Friday, February 12, 2016

adrian peterson

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The intrepid Lindsey Young (@LindseyMNSports) of Vikings Territory joined me at the house studio to talk a little Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings, eat some of my fine home cooking (roast pork chops, mashed potatoes and roast squash FTW), and meet future President of the United States Mugsy “Football Baby” Carlson.

All that and other “Lindsey has a Thaddeus Young jersey” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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    Mike Zimmer’s first regular season game as a head coach turned out to be a lopsided victory at the expense of the St. Louis Rams. This week’s matchup, however, is sure to be different for a number of reasons.

    I decided to check back in with our friend Nathan Kearns of Turf Show Times to see what we can expect out of this 2015 version of St. Louis.

    ADAM: Last time we talked, you were really high on Shaun Hill’s ability to be the starter in St. Louis. He’s now a backup in Minnesota. After our Week One win in 2014, our readers voted Cordarrelle Patterson as the “Player of the Game.” Obviously, a ton has changed since Minnesota’s 34-6 thrashing of St. Louis, so help get us Minnesota fans up to speed. What has all taken place to make this year’s version of the Rams different than last years?

    NATHAN: The fact that Rams Nation was high on Shaun Hill to start last season (myself included) shows how far we’ve come in a little over a year. In terms of the roster, Jeff Fisher finally got his “Eddie George” in the drafting of Todd Gurley, who just had his jersey enshrined in the Hall of Fame for four consecutive 125+ rushing yard games. The offensive line is also (literally) completely new, with the Rams shifting from the “one-foot-into retirement,” over-paid veterans to green, recent-draftees. The change has brought new energy to the offense, including some much needed speed and versatility. Lastly, Shaun Hill and the hopes and dreams of a healthy Sam Bradford have been replaced with Nick Foles, who has been underwhelming, but efficient, so far this year.

    However, the two more important changes to the “new” Rams aren’t players. Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams has now had over a full year to install and tweak his complex defense. Last time the Rams played the Vikings, the Mad Scientist had only been around for four or five months. Since then, the Rams defense has posted two shutouts (at the end of 2014), and currently have the top graded defense on Pro Football Focus (PFF), all while allowing the 4th-fewest total points in the league. Finally, arguably the biggest change to the Rams was the release of Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, and the promotion of Frank Cignetti. We’ll certainly touch on this a little more…

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    The recipe for success in the NFL is hardly consistent; coaches will adjust starting lineups, offensive packages, and personnel groupings to fit their needs on a weekly basis. Like adding more pepper to spice up a dish, for example, changing a defense’s alignment can completely alter the way that unit performs on the field. And like any good chef, the league’s best coaches know what ingredients work exceptionally well together.

    The beauty of football, then, is the fact that the combinations are different for all 32 franchises. In Carolina, the Panthers run the ball on 51.89 percent of their offensive plays. The Patriots, on other hand, run the ball less than nearly every other team in the league, at just 34.76 percent. Each team takes the field on Sunday with a different approach, but each is currently undefeated. They know exactly what works, what doesn’t, and how to maximize the talent on their roster.

    For Mike Zimmer, Norv Turner, and the rest of the Minnesota Vikings, their own formula is becoming clear. On offense, Teddy Bridgewater is doing just enough to win games, while Adrian Peterson continues to carry the unit with powerful running in between the tackles. On the other side of the ball, an aggressive front-seven maintains its discipline in Zimmer’s scheme to suffocate opponents. Their recipe combines a run-first offensive attack with collective speed on defense — ingredients that work well together no matter when or where the Vikings play.

    Against the Chicago Bears last week, Minnesota relied on their strengths to move to 5-2 and win their third straight game. With the victory, the Vikings are 3-0 in the division and on a crash course with the Green Bay Packers for the NFC North title. The running game and consistency on defense are this team’s bread and butter, and man, does that combination taste delicious right now.

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    The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings (5-2) are heading into the make-or-break portion of their schedule. Is this team a bunch of young pretenders or can they be legit contenders in Year Two of the Zimmer-Teddy Dynasty? We welcome back Di Murphy of The Daily Norseman to help sort things out.

    We chatted about: the Vikings doing nothing at the trade deadline (good), why Norv and Zim need to open things up for Teddy, how Kyle Rudolph’s contract gets very interesting after 2016 (#FreePruitt), the fact that the Packers are vulnerable and can get got, and we also talk way too long about pizza and the Gophers’ astonishing meltdown against Michigan.

    All that and other “Nick Foles looks like Napoleon Dynamite” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

    An Andy Carlson Joint.

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    Peterson Pregame O-line Huddle
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    The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings (5-2) currently have the 8th best record in the NFL and would be the 6-seed Wild Card if the playoff started today. The Los Angeles St. Louis Los Angeles St. Louis Rams (4-3) are currently the 7-seed. Which makes Sunday’s game a VERY BIG DEAL!!!!

    We welcome in Will Horton of Rams Herd and the Turf Show Times to chat about the upcoming showdown Sunday at The Bank. Will Adrian-vs-Gurley live up to the hype? How will Teddy Bridgewater fare versus the ferocious Rams defense anchored by non-human Aaron Donald? How will Mike Zimmer shut down Nick Foles? Why is Tavon Austin somehow a better NFL wide receiver than Cordarrelle Patterson? Will Will still be a Rams fan if/when they move to Los Angeles? I also trade Kyle Rudolph to the Rams for Jared Cook. And then cut Jared Cook. #FreePruitt

    All that and other “Todd Gurley’s Not Even 100% Healthy” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

    An Andy Carlson Joint.

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