Saturday, August 29, 2015

kyle rudolph

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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”
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• 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 an ESPN article posted Monday, NFL senior writer John Clayton said the Vikings are in the running for a 2015 playoff team.

In the article, Clayton cites a few factors in his analysis. Teddy Bridgewater certainly shoulders much of the responsibility moving forwardClayton did offer praise for Bridgewater’s rookie seasonbut it’s more than just the quarterback at this point…

It’s adding Adrian Peterson back into the equation and seeing how much better Peterson makes Bridgewater. Clayton reminded us of the following:

Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton were success stories early in their careers because of their talent — and because they had the benefit of running attacks that typically produced 130 yards or more. (Yes, you can pile up added rushing yardage late in wins, but all three of these teams built around the run.) Look what Peterson did for Christian Ponder. In 2012, Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards coming off knee surgery. Ponder averaged 23.7 points per game and the Vikings made the playoffs. After four years, Minnesota determined Ponder wasn’t good enough and moved on to Bridgewater.

I like Clayton’s take on this. Granted, the team needs both AP and TB to play well; there’s no doubt about that. But individually, neither player is as strong as the way they can feed off each other. Bridgewater had a solid debut season (averaging 22.1 points per game) without Peterson on the field, and having the star RB back in the lineup will take a bit of the pressure off Bridgewater’s shoulders.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

With minicamp complete and a little over a month until the Vikings head to Mankato for training camp, all the focus appears to be on Adrian Peterson. How many yards will he rush for? How will Norv Turner use him out of the backfield? Will he be the same after missing a year?

They’re valid questions, but the success of the Vikings does not rest solely on Adrian Peterson’s massive shoulders. Although Peterson single-handedly carried the offense in 2012 — thanks, Christian Ponder — he’s surrounded by more talent than he’s seen in his 9 years with the Vikings, and that starts with the man he’ll be lining up behind  — Teddy Bridgewater.

After a promising rookie season, Bridgewater is expected to “make the leap”, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him land atop NFL.com’s infamous rankings this offseason. Last year, he started 12 games for the Vikings, threw 14 touchdowns, and finished with a 6-6 record under center.

His stats don’t “wow” on paper (2,919 yards, 85.2 quarterback rating), but the poise, decision-making, and maturity he displayed behind a rickety offensive line are hard to dismiss. Heck, he did it all without Peterson, who looks to add yet another element to Norv Turner’s attack in 2015.

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