Saturday, May 28, 2016

brian robison

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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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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The focus this week is understandably the Green Bay Packers, who will look to come to Minnesota, defeat the Vikings at a home, and pull half a game ahead in a tightly-contested NFC North divisional race. But before Lindsey and Brent break down the key offensive and defensive matchups tomorrow, I want to look back on last week’s victory over the Oakland Raiders.

While the Vikings excelled in a number of areas — the running game, pass defense, turnover differential — one stands out in particular, because it may be the key to the Vikings taking a two-game lead over the Packers — the pass rush.

Before they hosted the Vikings, Oakland’s offense line hadn’t given up a sack since Week 7 against the New York Jets. According to Football Outsiders, they’re the best pass protecting unit in the league, having allowed just 12 sacks this season (2.9% adjusted sack rate). The Vikings, though, exploited what’s been a stout group up front, combining aggressive first steps, solid technique, and Mike Zimmer’s varied looks to create confusion and havoc at the line of scrimmage.

They sacked Derek Carr twice and flushed him from the pocket a number of times, forcing the second-year quarterback into bad decisions and even poorer throws. That’s been the blueprint to beat Aaron Rodgers this season, and against the Packers’ 17th-ranked offensive line, Minnesota’s front-seven should have little trouble doing just that to No. 12.

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