Sunday, February 14, 2016

brian robison

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It's time we view the Vikings as contenders

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

It’s Déjà vu all over again for the Minnesota Vikings, who for the second time this season, will look to defeat the Green Bay Packers in their most important game of the year. The last time these two teams met, the Vikings were riding a five-game win streak, while the Packers were trudging through a three-game slide. It seemed, at last, that the Vikings were primed to dethrone the Packers from the top of the NFC North! Right? Wrong.

Minnesota lost that Week 11 game, falling 30-13 at home to their biggest rival. Since that eye-opening defeat, they’ve fallen behind the Packers in the division. But, next Sunday night, they’ll have a chance to knock Green Bay out of the top spot and secure the NFC’s third playoff seed. Whether they win or lose on Sunday Night Football, the Vikings are guaranteed a playoff spot; their victory over the New York Giants secured a postseason berth for the first time since 2012. But knowing Zimmer’s win-first mentality and steadfast approach to his franchise, the Vikings want and need to claim the division to be satisfied.

How can they do that? It starts by “righting the wrongs” from the team’s first meeting. Most notably, pressuring Aaron Rodgers and winning the turnover battle — a strategy they failed to execute in November. Yesterday, the Arizona Cardinals did just that to Rodgers and the Packers offense, sacking the quarterback nine times and creating four turnovers. The Vikings experienced similar defensive success against the Giants last night, and it’s a formula that can assuredly bring Minnesota their first NFC North title since 2009:

“When you create turnovers and you put pressure on the quarterback, good things typically happen. I thought we put good pressure on the quarterback tonight. I thought we got him to make some bad throws and we took advantage of it. The three interceptions we had were all huge.” — Mike Zimmer

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The path for the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings is clear: Win Two Games, Win The North. To do that the Purple will have to win in prime time and beat the Packers, things that have been sparse as of late (just ask #VikingsTwitter). The Odell Beckham-less New York Football Giants stand in the way first (although the issue was up in the air during recording). We welcome Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) back into the friendly confines to talk about Gotham vs Twin Cities.

Other topics include how the Vikings got completely messed over in the Pro Bowl voting because fans are sheep, why Ron Jaworski is NOT a premier source for breaking news, if Teddy Bridgewater can keep playing the best ball of his career, how the Giants are basically the Browns without OBJ and Arif and I hand out presents to the team. Because ’tis the season or something.

All this and other “Andre Williams is the worst running back I’ve ever seen in my life” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

Read all of Arif’s stuff at The Daily Norseman and Vikings Journal as well as listen to his podcast Norse Code.

An Andy Carlson Joint

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Teddy Dave Bridgewater silenced a lot of critics Sunday with his four passing touchdown, zero interception and one rushing score performance at The Bank lifting the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings over the Chicago Bears 38-17 in a crucial game for the final playoff push. We recap the game that was and explain why it might have happened…..

Control Our Own Destiny Talking Points Include
• Teddy Bridgewater Quieted The Haters
• Teddy Ballgame
• Props to Norv Turner for Calling a Solid Game
• Freed McKinnon
• The Offense is Better Without Adrian Peterson
• Welcome Back Stefon Diggs!
• Take a Bow, Brian Robison
• The Defense Played Well Without Key Starters
• The Vikings Kickoff Coverage Game Needs Work.
• Mike Zimmer Coaching Nuggets
• Random Thoughts
• Giants Coming Up
• We Control Own Desitny: 2 Wins Get the North

All this and other “I’m not smart enough to figure out playoff scenarios” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

I love this in-season weekly segment. It provides the readers of Vikings Territory a chance to weigh in on a weekly basis and cast a vote for their favorite individual performance for each game. Even after a loss, even a lopsided loss, it can provide an opportunity to focus on something positive if even for just a quick minute.

This heralded (by me) award is a fun way to review the season as it progresses, and even long after it has concluded, to remember which players brought their A-Game on a consistent basis. In fact, here is where we stand as of today with Anthony Barr topping the charts last week:

WEEK ONE: Anthony Barr

WEEK TWO: Adrian Peterson

WEEK THREE: Harrison Smith

WEEK FOUR: Linval Joseph

WEEK SIX: Stefon Diggs

WEEK SEVEN: Stefon Diggs

WEEK EIGHT: Stefon Diggs

WEEK NINE: Linval Joseph

WEEK TEN: Terence Newman

WEEK ELEVEN: Teddy Bridgewater

WEEK TWELVE: Anthony Barr

I’m going to be honest… for the first time ever, I considered not doing this post at all because there were is so little material to work with following the 38-7 home loss at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. But, no, I won’t have it. I’ve come up with a first (and hopefully last) solution to the conundrum, however, and you’ll see what that is by viewing the nominations.

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(photo courtesy of Vikings.com)

At (just barely) 21 years old, defensive end Danielle Hunter is the youngest player in the NFL. A common word to describe him coming into the league was “raw.” And while that may have been true, Hunter is rapidly overcoming that label and demonstrating that he can play a big role in the Vikings defense. The Daily Norseman‘s Andrew Renschen said it well Sunday:

Minnesota drafted Hunter No. 88 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. The LSU alum had fairly limited football experience (two years high school + three years college), but general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer felt strongly on his character and maturity level when they brought him in.

“[Hunter’s] a physical specimen,” Spielman said after drafting him. “He plays extremely hard […] he’s raw. He’s a project. We’ll have to work with him […] but we feel that he has tremendous upside to grow as a football player.”

Upside is right. While it may not have been written into the blueprints to give Hunter so much playing time this season, the defensive end has gotten more than a few snaps under his belt and is showing exactly the potential Spielman spoke of.

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