Saturday, February 13, 2016

chad greenway

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Top Vikings Plays of 2015
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The beauty of football is that it’s a subjective sport. Two people may watch the same exact play and find two completely different things they enjoyed about it. On a long punt return, one person may notice the devastating block that sprung the returner free. Another may cheer for the returner’s quick feet and dizzying jukes.

Think of everything that happens from the snap to the whistle; a period of time that lasts just four seconds. Linemen crash into each other, creating a violent collision of helmets and facemasks. Wide receivers sprint, cut, plant, and fly through their breaks down the field. Shoulder pads pop, footballs whistle out of quarterbacks’ hands, and fans cheer wildly from the stands. It’s an explosion for the senses and a spectacle to behold each Sunday.

Now think back on the Vikings’ 2015 campaign. They ran 973 offensive plays, defended another 1,076, and used their special teams units on 439 more. That’s 2,488 total plays, per Sporting Charts. It’d be nearly impossible to narrow down the best play of the season, but that’s exactly what the poll of the week is for. Many of you will share your own choices in the comments, but I’ve tried to narrow down five of the most memorable, noteworthy plays from a wild 2015. After the jump, we’ll run through my choices.

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Is Chad Greenway on the way out in 2016?

Vikings NFL Draft Jaylon Smith
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

It’s officially draft season at Vikings Territory, making this the perfect time to begin NFL Draft speculation. Who will the Minnesota Vikings select with the 23rd-overall pick in April? Will general manager Rick Spielman trade back for more ammunition? Does the team need to focus on offense or defense in the first round? Without football on Sundays, there’s more than enough time to second guess what the Vikings will do this offseason.

Matt Miller, Bleacher Report‘s premier draft expert, recently spent some time analyzing Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith. The 6’3″, 240-pound prospect was a consensus top-10 pick before his gruesome knee injury in last month’s Fiesta Bowl, but may see his stock slip while recovering from a torn ACL and LCL. According to Miller, that makes teams like the Vikings a dark horse landing spot for the Fighting Irish superstar:

“If Jaylon Smith falls in the draft, I could see a team like the Minnesota Vikings pairing him with young guys like Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks. Smith could play weak-side linebacker if you want to keep Kendricks in the middle, or, he could play middle linebacker and Kendricks could play that weak-side spot for Mike Zimmer. If you could imagine those three linebackers chasing down Aaron Rodgers, Vikings fans have to be very happy about it.”

It’s unlikely Smith falls that far, but stranger things have happened to the Vikings. In 2013, Minnesota held the same exact pick and was fortunate enough to land defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd. The former Florida Gator was labeled the draft’s “No. 1 player on tape” by Greg Cosell, but fell due to concerns over his arm length and injury history. Smith may fall to the Vikings late in the first round, but it would take a miracle from “Trader Rick” to make the dream of a Barr-Kendricks-Smith trio a reality.

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Adam Thielen
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

While we try to figure out just where our latest playoff heartbreaker will rank in Minnesota Vikings lore, and some of try to find a suitable nickname for the missed kick that ensured the loss, there also exists an urge to collectively cast our gaze to the future.

One of the first things that needs to be addressed in any offseason are the questions surrounding the current roster and figuring out just which players could end up moving on in the coming months.

As of today, here are the Vikings players set to see their current contracts expire prior to the 2016 season. The list is loosely ranked by playing time and production, so don’t put too much stock into the order in which they appear:

2016 Minnesota Vikings Free Agents

Mike Harris, OL, 27

By quite a large margin, Mike Harris was the Vikings most consistent offensive lineman in 2015. That might not be saying much, but I would hate to have witnessed what the unit would’ve looked like with out him. The Vikings can’t afford to take a step backwards at offensive line this offseason (they need to take a few huge steps forwards) and resigning Harris should be a priority near the top of Rick Spielman’s to-do list.

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I can’t tell you with any certainty, one way or another, whether or not I’ve ever written a blog post from my mother’s basement. It is entirely possible.

Either way, this site essentially started exactly like the cliches would have you believe most blogs are created, a hack blogger with little-to-no expertise decides to start pecking away on a keyboard. I am that hack blogger.

With that being said, we have come a long ways here at Vikings Territory and the eve of the New Year seems like the most appropriate moment to take a look back at what was an amazing 2015. This year was absolutely our best in every measurable way, but everyone on our team should also be personally proud of the accomplishments we’ve managed by merely pecking away on our various keyboards.

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2015 is almost in the books, so why not close out in the most cliche way possible by doing a “The Best of 2015” episode! (I….. I’m lazy and not creative.) It’s been a extremely fun year with you the listeners here at the Purple FTW! Podcast. From the end of the 2014 7-9 season, the 5-Hour NFL Draft Live Stream, doing shows from Mankato and all of the insightful guests we’ve had — especially the regular contributors Di Murphy, Luke Inman, Lindsey Young and Arif Hasan. Hopefully we cranked out some quasi-quality and quasi-coherent Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings audio action and gave you a few chuckles along the way. Let’s look back before we dive forward into 2016.

The Best of 2015 Clips Include
Jenna-King Shepherd – Austin Shepherd’s Wife (Episode 172)
Todd Steussie – Former Viking Left Tackle (Episode 108)
Matt Waldman – Rookie Scouting Portfolio (Episode 110)
Paul Allen – KFAN/Radio Voice of the Vikings (Episode 111)
• Redoing the 2011 Vikings Draft (Episode 123)
• Every Vikings Starting QB Ever. Ranked. (Episode 128)
Dave Schwartz – Kare 11 (Episode 130)
Matt Vensel – Star Tribune (Episode 132)
Chad Greenway – Vikings Linebacker (Episode 133)
• Andy Talks Vikings with Uncle Nick while Cooking General Tso’s Chicken (Episode 135)
Andrew Krammer – 1500 ESPN (Episode 137)
Luke Inman, Sam Ekstrom, Arif Hasan (Episode 145)
Arif Hasan – Daily Norseman/Vikings Journal (Episode 227)
Phil Mackey – 1500 ESPN (Episode 181)

Michael Grey – WBBL Grand Rapids (Episode 166)
Ron Johnson – Former Gophers/Ravens Wide Receiver (Episode 180)

All this and other “You ain’t seen nothing yet. Wait until 2016.” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint

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