January 20-25 - Senior Bowl
January 26 - Pro Bowl
February 17 - First day of franchise / transition player designation
February 19-25 - Scouting Combine
March 11 - Free Agency begins
March 23 - Owner's Meeting
April 7 - Off-season workouts begin for teams with new HC
April 17 - 2014 Schedule Released
April 21 - Off-season workouts begin for teams with returning HC
May 2 - Deadline for RFAs to sign offers
May 8-10 - NFL Draft
There is no doubt that Adrian Peterson led the Vikings to victory on Sunday, but it was the rarely seen big plays out of the Vikings defense that turned this one into a runaway win for the purple and gold.
The Vikings four sacks of Sam Bradford (Greenway, Ballard, Henderson, and Robison) are nothing out of the norm for the modern day Vikings, but they seemed to have the desire and ability to put an inferior team away on a couple of occasions. This is most noticeable because this is something we have seen very rarely this year.
Prior to Sunday, the Vikings had only 9 interceptions and Harrison Smith’s two touchdowns were the only ones returned for scores. That is why it was so nice to see Alan Williams mixing in some different looks, blitzing a little more often than normal, and dropping Everson Griffen back into the coverage scheme that resulted in the Vikings third pick six of the season.
The interception, coupled with Chad Greenway’s opportunistic fumble recovery, gave the Vikings the keys to their first two touchdown victory since week five against the Titans.
Incredible performances out of Adrian Peterson, the Vikings defense, and their special teams unit meant that the pressure was largely off of quarterback Christian Ponder which is exactly how they are going to continue to stay competitive in their remaining two weeks.
Big plays from the defense turned this game from a nail biter into a blowout and that is something I think we need to see more of as this young team grows into a legitimate force.
At the beginning of this month I stated that the Vikings playoff hopes died on Lambeau Field in their week 13 loss and while I still think that will be the case, I have great hopes for the future based off of what this young defense has shown me this season.
It would appear, however, that this team might be once again looking at the quarterback position as their top offseason need in order to continue taking things to the next level.
A nice Brian Robison sack followed shortly by an impressive Marcus Sherels return set Christian Ponder up for the best drive he has had in quite some time. Two runs, including a fourth down scramble, resulted in the young quarterback using his mobility to score the game’s first touchdown.
Then, with one Rams drive aside, it was all Vikings from there on out. A Chad Greenway fumble recovery, an Everson Griffen pick six, an 82 yard touchdown run from Adrian Peterson, and a pair of big field goals from Blair Walsh has all but given the Vikings a win in just one half of football.
The second half is sure to feature plenty of Adrian Peterson as he continues his quest for immortality. Enjoy!
Adrian Peterson has already made history this season, coming off of a gruesome knee injury in a way that no other player ever has, but is now approaching a point in the year that could potentially see him make records fall left and right.
Peterson currently leads the NFL with 1,600 yards. Over the next three games he only needs 160 more to break his own personal best achieved in 2008. He needs 400 more to become only the seventh player in NFL history to rush for more than 2,000 yards.
He also needs 506 yards, an average of 169 yards per game, to best Eric Dickerson’s all-time rushing record for a single season.
Heck, he may even shock the world and beat out Tom Brady and Peyton Manning for the league MVP award.
With the Vikings playoff chances very much in doubt, Peterson’s record busting pace is providing quite the excitement, and Peterson has been willing to talk about it. He has expressed interest in both winning MVP honors and toppling Dickerson’s high water mark.
While Peterson always has lofty goals, only some of which he shares publically, but he is the type of guy that always seems to put the team ahead of his own personal goals. The type of guy that would rather rush for three yards and get the win than go for 300 and lose. The type of guy that ridiculously shoulders blame for a Lambeau loss in which he gained 220 yards.
When reading some comments about Peterson’s recent media blitz I noticed that plenty of readers of other sites, including Vikings fans, felt that Peterson’s public statements regarding his desire to shatter records this season undermine the team goal of making the playoffs.
