Friday, November 27, 2015

adrian peterson

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I’m going to take a different approach with “What Went Right” this week and focus my attention on just one positive aspect of last week’s game — play-action passing. While a number of things went right for the Vikings — quarterback pressure, protecting the football, Blair Walsh’s field goal accuracy — none were as encouraging as the explosive passing plays created by the team’s running (or non-running) game.

As Ben Goessling wrote earlier this week, Teddy Bridgewater completed eight-of-nine play-action passes against the Lions for a career-high 142 yards. His quarterback rating of 99.8 on such plays was also a career-high, and what’s more important, seven of those throws traveled ten-plus yards down the field. For the game, Bridgewater completed 7-of-12 passes beyond 10 yards for 147 yards and a touchdown; his best showing this season pushing the ball down the field.

Even though Adrian Peterson struggled to find running room against the Lions, averaging just 1.16 yards per carry outside of a 75-yard scamper, it’s his sudden home run ability that creates opportunities through play-action. Defenses can’t predict whether Peterson will lose yards or break through the second level, and that insecurity forces them to respect the Vikings’ running game. Any play can turn into an explosive gain, keeping defenders aggressive when they see Peterson in the backfield.

On Sunday, Norv Turner exploited the Lions’ commitment to stopping Peterson, and it worked. Teddy Bridgewater finally carried the Vikings offense to victory, with or without a consistent running attack by his side.

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Adrian Peterson 2015 Huddle Week 7 Detroit
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There’s been a lot of talk the past two weeks about the Vikings breaking streaks. Last week, when the Vikings won 28-19 at Ford Field against the Lions, it was the first time they’ve won a road game since since Week 8 of last year. This week, the team travels to Soldier Field where they haven’t left victorious since the 2007 season.

Hopefully, this Vikings team is different than previous years and can beat a team it’s better than, in almost every aspect, regardless of location.

To get you prepared for the Vikings second straight division showdown, we’ve gathered links from all over the web.

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More like the "Dead Zone"

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The NFL Sunday Ticket Red Zone channel is the greatest invention since, well…American football. It takes everything we love about Sunday football — touchdowns, highlights, big plays — and condenses it into one continuous stream so that fans don’t miss any of the action.

Tom Brady threw a touchdown to Rob Gronkowski in the corner of the end zone? Red Zone shows you the play. The Browns fumbled the ball on fourth-and-one from the five? Red Zone takes you straight to the action. The Minnesota Vikings…kick another field goal? Unfortunately, Red Zone cuts to Blair Walsh, kicking yet another field goal from within an opponents’ 20 yard-line.

In most cases, you want the station to cut your team in the red zone — it’s the land of golden opportunity on the gridiron, the area of the field that puts tremendous stress on opposing defenses. But as a Vikings fan, it’s more “Dead Zone” than any of those analogies. Even with a historically successful red zone running back and efficient quarterback, these 2015 Minnesota Vikings are struggling to put points on the board from the 20-in.

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Bacon, red meat and all processed meats cause cancer now. Don’t care.

What I DO care about is a long-form podcast talking Vikings and other Minnesota sports with Tom Schreier of Cold Omaha (with Di out sick this week). I chew the (bacon) fat with Tom about the outlook of the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings, why the Stefon Diggs-vs-Odell Beckham Jr will be a debate soon, a remembrance of the late Flip Saunders, a beat writer’s take on Torii Hunter, and why the Vikings need to BRING BROCK VEREEN ON THE ACTIVE ROSTER AND START HIM OPPOSITE OF HARRISON.

Warning: This episode is primarily Vikings based but we venture off quite a bit into Wolves and Twins.

All that and other “We started Jim Bob Cooter” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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Vikings fan invaded Detroit for Sunday's victory.

Last week, it was rookie Stefon Diggs that swiped this heralded (by me) award in his first career start by getting more than 70% of your votes. This week, he might be in for a repeat performance here at VT, but first I want to give a few quick thoughts on my very first game experience at Ford Field in Detroit:

  1. You Vikings fans are awesome! You guys were everywhere! There were scores of Vikings fans tailgating outside of the stadium, filling seats everywhere from the front row all the way to nose bleeds, and showing their pride all day long by sporting that purple and gold. It was great to see how well represented the fan base was on Sunday and a big “Skol!” to those of you VT readers that stopped me to say “hi” (I was rocking a VT shirt).
  2. I’m looking forward to attending my first game at U.S. Bank Stadium and seeing just how better that “fan experience” will be compared to the decade(ish)-old Ford Field. You hear a lot about the “fan experience” in relation to NFL stadiums these days, as fans are finding it far more comfortable and convenient (and cheaper) to stay home and watch the game. With zero cell reception or wi-fi options, minimal updates from other games being played, and underwhelming screens… I mean, it was better than the Metrodome and it was incredibly clean, but I did come away fairly underwhelmed.
  3. I feel bad for the Detroit Lions fan base. They are clearly defeated as a whole and I’ve never been to an NFL game that was so, well… calm. I mean, I was glad to see the fans were classy and considerate compared to their NFC North counterparts in Chicago and Green Bay, but they also seemed void of any excitement about their team at all. Even when the Lions were leading, the reaction was quite tame relative to other games I’ve been to.

Okay, enough about that, onto the nominations for this week’s award.

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