Saturday, July 4, 2015

harrison smith

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The latest lost, at the hands of the Lions, at least provided fans with a slightly higher quality of individual performances than what was seen in the previous week against the Packers.  In Week Five, Harrison Smith barely edged out the “none” option in our Player of the Game poll here at VT.

This week’s 17-3 loss to Detroit featured an expensive offensive line playing so poorly that it pretty much sabotaged the other efforts of this Vikings team.  Given that the offense turned the ball over three times (all Teddy Bridgewater interceptions), it is hard to argue that giving up only 17 points was a testament to Mike Zimmer’s defense, even including the fact that they benefited from two missed field goals.

Past Winners:

WEEK ONE:  Cordarrelle Patterson

WEEK TWO: Harrison Smith

WEEK THREE:  Harrison Smith

WEEK FOUR: Teddy Bridgewater

WEEK FIVE:  Harrison Smith

This week’s nominations are:

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Sorry for the delay on getting this out.  My Adrian Peterson hangover combined with my Thursday Night Football hangover has suddenly made other things feel like a higher priority… like raking leaves, taking naps, and finally watching Draft Day (dreadful).  My excuses have run out, however, so here we are.

After plenty of time to digest the debacle against the Packers I have determined that the Vikings looked exactly like something that has been fully digested.  It is a struggle to point to any individual performances from that game that are “Player of the Game” worthy.  Even in bad losses that is an unusual occurrence, but this game was an extra special flavor of bad.  That is why “none” is actually a legitimate option in this week’s poll.

Past Winners:

WEEK ONE:  Cordarrelle Patterson

WEEK TWO: Harrison Smith

WEEK THREE:  Harrison Smith

WEEK FOUR: Teddy Bridgewater

This week’s nominations are…

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Our previous polls have awarded “Player of the Game” honors to:

WEEK ONE:  Cordarrelle Patterson

WEEK TWO:  Harrison Smith

WEEK THREE:  Harrison Smith

After a Week Four team win against the Atlanta Falcons, we have some new names to throw into the mix, which is an encouraging development considering the injuries and other issues facing this roster.  A lot to choose from here, so weigh your options carefully.  The nominees are:

TEDDY BRIDGEWATER:  Man, the kid looked sharp, didn’t he?  Aside from looking the part, Bridgewater led the Vikings to one of their best offensive performances in recent memory, which ended in a 41-28 victory over Atlanta.  He ended the day prematurely with an ankle injury that will also put his Thursday night status in jeopardy.  Before exiting, however, he threw 19 completions on 30 attempts for 317 yards and a quarterback rating of 98.9.  He didn’t throw for any touchdowns, but he had a beauty of a run that resulted in score.  Bridgewater ran a total of five times for 27 yards/

JERICK MCKINNON:  With Adrian Peterson on a couch somewhere, it was nice to see the offensive line and reserve running backs step up to the plate on a very productive afternoon.  Jerick “Jet” McKinnon showed his athleticism on Sunday with 135 yards on 18 carries (7.5 yard average).  He also had a single catch (on three targets) for 17 yards.

MATT ASIATA:  This is a guy that may not have the home run potential that McKinnon does, but he did his job on Sunday, and did it well.  Asiata carried the ball 20 times for 78 yards (3.9 yard average) and scored three times from inside the red zone.  Asiata also caught three of his four targets and contributed 22 receiving yards.

JARIUS WRIGHT:  If you are going to pick an offensive player for your vote, it is pretty tough to look past Jarius Wright.  With attention being paid to Cordarrelle Patterson and Greg Jennings, Wright was the go-to guy as evidenced by his team leading eight receptions for 132 yards.

JOHN SULLIVAN:  Maybe this option should read “the entire offensive line” after they dominated the Falcons front four all day long, but the group was led by their best player in center John Sullivan.  Sullivan and company provided Bridgewater with a clean pocket nearly the entire time, with no sacks being allowed, and played a major role in the rushing production enjoyed by Asiata and McKinnon.

XAVIER RHODES:  It is becoming increasingly clear that Rhodes is a liability against shifty route runners, like Julian Edelman, but is absolutely capable of containing the big, strong receivers that the NFL has to offer.  Rhodes was all over the field, deflecting a whopping four passes, and adding a nice run stop behind the line of scrimmage.  The Falcons gained plenty of yardage through the air, but it could have been much worse, as defensive backs of Vikings past can attest.

