Wednesday, December 7, 2016

everson griffen

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Vikings Must Rediscover Their Identity
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings face a bit of an identity crisis. The team that started the regular season 5-0 is suddenly 5-3, stuck in the middle of an ugly three-game losing streak.

Minnesota’s vaunted defense isn’t just bending, it’s breaking. The offense, mired in mediocrity, is making the slow transition from Norv Turner to newly-minted offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. And head coach Mike Zimmer, for all his acclaim, can’t seem to right the ship.

It’s not that the Vikings were a bad team simply squeaking by; at one point, the defense was compared to the vaunted 1985 Chicago Bears. And it’s not that the roster is full of holes; general manager Rick Spielman’s long been praised for his ability to draft, develop, and maintain a deep collection of talented players.

No, it’s that the Vikings have lost their identity.

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Week Nine Highlights
Image Courtesy of Vikings.com

Week Nine Highlights Will Feature The Likes Of Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Everson Griffen and Chad Greenway.

The Minnesota Vikings offense, particularly the offensive line, looked improved with Pat Shurmur calling the plays instead of Norv Turner. Still, they could not get the job done when they most needed to, and the Vikings lost in overtime to the Detroit Lions by a margin of 22-16.

The offense wasn’t entirely to blame, with Blair Walsh costing them points and the defense struggling to maintain their dominant ways, and this three game slide is getting old quick. Still, the Vikings remain in first place (barely) of the NFC North and there is still a half of a season left to get things figured out.

Now, in our third straight week, we face the less-fun task of anointing a “Player of the Game” via your voting in the poll at the bottom.

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Vikings Griffen
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Yes. I’m well aware that the Bears deserve any game balls awarded. I’m well aware that few Vikings players did well on Monday Night. Still, here at Vikings Territory, we take tradition very seriously (we told Austin he couldn’t wear his color rush uniform to work), and our tradition is to try and award this thing every… single… week.

This week is one of the toughest in recent memory, I struggled to even make nominations, so I’ve allowed for a slight variation from the norm in the poll below. “None” is actually an option this week.

Here are the winners so far in 2016:

WEEK ONE: Eric Kendricks

WEEK TWO: Sam Bradford

WEEK THREE: Everson Griffen

WEEK FOUR: Xavier Rhodes

WEEK FIVE: Adam Thielen

WEEK SEVEN: Cordarrelle Patterson

You all have yet to award this to the same player twice in the first six games, so let’s get to the nominations to see if that finally changes.

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Minnesota Vikings-Chicago Bears - Blue Door Pub

The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings turned in their 2nd sleepwalking performance of the season Monday Night in Chicago. A failure on both the offensive and defensive lines allowed the Bears to slowly grind the Purple into a slaughtered stuffed animal pulp. Head coach Mike Zimmer has to figure out a way to jump start a lethargic offense (maybe send Norv out to pasture?) and a suddenly not as dominant defense.

Sam Ekstrom (Locked On Vikings) joined me LIVE at Blue Door Pub University to wrap up and put a bow on the Monday Night Madness and help us put The Nightmare On Halloween behind us.

All that and more “The Vikes Went as the Browns for Halloween” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint

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VT QOTW

searching for sacks
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Three years in, and Mike Zimmer’s finally at the head of the NFL’s most dominant defense. It took some time and a few bumps along the road, but the Minnesota Vikings have a chance to go down as a historically great unit.

Outside of the loyal fan base, analysts and professional “football watchers” are taking notice, too; Matt Bowen  of ESPN Insider had this to say about the new Purple People Eaters:

“This unit under [Head Coach] Mike Zimmer continues to create panic and turnovers. Through six games, the Vikings are holding opposing quarterbacks to a ridiculously low Total QBR (25.6), and Minnesota is tied with Seattle at the top of the NFL for points allowed per game (14.0). They have a dynamic mix of extremely smart coaching and versatile talent at all three levels of the field. That’s tough to plan against.”

Despite these strengths, the Vikings find themselves in a bit of a rut. In the team’s last three games, they’ve gone without a sack twice. Much of that starts with Minnesota’s opponents; offensive coordinators know the Vikings can generate pressure, and in turn adjust game plans accordingly. Quarterbacks are getting the football out quickly, receivers aren’t attacking the deep area of the field, and in general, offenses aren’t moving the football against the Vikings.

It’s a positive in that pressure, even without production, is fundamentally changing the way offenses try to attack Zimmer’s defense.

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