Friday, April 17, 2015
Blog Page 95

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The Vikings look like a team plenty capable of putting points on the scoreboard.  The first two preseason games under Norv Turner have been encouraging, Adrian Peterson will be ready to do his thing in Week One, and Cordarrelle Patterson will once again be returning kicks.

Actually, that last part is speculation at this point, and an item worthy of debate.

As a rookie, Patterson established himself as the NFL’s most electric kick returner last season, and regularly gave the Vikings offense an advantage via stellar field position.  He ended up returning 43 kickoffs for 1,393 yards (32.4 yard average) and two scores.

Patterson hasn’t been returning kicks in the preseason, as it is one of the quickest ways to get a player injured in the modern NFL, but Mike Zimmer said last month that he was still the guy.  Given Patterson’s increased role and prominence in the offense, however, some might argue that his usage on special teams should be restricted.

Thus, our “Poll of the Week” will hopefully lead to some interesting debate in the comments section.

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Published over at a new site where I am a Senior Writer, Vikings Journal, is a game review of the preseason showdown between the Minnesota Vikings and the Arizona Cardinals. I’ve recently been asked to be part of this project, where I will post three days a week. I’m not going to draw down here at Vikings Territory, it’s just a new place to get Vikings content, with a different format in mind. I’ll post here whenever new content there goes up so I can keep you all up to date.

All that said, my game review there is up:

Cassel started off the game with some errant throws, throwing behind Cordarrelle Patterson and Jerome Simpson on two occasions, and overthrowing Cordarrelle on another. But he also carried qualities that the Vikings faithful have been missing from their quarterbacks. Cassel consistently moved through his progressions, and did it quickly. He avoided pressure well. His pre-snap reads of the defense were spot on.

With him were an offensive line whose best players from last year—John Sullivan and Brandon Fusco—continued their absolutely stellar play on the interior, creating space on running plays and keeping the passing lanes clear. Matt Kalil had a slightly rougher outing, but it was by no means bad and Phil Loadholt was a little more questionable. Once again, unfortunately, questions at left guard allowed several hurries and hits to come through the interior, and Charlie Johnson’s topped-out play can limit the offense.

I encourage you to read more.

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Throughout training camp, the wide receiver battle seemed to have settled early. The first four receivers, in some order, were going to be Cordarrelle Patterson, Greg Jennings, Jarius Wright and Jerome Simpson. To that, Adam Thielen nearly solidified himself, as concretely as one can early in camp, as the fifth receiver, with a bevy of players behind him. With Rodney Smith’s performance in camp as of late, he may be able to make the case as the sixth receiver—or even unseat Thielen’s hold on the fifth spot.

Rodney Smith Touchdown

Credit – Vikings.com

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Though not the primary read on the final game-winning touchdown, Teddy Bridgewater told Rodney Smith to “be ready” while in the huddle right before the end zone fade that erased memories of Teddy’s first week performance against the Raiders to create new excitement about the Vikings’ first round pick.

Teddy Bridgewater v. Cardinals

Credit – Vikings.com

While it would be inaccurate to characterize Teddy Bridgewater’s training camp as a struggle, it was clear that he was behind in offensive execution relative to the veteran on the roster, Matt Cassel. And though Cassel’s performance in the last two preseason games has been more than adequate, he hardly creates the excitement among fans that Bridgewater does.

 

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Without the benefit of replay or film review, a rapid reaction of the first team below:

The Minnesota Vikings first team offenses and defenses were on the field against the Cardinals ones and twos, which makes evaluating them somewhat of a mixed bag. Regardless, there are a few quick takeaways based on only half a game that, with the context of small sample size and preseason play, will give us further clue on the 2014 Minnesota Vikings.

 

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