Friday, May 6, 2016

kyle rudolph

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Vote for the player you think deserves the "Player of the Game" award for Week 14 at the Arizona Cardinals.

Teddy Bridgewater Week 14 Cardinals
Photo Courtesy of Vikings.com

The Thursday Night game threw us for a bit of a loop here at VT, as we’re creatures of habit and try to adhere to a schedule of weekly programming during the season. However, better late than never and we we refuse to miss a week where one of these Vikings players who worked so hard isn’t gifted the highly sought after Vikings Territory Player of the Game award.

There were a lot of new faces on the field Thursday night against the Cardinals. In fact, the Vikings started six rookies in Arizona – the most in Vikings history. They weren’t perfect, but the team showed a ton of fight and came just within reach of achieving a major upset against a Superbowl contender during prime time.

Though the Vikings didn’t come away with a win, there were quite a few impressive performances. Before we jump in to this week’s nominees, let’s recap our previous 13 awards this season.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

At 8-3, the Minnesota Vikings are the surprise team in the NFC and a legitimate threat to claim the NFC North division title. With the league’s second-best scoring defense and Mike Zimmer’s steady hand leading the ship, Minnesota has — at the very least — a 90 percent probability to reach the postseason.

When the Vikings lost to the San Francisco 49ers to open the season, a playoff berth appeared unlikely. The defense couldn’t stop the run, Adrian Peterson ran like a 30-year-old running back, and the offensive line looked lost without John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt. Mike Zimmer’s team lacked an identity early on, but they’ve slowly established themselves as one of the NFL’s most physical, technically sound teams on both sides of the ball.

As I’ve written these “What Went Right” pieces, I’ve noticed a consistent pattern. When the Vikings win, it’s because of the defense and the legs of Adrian Peterson. Specifically, the defense plays with discipline, filling run gaps correctly, tackling in space, and preventing big plays down the field. On offense, Minnesota wins when they unleash Peterson, who has at least 19 carries in every Vikings victory this season. Any less, and they’ve gone on to lose.

While the defense created turnovers against Atlanta in Week 12, it was Peterson who powered Minnesota to victory. This Sunday, when the Vikings host the Seattle Seahawks, he’ll need to do the same against an aggressive, stout run defense that hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher all season.

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The playoffs start NOW for the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings as the remaining schedule features zero easy games starting with Sunday as we welcome the Seattle “Bad Defense and Balling Offense” Seahawks into The Bank.

Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) makes his weekly pit stop to discuss how the Purple can prevail over the Blueish-Neon Green and make a push for the 2-seed. We also chat about Warren Moon’s thoughts on Teddy Bridgewater, how Mike Zimmer plans to corral Russel Wilson, Harrison Smith or Earl Thomas/Kam Chancellor, if the Vikings offense is turning into the 2012 Adrian Peterson Offense, and we predict NFL coaching changes just for the LOLs.

All that and other “Jarius Wright is no Markus Wheaton” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

Read all of Arif’s stuff at The Daily Norseman and Vikings Journal as well as listen to his podcast Norse Code.

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If the playoffs started today, the 3-seeded Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings would be hosting the 6-seed Seattle Seahawks. Which makes Sunday’s showdown at The Bank both a potential playoff preview and an opportunity for a statement win as the Purple look to solidify our playoff position as the 2015 season barrels on.

Dayna O’Gorman (@DaynaOG) of the NFL Female Podcast rejoins the show to talk about how her beloved Seahawks and Legion of Boom Legion of Whom will matchup against Teddy Bridgewater and The Zimmer Hellfire Defense.

We also recap her emotions after last year’s Super Bowl, why Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas get more buzz than Harrison Smith, how Russell Wilson and Teddy are more similar than not, why the 2015 Vikings and the 2013 Seahawks are alike, and if young Thomas Rawls can go yard-for-yard with Adrian Peterson

All that and other “Sherman’s gonna blanket Mike Wallace” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Mike Zimmer’s three-week bird hunting retreat continues, as the Minnesota Vikings (8-3) play host to the Seattle Seahawks (6-5) this Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium. After their convincing 20-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 12, the Vikings will look to make a statement against the Seahawks, who fell just short of winning Super Bowl XLIX last February.

Despite their superior record, the Vikings are home underdogs to the suddenly-hot Seahawks. Pete Carrol’s football team has gone 4-1 since a disappointing 2-4 start and beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in a shootout last week behind Russel Wilson’s five touchdown passes. On defense, they rank in the top 10 in points allowed, yards allowed, passing defense and rushing defense. It’s the start of a difficult set of games for Minnesota, but it may be coming at the perfect time.

Why? The Seahawks have a legitimate problem in the secondary — containing tight ends. And Minnesota’s oft-injured tight end, Kyle Rudolph, is finally emerging as one of the Vikings’ most valuable receiving weapons. When the teams do meet Sunday, look for Rudolph to make an impact in the middle of the field.

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