Tuesday, October 6, 2015

blair walsh

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Image Courtesy of Vikings.com

The Hall of Fame Game went down Sunday night in Canton, Ohio. Our Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings came out on top of the Pittsburgh Steelers 14-3 in a game that quenched the collective thirst of a the football world, even though it featured no Adrian Peterson or Ben Roethlisberger and something-called Landry Jones played the whole darn game. There’s a lot of positives and some false-negatives to pick through for our team in purple, and we do so in our first game recap show of the 2015 season.

Other “The Hall of Jerome Bettis” Talking Points Include
• Vikings defeat the Steelers 14-3
• Mick Tingelhoff love from Purple FTW! (240 straight starts!)
• Fran Tarkenton’s introduction speech was ELITE
• Adrian in full uniform, but didn’t play
• Cris Collinsworth is underrated, but…
• Teddy Bridgewater looked smooth as creamy peanut butter
• Jerick McKinnon is going to be more involved and electric
• Calm down on Trae Waynes, please.
• Remember, Xavier Rhodes was hot garbage until about Week 4 last year
• I’d rather have a cornerback who’s too aggressive & grabby than too passive
• 2nd Half was the Stefon Diggs Show
• Don’t count out Marcus Sherels yet
• MyCole Pruitt is going to be a special player
• Eric Kendricks has made Audie Cole & Gerald Hodges better via young competition
• Brian Peters love
• Special teams questions: Jeff Locke stanks
• Matt Kalil looked OK. Has some easy preseason spots to gain confidence
• Jabari Price is a G
• Adam Thielen could be legit
• I liked how TJ Clemmings looked
• Shamar Stephen & Tom Johnson are 1s going against 2s and 3s
• Joe Banyard – What could have been
• Taylor Heinicke looks smoother and more in command than Mike Kafka
Bookmark our Amazon Link to show some love!

All that and other “Brian Peters over Mike Mauti” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings have announced a contract extension for kicker Blair Walsh.

The news comes on the first day of training camp practices in Mankato and the proactive approach means the 25 year-old 2012 draft pick will remain the team’s kicker for the foreseeable future.

“I’m extremely excited to be a part of the Minnesota Vikings moving forward,” said Walsh in the team’s announcement. “I’d like to thank Rick Spielman, the Wilf family, Coach Zimmer, Coach Priefer and Rob Brzezinski for giving me this opportunity. I’m proud to be able to stay with the team that drafted me coming out of college and I look forward to what is in store for the future of this organization.”

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

In Minnesota, it’s hard for sports fans to be optimistic. For years, they’ve watched team miss playoff after playoff, or go on to finish seasons with losing records after losing records. It hasn’t been an enjoyable run, but things seem to be getting brighter in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

At the shiny new Courts in Mayo Clinic Square, Timberwolves rookies Karl-Anthony Towns and Tyus Jones are invigorating the franchise with excitement, buoyed by the early success of second-year player Andrew Wiggins. Down the road at Target Field, minor league call-up Miguel Sano is launching home runs to help the Twins to a 45-39 record. And in the Excel Energy Center, the Wild look to make another playoff run after signing goalie Devan Dubnyk to a six-year contract last month.

But this isn’t a Minnesota Sports site — it’s Vikings Territory! How are things up in Winter Park? Most fans would say they’re great; Adrian Peterson is back, Mike Zimmer is leading the charge, and the defense is finally capable of stopping the offenses of the NFC North. Given the team’s unfortunate history, though, it’s no surprise that Teddy Bridgewater is serving up slices of humble pie, per USA Today’s Tom Pelissero:

Personally, it’s refreshing to see such a young player handle the pressure so elegantly. For many Bridgewater’s age, the limelight can be a difficult place to live, and he’s proven he’s comfortable under the stressful spotlight — or should I say, “Great Under Major Pressure”? In interviews throughout OTAs and minicamp, Bridgewater’s been deferential, heaping praise on his teammates and attributing the team’s heightened expectations to the coaching staff and front office.

Sure, Vikings fans have had it rough for years, but this may be the season our luck changes. When the time comes, we can celebrate, but for now, I’m comfortable watching Teddy operate like a pro — on and off the field.

And now, some of the most popular Vikings links from around the web!:

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An American flag flutters in the wind over the Vikings' new stadium

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

In a move expected by many, the NFL’s 32 owners approved the Competition Committee’s proposal on extra points for the 2015 season. The rule changes, which were passed on a 30-2 vote Tuesday, are as follows:

  • The extra point will now be kicked from the 15-yard line with two-point conversions remaining at the 2-yard line.
  • If the defense returns a blocked extra point or failed two-point try for a touchdown, they will be awarded two points. Under the previous rule the ball was dead on a failed try.

Blair Walsh, the Vikings’ ace fourth-year kicker, has been nearly perfect when kicking extra points — in 109 attempts, he’s missed just one kick, giving him a 99.1 career percentage in such situations. With the changes, extra points will now move to the 15-yard line, where Walsh has been nearly as successful.

In 31 career attempts between 30-39 yards (extra points are now 33 yards), Walsh has connected on 28 kicks. His leg from this distance is close to perfection, as he’s a 90.3 percent kicker in this range. When news broke of the rule changes, Walsh shared his response on Twitter:

For Walsh, the change in distance is negligible. His percentages from either distance are above average, and 33-yard field goals are routine for most NFL kickers. Defensive coaches and special teams coordinators will adjust their gameplans, scheming more “block” concepts into these plays, but I expect minimal effect on box scores next season.

If anything, the news is beneficial to players like Walsh; an increased importance on the extra point equates to an increase in value for kickers who can deliver from this range. Walsh, in turn, may enjoy a salary increase once his rookie contract expires.

For more Vikings news, check out the links below:

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Only a few days remain until the 2015 NFL Draft, so looking ahead to the 2016 free agency situation seems incredibly far away. It’s worth being aware of, however, because the Vikings have 23 players entering the final year of their contract this season.

On top of those 23, keep this in mind: 2012 first-round pick Harrison Smith has a fifth-year option in his contract, which gives the Vikings another 16 games to make any long-term decisions. According to ESPN, GM Rick Spielman has until May 3 to decide on the extra year. It seems safe to say at this point, however, that Spielman will go to lengths to keep Smith in purple, and it could be costly. The safety’s current deal is worth $7.14 million.

There will be a lot of decisions to be made regarding re-signing, restructuring, or saying “good-bye” to lots of roster members, so let’s see who will be free agents prior to the 2016 season:




*will be a restricted free agent

Let’s take a look at a few of the more notable players on this list…

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