Friday, September 30, 2016

Anthony Barr

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What Went Right, Week 1

Vikings Go Play in Second Half of Titans Victory
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

A comeback victory usually carries talk of halftime adjustments; the winning team did ‘x,’ ‘y,’ and ‘z’ to fix its mistakes and finish on top. Sometimes, the changes are as simple as a shift in coverage. Often times, coaches flip personnel to spark their teams to a ‘W.’

On Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings got back to basics. After falling behind 10-0 in the first half, head coach Mike Zimmer scaled his play-calling back, asking his defense to “settle down” and “go play.” The Titans got the best of his unit early, throwing multiple shifts and formations their way, but Zimmer remained confident in his tried-and-true system.

“When they’re giving you a lot of complicated shifts and motions and movements, a shift and a motion and then a play that’s going back, two guys running this way and one guy running that way, the more you add, the more complicated it gets. So, it’s no different. I was giving our guys a lot of calls the first half.” 

For all of Tennessee’s read-option looks, motions, and audibles before the snap, Minnesota had an answer in the second half. And most of the time, the answer was to line up and play sound, technical football. Zimmer didn’t add defensive wrinkles or send extra blitzes at Marcus Mariota; he trusted the talent and discipline of his defense to prevail, even with the simplest of calls.

“Trickery with trickery equals too much trickery,” defensive end Everson Griffen said Monday, per Lindsey Young.

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Week 1 Opponent Preview

Stopping the run key to stopping Titans
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

An in-depth look at the Minnesota Vikings’ weekly opponents, with a focus on specific plays, schemes, and players.

There’s an eerie ‘deja vu’ feeling around Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans. The Minnesota Vikings travel to Nashville as road favorites, prepared to face a team with a mobile quarterback and power running game. They’re expected to win, however, and should start the regular season with a ‘W” in the win column.

Unless, that is, Mike Zimmer’s team repeats its opening performance from 2015; a 20-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers that saw Carlos Hyde run for 168 yards and two touchdowns. The Vikings looked sloppy, unprepared, and overmatched at the line of scrimmage, repeatedly failing to set the edge or fill run gaps.

When the game begins on Sunday, the Vikings will once again have their hands full. The Titans boast one of the league’s best running back duos in Demarco Murray and Derrick Henry, a one-two punch that averaged 161 yards per game this preseason.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Earlier this week, the Vikings released their first (albeit unofficial) depth chart and we also learned that the Vikings are now the second oldest team in the NFL. The depth chart doesn’t really account for rotating players that could very easily be considered a starter (i.e. Danielle Hunter), and it could change before Sunday, but I wanted to count my “Five Oldest Vikings” article from yesterday by identifying the five youngest starters on this team.

Rick Spielman kind of took a year off from his “youth movement” of recent years, it seems, opting to value experience over youth in an attempt to make a serious run at the Super Bowl. That may not be the case next year, when the Vikings average age could decrease considerably, but there is no denying he has assembled a solid young core of players.

Please note, the players listed below are the team’s five youngest starters, and the “starters” label has been pulled directly from the first-teamers listed on the depth chart earlier this week.

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OPEN THE GATES (For Football That Doesn't Count) [PODCAST]

The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings officially (kinda) open up US Bank Stadium Sunday at noon as they welcome in the Los Angeles Chargers of Anaheim San Diego Super Chargers for an afternoon of full speed football that doesn’t count. Teddy Bridgewater says he’s playing. Adrian Peterson says he’s not. Still a few positons and roster spots up for grabs before the team has to whittle the roster down to 75 by 4pm ET on Thursday. We discuss some of those items as well as what we want to figure out about this new behemoth of a stadium.

SWAG! Order up your own Purple FTW! T-Shirt and The Greatest Hoodie of All-Time. Hoodie orders get two FREE Minnesota Renaissance Festival tickets (while supplies last).

Today’s Brand New Toy Talking Points Include:
• How’s Teddy Gonna Look?
• Adrian’s Not Playing in the Preseason
• Who’s Going to Start at Center?
• What’s The Wide Receiver Order Going to Be?
• Can the Running Game Get Going?
• Can the Offensive Line Protect?
• Will Moritz Boehringer be a 75-Man Cut?
• The Health of Kendricks, Floyd, Xavier, Barr
• Can the Defense Still be Elite with Missing Pieces?
• Who’s Going to Be on the Roster at Safety?
• Will the “Gates” Be Open?
• How is the Sun Going to Play?
• Will Some Players Get a Stay of Execution?
• How Loud Can US Bank Stadium Get?

All that and other “On My Mark…. Open the Doors.” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint

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Minnesota Vikings Teddy Bridgewater Injury

Teddy Bridgewater has a mysterious and sudden shoulder injury. Matt Kalil bowed out of practice Sunday. Brandon Fusco has a neck. Who the heck knows about Mike Harris. Sharrif Floyd and Eric Kendricks are perpetually banged up. Jarius Wright has a calf. Tre Roberson has a broken hand. Xavier Rhodes has a hamsting. WHAT IS HAPPENING?! WHY CAN WE NOT HAVE NICE THINGS?

Austin Belisle (@austincbelisle) of Vikings Territory joins me again to talk Teddy, preseason, and Vikings as we mercifully rumble towards the regular season.

All that and other “Ice Up Son” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

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