Friday, August 26, 2016

blair walsh

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Vikings

The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings are back in the hood that is Eden Prairie as the Purple begin preparation for the 2016 season. Nothing is more meaningless than OTAs, but the only thing getting more attention than them is than lady and her damn Chewbacca mask. But I digress, let’s talk some football! (Which we apparently do not do on The Andy Luke & Arif Football Machine.)

Today’s Topics Include
• Vikings OTAs Kicked Off Tuesday
• Why Adrian Peterson Showed Up
• Players Present But Not Participating
• BJ Dubose Lost For the Season with an ACL
• Mortiz Böhringer Can’t Catch the Ball Apparently
• Blair Walsh Got a Lot of Emotional Support
Arif’s Willie Beavers Piece
• Who’s Going to Start at the Other Safety Spot?
• High Praise for Laquon Treadwell
• I CAN’T GET THE HEY TEDDY SONG OUT OF MY HEAD
• Two Vikings on the NFL Top-100 So Far
• Mankato Plans

All that and other “I bought a JUGS machine” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

An Andy Carlson Joint

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Vikings Announce 2016 Preseason Schedule
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Minnesota Vikings fans are anxious for the return of football. After the way the 2015 season ended, it’s long past time to hit the “reset” button and begin again. While the preseason isn’t the official start of the 2016 campaign, it’s a chance to see Mike Zimmer’s team take the field for the first time in nearly eight months. And now, we know exactly who the Vikings will play when the preseason kicks off in August:

Preseason Week 1 (Aug. 12-14): @ Cincinnati Bengals
Preseason Week 2 (Aug. 19-21): @ Seattle Seahawks
Preseason Week 3 (Aug. 28): vs. San Diego Chargers
Preseason Week 4 (Sept. 1): vs. Los Angeles Rams

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most important players
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

This time of year, with the Scouting Combine just wrapping up and the Draft rapidly approaching, we spend a lot of time focusing on the future. The Vikings are coming off an 11-5, division championship season, and look to be firmly headed in the right direction. So, before any draft picks or free agency additions, I thought it was a good time to look at the future within the organization. Below is a countdown of the 10 most important players to the Vikings’ future:

(NOTE: This list only includes players currently on the team’s roster. It takes into account skill level, positional importance, age, contract, and the team’s investment in the player. It’s more than a list of best players; rather, it focuses on who will be counted on to play major roles in the next five to eight years if the team is to continue to compete for division championships and playoff berths. For example, a player who is talented and productive but approaching the end of his career would be given less consideration than a young, high draft pick who has shown good ability in a short time.)

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Mike Zimmer named one of NFL's Most Influential
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Mike Zimmer has long been respected by NFL coaches. Now, after he led the Vikings to an 11-5 record and a division championship, the national media are starting to catch on. Peter King’s The MMQB has named him one of the NFL’s 100 Most Influential People of 2015. Zimmer came in at #65 on the list, the 10th highest rated head coach.

Gary Grambling of The MMQB writes of Zimmer:

It took too long for someone to hire Zimmer as a head coach. Now he’s showing why he deserved the job. In his second season, he took the Vikings to an NFC North title, its first since 2009.

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Vikings 2016 Offseason Plan Part 1

[In part one of this three-part series, Austin Belisle and Brett Anderson team up to put together an in-depth offseason plan for the Minnesota Vikings.]

Blair Walsh lined up to kick a 27-yard field goal, a routine chip shot that would’ve won the Minnesota Vikings their first playoff game in nearly seven years. But the ball didn’t sail through the uprights; it veered left, and just like that, the team’s promising 2015 season was over. Visions of Mike Zimmer hoisting the Lombardi Trophy faded from memory as an exasperated fan base watched in disbelief. “How could he miss that kick?”

Lost in the heartbreak was the fact that the Vikings didn’t just exceed expectations in 2015 — they shattered them. Minnesota entered the year as a darkhorse playoff contender, a young team that flashed promise in 2014 and would only get better with the return of Adrian Peterson. They did, winning 11 games and snatching the NFC North title from the Green Bay Packers for the first time since 2009. With a mix of young talent and veteran leadership, the Vikings emerged as one of the league’s surprise teams last year.

Their success started in the offseason, where general manager Rick Spielman assembled one of the NFL’s deepest, most talented rosters. Rookies like Eric Kendricks and Stefon Diggs became immediate contributors, while second-year free agent acquisitions like Captain Munnerlyn and Linval Joseph elevated their respective games to new levels. In order to take the next step in 2016, the franchise will need to continue its steadfast approach in free agency and the annual NFL Draft.

But in order to do that, it’s critical the team establishes a clear vision. Every organization’s ultimate goal is the same — to claim a Super Bowl victory. Some, like the Vikings, may be closer than others like the Cleveland Browns or Tennessee Titans. Regardless, each begins a new season with a 0-0 record. It’s the path they take that separates them.

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