Wednesday, October 18, 2017

adrian peterson

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Week 5: Vikings and Bears – Three Reasons For Optimism

By all accounts, last week was a tough one. Outside of the Vikings’ sobering loss to the Detroit Lions, we witnessed the gut-wrenching event in Las Vegas and the death of music legend Tom Petty. Like much of the country, Vikings fans are in mourning, once again attempting to move forward after a crippling turn of events.

Dalvin Cook, the team’s most electric rookie running back since Adrian Peterson, is done for the year after tearing his ACL. Cook is undoubtedly the team’s best back, and his loss has left many Vikings fans pondering if the team can even compete without him in the lineup.

For whatever reason, it seems the football gods keep creating reasons for the Vikings and their fan base to give up hope. Yet, despite the all-too-familiar news for Minnesota’s football team, there are multiple reasons why the franchise can’t, and won’t, back down.

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This is fine
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A happy cartoon dog sits dutifully on a wooden chair, the surrounding room engulfed in flames. His world may be in chaos, but he’s perfectly content to remain seated. “This is fine,” he thinks, as the temperature rises and the fire take its toll.

This nameless pooch has become the face of self-denial and blind optimism; an oft-referenced meme in times of dire straits and despair. If you’ve logged onto Twitter during any Vikings game the past few years, you’ve likely seen his empty smile and blank stare on your timeline.

When news of Sam Bradford‘s knee injury broke, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to panic, then find reassurance, and hope for the best. “This is fine,” I thought, rationalizing the team’s best-case scenario — Case Keenum leading the Minnesota Vikings to a Week 2 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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1. Yes, Sam Bradford can throw deep, and he’s pretty good at it.

Full disclosure: I started jotting down bullet points after the first two offensive drives, and the original headline for this point was, “Sam Bradford: still not letting ‘er rip.” Because up until then, he wasn’t; the Vikings offense moved the ball, but we saw Bradford dink and dunk down the field and ignore open receivers running longer routes in favor of checkdowns. This, of course, became all too common last season, and tainted the all-time completion percentage record Bradford set in 2016 in the eyes of many.

But then something changed. Sam Bradford started looking downfield, and finding open receivers, and the Vikings got two quick touchdowns to end the first half (and another in the second), almost all because of Bradford’s arm. Maybe he was feeling the game out, or maybe he just got comfortable with the Vikings new-look offensive line (more on that later), but suddenly Sam Bradford was uncorking beautiful intermediate and deep shots, one after another, and the Minnesota Vikings looked like a completely different team.

And when I say beautiful, I mean flat-out, drop-dead gorgeous. Sure, it was against the Saints defense, but Bradford was putting the ball exactly where it needed to be just about every time. This particular throw was my favorite:

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Week 1: Vikings/Saints Preview

The Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints will open their 2017 regular seasons with a bang on Monday Night Football. The primetime match up is a classic top-offense versus top-defense showdown, with a little Adrian Peterson sprinkled in.

It’s a familiar story; a well-known player that spent many years with his original team signs with a new one, and then returns to where he began his career. But this homecoming is different. Peterson was the face of the Vikings franchise for a decade. Not only that, he may be one of the top-five Vikings of all time. The reception Peterson receives from the home crowd will be noteworthy.

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Purple FTW! Podcast: Vikings-Saints Preview - Forward-Down-Forward-High Punch (ep. 411)

The New Orleans Saints march into Historic US Bank Stadium on Monday Night to christen the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings 2017 campaign. We preview the game, they key player matchups we’re looking forward to (Linval Joseph versus Max Unger is going to be HUGE), keys to a Vikings victory, and keys to a Vikings loss. Plus we wrap it up with Five Things Friday featuring Randy Moss memories and wondering if significant roster turnover is a good or bad thing for this 2017 squad.

All that and more “Why are we so concerned with their RB3?” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

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