Sunday, May 1, 2016

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The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings (5-2) are heading into the make-or-break portion of their schedule. Is this team a bunch of young pretenders or can they be legit contenders in Year Two of the Zimmer-Teddy Dynasty? We welcome back Di Murphy of The Daily Norseman to help sort things out.

We chatted about: the Vikings doing nothing at the trade deadline (good), why Norv and Zim need to open things up for Teddy, how Kyle Rudolph’s contract gets very interesting after 2016 (#FreePruitt), the fact that the Packers are vulnerable and can get got, and we also talk way too long about pizza and the Gophers’ astonishing meltdown against Michigan.

All that and other “Nick Foles looks like Napoleon Dynamite” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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Peterson Pregame O-line Huddle
Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings (5-2) currently have the 8th best record in the NFL and would be the 6-seed Wild Card if the playoff started today. The Los Angeles St. Louis Los Angeles St. Louis Rams (4-3) are currently the 7-seed. Which makes Sunday’s game a VERY BIG DEAL!!!!

We welcome in Will Horton of Rams Herd and the Turf Show Times to chat about the upcoming showdown Sunday at The Bank. Will Adrian-vs-Gurley live up to the hype? How will Teddy Bridgewater fare versus the ferocious Rams defense anchored by non-human Aaron Donald? How will Mike Zimmer shut down Nick Foles? Why is Tavon Austin somehow a better NFL wide receiver than Cordarrelle Patterson? Will Will still be a Rams fan if/when they move to Los Angeles? I also trade Kyle Rudolph to the Rams for Jared Cook. And then cut Jared Cook. #FreePruitt

All that and other “Todd Gurley’s Not Even 100% Healthy” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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hell's trainer
Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

The Vikings are 5-2, sit comfortably atop of the NFC Wild Card race, and yet, may find themselves in the thick of negotiations when the NFL trade deadline closes at 4 pm ET today. General manager Rick Spielman — known draft pick hoarder and trade aficionado — could very well be planning to swap a player like Chase Ford for future late-round picks. Or, he may do the unexpected and use some of the team’s $3.49 million cap space to add a veteran offensive lineman to a struggling unit.

Fortunately for the Vikings, making a “splash” move this afternoon isn’t a necessary evil. Teams gasping for life this season, like the 49ers, Browns, and Chargers, have been at the center of trade rumors and  speculation in recent days. Their playoff hopes are all but dashed, and the trade deadline offers hope as those franchises shift their focus to rebuilding in the offseason. The Vikings, meanwhile, are a team built for long-term success — 16 of their 22 starters were drafted and developed in Minnesota, per CBS Sports.

The trade deadline, then, is a chance for Rick Spielman to go “window shopping.” If something catches his eye or makes him stop and evaluate, there’s no harm in asking for a price. Is he willing to spend a little more and add to the quality of his roster now, or will Spielman barter for the future and accumulate even more draft picks?

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Vikings relied on a number of big plays, and big breaks, to secure their third divisional win in Chicago on Sunday. Sitting at 5-2, only one game behind the Green Bay Packers, this team continues to show and improved version of their 2014 selves as they head into a very challenging stretch of their 2015 season.

Last week, it was Stefon Diggs squeaking past Teddy Bridgewater to secure his second consecutive win of this heralded (by me) award. Diggs is the first Viking to win this award twice this season and it seems safe to say he’ll be in the running again this week.

The previous winners of this award for 2015 are as follows:

WEEK ONE: Anthony Barr

WEEK TWO: Adrian Peterson

WEEK THREE: Harrison Smith

WEEK FOUR: Linval Joseph

WEEK SIX: Stefon Diggs

WEEK SEVEN: Stefon Diggs

And this week’s nominee’s are…

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Before the season began, Blair Walsh was Public Enemy No. 1 in Minnesota. He struggled through the team’s five preseason games, connecting on less than 50 percent of his attempts (5/11) while battling a nasty case of the “yips.” Field goals that usually sailed straight veered to the right, and routine PATs found their way outside of the uprights.

And when the Vikings opened 2015 in San Francisco, Walsh continued to let fans, and the team, down. He missed his first attempt of the year, and in a crucial road game against the Denver Broncos three weeks later, pushed a kick that was the difference between a loss and potential overtime victory.

Just three months after signing one of the most lucrative contract extensions among NFL kickers, the pressure was on Walsh to deliver. Since his last miss, Walsh has been perfect, making 13 consecutive field goals to offset the offense’s red zone struggles and lack of scoring.

In just eight games, Walsh has gone from a liability to cornerstone of this football team, a player Mike Zimmer can rely on in crucial situations. As Jeff Locke told the Star Tribune’s Jason Gonzalez two weeks ago, “no one ever really questioned Blair,” and their faith in their kicker is paying off:

“Those are moments you dream about as a kid and what you work for every single week,” Walsh said. “To be put in those situations where the game’s come down to the wire and they depend on you.”

Walsh’s 36-yard field goal as time expired sealed a 23-20 victory for the Vikings yesterday and helped Minnesota move to 5-2 on the season. Thanks to his suddenly automatic leg, Mike Zimmer and the Vikings are well on their way to the playoffs, and his consistency will be crucial in late-game situations against some of the league’s better teams moving forward.

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