Monday, August 31, 2015

harrison smith

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Dave Schwartz (@Dave_Schwartz) of Kare 11 sports fame joins the show to talk about the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings, Bowties, and I explain what a PhunkeeDuck is.

Other “Uptown. PhunkeeDuck. Uptown PhunkeeDuck.” Talking Points Include:
• Whatever a PhunkeeDuck is, it looks stupid
• Amazon Shoutout to JP!
• Dave Schwartz
• Dave went to Hobart. Which is NOT Hogwarts
• Backstory, how did he get his start?
• Is sports news as fun as he makes it seem?
• Quick Wolves Chat: Karl-Anthony Towns + Tyus Jones #OneOfUs
• Oddest Vikings offseason he’s covered?
• What it was like covering “Favre Watch”
• Visanthe Shiancoe eats chicken wings weird
• Thoughts on the Adrian Saga Wrapping Up
• Second chance for Adrian Peterson
• What to expect from Teddy in 2015
• Cordarrelle Patterson is boom or bust this year
• Thoughts on the Draft
• Biggest question mark remaining: Offensive Line
• Biggest Surprise So Far: Mike Wallace
• Dave’s STONE COLD HOT TAKE
• The Gauntlet
• Do Adam Thielen & Marcus Sherels have to worry?
• Dave compares his hockey game to Matt Cooke. Take note, #WildTwitter
• Josh Robinson’s Social Media Gaff
#BuyDavesTies for Parkinsons Research

All that and other “6 Weeks Til Training Camp Seems Like a Lifetime” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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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Andy: Right Guard and Safety [Not Named Harrison]
With Fusco shifting to the left side, it’s been a gong show of potential right guard suitors with second-year Papa Yank rotating in with the two rookies Tyrus Thompson and TJ Clemmings. Clemmings seemed to be the favorite before OTAs, but now it’s anyone’s game. What is nice is the depth of young competition at what was a problem position group last season due to injury and ineptitude.

At the safety opposite Harrison, I’m just looking for anyone who passes the BTB (Better-Than-Blanton) Scale (patent pending). Boxscore scouts overrate Blanton because of his high tackle numbers, but we Vikings fans know. It’s easy to pad your tackle stats when your man is wide open and catches it in front of you. I’m not sure if Sendejo is anything more than a good special teamer at this point. Taylor Mays is a Zimmer guy, but he has always been a liability in coverage. But my two love interests are second-year man (and special teams penalty hobbyist) Antone Exum and undrafted free agent Anthony Harris. Like the guard spot, we have some young depth. May the best man win. Or at least pass the BTB Scale.

Brett: Strong Safety
Though there are multiple intriguing position battles as the Vikings prepare to head to training camp, I think the most interesting is at strong safety. I’m higher than most on Robert Blanton but would be lying if I told you I believe he’s the long-term answer opposite Harrison Smith. The Vikings drafted Antone Exum last year and picked up UDFA Anthony Harris this year. Both guys should push Blanton for a starting spot, especially if Blanton continues to be plagued by injuries. The unexpected release of Taylor Mays the morning of the first day of mini-camp means it’s up to one of the two younger challengers to unseat Blanton and break up the Fighting Irish tandem currently at safety.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Maybe the football gods were trying to tell us something this morning when they aired the Vikings-Packers MNF game from November 6, 2000; the game where Brett Favre heaved a pass down the field that was seemingly broken up, but miraculously hauled in by a falling Antonio Freeman. If you need to jog your memory, here’s the play:

His catch sealed an overtime victory for the Packers and stands as one of the worst examples of secondary play by any Vikings team. More than that, it’s a reminder that the Vikings have been a historically sub par defense against the pass — most notably in the past 20 years. Remember when Josh McCown (THAT Josh McCown) knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs in 2003? Remember the Vikings’ 31st-ranked pass defense in 2013?

Things are looking up in Mike Zimmer’s current secondary, though. Take last season for example; the unit improved to 7th-best pass defense in the league, allowing just under 225 yards per game. Their quick turnaround can be attributed to Zimmer’s scheme and the improved play of two key players — cornerback Xavier Rhodes and free safety Harrison Smith.

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