Sunday, July 24, 2016

adrian peterson

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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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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

For all their success on the defensive side of the ball, the Minnesota Vikings have been a lackluster bunch on offense in 2015. With a number of weapons at wide receiver, tight end, and running back, this is a group that, on paper, should put up a healthy score each week. Teddy Bridgewater proved at the end of last season that he’s capable of carrying Norv Turner’s offense, and Adrian Peterson’s resurgence this year has helped the Vikings to eight wins.

And yet, the balance between the running game and the passing attack just isn’t there. You could point the blame at the offensive line, which ranks 28th in pass protection, per Football Outsiders. Or, you could say that the wide receivers aren’t getting open down the field and Bridgewater’s holding the ball too long in the pocket. Maybe, just maybe, the Vikings can’t pass the ball because they’ve relied too heavily on Peterson’s legs.

Either way, the problems go deeper than the players on the field; they start with Norv Turner. Long regarded as one of the game’s top offensive minds, he’s struggled to kick Minnesota’s offense into high gear, especially this season. The Vikings rank 28th in the NFL with 19.8 points per game and almost dead-last in every major passing statistic. Fans have grumbled, and now, I’m asking the VT staff one simple question:

Should the Vikings consider a switch at offensive coordinator after the season, and if so, who would you choose?

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Not much time to breathe for the Vikings this week as they only had three days to prepare for their Thursday night matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. Minnesota’s offense is coming off a game against the Seattle Seahawks in which they scored as many points as did the fans watching them in the stands last Sunday.

Zero.

Coincidentally, the Cardinals (10-2) are coming off their Week 13 game against the St. Louis Rams in which they held the Rams to a grand total of three points. The Vikings (8-4) may have to find other, less conventional, ways to score points against one of the NFL’s top defenses on Thursday night,

Minnesota’s offense (bottom) and the Cardinals’ defense (top) show up on the opposite ends of the league’s rankings, but how do each unit’s individual position groups stack up against each other?

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Well at least #CheeseburgerGate was a fun distraction as the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings limp into University of Phoenix Stadium tonight to take on the red hot 10-2 Arizona Cardinals. All the odds seem stacked against the 8-4 Purple as we struggle to keep our playoff hopes alive. At least McDonalds gave the team 100 burgers though…

Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) joins us for his weekly spot and we chat about how the Vikings can attempt to right the ship out in the desert. We also touch on whether Norv Turner needs to be fired for not catering to Teddy Bridgewater, if Adrian Peterson has a right to gripe about his usage, how the Zimmer Hellfire Defense can rebound from all of the injuries, and I complain about Jarius Wright not being a “true” slot receiver.

All that and other “I got the burgers that… will… I just got burgers” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

Read all of Arif’s stuff at The Daily Norseman and Vikings Journal as well as listen to his podcast Norse Code.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Cross your fingers, knock on wood, say a prayer, wish upon a star. Whatever you do, send positive vibes to the Minnesota Vikings this week. They’ll play the Arizona Cardinals this Thursday, likely move to 8-5 without four of their defensive starters available for the game, and prepare for a brutal three-game stretch to end the regular season. If they want to make the playoffs, the Vikings will need to win at least nine games by year’s end.

While 10, 11, or even 12 would be ideal, nine victories almost ensures Mike Zimmer’s team sneaks into the postseason as a Wild Card contender. After tomorrow’s matchup, they’ll host the Bears and Giants before a crucial Week 17 game at Lambeau Field, which could very well decide their playoff fate and determine the winner of the NFC North. But if you’re the Vikings, who would you rather play come January?

Win the division, and they’d enter the playoffs as the NFC’s third seed. Based on ESPN’s projection models (adjusted for win percentage), the third seed would host the Seattle Seahawks in the first round; definitely not an opponent the Vikings want to meet again this season. Finish second in the division, and the Vikings (fifth seed) would travel to play the winner of the NFC East, which has been lackluster as a whole for the majority of the year.

There’s a few ways the rest of the regular season can play out, and all but one guarantees the Vikings a shot at the playoffs. The question is, who would you rather see the team play on the road to Super Bowl 50?

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