Thursday, July 30, 2015

jerick mckinnon

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I know he is now three teams removed from being a Minnesota Viking, but for this hack blogger that named his dog after the 2009 Offensive Rookie of the Year, I can’t help but keep tabs on Percy Harvin’s NFL career.

Harvin left the Vikings via trade with a cloud of rumors and reports hanging over his head that indicated he was a bigger headache than the organization was willing to put up with. Then he was traded away from Seattle under suspiciously similar circumstances.

The reputation Harvin carries with him earned him the award of being Sports Illustrated‘s “most hated player in the locker room.”

“Seattle traded him to the Jets shortly after, and there weren’t a lot of unhappy folks in the Seahawks’ locker room when that happened,” reads the article.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

After yesterday’s surprise contract restructure, Adrian Peterson likely woke up today the happiest member of the Minnesota Vikings. He’ll earn $13 million guaranteed in 2015 and another $7 million guaranteed in 2016, bringing his guaranteed total to $20 million through 2017. It’s an exceptional deal for a player nearing the twilight of his career, and a deal that will keep one of the Vikings’ most important players in Minnesota for at least two more years.

Like Peterson, Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner has to be excited for the start of the season. When he joined Mike Zimmer’s staff, Turner envisioned “getting the field spread” for Peterson and creating more opportunities in the passing game and running game for the veteran. In 2009, Peterson hauled in a career-high 43 receptions, and Turner’s system will likely help the nine-year veteran eclipse that mark in 2015.

Without Peterson for the majority of the 2014 season, Turner relied on Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata to carry the load. The two combined for 1,108 yards rushing and nine touchdowns on the year, with each providing a different element to the running attack. Asiata is a straight-line runner and goal line specialist, while McKinnon is the prototypical change-of-pace back, able to make plays on quick hitting run plays and passes out of the backfield.

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Photo Courtesy of Sam Ekstrom

US Bank Stadium, the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings new stomping grounds, is flying through construction and the new addition to the Minneapolis skyline is nearing completion. We had our man Sam Ekstrom (@SamEkstrom) — Cold Omaha and 105 The Ticket — back on the show to talk about his recent media tour of the new digs as well as squawk about our favorite local professional football team as the Vikings are set to invade Mankato at the end of the week.

Counting Down the Days Topics Include
• No Vikings arrests so far this “offseason”
Purple FTW! T-Shirt Available for Pre-Order!
Amazon, Baby
• No Vikings arrests so far this “offseason”
• ESPN is becoming a daytime infomercial
• Media Tour of US Bank Stadium (aka The USB)
• New features of the stadium taking shape
• Ultra-lounges? Cool.
• Say something nice about Mankato
• What’s the buzz heading into training camp?
• Will any safety (besides Harrison) pass the BTB (Better-Than-Blanton) Scale?
• How will the offensive line battle shape up? #TeamAustinShepherd
• Will Babatunde Aiyegbusi make the 53?
• Wide receivers: Who will make the cut? #TeamThielen
• Cordarrelle = Josh Cribbs until further notice
• NFC North: Who do you fear?
• “Russell Wilson probably has a necklace of ears”
• McKinnon’s usage with Adrian back?
• Sam’s STONE COLD HOT TAKE 2.0 (This one is HOTTTTT)
• Surprise cut of camp will be who?
• Surprise riser of camp will be who?
• Do we care that the Pluto mission cost less than the new stadium?
• I got followed by Blanton on Twitter
• What’s coming up from Cold Omaha?

All that and other “This is the only camping I like” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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Image Courtesy of Andy Carlson's Wok

I was multi-tasking today and got Uncle Nick (@nickasun) on the phone to ask me Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings related questions while I cooked some homemade General Tso’s Chicken & Lo-mein. Yes. This really happened and it turned out damn good. The food that is!

Sweet & Spicy Questions Include…
• Which team or teams outside the NFC north poses the biggest threat?
• What do you think will be the Vikings record verses the NFC north this season
• Which quarterback will have a better statistical record this year? Teddy Bridgewater or Russell Wilson
• Will the home record be better or worse this year compared to last? (5-3) last year
• Which Viking will receive the most yards? Receiving touchdowns?
• Who will be the better back up RB? McKinnon, Asiata, Banyard?
• Most points Vikings will score in a regular season game?
• Who will last longer with the Vikings? Wilfs, Zimmer or Spielman?
• Which player seems to be most likely traded mid-season?

All that and other “Kikkoman soy sauce is the ONLY soy sauce” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

In this four-part series leading up to training camp, I’ll be profiling the Vikings you should target in your fantasy football leagues this year. Look for new additions every Thursday and Friday the next few weeks and stay tuned for a bonus selection at the end!

Adrian Peterson, RB — Minnesota Vikings

Adrian Peterson hasn’t had the best luck with quarterbacks. Since being selected 7th-overall in the 2007 NFL Draft, Peterson’s starting quarterbacks include (in chronological order): Tarvaris Jackson, Gus Frerotte, Brett Favre, Christian Ponder, and Matt Cassel. Save Favre’s magical 2009 season, Peterson has succeeded in the face of terrible quarterback play, rushing for 10,190 yards and 86 touchdowns in his eight-year career.

With such a lack of talent at the position, it’s no surprise that defenses stacked the box with eight, and even nine defenders at times. According to Pro Football Focus, Peterson faced an eight man box on 34.48% of his attempts in 2013, his most recent 16-game season. Despite the odds, Peterson finished the year with 1,266 yards on the ground while averaging 4.6 yards per carry (slightly lower than his 5.0 career average).

What’s missing in this discussion is the quarterback situation TODAY. Peterson hasn’t taken a regular season snap with Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota’s prodigal son and quarterback savior. After the first game of the 2014 season, Peterson was suspended and missed an opportunity to line up behind Bridgewater, who went on to cement himself as the team’s starting quarterback. The rookie finished the year with 14 touchdowns, a 64.4 percent completion percentage, and an above-average quarterback rating of 85.2.

The newfound success at the position opens up opportunities in the running game, as outlined by NFL.com’s Alex Gelhar in an article published following Norv Turner’s hiring:

“Turner runs a version of the Air Coryell offense, which tries to force the defense to defend the entire field through a combination of mid- to deep-range passing routes and a power running game. The offense sends players in motion to create space and allow them to avoid being jammed at the line of scrimmage so their deeper routes have time to develop. Ideal personnel include a fast receiver able to win deep jump balls, a pass-catching tight end capable of stretching the middle of the field, and a power back able to grind out yards between the tackles and catch the ball in space.”

Peterson fits the bill of a “power back able to grind out yards between the tackles”, but he’s never been known as a pass-catcher. In his eight seasons, Peterson’s career-highs receiving the ball are 43 catches (2009), 436 yards (2009), and 1 touchdown (multiple years). When Turner was hired to be the Vikings’ offensive coordinator, he made it clear he wanted to get Peterson involved in the passing game. “I would expect Adrian Peterson to catch 50/60 balls next year,” he told KFAN. Although the plan didn’t come to fruition, it should be a goal in place for a coach whose running back units have averaged 104 receptions per season and totaled 31 receiving touchdowns.

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