Friday, June 23, 2017

everson griffen

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Where Do the Vikings Head From Here
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

[In part one of this three-part series, Austin Belisle and Brett Anderson team up to put together an in-depth offseason plan for the Minnesota Vikings.]

Football, more than any other sport, is an unpredictable game. A loose ball, a tipped pass, a broken tackle; the slightest shift in momentum or circumstance can flip competition on its head. Franchises prepare for the random nature of the game, but often fall victim to factors they can’t control.

Such was the case for the Minnesota Vikings in 2016. From Teddy Bridgewater’s knee injury to the merry-go-round at offensive line, the team struggled to bounce back in the face of adversity. Players on the defensive side of the ball underperformed, turmoil forced a turnover on the coaching staff, and Mike Zimmer’s eye blurred Minnesota’s season outlook.

Combined, the weekly distractions and diversions were too much for the Vikings to overcome. They stalled to an 8-8 finish after starting the season 5-0; missing the playoffs just one year removed from winning the NFC North. Like any team in the NFL, the Vikings had one end-goal in mind: the Super Bowl. But dreaming of a Lombardi Trophy and winning the actual game are two different things.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Our next installment of our Vikings Free Agency Primer series: The Defensive Ends

At first glance, defensive end is the least of the Vikings’ concerns heading into 2017. Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter, and Brian Robison are all under contract through next season, and the team’s only unrestricted free agent at the position—Justin Trattou—can likely be signed for the veteran’s minimum or replaced by another bargain player (Trattou appeared in all 16 games last season, but did not record a tackle).

The other Viking who could be a factor at defensive end is Stephen Weatherly. Weatherly appeared in just two games as a rookie, and it’s difficult to gauge if/how he’ll factor into the conversation in 2017.

From the outset, the Vikings look set at end; the rotation is comprised of three of the better players not just on the defense, but the entire team. But at closer examination, Robison’s contract and age, plus the emergence of Hunter, raise the question of whether the team will make a move to clear cap space and move the third-year phenom into the starting lineup.

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Minnesota Vikings 1500 ESPN KSTP Chris Long

The great Chris Long (@ChrisLongKSTP) swung by to join us for a spirited chat about the Vikings, the upcoming Super Bowl, and Sid Hartman apparently was part owner of the Minneapolis Lakers… We talked about if this was Teddy Bridgewater or Sam Bradford’s team going forward (from the player’s perspective), where and how much Adrian Peterson makes next year, how the evolution of college offenses have come at the expense of NFL offensive line play, why Laquon Treadwell may have struggled this season, and a whole lot more.

All that and more “Chad Greenway 2017?” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint

Wondering what to eat for the Super Bowl? Blue Door Pub has you covered with Super Bock IV!

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Linval Joseph Selected to First Pro Bowl
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings announced nose tackle Linval Joseph has been selected to the Pro Bowl as a replacement for the Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald. This is Joseph’s first selection to the Pro Bowl since entering the league as a second-round pick to the New York Giants in the 2010 NFL Draft.

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Sam Bradford's Brilliant Vikings Debut Stands Alone

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Yes, the Minnesota Vikings missed the 2016 postseason. And yes, it was an excruciatingly painful season to endure. But, as we have already noted during previous Top-5 lists, there were a number of standout efforts throughout the season.

The Vikings may have finished with an 8-8 record, but that didn’t stop them from racking up a bevy of outstanding single-game performances. In fact, one could argue that ranking only five individual efforts (plus an honorable mention) does not actually do justice to the number of outstanding games that Minnesota’s 53-man roster produced.

Given that the 2016 season saw four Vikings (initially) named to the Pro Bowl (Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes, Everson Griffen, Cordarrelle Patterson), included breakout seasons from Adam Thielen and Danielle Hunter (if his six-sack rookie year wasn’t enough, that is) and played host to Sam Bradford’s record-breaking season, it should come as little surprise that Minnesota’s rollercoaster campaign included an impressive list of individual game performances.

Also, be sure to check out our previous rankings, and keep an eye out for the remaining articles in our series highlighting the most thrilling Vikings moments from the 2016 season:

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