Saturday, September 24, 2016

kyle rudolph

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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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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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Minnesota Vikings Bengals

The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings got their first free skate of the year out of the way Friday night in Cincinnati getting a win 17-16. There was some good, bad, and ugly to go around and we talk about it all in tonight’s recap as we also get in some preseason reps. Also order Purple FTW! SWAG here!

Preseason Feeling Talking Points Include:
• The “Teddy Can’t Throw the Deep Ball” Party is OVER
• Trae Waynes is Your Starting LCB
• 1st Team Offensive Line is Still a Concern
• John Sullivan is Not the Same Player. Accept That.
• We Don’t Really Know about the 1st Team Defense
• Who’s Going to Start at Safety?
• Laquon Treadwell Update (UPDATE)
• JAYRON
• Kentrell Brothers is Going to Be Good
• CJ Ham is an NFL RB
• The Backup QB Situation is _____…..
• Two Minute Drill

All that and other “On to Seattle” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint

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Minnesota Vikings 53 Man Roster
Photo Courtesy of Luke Inman

The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings begin their two days of practice with the Cincinnati Bengals before Friday’s first preseason game in Southern Ohio (but really Northern Kentucky). Mankato Training Camp is in the rear view mirror. Impressions were made, but still plenty of time for jobs to be won or lost. But that won’t stop us from recklessly speculating who will (Teddy Bridgewater) and who won’t (Antone Exum) be in Purple to start the 2016 season.

Follow along with our 53-man roster projection on the Google Doc.

All that and other “I MADE THE ROOSTER!” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint

Listen to the Episode Below (31:11)

[Download the Podcast. NOW!!!]


Producer Credit: Daniel Paluch (@DanielPaluch)

Purple FTW! – The Podcast dedicated to the Pain AND Pleasure that is the Minnesota Vikings.

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Vikings' Depth Chart Begins to Take Shape
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Training Camp for the Minnesota Vikings hasn’t been all that exciting this year. Save for a few one-handed catches from Stefon Diggs and some specular deep shots from Teddy Bridgewater, much remains the same in Mankato. Roster turnover isn’t an issue for the team, free agent acquisitions are performing as advertised, and trust in the organization is at an all-time high.

There’s plenty to be certain about in Minnesota; the strength of the defense, Adrian Peterson’s rushing ability, and Blair Walsh’s renewed confidence. Uncertainty, in a sense, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Vikings have so much young talent that difficult depth chart decisions won’t make or break the team’s season.

In Minnesota, the front office isn’t asking, “Who’s our quarterback;” they’re debating the hierarchy of a loaded roster. And no matter the final decision, the result will be a 53-man roster with more potential than any Vikings team since 2009.

This morning during walkthroughs, head coach Mike Zimmer gave the media a sneak preview of the team’s ‘Cincinnati’ depth chart. It’s the first unofficial roster of the 2016 preseason and reveals exactly where the Vikings stand after two weeks in Mankato.

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