HARRISON SMITH:  The Vikings have two wins this season, and in each of them Harrison Smith has delivered a “dagger” interception late in the action.  After a 2013 season where the Vikings seemingly had no ability to close out a winnable game, this is so welcomed.  Smith also had six total tackles, five of which where of the solo variety.


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While not as difficult as last week, it still seems somewhat silly to try and select a highlight player from a game that featured so much bad.

Alas, we will try. For the second straight week, the Vikings suffered a difficult loss. Despite holding a Saints offense that is historically prolific at home to 20 points, the Vikings offense could not muster anything other than three field goals for 9 points. The biggest news from the game is that the Teddy Bridgewater era has officially begun. After Matt Cassel suffered multiple fractured bones in his foot during a scramble in the second quarter, Bridgewater was forced to take control of a struggling Vikings offense and attempt a comeback on the road in the Superdome. All things considered, he performed well and showed a lot of poise against a defense that smelled blood in the water and pressured the rookie hard in his first start.

I know who I’d pick for the Player of the Game, but we’ll leave the decision up to you. Vote below for who you feel deserves the “game ball.”

Harrison Smith: #22 showed once again that he is a special talent and could very well be the best player on the Vikings current starting roster. He had multiple pass break ups, some great tackles and generally just seemed to be all over the field. Unfortunately, there was one PBU that he most definitely should have taken the other way but couldn’t bring it in. Still, another great game from the Vikings young safety.

Teddy Bridgewater: The future is now. As far as I’m concerned the rest of this season is about watching one #5 take snaps under center. The situation was less than ideal, our offensive line looked like a sieve, our receivers couldn’t get any separation, our running game was atrocious, and yet, Bridgewater stood in the pocket (or ran from it) and looked like he belonged there. Not much more you could ask from a rookie QB in his first regular season action in the NFL. Teddy ended the game 12/20 for 150 yards, 0 touchdowns and 0 interceptions and ran for 27 yards on 6 attempts.

Anthony Barr: The rookie linebacker registered 2 tackles, 3 assists and 1 sack (his NFL career first) in this game. Not a stat line that’s going to knock anyone over but, in general, Anthony Barr looked good during today’s game. He’s been better than expected in his coverage and has shown flashes of greatness where his athleticism allows him to shine. Barr most definitely has some growing to do but has shown why he was worthy of a first round selection so far. (Of course, he could always pull a Kalil…)

Captain Munnerlyn: For sacking the quarterback of the cheatin’ Saints (even if it did result in a horrible call that very well could have cost the Vikings the game).

Cordarrelle Patterson: This is a reach. But, there’s still that feeling you get that he could go all the way anytime he touches the ball. So, Norv Turner, let Patterson touch the ball more! Patterson had 5 touches in this game: 4 receptions and 1 disastrous end around for a total of 54 yards. As far as I’m concerned, that’s about 10 touches too few. (Can we bring back the Randy Ratio? But, you know, for Patterson?)

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That headline feels like it should end with a question mark, doesn’t it?

As we all know, the Minnesota Vikings put up their first stinker on Sunday, in front of the TCF Bank Stadium.  They had no answers for Julian Edelman, were prone to stupid penalties, and suffered from very poor quarterback play after the first drive of the game.

Finding “Player of the Game” nominations has been an interesting task, but I really want to do this every week.  Here they are:

CORDARRELLE PATTERSON:  I was perplexed as to why Patterson was so under-utilized in this game (he got no carries), but he did lead the Vikings in receiving yards (56), including a 26 yarder that was the longest play from scrimmage the Vikings had all day.  He also returned one kick for 23 yards.

JASPER BRINKLEY:  As is his style, Brinkley made a few quality downhill plays against the Patriots on Sunday, and he ended up leading the team in solo tackles (8) and total tackles (11).

HARRISON SMITH:  This guy should probably win, and probably will, as he was the only player that looked the exact opposite of “sluggish” all game long.  Smith played like the firecracker we’ve learned to expect out of him on his way to seven solo tackles (eight total).

JEFF LOCKE:  He couldn’t bring down Chandler Jones to avoid the score on the blocked field goal at the end of the first half, but he seemed to at least try.  Locke averaged 45.6 yards on five punting attempts.

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