Thursday, December 14, 2017

kyle rudolph

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Vikings should get Pat Elflein, Mike Remmers, and maybe Riley Reiff back Sunday.

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was in a better mood Wednesday at his press conference. That may have something to do with the health of his beat-up offensive line.

Zimmer was calm today when asked how he felt about the offensive line heading into Sunday’s game against Cincinnati.

“I feel pretty good. I think we’ll get a lot of them back,” Zimmer continued. “We should get [Pat] Elfein back this week, I think we should get [Mike] Remmers back. There’s a good chance, a possibility of getting [Riley] Reiff back.”

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Minnesota Vikings 24, Carolina Panthers 31

Game Recap

The Vikings came up short in their attempt to win nine games in a row Sunday. The last game of a three-game road trip resulted in Minnesota’s third loss of the season, and prevented the 10-3 Vikings from clinching the playoffs and capturing the NFC North division crown.

Offensively the Vikings failed to establish the rushing attack early. Jerick McKinnon led the team with 46 yards on seven carries (6.6 YPC) and Latavius Murray managed only 14 yards on nine carries (1.6 YPC). Quarterback Case Keenum added 40 yards on five rushes.

The Vikings had some success through the air but were doomed with turnovers at inopportune times. Keenum finished the day 27 of 44 (61%) passing for 280 with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Vikings receiver Adam Thielen led Minnesota with six catches for 105 yards and a touchdown, but he also had two key drops in the end zone before the half. Instead of taking the lead at halftime the Vikings settled for a Kai Forbath field goal.

Stefon Diggs had six catches for 64 yards but had a ball bounce off his hands late in the game which resulted in a Carolina interception.

Tight end Kyle Rudolph had three catches for 42 yards with a touchdown but he also had issues catching the ball. Two dropped passes in the first half would have resulted in big plays for the offense. The Vikings top three pass catchers all had crucial drops throughout the game.

The Vikings defense was hurt by big plays, specifically two long runs. Carolina’s first touchdown was a 60-yard blast by Jonathan Stewart to the right of the center on third-and-one. Later in the game Cam Newton sealed the win with a 62-yard scamper up the middle of the field.

Defensive linemen Linval Joseph and Everson Griffen each collected a sack but Zimmer’s top-2 defensive unit couldn’t bounce back after giving up the long runs. Carolina rode 216 rushing yards en route to their fifth victory in six games.

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optimist
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

We’re an odd lot, Vikings fans. I won’t explain it to you because you already know; how the decades of disappointment and spectacular losses —  not simple, run-of-the-mill defeats, with which a Browns or Bengals fan may be familiar, but grandiose, cataclysmic rounds of failure that always seem to happen on a national stage — have made us skittish and gun-shy in even the most bountiful times. No matter how good it is, we’re always waiting for it to get bad.

Walsh, Anderson, Favre, that trip to the Meadowlands in January of 2001. Those four Super Bowls. Herschel. I am not ashamed of the way we are, because we have innumerable reasons to be. It’s a psychological defense mechanism, borne from years of heartbreak, so cheers to human adaptation.

But here we are at 10-2, with the Vikings currently holding the NFC’s top seed and everything coming up Milhouse, and still, the creeping doubt pervades. We don’t know how, but many of us are sure (as we always are) they will find a way to screw it all up.

Perhaps they will; the likelihood of a Super Bowl win is considerably smaller than that of a playoff flameout, and that’s not a curse, it’s statistics. But I have decided not to worry about that. No, I’ve opted not to concern myself with what the final outcome of the 2017 Vikings season will be, devastating or otherwise. Rather, I’ve chosen to enjoy the ride. And let me tell you, brethren, it feels wonderful.

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Episode 140

Graphic designed by Brett Anderson

BJ Reidell and Drew Mahowald react to the Minnesota Vikings’ 14-9 victory over the Atlanta Falcons and outline the NFC Playoff Picture as it stands through 13 weeks of play.

Episode 140 is proudly sponsored by BlackStack Brewing, El Burrito Mercado, Om Brewers and Running Tap.

PRIMARY TALKING POINTS

  1. Rapid Reaction: Xavier Rhodes vs. Julio Jones, Case Keenum, Kyle Rudolph, #MnM, What’s Good Enough? and Plenty More!

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Minnesota Vikings 14, Atlanta Falcons 9

The Vikings did what they set out to do Sunday. Not only did Minnesota win the third-down battle, the defense made the Falcons offense one-dimensional, the secondary shut down Julio Jones and the Purple came away with their eighth straight victory at Atlanta.

Quarterback Case Keenum started slowly but again finished the game strong, completing all 13 pass attempts of the second half, including his last 15 passes of the game. Keenum went 25 of 30 (83.3%) for 227 yards with two touchdowns. He had a QBR of 57.3 and a passer rating of 120.4.

The Vikings offensive line gave up two sacks but paved the way for another positive showing by Minnesota’s offense.

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