Sunday, June 26, 2016

adrian peterson

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Poll of the Week

The Sky is the Limit for the Vikings
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Mike Zimmer’s vocabulary includes a smattering of four-letter words, a treasure trove of unique phrases, and plenty of criticisms. But a word you’ll never hear from the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, no matter how well his team plays, is ‘perfect.’

Despite taking the league’s worst scoring defense from 2013 and making them a top-five unit in just two years, Zimmer hesitates to proclaim he’s actually fixed things in Minnesota. “I don’t think we’re very good, to be honest with you,” he told reporters at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine. “We can be a lot better,” he said, speaking to Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.

The perception around the NFL is that the Vikings are one of the best teams in the NFC, buoyed by an up-and-coming defense with the roster pieces to contend for years. In Teddy Bridgewater, they have a young quarterback with all of the skills and leadership to bring the Vikings back to the playoffs. In Zimmer, they’ve got a top-five coach, one who won’t settle for anything less than perfection.

But in order to fulfill those expectations and clear the historical hurdles, they’ll need improvements across the board. It’s odd to say that about a team that went 11-5 and won the division in 2015, but Zimmer’s right; the Vikings can be “a lot better.” Well, maybe not “a lot” better, but certainly better in a few key areas.

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Laquon Treadwell

School’s finally out for summer. Well…. At least 6 weeks.

The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings wrapped up mini-camp Thursday at Winter Park by cancelling practice and letting the Purple get a jump on their summer vacations a few hours early. We’re still on our grind here though bringing you a ten-pack of Vikings talkers to take you into Father’s Day weekend and the official start to summer.

Today’s Topics Include
• Vikings Mini-Camp Wrapped Up a Day Early
• Joint Practices Announced with the Bengals
• Only 10 Days in Mankato
• Adrian Says to Trade Anyone Not Thinking Super Bowl
• Laquon Treadwell Got Hazed with…. Fruit Snacks?
• Will This be the Year for Cordarrelle?
• Why Linval & Sharrif Benefit from Fletcher Cox’s Mega-Deal
• What if Xavier Rhodes Becomes Good at Off Coverage?
• Decoding What Everyone’s Saying About Mortiz Boehringer
• Vikings Cut DT Bruce Gaston & LB Travis Lewis

All that and other “Madison Treadwell’s School Lunches are the REAL Winner” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

An Andy Carlson Joint

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VT QOTW

shift from Peterson to Bridgewater
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Teddy Bridgewater’s only played in 17 total games with Adrian Peterson, and yet, the Minnesota Vikings find themselves in a bind. Peterson’s 1,485 rushing yards led the league last year and propelled the Vikings to an NFC North title and playoff berth; the team’s first since 2009. But it could be argued that Peterson’s success affected Bridgewater, limiting the young quarterback to the role of ‘dink-and-dunk’ game manager.

This wouldn’t be an issue if Peterson weren’t on the wrong side of 30. A younger running back, like Jerick McKinnon, could learn to work with Bridgewater, adapt to the quarterback’s preferred shotgun formation, and become a liable threat in the passing game. But Peterson is Peterson, and asking an old dog to learn new tricks will only come with challenges. And challenges take time, time the Vikings can’t afford to waste with their Super Bowl quickly opening.

To burst through that window, Minnesota needs to focus on the future. Right now, the future is Bridgewater and his ability to carry the Vikings’ offense. Peterson himself admitted just yesterday that this is the third-year quarterback’s team to lead:

“For this third year we are expecting big things from him,” Peterson said. “I don’t think it’s pressure toward him, but he understands it now even more going into this next year. He’s the leader of this team when it comes to the offensive side of the ball. He just knows that and takes control.”

All signs indicate a shift from Peterson to Bridgewater: the addition of Laquon Treadwell; the hiring of Pat Shurmur; reports of Bridgewater’s improved deep ball; Peterson’s own admission that he must improve as a pass-catcher and shotgun runner.

But if it ain’t broke, there’s no need to fix it, right? That very well may be the case in 2016, especially with Norv Turner at the helm of the offense. Peterson shows no signs of slowing down and remains a focal point of the organization. With one lucrative year remaining on his contract, there’s no reason for Turner not to run Peterson into the ground.

I’ve pitched the ball; it’s up to Vikings Territory staff — and a special guest — to answer the question:

How many rushing yards will Peterson have in 2016?

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Looking back on 10 years of Rick Spielman

Spielman's best and worst moves
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

(Note: This is a two-part series. The first part focuses on Spielman’s best moves. Part two, an analysis of the worst moves, will be posted tomorrow.)

Earlier this week marked the 10-year anniversary of Rick Spielman joining the Minnesota Vikings. Spielman’s job has evolved over time—he was initially hired as the Vice President of Player Personnel in 2006, replacing the short-tenured Fran Foley in the Vikings’ “Triangle of Authority,” and in 2012 was promoted to General Manager and has acted as the single voice for all football matters since then. Ten years is more than enough time to make your mark on a franchise, so we (okay, technically it was Brett’s idea) thought it would be good to look back on some of Spielman’s best an worst moves at the helm.

Since he didn’t assume full control until 2012, attributing transactions prior to that year directly to Spielman is a cloudy proposition; indeed, it was exceedingly difficult to pin down who exactly in that infamous triangle was calling the shots from 2006-2012. But we can rely on educated guesses to navigate those years, and the assumption is that most football personnel moves have had Spielman’s fingerprints on them since he arrived in town. If conventional wisdom indicates a particular decision was made outside of his control, I’ll note that and categorize accordingly.

Our first installment of this two-part series looks back at Rick Spielman’s best moves.

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Projecting the Vikings' Final 53-Man Roster
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The 2016 season inched forward a bit when the Vikings opened their OTA offseason workouts. With that came plenty of early optimism about the Vikings’ talented roster. Teddy is ready to throw for 10,000 yards. Adrian Peterson is in the best shape of his life. 2015 top pick Trae Waynes is thriving and Aaron Boone looks great in purple.

If you listen closely, you can hear the faintest of claims that the Vikings are a true Super Bowl contender.

It is too early to say most of these things, but when you start to stack Minnesota’s roster, you can see why the hype exists. I struggled with my first attempt to pencil in a final 53-man roster, mostly because there will be talented players who will inevitably be cut. The front office won’t have an easy task on their hands, but I’d take a loaded roster over a barren one any day of the week.

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