Saturday, January 21, 2017

adrian peterson

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What Went Wrong: Week 10

Third and a Long One Yard
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Down a point to the Pittsburgh Steelers with nine seconds remaining, Ezekiel Elliott burst through the line of scrimmage and carried the Dallas Cowboys to an improbable win. His 32-yard touchdown sealed the game for Dallas, launching himself and the Cowboys into the NFL’s rarified air.

Last season, the Minnesota Vikings experienced similar joy — albeit, in a losing game — from Adrian Peterson. Down 10 to the Denver Broncos, facing a fourth-and-one in the fourth quarter, Teddy Bridgewater handed the ball to Peterson. Minnesota’s All-Pro running back exploded through a crease and jaunted to the end zone for a 48-yard touchdown, pulling the Vikings within three.

Fast forward to the present day, and such short-yardage situations aren’t a gimmie for the current Vikings offense. Gone are the days of a push by the offensive line and decisive running between the tackles. Sure, the Vikings try to play “power football,” but the results have been alarmingly disappointing.

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VT's Midseason MVP
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

He wasn’t supposed to lead the Minnesota Vikings to five straight wins. He wasn’t supposed to be a top-10 quarterback this season. Heck, Sam Bradford wasn’t even supposed to be in Minnesota this year.

But here we are, and Bradford’s earned his title (fan-voted, thank you very much) as Vikings Territory’s most valuable player and most valuable offensive player. Halfway through the season, Bradford’s play has been, for a lack of a better term, remarkable.

This is a quarterback that landed in Winter Park just two weeks before the season opener, absorbed a large chunk of the playbook, and won his first game in purple and gold — a thrilling Week 2 victory to open U.S. Bank Stadium against the Green Bay Packers.

Despite losing their last three games, the Vikings remain atop the NFC North, firmly in control of their own playoff destiny. And despite the massive trade that brought Bradford to Minnesota, the Vikings’ newest quarterback is proving to be a worthwhile return on investment.

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Vikings Territory Midseason Awards
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

It’s the halfway point of the season, meaning it’s time to take stock of the current Minnesota Vikings. Adam Patrick put together his own recap earlier in the week, but now, we’re giving you the power to assess exactly where this team stands.

At the end of last season, we handed out fan-voted awards to a number of players. You named Harrison Smith the Vikings’ best defensive player, declared Eric Kendricks the team’s most outstanding rookie, and agreed that Adrian Peterson deserved two awards — best offensive player and most valuable player.

But this year’s roster is completely different, and such, deserving of a little midseason evaluation. Gone are Peterson, Teddy Bridgewater, Mike Wallace, and the architect of the 2015 offense — Norv Turner. In their place, Sam Bradford and a trio of complementary backs are doing their best to keep a Pat Shurmur attack afloat.

On defense, the core remains, and at the beginning of the year, was one of the league’s best units. Injuries and a regression to the norm, however, have spelled trouble for Mike Zimmer and Co. in recent weeks. There’s plenty of individual talent, but collectively, the “Purple Reign” hasn’t lived up to its name since Week 5.

After the jump, we’ll open the polls and give you a chance to vote on four awards — Most Valuable Player, Most Valuable Offensive Player, Most Valuable Defensive Player, and Most Valuable Special Teams Player. Remember, we’re picking the winners based on eight games; these will certainly change as the season progresses!

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Minnesota Vikings - PFF

The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings are indeed in the hunt for some good will after falling to 5-3 after a promising five-game win streak to begin the 2016 campaign. To make some sense of the mess, I brought in Dr. Eric Eager, Pro Football Focus contributor, to talk a little Purple and explain to me the method behind the PFF madness. Should people treat their grades as gospel? (No.) And what is the best way for the average jackass fan (like Andy) to incorporate PFF’s content to enrich their viewing experience and make them a better fan.

We also dove into general Vikings topics: Why does it appear that Anthony Barr is struggling? What makes Terence Newman so valuable this season? Was Norv really the only problem on the offense? #TeamTeddy or #TeamBradford going forward? And some Blair Walsh derpiness. Plus Eric shares memories of squaring off against THE Winona State University’s Chris Samp (aka Jeff Janis before Jeff Janis.)

All that and more “Do You Like Apples?” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint

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Minnesota Vikings - Detroit Lions

The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings’ Death Spiral 2016 Tour continued rolling along Sunday afternoon at historic US Bank Stadium as the Purple dropped to the Detroit Lions 22-16 in extra football time. The Vikes are now 0-3 off the bye and the formally wrapped up NFC North now turns into a three-way dog fight with Green Bay and now Detroit. We recap Sunday’s mehness.

Today’s Life Comes At You Fast
• This Was the Worst Loss of the Season
• Pat Shurmur Report Card
• Blair Walsh Needs to Go
• The Defense is Suddenly Average
• Give Detroit Credit For Winning the Game Too
• Stefon Diggs Appreciation
• So What About the Running Game?
• Chad Greenway Was Good So I Have to Move to Mexico Now
• Are We Sure Anthony Barr is Good?
• Biggest Test of Zimmer’s Head Coaching Career

All that and more “ALL THE STUFFED ANIMALS. ALL OF THEM.” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint

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