Sunday, February 7, 2016

harrison smith

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Teddy Bridgewater has won this heralded (by me) award two weeks in a row, and it was a landslide last week, but he’ll be in for a little tougher competition this week, I suspect.

The 49-17 shellacking of the visibly uninspired New York Giants featured a ton of impressive performances for the Vikings. It really was a team win, and despite all the great stats and highlights to come out of it, picking just one player to anoint as “the best” of the week might be tougher than I imagined.

Here are this week’s nominees…

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It's time we view the Vikings as contenders

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

It’s Déjà vu all over again for the Minnesota Vikings, who for the second time this season, will look to defeat the Green Bay Packers in their most important game of the year. The last time these two teams met, the Vikings were riding a five-game win streak, while the Packers were trudging through a three-game slide. It seemed, at last, that the Vikings were primed to dethrone the Packers from the top of the NFC North! Right? Wrong.

Minnesota lost that Week 11 game, falling 30-13 at home to their biggest rival. Since that eye-opening defeat, they’ve fallen behind the Packers in the division. But, next Sunday night, they’ll have a chance to knock Green Bay out of the top spot and secure the NFC’s third playoff seed. Whether they win or lose on Sunday Night Football, the Vikings are guaranteed a playoff spot; their victory over the New York Giants secured a postseason berth for the first time since 2012. But knowing Zimmer’s win-first mentality and steadfast approach to his franchise, the Vikings want and need to claim the division to be satisfied.

How can they do that? It starts by “righting the wrongs” from the team’s first meeting. Most notably, pressuring Aaron Rodgers and winning the turnover battle — a strategy they failed to execute in November. Yesterday, the Arizona Cardinals did just that to Rodgers and the Packers offense, sacking the quarterback nine times and creating four turnovers. The Vikings experienced similar defensive success against the Giants last night, and it’s a formula that can assuredly bring Minnesota their first NFC North title since 2009:

“When you create turnovers and you put pressure on the quarterback, good things typically happen. I thought we put good pressure on the quarterback tonight. I thought we got him to make some bad throws and we took advantage of it. The three interceptions we had were all huge.” — Mike Zimmer

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Our Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings secured their spot in the playoffs tonight with an emphatic win 49-17 over the New York Giants. The Vikes defense feasted on Eli Manning while Teddy Bridgewater continued his high level of play. The Purple’s task is clear: Win next Sunday in Lambeau and win the division and a home Wild Card round playoff game. Let’s. Go.

We In Da Tourney Talking Points Include
• Playoffs, Homeboy
• The Non-Existent Primetime Curse
• The Zimmer Hellfire Defense is Healthy
• The Giants DGAF
• Teddy Continues to Roll
• Adrian’s Gonna Win the Rushing Title
• #FreeMcKinnon
• Props to Kyle Rudolph
• Offensive Line Hodge Podge
• Danielle Hunter is Ahead of Schedule
• Blair Walsh if Redic
• Mission: Win The North
• Flex Appeal – Vikings/Packers on SNF
• I Love Nick Swardson
• Listener Mailbag

All this and other “You hear that? We just picked Eli again.” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint

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Teddy's all smiles before tonight's game

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

If the scores in the Packers and Seahawks games hold, the Vikings will need a win against the New York Giants to clinch a playoff berth this week. Fortunately for Minnesota, the matchup on paper appears to favor the Vikings, who are getting healthy at just the right time of the season. Defensive starters Linval Joseph, Anthony Barr, and Harrison Smith are all active for tonight’s game and will take the field in less than two hours.

Barr is making his return from a nagging groin injury, one he re-aggravated against the Seattle Seahawks three weeks ago. Smith appeared in that game as well, but left early in the first quarter with a hamstring injury. Joseph injured his foot against the Atlanta Falcons and could have played last week, but needed one more week of rest to get to full strength. Smart, considering the Vikings are all-but-guaranteed a playoff spot with one win in their next two games.

Adrian Peterson suffered a minor ankle injury against the Chicago Bears last week, but was listed as probable on Friday and will start tonight. With the Packers losing, the Vikings will travel to Lambeau Field in Week 17 for an NFC North title game regardless of the outcome tonight. Hopefully, the inactives list remains starter-free for another week:

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The path for the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings is clear: Win Two Games, Win The North. To do that the Purple will have to win in prime time and beat the Packers, things that have been sparse as of late (just ask #VikingsTwitter). The Odell Beckham-less New York Football Giants stand in the way first (although the issue was up in the air during recording). We welcome Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) back into the friendly confines to talk about Gotham vs Twin Cities.

Other topics include how the Vikings got completely messed over in the Pro Bowl voting because fans are sheep, why Ron Jaworski is NOT a premier source for breaking news, if Teddy Bridgewater can keep playing the best ball of his career, how the Giants are basically the Browns without OBJ and Arif and I hand out presents to the team. Because ’tis the season or something.

All this and other “Andre Williams is the worst running back I’ve ever seen in my life” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

Read all of Arif’s stuff at The Daily Norseman and Vikings Journal as well as listen to his podcast Norse Code.

An Andy Carlson Joint

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