Saturday, July 4, 2015

everson griffen

Bridgewater Minicamp 2015

[Editor’s Note: As you all know, it’s important to us at Vikings Territory to provide a platform for voices other than ours to be heard through Guest Posts. This time around, we’re welcoming back an old friend, Branden Lemke, who wanted to do a series of five bold Vikings predictions headed into next season. Today, we’re posting predictions #5 and #4. Check back in the near future for the rest of his predictions. You can follow Branden on Twitter at @BrandenLemkeMN and make sure to be on the lookout for his new blog launching in the near future.]

Let me start by saying I couldn’t be more pleased to be back contributing to Vikings Territory with Adam and Brett. I took a long break from sports writing in general for personal reasons, but decided it was time to start up again. For those who don’t know me, I used to work with Adam at Vikings Gab, and then with Adam and Brett here at Vikings Territory for a short period a few years ago. I have a new Vikings blog launching this summer with Jake Schroer, so be sure to keep an eye out for that as well!

Bold Prediction #5: Teddy Bridgewater Eclipses 4,500 yards, 25 touchdowns.

Needless to say, there are no question marks at quarterback this year for the Minnesota Vikings. (That sure feels good to say after struggling to find a long term quarterback for about a decade.) Although Bridgewater’s numbers themselves last year (2,919 yards, 14 touchdowns, 12 interceptions) were nothing statistically shocking, he clearly showed that he has what it takes to be a leader for years to come. He boasted a completion percentage of 64.4% and a league leading 75% under pressure – all without playing the entire season.

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Last month we looked at some offensive players and predicted stat leaders, so now we’ll dive into the defensive end of the field.

Which Players Will Lead the Vikings in Sacks for the 2015 Season? 

Adam: Everson Griffen
Everson Griffen was the leader in 2014 and it wasn’t even close. The Vikings did a lot to help their defense this offseason, particularly in the Draft, but none of those additions should do anything other than help Griffen’s pass rushing production. While the defensive tackles and linebackers will rotate to stay fresh, the pass rushing attack will again center around Griffen who might find himself in a position to be even more aggressive in 2015. Health has a ton to do with it, and Anthony Barr might take a huge step forwards, but I still see this season ending with Griffen as the sack champ of Minnesota.

Andy: Anthony Barr
Conventional wisdom says Everson Griffen will lead the way and continue to build on last year’s coming out party of 12.0 sacks, but I’m going to bet on youth and Anthony Barr. He’s a physical specimen heading into only his fourth year of playing defense and second under Mike Zimmer. Barr started slow his rookie year, but picked up a lot of steam before getting injured and finishing the season with only 4.0 sacks. I think a full-offseason and a year of good health could not only double that number, but possibly triple or quadruple.

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The Vikings currently have 89 players on their 90-man roster. Since everything on the interest nowadays is lists and rankings, we’re going to rank the currently Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings players 1-89 on today’s show! I’ve devised a ranking system dubbed The Andy Scale (The AS) to suit our purposes. It is HIGHLY scientific.

There are seven factors that go into The AS. They are:
• Predicted 2015 Impact
• Estimated Future with the Vikings
• Ceiling
• Attitude
• Health
• Zimmer Doghouse Ability
• The Grandma Factor

All the categories will be explained in depth and the scores & rankings of all 89 Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings will be revealed on ONE episode (we don’t chunk it out like some TV shows) on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Before the start of the 2014 season, Rick Spielman rewarded defensive end Everson Griffen with a five-year, $42.5 million contract. Looking back at the deal, “rewarded” may be the wrong word; Griffen had started just one game in his four years with the team, recording just 17.5 sacks in spot duty behind Jared Allen.

But, Griffen showed flashes of a potentially bright future — an interception return for a touchdown against the Rams in 2012, 5.5 sacks in just 699 snaps throughout 2013. Spielman gambled on that future, letting Jared Allen walk in free agency and trusting his roster talent. His commitment to Griffen was more than trust; it was a ringing, $20 million guaranteed endorsement.

Simply put, Griffen delivered in 2014, recording 12 sacks through 16 starts (993 snaps). To the media outside of Winter Park, Griffen’s meteoric rise was unexpected. He earned national recognition, most recently from Pro Football Focus, who listed Griffen as the 98th-best player in all of football. According to the website, Griffen’s 59 quarterback disruptions while lined up on the right side of the line were second most of all 4-3 defensive ends.

That statistic is the perfect opportunity to move down the defensive line and focus on Griffen’s counterpart; Brian Robison. Griffen is a lock to man the right edge for years to come, but Robison’s days may soon be numbered. He’s 32-years-old and played in 932 of the defense’s snaps last year, but saw his production dwindle.

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