Friday, June 24, 2016

everson griffen

by -
3
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

For the second straight week, the Minnesota Vikings will be without three of their top defenders. Linval Joseph, who was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday, is missing his third straight game since injuring his foot against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 12. Barr (hand/groin) and Smith (knee/hamstring) returned to the field against the Seattle Seahawks two weeks ago, but haven’t seen the field since leaving that game early in the first quarter.

Both Barr and Smith were ruled out on Friday, opening the door for two of the Vikings’ promising rookies — Edmond Robinson and Anthony Harris. Robinson played well in place of Barr against the Arizona Cardinals and Harris flashed his range in the secondary, breaking up a would-be touchdown to Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd.

A look at the rest of the team’s inactives:

by -
10

Vote for the player you think deserves the "Player of the Game" award for Week 14 at the Arizona Cardinals.

Teddy Bridgewater Week 14 Cardinals
Photo Courtesy of Vikings.com

The Thursday Night game threw us for a bit of a loop here at VT, as we’re creatures of habit and try to adhere to a schedule of weekly programming during the season. However, better late than never and we we refuse to miss a week where one of these Vikings players who worked so hard isn’t gifted the highly sought after Vikings Territory Player of the Game award.

There were a lot of new faces on the field Thursday night against the Cardinals. In fact, the Vikings started six rookies in Arizona – the most in Vikings history. They weren’t perfect, but the team showed a ton of fight and came just within reach of achieving a major upset against a Superbowl contender during prime time.

Though the Vikings didn’t come away with a win, there were quite a few impressive performances. Before we jump in to this week’s nominees, let’s recap our previous 13 awards this season.

by -
7
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The holiday season, as Andy Williams so famously sings each December, is “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The glimmering lights of a Christmas tree, the taste of fresh-baked sugar cookies, and the sound of jingle bells remind me of my childhood, when my only concern was what I’d put on my annual wish list to Santa. Did I want a scooter? A PS2? A pair of headphones? I made my list, and the big man in red always checked it twice, leaving unwrapped presents under the tree each Christmas.

The joy of Christmas doesn’t come from the gifts we receive, though. It’s the traditions, the quiet moments with family, and the act of giving that make Christmas so special for me. Whether we’re baking Grandma’s favorite cookies or watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation for the hundredth time, I’ll always cherish the memories I make each December with my closest family and friends. It’s this time of the year, in particular, that reminds me of the things I appreciate the most in my life.

Unfortunately, that anxious, greedy child in me lashes out when I think of the Minnesota Vikings. They’re 8-3, sitting alone atop the NFC North, and yet, I want more from my favorite football team. With Christmas just 24 days away and the stress of holiday shopping upon us, there’s no better time than the present to start a new tradition at Vikings Territory and share my grown-up, Vikings Christmas list with you. Hey, maybe Santa will deliver a few of these presents by season’s end.

by -
1
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The focus this week is understandably the Green Bay Packers, who will look to come to Minnesota, defeat the Vikings at a home, and pull half a game ahead in a tightly-contested NFC North divisional race. But before Lindsey and Brent break down the key offensive and defensive matchups tomorrow, I want to look back on last week’s victory over the Oakland Raiders.

While the Vikings excelled in a number of areas — the running game, pass defense, turnover differential — one stands out in particular, because it may be the key to the Vikings taking a two-game lead over the Packers — the pass rush.

Before they hosted the Vikings, Oakland’s offense line hadn’t given up a sack since Week 7 against the New York Jets. According to Football Outsiders, they’re the best pass protecting unit in the league, having allowed just 12 sacks this season (2.9% adjusted sack rate). The Vikings, though, exploited what’s been a stout group up front, combining aggressive first steps, solid technique, and Mike Zimmer’s varied looks to create confusion and havoc at the line of scrimmage.

They sacked Derek Carr twice and flushed him from the pocket a number of times, forcing the second-year quarterback into bad decisions and even poorer throws. That’s been the blueprint to beat Aaron Rodgers this season, and against the Packers’ 17th-ranked offensive line, Minnesota’s front-seven should have little trouble doing just that to No. 12.

by -
6
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Since Mike Zimmer’s arrival in Minnesota, the Vikings haven’t unlocked the door to beating Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. The door slammed in their faces last October, when Christian Ponder and Mike Zimmer’s young team lost 42-10 to the Packers in embarrassing fashion at Lambeau Field. It creaked open later in the year, when Teddy Bridgewater returned to the lineup and nearly beat Green Bay at home, 21-24.

Now, the key is in the Vikings’ hands, and they’re standing at the door ready to turn the handle. Sitting alone in first place and a game ahead of Green Bay, Sunday’s Week 11 matchup could be Minnesota’s greatest opportunity to win the NFC North since their historic 2009 season. To do that, though, they must stop Aaron Rodgers.

Linval Joseph spoke to reporters on Tuesday and expressed confidence as the team prepares for their toughest test yet. “He’s a very good quarterback, elite quarterback and in this league, you want to play against the best,” he said. On Sunday, Joseph will have the chance to sack Rodgers and lead the Vikings to a win. But against a quarterback like No. 12, it’ll take more than just sacks to pull out a victory. They’ll need Mike Zimmer’s best blitz packages, solid play from every cornerback, and a disciplined, yet aggressive pass rush for their eighth win of the season.

Get Social

2,859FansLike
378Subscribers+1
7,703FollowersFollow