I think those people are preposterous.
First off, if Peterson gains 506 yards over the next three games then the odds are pretty darn good that the team is qualifying for the postseason.
Second, Peterson has already been credited by Vikings coaches for being an inspiration to every other player in the locker room this season, a leader of men. If he wants to demand only the best of himself, then perhaps that attitude will be contagious and we will see only the best come out of numerous others on the roster down the stretch.
Third, the effort that Peterson puts forth when it isn’t game day is what obviously sets him apart from every other player on game day. His work ethic and dedication, by most accounts, is second to none. I have a sneaking suspicion that Peterson was not satisfied with “only” drawing nine Bears defenders to the line on Sunday and places part of the blame for only 91 passing yards on himself.
Maybe Peterson is simply hanging a giant “kick me” sign on his back for the next three weeks with hopes of drawing even more attention his direction in an attempt to provide Ponder and company with even more of a chance to succeed.
Peterson is a treat to watch and I hope he meets all of his personal goals, that the team meets their collective goals, and that we get to see the whole team pursue even more goals after the regular season concludes.
[NOTE FROM ADAM: After thoroughly enjoying the first installment of “Garbage Time” two of our favorite readers/writers are now back for some more. Enjoy!]
Well, Tomb, the Vikes won a big home game this week over the Bears and are still in the playoff hunt. Granted ( ), it was accomplished with, for all intents and purposes, two defensive scores, and another Adrian Peterson symphony. But a win, nonetheless. So, what about their playoff chances? It might be asking a lot for them to go 3-0 to finish the season, but if they could win 2 and finish 9-7, could they be in? Regardless of the answer, I think Leslie Frazier has done a pretty darn good job this year. How many of us would have given this team a chance to have a bona fide shot at the playoffs with 3 weeks to go? Surely you have some sort of warped perspective on this whole situation, don’t you?
Easy there, Pollyanna. By all means, savor the flavor of a victory, but playoffs? I haven’t seen this kind of denial since Aaron Rodgers proposed to a woman. Let me be clear: I am a stalwart Vikings fan who vastly enjoyed this particular win, but we will not–I repeat–NOT make the playoffs this season. It’s interesting that after gushing about bona fide playoff potential for this team, you ask ME for a ‘warped perspective.’ Sure, it’s ‘mathematically possible’ for the Vikes to make the playoffs, but it’s also ‘mathematically possible’ Tomb ends up on the business end of a Mrs. Tomb/Salma Hayek group tryst. Sure, I may occasionally dwell on the possibilities fondly, but I’m not holding my breath on either delightful event occurring.
This entire Vikings Territory site, authors and commenters alike, have covered the Big Reach Ponder situation ad nauseum, but with him at the helm, we seriously have no prayer. He almost makes Tebow seem like a legitimate QB threat. IMPROMPTU FUN FACT ALERT: on the same weekend, Cam Newton threw for 287 yards, and ran for 116 that Ponder threw for 91 yards, and ran for zero (on 4 attempts). That’s right, QB Cam Newton RAN for more yards than QB(?) Big Reach threw. When I first heard that stat, I blinked way too rapidly, then slunk quietly out of the room. With this rascal piloting our offense, we’ll never be more than an Adrian Peterson sideshow. Such a shame. AD is not human. What he’s doing is just not human. Absolute beast. I am in awe.
This credit you’re giving Leslie Frazier is a little baffling. I don’t necessarily see what he’s bringing to the table. He plays everything so close to the vest, I’m finding it impossible to figure out what role he has in any success or failure on any given day and/or play. He reminds me of a skinny Art Shell, standing on the sidelines worrying that either smile or frown may crack his face. He portrays as much genuine emotion on the sidelines as Keanu Reeves in, well, pretty much any movie he’s ever been in. Zilch.
