Monday, August 29, 2016

jerick mckinnon

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Adrian Peterson Working Out
Adrian Peterson working out in Texas this offseason - Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Last week, against Seattle, I think everybody in the Vikings Territory writers room perked their ears up when a first quarter pass doinked off the hands of Jerick McKinnon and fell incomplete. Why? Well, let’s just say an argument about whether or not Adrian Peterson is actually “one-dimensional” had just taken place, so McKinnon’s miscue made for easy fodder for one side of that fight to use as ammo.

Of course, any “fights” our writers have are in the spirit of good fun and further understanding of this team we all love. This one got a little tense, I won’t lie, but that had more to do with my choice of the words – “lazy group-think narrative” – than anything else.

So, yes, there it is. Half the cat is out of the bag. I believe that Adrian Peterson is not nearly as one-dimensional as everybody else believes he is.

Here’s why.

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OPEN THE GATES (For Football That Doesn't Count) [PODCAST]

The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings officially (kinda) open up US Bank Stadium Sunday at noon as they welcome in the Los Angeles Chargers of Anaheim San Diego Super Chargers for an afternoon of full speed football that doesn’t count. Teddy Bridgewater says he’s playing. Adrian Peterson says he’s not. Still a few positons and roster spots up for grabs before the team has to whittle the roster down to 75 by 4pm ET on Thursday. We discuss some of those items as well as what we want to figure out about this new behemoth of a stadium.

SWAG! Order up your own Purple FTW! T-Shirt and The Greatest Hoodie of All-Time. Hoodie orders get two FREE Minnesota Renaissance Festival tickets (while supplies last).

Today’s Brand New Toy Talking Points Include:
• How’s Teddy Gonna Look?
• Adrian’s Not Playing in the Preseason
• Who’s Going to Start at Center?
• What’s The Wide Receiver Order Going to Be?
• Can the Running Game Get Going?
• Can the Offensive Line Protect?
• Will Moritz Boehringer be a 75-Man Cut?
• The Health of Kendricks, Floyd, Xavier, Barr
• Can the Defense Still be Elite with Missing Pieces?
• Who’s Going to Be on the Roster at Safety?
• Will the “Gates” Be Open?
• How is the Sun Going to Play?
• Will Some Players Get a Stay of Execution?
• How Loud Can US Bank Stadium Get?

All that and other “On My Mark…. Open the Doors.” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint

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Vikings Know Chargers' Weaknesses
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Everson Griffen said it best after sacking San Diego Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers last season: “I know you better than you know yourself!” The Minnesota Vikings defensive end was mocking left tackle King Dunlap, who’d fallen victim to one of Griffen’s vicious spin moves.

It was one of the Vikings’ four sacks that day, a Week 3 outing that saw Minnesota dominate the Chargers up front. On 38 drop backs, Rivers was pressured 12 times and hurried countless others. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer blitzed his way to 31-14 victory, harassing Rivers and the Chargers offense into submission.

On offense, Adrian Peterson ran roughshod through San Diego’s defense, rumbling for 126 yards and two touchdowns. His efforts, combined with those of an aggressive defense, set the stage for Minnesota’s winning ways in 2015. The Vikings would lean on Peterson and Zimmer’s defense the rest of the season, finishing with an 11-5 record and NFC North title. It’s a formula the Vikings will continue to adapt as they prepare for the 2016 season.

But first, a rematch of sorts with the Chargers, who come to town as the team’s first official opponent in U.S. Bank Stadium. And though it’s only a preseason game, it’s the third of Minnesota’s four-week tune-up; the game that most closely resembles the atmosphere of the regular season.

In the Chargers, the Vikings have an all-too-familar opponent. A year has passed since the last meeting, but both franchises remain on the same respective paths; the Vikings on their way to the NFC playoffs and the Chargers grasping to whatever greatness is left in Rivers’ right arm. A look at the tape from last week’s preseason action highlights just how familiar this matchup feels.

“I know your weakness!”

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Adrian Peterson has been a once in a lifetime type of running back during his career the Minnesota Vikings. He has led the NFL in rushing yards three times (2008, 2012, 2015), won a league MVP award (2012), and is just three more scores away from becoming the ninth player in NFL history to rush for at least 100 career touchdowns.

But even with all the success that Peterson has had, some know that there are still plenty of aspects of his game that he could improve upon. One person that would agree with that statement is the running back’s own head coach, Mike Zimmer.

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Opponent Spotlight — Preseason Week 2

Vikings Meet Their Match
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Twenty seven yards and a few feet is all that separates the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks. Had Blair Walsh made that fateful field goal last January, the Vikings would be playing the role of older brother. Instead, they’re forced to look up and admire all that the Seahawks have accomplished in a few short year; a Super Bowl title, NFC West domination, and unmatched home field advantage.

But a closer look reveals the Vikings and Seahawks to be more “twin” than “stepbrother.” From their defensive-minded head coaches to their ground-first approaches on offense, the newfound NFC rivals share plenty in common. Before the teams’ playoff matchup last season, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll acknowledged the parallels between Minnesota and Seattle; particularly, between himself and Vikings ‘captain’ Mike Zimmer.

“There’s such a similarity in the formula that we both represent as defensive guys and former coordinators,” Carroll said, per Vikings.com. “I really appreciate it because I see — because we’ve been successful at putting out this formula of playing defense and special teams and the running game, and they’re doing the same thing.”

In some regards, Zimmer has built his team in the same mold as the Seahawks. The defense is relatively simple, but that simplicity allows his players to react more quickly than most defensive units. The offense controls the clock and pace of the game through the run. And on the sidelines, Zimmer coaches with a unique personality; one that defines his roster much in the way Carroll’s does in Seattle. These are all traits that could describe the Seahawks, but the Vikings are a distinctly “Zimmer” team, built to match Seattle in any environment.

Tonight, the franchises reunite for the first time since playing in the third-coldest game in NFL history. While the stakes may not be as high, there are certainly motivating factors that make this game worth a watch. It’s a preseason tilt, but if both teams meet expectations during the regular season, a playoff rematch isn’t out of the question. Thus, it’s critical to understand what makes the Seahawks ‘tick.’

In the first “Opponent Spotlight” of the year, we’ll analyze tape from the opposing team’s most recent game; identifying concepts, schemes, and strategies the Vikings must master come Sunday morning (or in this case, Thursday night).

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