Friday, October 9, 2015

kyle rudolph

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I play too much fantasy football, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m an expert when it comes to drafting, setting lineups, and scouring the waiver wire for fantasy sleepers. In all honesty, I love joining my friends’ leagues, even if I’ve yet to come away with the elusive championship prize in nearly ten years of play.

Case in point — my family owns a coffee shop, and I started an eight-man league with our baristas last year, thinking I’d waltz to a title against the less-experienced coffee makers. By the end of the season, I finished in fifth place, missed the playoffs, and watched my twin sister dominate to finish as the league champion. Fantasy football is a cruel, but rewarding endeavor given the unpredictable nature of the “sport,” and that’s what makes the Vikings Territory contest so exciting!

As Brett has told you before, we’re hosting a weekly contest through Draft Kings to bring Vikings fans together through easy-to-join DFS contests. For just $5, you can take part in the league and compete against a few of the VT writers, including myself, Brett, Adam, Brian, and Matt Engstrom! Setting your lineup takes no more than 10 minutes, and the top-3 teams walk away with cash prizes.


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In this weekly series of articles, I’ll be breaking down what went RIGHT or what went WRONG each game for the Minnesota Vikings. This week, thanks to a turnaround victory over the Detroit Lions, I’ll be focusing on the positives and what the Vikings can build on moving forward this season.

In the NFL, game plans can and do change on a weekly basis. Against a team like the San Francisco 49ers, stopping the run has to be a defense’s number one priority — though that’s not always the result. When playing the Detroit Lions, for example, teams put a premium on shutting down Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, and Matthew Stafford’s other receiving weapons.

On the offensive side of the ball,  finding a balance between running and passing is ideal. Depending on the defense or specific one-on-one matchups, that can change. Take the New England Patriots in Week 2 — Tom Brady threw the ball 59 times against the Buffalo Bills and shredded Rex Ryan’s defense. Meanwhile, the Washington Redskins rushed the ball 37 times against the St. Louis Rams, riding the legs of Alfred Morris and Matt Jones to a victory.

A look at the Vikings’ first three offensive plays from both games illustrates this variation perfectly:

  • (9:19) (Shotgun) T.Bridgewater pass incomplete short right to J.Wright.
  • (9:13) (Shotgun) T.Bridgewater pass incomplete deep left to C.Johnson (T.Brock).
  • (9:07) (Shotgun) T.Bridgewater pass incomplete deep left to J.Wright [A.Lynch].

The Vikings started their first offensive drive on San Francisco’s 26-yard line after a blocked field goal and Andrew Sendejo return, but couldn’t capitalize on the premium field position. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner scripted running plays, but Teddy Bridgewater checked into passes based on the defense’s alignment and coverage. After missing Jarius Wright in the flat and misfiring on two deep balls, Bridgewater and the offense watched Blair Walsh push a 44-yard field goal — giving the ball right back to the 49ers.

Against the Lions, Turner’s first few offensive calls — downhill, inside zone runs — illustrated his plan to feed Adrian Peterson early and often:

  • (14:55) A.Peterson up the middle to MIN 25 for no gain (E.Ansah).
  • (14:26) A.Peterson left tackle to MIN 36 for 11 yards (G.Quin, E.Ansah).
  • (13:57) A.Peterson up the middle to MIN 38 for 2 yards (J.Jones).

In the first quarter alone, Peterson had 13 carries and surpassed his game total of 10 rushes from the previous week. The offensive line established itself against the Lions from the start and Peterson set the tone on the team’s first drive. He looked more patient, more decisive, putting together 11-yard and 25-yard runs as the Vikings marched down the field for their first touchdown.

