Friday, December 9, 2016

joe berger

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What Went Wrong: Week 10

Third and a Long One Yard
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Down a point to the Pittsburgh Steelers with nine seconds remaining, Ezekiel Elliott burst through the line of scrimmage and carried the Dallas Cowboys to an improbable win. His 32-yard touchdown sealed the game for Dallas, launching himself and the Cowboys into the NFL’s rarified air.

Last season, the Minnesota Vikings experienced similar joy — albeit, in a losing game — from Adrian Peterson. Down 10 to the Denver Broncos, facing a fourth-and-one in the fourth quarter, Teddy Bridgewater handed the ball to Peterson. Minnesota’s All-Pro running back exploded through a crease and jaunted to the end zone for a 48-yard touchdown, pulling the Vikings within three.

Fast forward to the present day, and such short-yardage situations aren’t a gimmie for the current Vikings offense. Gone are the days of a push by the offensive line and decisive running between the tackles. Sure, the Vikings try to play “power football,” but the results have been alarmingly disappointing.

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The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings were humbled Sunday for their first loss of the season, but the fanbase still believes head coach Mike Zimmer can Make the Vikings Great Again. To help me explain how is 1500 ESPN’s Gruesome Twosome Derek Wetmore and Phil Mackey. They joined me at Blue Door Pub University to talk some Vikes and eat some burgers (except Phil who’s doing the Whole 30 thing.)

What can be done about the offensive line (if anything)? Pete Carroll’s comments were taken EXTREMELY out of context, right? Plus a couple of random Brett Favre takes, media critiques, and a little role playing for a Sam Bradford press conference. #Chorizo

All that and more “Halloween is a Dumb Holiday But Join Us Monday at Blue Door, Details Below” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint

SWAG! Order The GREATEST T-SHIRT OF ALL-TIME

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Minnesota Vikings-Chicago Bears

The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings offensive line is Charmin soft (just ask Mike Zimmer), so I’ve taken it upon myself to fix it the best way I know how: outlandish trade scenarios. Later on in the show, friend of the program Julie DiCaro (670 The Score – Chicago) swings in for an early look at the Halloween Vikings-Bears brouhaha on Monday Night Football. I ask her if she’s looking forward to the return of Bae Cutler, could the Purple actually drop 2 in a row, and what she’ll do if her beloved Cubs actually win the World Series.

All that and more “This is Hardees territory, NOT Carl Jrs” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint

SWAG! Order The GREATEST T-SHIRT OF ALL-TIME

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Is there one?

A Prescription for the Vikings Offensive Line
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The luster of an undefeated record masks the blemishes below the surface. For the Minnesota Vikings, that blemish is the offensive line. Through two games this season, the unit is Pro Football Focus’s 31st-ranked group and has struggled in every facet of play.

With Matt Kalil likely out for the season and T.J. Clemmings moving to left tackle, the prospects aren’t any better. Such overturn — and a sudden lack of depth — means offensive coordinator Norv Turner will have to adjust Minnesota’s scheme to compensate.

Shorter drops, shotgun looks, and a quick-hitting passing game could become the norm for the Vikings, who relied so heavily on a ground-and-pound attack in 2015. Even with those changes, there’s no guarantee the line improves. Right now, there’s no knowing how they can improve.

It’s the worry of every fan, and it’s the focus of this week’s Vikings Territory “Question of the Week:”

“What do you think is wrong with the OL, and how can it be fixed?”

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Joe Berger’s battle to start at center for the Minnesota Vikings concluded weeks ago with the release of John Sullivan, but ended on a high note today with an unexpected contract extension. According to a press release from the team, Berger has been signed to a one-year contract extension with the Vikings.

The 12-year veteran has 54 starts in 115 career games and 34 starts in 77 games in Minnesota. He started all 16 games for the Vikings at center last year and beat out John Sullivan to remain there in 2016. Berger’s extension keeps him in purple and gold through 2017, as the veteran center was set to become a free agent following the season.

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