive line played better last week. Only one of Minnesota’s nine penalties was attributed to the line (T.J. Clemmings), and the unit’s blocking was improved as well. Teddy Bridgewater escaped the game without being sacked, and Adrian Peterson had a big running game.

Despite losing original starters Phil Loadholt and John Sullivan, the patchwork offensive line has now been playing together for a long time, and consistency is key. Seattle’s No. 4 defense will be no easy match up, and the Vikings will be facing defensive end Cliff Avril, who leads the Seahawks with 7.5 sacks this season, and fellow defensive end Michael Bennett (6.5 sacks). Overall, the team has 27 sacks on the year. Clemmings had a difficult time against Denver earlier this season, and Seattle could pose a similar challenge to the rookie.

Bottom line (as always): the offensive line will need to be on its toes Sunday and will set the tone of the game early on.

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Teddy Bridgewater Surprised Face
Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

After beating the Atlanta Falcons in Week 12, the odds the Vikings make the playoffs increased to 91% according to an excellent playoff simulator created by The New York Times. So even before this weekend’s game against the Seattle Seahawks (another team in the NFC playoff picture), things are looking pretty good for Minnesota.

Despite ultimately being in the driver’s seat, the Vikings playoff chances, and specifically playoff seeding, can be affected by the upcoming results of other teams. That’s why we thought it might not be a bad idea to bring back a segment we did a few years back here at VT where we take a weekly look at the playoff picture and provide a guide of sorts to focus your weekly rooting in a direction that best benefits the Vikings.

We’ll start of by taking a look at the current playoff picture. Before that though, I want to clarify a couple of items that may help understanding things later.

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(image courtesy of Vikings.com)

The Vikings announced Thursday morning that Adrian Peterson has been named NFC Offensive Player of the Month. Peterson received the award after wrapping up November with a 158-yard performance against Atlanta last week.

Peterson continues to lead the NFL in rushing with 1,164 yards thus far. During November, he recorded 634 rushing yards on 117 carries and five touchdowns. At 30 years old, the running back shows no signs of slowing down; the 634 yards were the most he tallied in a single month since he set a franchise record of 861 yards in December 2012. Peterson also received NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors at that time.

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(image courtesy of Vikings.com)
RB Matt Asiata, S Andrew Sendejo and CB Marcus Sherels all joined the Vikings as undrafted free agents. Which player has made the biggest impact for Minnesota during his career?

Adam P: Marcus Sherels
Although he did spend some time early in his Vikings career playing on the defensive side of the ball, returning punts has really been the area where Sherels has made the biggest impact for the Vikings. For the past three seasons (including 2015), he has ranked in the NFL’s top 10 in terms of average yards per punt and seems to always provide a spark for the Vikings when they need it the most. His punt return for a touchdown this season against the Chicago Bears in Week 8 was a big reason Minnesota was able to defeat the Bears in Chicago for the first time since 2007.

Matt Asiata and Andrew Sendejo have not been on the field as much during their careers for the  Vikings as Sherels has in his; therefore, they have not been able to make as much of an impact as their teammate Sherels.

Asiata did a good job filling in for Adrian Peterson last season when he scored 10 touchdowns in 15 games. Sendejo is doing a decent job in the safety spot next to Harrison Smith in the Minnesota defense this season. But neither has come close to the impact that Sherels has made on this franchise as a punt returner.

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If the playoffs started today, the 3-seeded Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings would be hosting the 6-seed Seattle Seahawks. Which makes Sunday’s showdown at The Bank both a potential playoff preview and an opportunity for a statement win as the Purple look to solidify our playoff position as the 2015 season barrels on.

Dayna O’Gorman (@DaynaOG) of the NFL Female Podcast rejoins the show to talk about how her beloved Seahawks and Legion of Boom Legion of Whom will matchup against Teddy Bridgewater and The Zimmer Hellfire Defense.

We also recap her emotions after last year’s Super Bowl, why Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas get more buzz than Harrison Smith, how Russell Wilson and Teddy are more similar than not, why the 2015 Vikings and the 2013 Seahawks are alike, and if young Thomas Rawls can go yard-for-yard with Adrian Peterson

All that and other “Sherman’s gonna blanket Mike Wallace” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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