Sunday, August 30, 2015

calvin johnson

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Before I get started on this week’s roundup, I want to take a second to recognize this week’s Blind Squirrel Award recipient:

Okay, now that we got that out there for the world to see, let’s take a look at the topics currently surrounding our greatest enemies.

GREEN BAY PACKERS

As if the Vikings needed another reason to continue their defensive growth under Mike Zimmer, Aaron Rodgers is again the NFL’s reigning MVP and is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, the guy only seems to get better.

Rodgers ended the season with a 65.6% completion percentage that produced 4,381 yards and 38 touchdowns. He threw only five interceptions over the course of the 2014 season. He got 31 of the the 50 possible MVP votes and J.J. Watt came in second with 13.

I personally think Watt should have been the MVP this season, but that has more to do with my opinion of Watt than it does Rodgers. It is impossible, even for the most devoted Viking fan, to deny that Rodgers is playing at anything other than a truly elite level.

The Vikings started the second half with a spunky return from Marcus Sherels and some good energy out of Christian Ponder, but a number of penalties ended up stalling the drive and they had to punt.

The good news was, however, that Jared Allen and his defense was able to take advantage of the Lions being pinned deep and the Lions went three-and-out, punting from their own end zone.

The Vikings started out in Lions territory and Bill Musgrave proceeded to call a very good series of plays, including a reverse to Jarius Wright, that was highlighted by a long gainer to Devin Aromashadu to set the Vikings up inside the ten.

In the red zone, Ponder tripped on his drop back and then a no-gain passing play set up a third and goal from the ten.  The throw made on third down was to Toby Gerhart about six yards shy of the end zone and he was unable to punch it in.  The Vikings again had to settle for a Blair Walsh field goal.

The Lions then came out gunning, with two passes in a row going to Calvin Johnson, and both were caught.  One was for 51 yards and the Vikings defense immediately found themselves defending their own goalline.  After first down featured a botched snap, Stafford floated a beautiful pass over the head of Harrison Smith and into the hands of Brandon Pettigrew for a touchdown.

The Vikings then came out gunning with Christian Ponder spreading the ball around to Adrian Peterson, Kyle Rudolph and even John Carlson.  The third quarter ended with the Vikings holding a six point lead and knocking on the door.

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When I first wrote about Chad Greenway’s ferocious hit on Calvin Johnson I estimated that the hit would cost him “something in the neighborhood of $20,000.”

Thus, it didn’t come as a surprise to me when the NFL announced it would be fining the Vikings linebacker $21,000.

Apparently it came as a surprise to Greenway, however, even though Greenway said right after the game that he fully expected to be fined.

Greenway has reportedly said his appeal is not based off the fact that he was fined, but rather the amount of the fine.

Me?  I think he got off light considering he almost single-handedly enacted the Madden curse.

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The Vikings had a few bumps and bruises resulting from their bout with the Lions on Sunday, but at this time no serious injuries appear to be added to this roster.

The Lions may not be as fortunate, pending the status of Cliff Avril, but the scariest moment for Detroit fans came when Chad Greenway knocked Calvin Johnson senseless.

Greenway led with his shoulder and hit Johnson while he was in the air, reaching unsuccessfully for a Mathew Stafford pass.  It was a classic example of what the NFL is trying to prevent, and Greenway immediately realized he had made a decision that would cost his team 15 yards and cost his wallet something in the neighborhood of $20,000.

Johnson had to come out of the game for a number of drives, only to return for the final drive of the game where he dropped an easy pass, and Greenway acknowledged his mistake following Sunday’s victory.  He says, however, that he never intended to hurt the star wide out.

“I don’t want to hurt Calvin. I don’t want to hurt anybody,” Greenway said Sunday. “I’m thinking he’s going to catch that ball 99 percent of the time. He didn’t that time. So when I go to try to break the ball up, my pad, it’s clear on the tape, it hits his head. What are you going to do? They’re going to throw the flag and I’m probably going to get assessed a fine. But my intent was not to hurt him.”

Greenway has a reputation as a hard hitting linebacker, but has never really been labeled as a dirty player.

Sunday’s lapse of judgment is likely going to be considered an isolated incident.

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