Sunday, February 14, 2016

everson griffen

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The selection is the defensive end's first Pro Bowl appearance

Everson Griffen Pro Bowl
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

In Minnesota, Vikings fans have known for years that Everson Griffen would become a Pro Bowl player. He flashed the ability as a backup behind Jared Allen and shined as a full-time starter in 2014. Before his first season as the team’s premier pass rusher, Griffen signed a five-year, $42.5 million deal with the Vikings and has proven he’s worth every penny. This year, the six-year veteran recorded a team-high 10.5 sacks and earned the first Pro Bowl berth of his career, as announced on the team’s official website.

Griffen joins Adrian Peterson as one of two Vikings named to this year’s Pro Bowl roster. He replaces Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who will miss the game after undergoing offseason groin surgery. In addition to his double-digit sacks, Griffen recorded 44 tackles (34 solo), four defended passes, 30 quarterback hits, 14 tackles for loss, and one forced fumble.

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Vikings Post-Season Awards
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

If there’s one thing Minnesota Vikings fans can agree on, it’s that the 2015 season didn’t end as well as we all hoped (or thought) it would. At 11-5 and atop the NFC North, Mike Zimmer’s team surprised the NFL world, knocking off the Green Bay Packers to storm into the playoffs for the first time since 2009. But Blair Walsh’s missed last-second field goal ended what had been a promising campaign in Minnesota.

Fortunately, it was a season to remember, and a season to build upon in the coming years. With one of the league’s best coaches at the helm and a young roster built to last, the Vikings should stay competitive in 2016 and beyond. Before we jump too far into the offseason though, now presents the perfect opportunity to reflect on a memorable 2015.

We saw rookies outperform their draft positions and 30 year-old running backs lead the league in rushing. We saw a second-year quarterback shine, and often struggle behind a leaky offensive line. More importantly, we saw a team realize it’s potential and exceed expectations. To celebrate the successful season, we’re asking you to hand out awards to the most deserving Vikings. From the Most Valuable Player to the Rookie of the Year, the power to choose is in your hands. Without further ado, here are your VT post-season awards nominees:

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Everson Griffen
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

With the dust frost finally settling on the latest heartbreaking loss, Vikings fans are left with little else to do other than nickname their latest addition to the lore, and reflect back on the season that was. Some might even speculate on what could have been.

We’re going to have plenty of time for reflecting on the season as a whole, but right now we are narrowing our gaze to the playoff loss at TCF Bank Stadium at the hands of the defending NFC Champs.

As you can probably expect, given the complete void of touchdowns produced by the Vikings, this final batch of nominees is a tad defense-heavy. This is the final time, until September, that you’ll use your collective votes to bestow this heralded (by me) award upon one lucky Minnesota Viking.

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That was a less than ideal way for the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings to end the 2015 campaign. But let’s not lose the forest through the trees, this season was a damn good year and this young football team is ahead of schedule with Mike Zimmer. We went 11-5, won a division title, and will be in the mix as legitimate Super Bowl contenders next season. Take a while to let this game marinate, but not all is lost. This team’s best football is ahead of it.

Talking Points Include
• Was It Cold Out?
• Bud Grant is My Idol
• Blair Walsh is Not the Reason We Lost
• This is Not Adrian Peterson’s Team
• Free Teddy Bridgewater
• There Are OTHER Pieces on this Offense
• Offensive Line Needs to be Overhauled
• The Defense Was the MVP Today
• Trae Waynes was Impressive
• Josh Robinson was Not
• The Seahawks Did Everything to Lose the Game, We Gave Them a Gift
• Twitter and Facebook Questions
• Why 2016 Will Be HUGEEEEE
• Podcast Offseason Programming Plan

All this and other “WAS IT COLD OUT? I HAD NO IDEA.” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint

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Zimmer's blitzes could be the key for the Vikings on Sunday

Vikings Blitz Wilson
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Sifting through recent Seattle Seahawks game film, it’s difficult to find many weaknesses for the Minnesota Vikings to exploit. Russell Wilson is playing at MVP levels, especially as of late. In Seattle’s last seven games, he’s thrown 24 touchdown passes and just one interception, helping him finish the season as the first player in NFL history to record at least 4,000 passing yards, 30 passing touchdowns, and 500 rushing yards in a single season. Known more for his mobility than his ability from within the pocket, Wilson is thriving as a traditional pocket passer. This season, he’s posted a 118.6 passer rating when throwing from the pocket, which is higher than any qualifying quarterback in the past three years.

When the Vikings and Seahawks met last, Wilson hurt Mike Zimmer’s defense every which way. He scored one touchdown on the ground and threw another three, two of which were 20 or more yards down the field. That game kickstarted his stretch of All-Pro play and helped the Seahawks win six of their last seven games. But that game was also a lopsided affair, one that found the Vikings shorthanded on the defensive side of the ball. Missing three of their most important players — one at each level of the defense — the Vikings surrendered 433 yards to the Seahawks and allowed a season-high 38 points. Finally healthy and playing some of their best football, the Vikings have the chance to upset the Seahawks and win their first playoff game.

But how can they slow down Wilson and Seattle’s suddenly dangerous passing attack? It’s simple — put pressure on the quarterback and blitz.

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