An earlier comment of yours caught my eye and furrowed my brow. “Leslie says ‘we won the way we were designed to win.’ What in the name of Shanahan’s freaky bug eyes does that even mean? More to the point, does that imply the inverse ‘we lost the way were designed to lose’ also holds true? Seems about as goofy as your one man wrong-a-thon that’s supposed to serve as an opening statement.
Consider this statistical analysis for a second. Christian Ponder completed 11 passes to Vikings receivers during Sunday’s win.
These 11 passes were good for 91 yards and no touchdowns. Jay Cutler, on the other hand, completed two passes to Vikings cornerbacks and those interceptions were good for 100 yards and a touchdown.
So, to be clear, Jay Cutler was a better Vikings quarterback on Sunday than Christian Ponder was.
Leslie Frazier and his staff decided to go “all in” utilizing a formula many of were calling for weeks ago, and it led to a fairly impressive victory over a divisional foe. The Vikings fully embraced the idea of having to run the football (accompanied by solid defense) to win football games, and even if it seems they figured it out a little too late, they are still in the playoff hunt because of it.
Against the Bears on Sunday Adrian Peterson had a career high of 31 carries while Christian Ponder tied his season low of 17 passing attempts. If you throw in some Toby Gerhart and bootlegs, the Vikings ran the ball 21 more times than they threw it.
The Vikings have once again proved that they can win with Christian Ponder at quarterback, but once again it is obvious that they can really only do it if Peterson continues to play out of his mind and the defense continues to come up with big plays.
[Editor's Note: They say laughter is the best medicine. That is why I didn't flinch at the idea of faithful reader "Tomb" contributing some weekend laughs from time to time here on the pages of Vikings Territory. This recurring (if you like it) segment will bring you satirical headlines from around the NFL and run under the title “the Tombion” which is an obvious rip off of…”
Brow vs. Brow: Bert Files Suit Against Flacco
BALTIMORE–Appearing before a small but energetic throng of reporters at an impromptu press conference to defend recent litigation filed by his attorneys against Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, Bert, of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie, was at times calm and rational, at times highly combative, sometimes even waxing oddly nostalgic, but always relaying an unflinching confidence in his decision. Bert’s petition insists that Joe Flacco knowingly and willingly infringed on Bert’s trademark unibrow to further his personal career ambitions.
“This is a clear trademark violation,” Bert insisted. “Do you have any idea how many years I’ve been rockin’ this eyebar? I’ve spent most of my life, maybe most of my soul to make this thing part of the American fabric. I’ve put in the time. I didn’t do it to have some poseur accelerate his own position by ripping me off. I mean, come on! The Ravens have a defense and Ray Rice. That’s it. Flacco shamelessly rides their talents and pretends he’s actually a quarterback to be taken seriously? Like the team would fall apart without his constant lack of clutch playmaking? If he’s an elite quarterback, then Vanilla Ice is a musical genius. Think about it, 4th & 29, just under 2 minutes to go, and what does Flacco do? A dump pass to your running back? Seriously? Real ‘Brady-like’ performance there, Joe. Rice puts the team on his back; against all odds he converts the 4th, and Flacco has the audacity to celebrate like he had anything to do with it? This turd needs to be flushed, and I’m just the man to do the flushing. You can quote me on that!”
Meanwhile, from team headquarters, Joe Flacco issued a more solemn, but nonetheless shocking prepared address.
“Bert’s accusations are frivolous. I’m confident that true justice will ultimately prevail, and the American judicial system will agree with me that these are baseless accusations. It makes no sense. The facts are clear, I stand before you as the starting quarterback for an NFL team, I make millions of dollars doing so, and I’ve never even been to second base with anyone. My marriage? A sham. She won’t let me touch her. Our child? Not mine. I have no idea whose kid that is. I have zero doubt this caterpillar on my forehead has contributed to my frustrations and ultimate personal failings. Why would I willingly do that to myself? Again, it makes no sense, much like his case.”
Bert’s domestic partner, Ernie, declined comment.