Tuesday, July 26, 2016

blair walsh

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Last year's first round pick made a splash on Sunday

most important players
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings suffered the cruelest of ends to their 2015 season, but there is hope. It begins with the NFL Draft this spring, when teams have the chance to improve their roster with the best talent that the NCAA has to offer. The Vikings have used their most recent first-round picks — top-12 selections in 2014 and 2015 — to build defensively, but may be in a position this offseason to focus on their most pressing offensive needs. After Sunday’s playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the Vikings will select 23rd-overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.

It was painfully obvious on Sunday that the Vikings have a number of roster holes to fill through free agency and the draft. A porous offensive line struggled to protect Teddy Bridgewater (as they have all year) and a lack of offensive weaponry prevented Minnesota from scoring an offensive touchdown. In frigid conditions, the kicking game also played a major factor in the loss. Punter Jeff Locke averaged just 34.4 yards on five attempts and failed to “spin the laces” out on Blair Walsh’s missed game-winning field goal.

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That was a less than ideal way for the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings to end the 2015 campaign. But let’s not lose the forest through the trees, this season was a damn good year and this young football team is ahead of schedule with Mike Zimmer. We went 11-5, won a division title, and will be in the mix as legitimate Super Bowl contenders next season. Take a while to let this game marinate, but not all is lost. This team’s best football is ahead of it.

Talking Points Include
• Was It Cold Out?
• Bud Grant is My Idol
• Blair Walsh is Not the Reason We Lost
• This is Not Adrian Peterson’s Team
• Free Teddy Bridgewater
• There Are OTHER Pieces on this Offense
• Offensive Line Needs to be Overhauled
• The Defense Was the MVP Today
• Trae Waynes was Impressive
• Josh Robinson was Not
• The Seahawks Did Everything to Lose the Game, We Gave Them a Gift
• Twitter and Facebook Questions
• Why 2016 Will Be HUGEEEEE
• Podcast Offseason Programming Plan

All this and other “WAS IT COLD OUT? I HAD NO IDEA.” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint

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The Vikings' kicker is suddenly cold-blooded

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

On the heels of a Sunday night performance that saw him connect on a perfect 5-for-5 field goals, Blair Walsh has been named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. The honor, announced on the team’s official website, marks Walsh’s fifth time winning the award and his first since the Vikings Nov. 24, 2013 game against the Green Bay Packers.

Walsh, who has been the focus of much scrutiny this season, turned in his strongest performance of the year against the Giants, contributing 19 points to the Vikings’ season-high total of 49. His scoring outburst jettisoned him into the top-five in scoring among kickers, giving him 127 points on the season. He finished the game with field goals from 32, 52, 22, 53 and 27 yards, as well as four converted extra points. On the season, he’s improved his accuracy percentage by 12 points since 2014, having connected on 32-of-37 field goals (86.5 percent) and 6-of-8 from 50-plus yards.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

What’s the difference between an 8-5 record and a 6-7 record? The simple answer would be two wins. Two games separate the Vikings, who are currently 8-5, from a pack of 6-7 teams “in the hunt” for the NFC’s sixth playoff spot. But two games also separate the Vikings from a familiar face — their 2014 counterparts.

At this time last year, the Vikings were 6-7 and eliminated from playoff contention. They’d go on to lose two of their final three games and finish the season at 7-9. Respectable, given the year-long absence of Adrian Peterson and the arrival of first-year coach Mike Zimmer, but not enough to push them into January. It was a season that, despite a losing record, inspired hope in the Minnesota fanbase and promised future success.

This season, the Vikings have built on what made them successful in 2014 and sit firmly entrenched in the NFC playoff picture. Two more wins through 13 games may not seem like a major leap, but these Vikings are a much improved team for a number of reasons. From the emergence of the defense to the return of Peterson, Minnesota has a chance to finish the year with 11 wins and play their first meaningful postseason football since 2012. Will they hit double digits in the win column, or will they flounder to end the season as they did last year?

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The HUGE Border Battle week is upon us as Mike Zimmer and the NFC North leading Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings (7-2) prepare to welcome in the loser of three-straight professional football contests Green Bay Packers (6-3). Di Murphy (@DiMurphyMN) of The Daily Norseman joins us for her weekly spot to talk about the Purple as we scheme on how to defeat the Green, Yellow and Blaze Orange.

Di and I chatted about what it’s like to have the #1 Defense in the NFL, how Adrian is back and on pace to win the rushing title (almost by default), why Kyle Rudolph should be benched forever, what Teddy and Norv need to do to get this passing game on fleek, and we play America’s newest favorite game What Pisses Di Off More?

All that and other “BEAT GREEN BAY” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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