Friday, January 20, 2017

adam thielen

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Defense Reigns Supreme

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

“You are what your record says you are…”

…Bill Parcells said back in 1994 during his four-year tenure at the helm of the New England Patriots. The two-time Super Bowl champion coach may have been responding candidly with a simple knee-jerk reaction to deflect a difficult question posed by the media, but his eight-word phrase has since been immortalized, as it is still commonly said today by players, coaches and front-office personnel from each level of every sport.

In fact, Buffalo Bills general manager — or so he is titled — Doug Whaley recently verbalized his best Parcells impression on multiple occasions during a rather peculiar season-ending press conference:

Simply put, this quote, “You are what your record says you are,” which has since been attributed to Parcells despite reportedly first appearing in an issue of the San Diego Union back in 1978, has not only become a popular response to media questions revolving around team performance, the statement’s premise also lends credibility to the simple evaluative method of utilizing win-loss record to make a final determination on the quality of a given team.

Mike Zimmer, who has noted his close relationship with Parcells on several occasions throughout his tenure with the Minnesota Vikings, has never invoked the one-liner coined by his mentor on the record, but it’s hard to imagine he doesn’t, at some level, believe in its mystique.

His team finished 8-8 in 2016, which, as Parcells’ quote would argue, reflects an “average” football team. As a result, the 2016 Vikings represent the perfect example of why record merely reflects wins and losses, not the overall quality of a team. If the four previous rankings lists have failed to sell this point — potentially because they are a reflection of moments or games as opposed to 2016 in its entirety — the following “Top-5 Individual Seasons in 2016” rankings should fulfill the role of “closing argument” well enough.

Image courtesy of vikings.com

When it comes to people I’ve been lucky enough to interact with over the years I’ve been doing this whole Vikings Territory thing, I’m hard pressed to think of anyone with the same combination of talent and kindness as Daniel House of Vikings Corner.

So, of course, Daniel was kind enough to take a break from his own Vikings coverage (and Gophers football coverage at 247) to stop by and drop some knowledge on us in what is our latest installment of our “Three Questions” series.

First, in case you missed it, here is who we’ve had take part so far:

Mark Craig On 2016 Vikings Oddities, Adrian Peterson’s Future, & Sam Bradford’s Accuracy
Lindsey Young On Her Favorite Articles, 2010 Versus 2016, & U.S. Bank Stadium
Christopher Gates On London, Those Calling For Zimmer’s Job, & Minnesota’s Most Exciting Player
Matt Falk On The 2017 NFL Draft, Adam Thielen, & Fixing The O-Line
Joe Johnson On Nick Swardson, The Defense, & Roster Upgrades
Nik Edlund On Kalil’s Injury Impact, A Possible Vikings Draft Target, & The Play Of The Year
Matthew Coller On Norv Turner, Cordarrelle Patterson, And Vikings Craziness

Alright, and now we see what Daniel House has to say…

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Breaking Down the Vikings Quarterback's Greatest Strengths and Detrimental Weaknesses

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

“I think 7-9 is a best-case scenario.”

I said those words on an episode of About The Labor after Teddy Bridgewater shattered his leg. This isn’t meant to slight Shaun Hill, but I simply had no faith in the Minnesota Vikings without a competent starting quarterback.

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman probably felt the same way, so he decided to act: He sent first- and conditional mid-round picks to Philadelphia in exchange for seventh-year journeyman Sam Bradford.

Bradford filled in sensationally at quarterback for Minnesota. In 15 games, he completed 71.6-percent of his passes (which broke Drew Brees’ NFL record, by the way) for 3,877 passing yards and 20 touchdowns against only five interceptions. His performance in Minnesota’s home opener against the Green Bay Packers alone was arguably worth the conditional pick shipped to Philadelphia (which ultimately became a fourth-rounder).

Just think about what we’d have to endure from Cheeseheads if the Packers had beaten the Vikings in the first game ever played at U.S. Bank Stadium. We all appreciate you, Sam.

While the Vikings fanbase is probably hung up on Bridgewater — and rightfully so, given that Zimmer called him the “nicest kid in the history of life” — Bradford made a strong case to be Minnesota’s starting quarterback moving forward, regardless of Bridgewater’s health.

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Sam Bradford's Brilliant Vikings Debut Stands Alone

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Yes, the Minnesota Vikings missed the 2016 postseason. And yes, it was an excruciatingly painful season to endure. But, as we have already noted during previous Top-5 lists, there were a number of standout efforts throughout the season.

The Vikings may have finished with an 8-8 record, but that didn’t stop them from racking up a bevy of outstanding single-game performances. In fact, one could argue that ranking only five individual efforts (plus an honorable mention) does not actually do justice to the number of outstanding games that Minnesota’s 53-man roster produced.

Given that the 2016 season saw four Vikings (initially) named to the Pro Bowl (Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes, Everson Griffen, Cordarrelle Patterson), included breakout seasons from Adam Thielen and Danielle Hunter (if his six-sack rookie year wasn’t enough, that is) and played host to Sam Bradford’s record-breaking season, it should come as little surprise that Minnesota’s rollercoaster campaign included an impressive list of individual game performances.

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

Draft Season Logo

Our “Three Questions” series pushes onward today with special guest Matt Falk of Draft Season stopping by to fire off three answers to some (I think) interesting questions I threw his way.

Matt is one of the bright minds behind Draft Season and Vikings fans of all sorts should hop over there to check out his work. What’s better than a comprehensive draft site? Well, a comprehensive draft site run by Vikings fans, of course!

Here are the guests we’ve had take part in this series so far if you need to play catch up:

Joe Johnson On Nick Swardson, The Defense, & Roster Upgrades
Nik Edlund On Kalil’s Injury Impact, A Possible Vikings Draft Target, & The Play Of The Year
Matthew Coller On Norv Turner, Cordarrelle Patterson, And Vikings Craziness

Now, here we go with Matt Falk.

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