Saturday, October 10, 2015

Matt Kalil

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At this point last year, the Minnesota Vikings were 2-2, having just beat the Atlanta Falcons behind an eye-opening performance from rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. In his first NFL start, Bridgewater completed 19 passes for 317 yards and even scored a touchdown with his legs. The elation in Minnesota would quickly end, though, as the franchise’s newfound quarterback missed the next game and watched as his team fell to the Green Bay Packers.

Suffering from the humiliation at Lambeau Field, the Vikings continued their losing streak against the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills to fall to 2-5. Bridgewater struggled, the running game sputtered without Adrian Peterson, and the defense was a sieve at best against the run. Their 2-2 start, kicked off by a drubbing of the St. Louis Rams, wasn’t enough to keep pace with the NFC’s playoff contenders.

This year, the Vikings find themselves in a familiar, yet much different position. Though they enter the Week 5 bye at 2-2, this is a team that’s deeper, more talented, and playing at a higher level than their 2014 counterparts through four games. The record doesn’t necessarily reflect this, and an ugly Week 1 loss to the 49ers swayed expectations early, but three strong performances against the Lions, Chargers, and Broncos put the Vikings in excellent position to compete for an NFC playoff spot this season.

The Vikings won’t return to the field until Week 6, when they host the Kansas City Chiefs at TCF Bank Stadium in a crucial inter-conference matchup. Until then, head coach Mike Zimmer will have much to assess in his time off, including a few ugly trends in his team’s two losses. After the jump, we’ll dive into the game film from the Vikings’ Week 4 loss to the Denver Broncos and try to figure out what went wrong. As the famous saying goes, “The eye in the sky never lies…”

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All right, Vikings fans, we’ve made it to Bye Week. With four weeks down and a .500 record, there have been some ups and downs to the season thus far. Looking back over the games under our belt, which Vikings player has impressed you the most? Check out our answers, and as always, leave us a comment to let us know your opinion!

Carl: Adrian Peterson, RB
Mike Zimmer has put his stamp on the 2015 Minnesota Vikings football team, and the result is a roster full of players buying into a team-first approach. Yes, this question is a bit harder to answer because so far this season both the offense and defense appear to be playing good “team” ball. But individually, Adrian Peterson has impressed me the most after four games. His 372 yards leads the NFL in rushing and his 5.0 yards per carry average has been a shot in the arm for the offense. After seeing the run game struggle in the preseason, it has been a joy to see some explosiveness back in the backfield.

Brent: Anthony Barr, LB*
There isn’t any doubt that expectations of Barr were sky high going into his second year, but nagging injuries that lingered into the preseason created some cause for concern. Barr has been outstanding thus far and outside of Harrison Smith is having the best season of any Vikings defender. What has been most impressive is Barr’s improvement in coverage through four weeks. Picking off Peyton Manning will be on Barr’s highlight reel for a long time and for good reason. Imagine if he were to have come away with the second INT.

*(other considerations: Joe Berger, Linval Joseph & Eric Kendricks)

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In Minnesota, the usual suspects continue to carry the Viking ship. Adrian Peterson’s 372 rushing yards lead the league, Mike Zimmer’s defense is holding teams to less than 20 points per game, and Anthony Barr is making spectacular plays on a weekly basis, both against the run and in coverage.

On Thursday, the Vikings Territory staff will answer Lindsey’s Question of the Week and share our pick for the team’s most impressive player through the first four games of the season. A few obvious choices — Peterson, Barr, Harrison Smith — stand out, while a number of newcomers like Linval Joseph and Terence Newman could potentially make the list.

Today, I want to ask fans a similar question. As spectators, we expect greatness from the Vikings’ best players. It’s a given that Peterson can score whenever he touches the ball, or, that Xavier Rhodes will likely shut down an opponent’s number one receiver. But which players have exceeded expectations at the quarter mark of the season, and who is surprising you with their play?

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Despite a valiant effort by the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings Defense and Teddy “Dave” Bridgewater, the Purple came up short Sunday afternoon in Denver 23-20. The Zimmer Hellfire Defense forced Peyton “Chicken Parm” Manning into two interceptions and his 2nd lowest QB rating of the season, but it wasn’t enough in Mile High as a sluggish start, a faulty offensive line, and a lame kicker denied the Vikings a much sought after road win and leave them at 2-2 heading into the bye week. We discuss the gold and fool’s gold from the game that was.

Other “No Moral Victories” Talkers Include
• My theory on why there were so many Vikings fans in Denver
• That Zimmer Hellfire Defense Leads the Way
• The Offensive Line Did Not
• Anthony Barr is Becoming a Force
• Harrison Smith is the Best Safety in the NFL
• Teddy Ballgame
• Mike Wallace BEASTED Today
• Adam Thielen & Stefon Diggs Deserve to Eat
• Robert Blanton is Still Blanton
• Blair Walsh Needs a Fire Lit Under Him
• Schedule After the Bye: 5-3 or 6-2 isn’t crazy
• Bye Week Podcast Schedule
• Visit our new sponsor Stars Draft for Daily Fantasy Sports!
Bookmark us on Amazon & show some love!

All that and other “We’re On To The Bye Week” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings (2-1) are set to face the endboss Peyton “Goro” Manning and the Denver Gelded Broncos Sunday afternoon in Mortal Kombat. Arif Hasan joins us to break down how the Purple can put Friendship aside and hit Peyton, FINISH HIM!!!, and come out of Mile High with a Flawless Victory.

Also Scorpion is the best MK character, and I will fight you if you disagree.

All that and other “GET OVER HERE” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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