Special players make special plays, as evidenced by Adrian Peterson’s ability to turn the corner and outrun edge defenders, but their success wouldn’t be possible without the development of effective game plans. From an offense’s first scripted plays to a defense’s blitzes and pre-determined coverages (Xavier Rhodes shadowing Calvin Johnson,) the Vikings’ preparation is key to a victory each week. After the jump, I’ll take a look at some of that preparation (and a few individual performances) that highlight how the Vikings defeated the Detroit Lions in Week 2

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Teddy Bridgewater Vikings Week 1 Niners 2015
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Howdy, everyone! Last week we had an awesome turnout for the first installment of what will be Vikings Territory’s weekly Fantasy Football contest. Not only did we manage to fill our tournament, but we also had a few people who weren’t able to join due to the player limit. While that’s unfortunate (and something we will work to correct by increasing the contest size as needed), it’s a positive sign that people out there are interested in joining in on the fun.


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Join Vikings Territory's DraftKings contest and play against our staff

Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings Practice Septemter 2015
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My obsession with fantasy football is borderline unhealthy. (My wife would tell you it is not borderline.) Just a few months ago, I was insistent that I not get involved in too many leagues this year. I had a variety of reasons: it’s too difficult to manage all the different teams, the drafts are too time consuming, it’s hard to root for (or against) any one particular player because you own them all, etc… I told myself I was only going to play in three full-time leagues this year. I was positive I could resist the temptation to not over-allocate myself.

As of yesterday, I’m in eight different leagues.

I can’t even tell you how it happened; I’m ashamed of myself. It’s like I blacked out and, while unconscious, drafted all these incredible teams. It’s honestly ridiculous. I’m in so many different leagues with so many different players on my team that I now just basically root for everybody on Sunday and don’t even bother checking the scores of my fantasy teams until the sun has set and the dust has settled.

Nevertheless, I love it. And when I thought fantasy football couldn’t get any better, a few years ago I stumbled across Daily Fantasy Football. Everyone knows the best part of fantasy football is the draft. So when I found out that fantasy football existed in a format where I could draft multiple teams every week it was too good to be true.

You all undoubtedly have seen the commercials. Everyday Joe, just like you and I, wins millions of dollars by playing fantasy football. Joe is now able to quit his job and retire at age 30, never having to work again, and rides off into the sunset in a carriage drawn by Andrew Luck, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski and, of course, Adrian Peterson. I’m not going to lie to you… While the odds are certainly better than playing the lotto, it’s difficult to win big money in these contests. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. And that certainly doesn’t mean there isn’t money to be won at all. Last season, I placed pretty well in a few contests and ended up being able to pocket about twice as much as I started with. So, while winning millions of dollars is highly unlikely, as long as your expectations are relatively realistic, Daily Fantasy Football can be a tremendous amount of fun.

That’s why this year we’ve decided to partner up with DraftKings. Throughout the 2015 season, we are going to be holding weekly contests here at Vikings Territory. These contests will be relatively small in nature and require a small buy-in, keeping the amount of money you need to enter low and the chances of you winning high. I’m going to give you guys all the information you need for the contest we are holding this week, some links to join into the bigger contests DraftKings is hosting and then wrap up by looking at some of the values to be had with various Vikings players.

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Adam: Kyle Rudolph
Last year at about this time, there was an expectation that Kyle Rudolph could fit into Norv Turner’s offense in a similar way to what we saw out of Antonio Gates for so many years in San Diego. Health issues combined with poor quarterback play to derail those hopes last season, but Rudolph now appears to be a healthy pass-catching option capable of carrying some preseason chemistry with Teddy Bridgewater over into Week One. My expectations are sky high for Rudolph this season, as I see him as the best safety blanket and red zone target, and would not be surprised to see Rudolph running routes designed to test that weakened linebacker group the Niners are now fielding. Predicting a first touchdown is a fickle thing (heck, it could end up being a defender for all we know) dependent on a ton of unknowns, but I’ll go ahead and plant my Rudolph flag from the get-go. Why not?

Brent: Adrian Peterson
I see no better way for the Vikings to kick off the season and put 2014 behind them than letting Peterson pound his way through the 49er defense for six. Aside for letting bygones be bygones, it would be wise of the Vikings to establish a strong running game early and often to keep some pressure off Teddy Bridgewater and open the field for downfield passing later in the game/season.

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