Monday, May 30, 2016

adrian peterson

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

What’s the difference between an 8-5 record and a 6-7 record? The simple answer would be two wins. Two games separate the Vikings, who are currently 8-5, from a pack of 6-7 teams “in the hunt” for the NFC’s sixth playoff spot. But two games also separate the Vikings from a familiar face — their 2014 counterparts.

At this time last year, the Vikings were 6-7 and eliminated from playoff contention. They’d go on to lose two of their final three games and finish the season at 7-9. Respectable, given the year-long absence of Adrian Peterson and the arrival of first-year coach Mike Zimmer, but not enough to push them into January. It was a season that, despite a losing record, inspired hope in the Minnesota fanbase and promised future success.

This season, the Vikings have built on what made them successful in 2014 and sit firmly entrenched in the NFC playoff picture. Two more wins through 13 games may not seem like a major leap, but these Vikings are a much improved team for a number of reasons. From the emergence of the defense to the return of Peterson, Minnesota has a chance to finish the year with 11 wins and play their first meaningful postseason football since 2012. Will they hit double digits in the win column, or will they flounder to end the season as they did last year?

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The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings begin their stretch run by welcoming in the Chicago Bears Sunday afternoon at The Bank. The Purple can keep their playoff and division title dreams alive simply by winning. What a novel concept.

We welcome in Di Murphy (@DiMurphyMN) of The Daily Norseman for her weekly hot takes as we discuss Week 16 Vikings-Giants being flexed to Sunday Night football, how the Purple can keep position in the playoff picture, if the “Primetime Curse” is a real thing, and how this damn team better get healthy if it wants to do anything in January.

All that and other “Connor McGregor Looks Like a Viking Until He Talks” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Adrian Peterson had just one catch for 17 yards against the Arizona Cardinals last Thursday, but his impact in the passing game was felt far beyond the stat sheet. Not typically known as a third down back or receiving option, Peterson played much more in two and four-minute situations, creating new opportunities for Teddy Bridgewater and the Minnesota offense.

He’ll never be a great pass blocker or receiver, but the threat of Peterson in the backfield is enough to alter the alignment and assignment of a defensive front. When Peterson is on the field, defenders stack the box, piling bodies near the line of scrimmage to sell-out against the run. This opens up the coverage down the field and exploits mismatches in the secondary, especially for big-bodied players like Kyle Rudolph and MyCole Pruitt. After the game, Mike Zimmer explained Peterson’s expanded role on passing downs and the team’s plan for him moving forward:

“We’ll probably continue to want more. When he’s in there, he’s a threat. One of the first things you do before you make the calls are, ‘Who is the back?’ so you can determine run-pass kind of things. So the more he’s in there, the more it helps your passing game as well.”

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The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings did NOT lose by fiddy points as most of #VikingsTwitter expected, but did fall to the Arizona Cardinals 23-20 Thursday night. Teddy Bridgewater played one of the best games of his young career, yet will only be remembered for the strip sack that sealed the game for Arizona, the second game ending strip sack to end a 23-20 road game this season…

We discuss the game that was and look forward to the remaining games on the schedule while determining if the Vikings can hold off Tampa Bay for the Wild Card or if Green Bay can still get got for the NFC North crown (spoiler: they can).

Other “Such a Vikings Way to Lose” Talking Points Include
• Two Ways to Look at Teddy’s Game
• The Mandatory Norv Turner Talking Point
• Adrian Peterson Got Fed
• Wide Receiver Run Down
• Tight End Play is Official
• The Offensive Line Was What It Was
• The Injured Defense Played Decent
• Xavier Rhodes. Cmon Man
• Hai, Anthony Harris
• Trae Waynes Assessment
• 10-Days Off is Huge
• Playoff Picture

All that and other “Gotta Get To 10-6” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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image courtesy of vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings scored 10 unanswered fourth quarter points to tie the game at 20-20, but Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 47-yard field goal with 1:23 to play lifting the Arizona Cardinals to a 23-20 victory Thursday night.

On the Vikings final drive of the game Teddy Bridgewater hit Kyle Rudolph, Stefon Diggs and Jarius Wright to move the Vikings to the Arizona 31-yard line. With no timeouts and only 13 seconds to play, Dwight Freeney strip-sacked Teddy Bridgewater on 3rd-and-long to end the game. In heartbreaking fashion, Blair Walsh was robbed of the opportunity to kick a 47-yard field goal to tie the game.

Bridgewater threw for 335 yards on 25 of 36 attempts finding 11 different receivers in a career performance. Unfortunately, three fumbles by the Vikings offense (Bridgewater, Wright, and Peterson), spoiled their heroic upset effort in the desert.

Adrian Peterson scored the first touchdown of the game on a 9-yard run to give the Vikings a 7-3 first quarter advantage. Carson Palmer (25/35 for 310 yards), hit John Brown down the sideline for a 65-yard score to regain the lead near the end of the first quarter. Blair Walsh kicked a 44-yard second quarter field goal knotting the game at 10-10.

The Cardinals scored a touchdown on a 42-yard pass from Palmer to Michael Floyd in the third quarter and added a 23-yard field goal to move ahead 20-10.

Walsh was perfect on the day and connected on a 54-yarder to cut the score to 20-13 with just over 12 minutes to play.

Chad Greenway, Anthony Harris and Eric Kendricks led a short handed defense with 8 tackles each and forced a big three-and-out with 10:05 to play. The Vikings then mounted a 13 play 88-yard drive capping it off with a Mike Wallace’s 7-yard game tying touchdown reception.

Peterson ran the ball well early in the game but finished with 69 yards on 23 carries and a fumble on a reverse handoff to Wallace. The Vikings fall to 8-5 and remain in the Wildcard playoff picture.

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