Thursday, October 8, 2015

chad greenway

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At this point last year, the Minnesota Vikings were 2-2, having just beat the Atlanta Falcons behind an eye-opening performance from rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. In his first NFL start, Bridgewater completed 19 passes for 317 yards and even scored a touchdown with his legs. The elation in Minnesota would quickly end, though, as the franchise’s newfound quarterback missed the next game and watched as his team fell to the Green Bay Packers.

Suffering from the humiliation at Lambeau Field, the Vikings continued their losing streak against the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills to fall to 2-5. Bridgewater struggled, the running game sputtered without Adrian Peterson, and the defense was a sieve at best against the run. Their 2-2 start, kicked off by a drubbing of the St. Louis Rams, wasn’t enough to keep pace with the NFC’s playoff contenders.

This year, the Vikings find themselves in a familiar, yet much different position. Though they enter the Week 5 bye at 2-2, this is a team that’s deeper, more talented, and playing at a higher level than their 2014 counterparts through four games. The record doesn’t necessarily reflect this, and an ugly Week 1 loss to the 49ers swayed expectations early, but three strong performances against the Lions, Chargers, and Broncos put the Vikings in excellent position to compete for an NFC playoff spot this season.

The Vikings won’t return to the field until Week 6, when they host the Kansas City Chiefs at TCF Bank Stadium in a crucial inter-conference matchup. Until then, head coach Mike Zimmer will have much to assess in his time off, including a few ugly trends in his team’s two losses. After the jump, we’ll dive into the game film from the Vikings’ Week 4 loss to the Denver Broncos and try to figure out what went wrong. As the famous saying goes, “The eye in the sky never lies…”

Trader Rick stikes again

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According to a report from the NFL Network’s Rand Getlin, the Minnesota Vikings have traded Gerald Hodges Jr. to the San Francisco 49ers. Shortly after Getlin broke the news, Adam Schefter shared details of the trade, which includes a 2016 sixth-round pick and center Nick Easton from the 49ers in exchange for Hodges.

The trade comes just days after the Vikings’ Week 4 loss to the Denver Broncos, a game in which Hodges did not start at middle linebacker. The 2013 fourth-round draft pick out of Penn State had started the first three weeks for the Vikings and recorded 19 tackles through four games, but saw less playing time as Mike Zimmer’s defense became more Nickel-heavy.

Hodges played just 26 snaps against the Broncos, while Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks played the majority of the Vikings’ defensive snaps at linebacker. Throughout the season, the rookie second-round pick has replaced Hodges in the team’s Nickel defense and performed well enough to warrant the trade. General manager Rick Spielman, who spoke to the media after the announcement, expressed his comfort with the team’s linebacker depth moving forward.

“It’s because of how we feel about (second-round pick Eric) Kendricks. We felt we had a lot of depth at that position. We feel strongly about Audie Cole and what he can bring and how well he’s been playing, but the development of Kendricks and Edmond Robinson continues to come along and we still have (Brandon) Watts on our practice squad at that position,” Spielman said.

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In Minnesota, the usual suspects continue to carry the Viking ship. Adrian Peterson’s 372 rushing yards lead the league, Mike Zimmer’s defense is holding teams to less than 20 points per game, and Anthony Barr is making spectacular plays on a weekly basis, both against the run and in coverage.

On Thursday, the Vikings Territory staff will answer Lindsey’s Question of the Week and share our pick for the team’s most impressive player through the first four games of the season. A few obvious choices — Peterson, Barr, Harrison Smith — stand out, while a number of newcomers like Linval Joseph and Terence Newman could potentially make the list.

Today, I want to ask fans a similar question. As spectators, we expect greatness from the Vikings’ best players. It’s a given that Peterson can score whenever he touches the ball, or, that Xavier Rhodes will likely shut down an opponent’s number one receiver. But which players have exceeded expectations at the quarter mark of the season, and who is surprising you with their play?

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Despite a valiant effort by the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings Defense and Teddy “Dave” Bridgewater, the Purple came up short Sunday afternoon in Denver 23-20. The Zimmer Hellfire Defense forced Peyton “Chicken Parm” Manning into two interceptions and his 2nd lowest QB rating of the season, but it wasn’t enough in Mile High as a sluggish start, a faulty offensive line, and a lame kicker denied the Vikings a much sought after road win and leave them at 2-2 heading into the bye week. We discuss the gold and fool’s gold from the game that was.

Other “No Moral Victories” Talkers Include
• My theory on why there were so many Vikings fans in Denver
• That Zimmer Hellfire Defense Leads the Way
• The Offensive Line Did Not
• Anthony Barr is Becoming a Force
• Harrison Smith is the Best Safety in the NFL
• Teddy Ballgame
• Mike Wallace BEASTED Today
• Adam Thielen & Stefon Diggs Deserve to Eat
• Robert Blanton is Still Blanton
• Blair Walsh Needs a Fire Lit Under Him
• Schedule After the Bye: 5-3 or 6-2 isn’t crazy
• Bye Week Podcast Schedule
• Visit our new sponsor Stars Draft for Daily Fantasy Sports!
Bookmark us on Amazon & show some love!

All that and other “We’re On To The Bye Week” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings (2-1) are set to face the endboss Peyton “Goro” Manning and the Denver Gelded Broncos Sunday afternoon in Mortal Kombat. Arif Hasan joins us to break down how the Purple can put Friendship aside and hit Peyton, FINISH HIM!!!, and come out of Mile High with a Flawless Victory.

Also Scorpion is the best MK character, and I will fight you if you disagree.

All that and other “GET OVER HERE” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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