Thursday, July 2, 2015

Matt Kalil

by -
1

Dave Schwartz (@Dave_Schwartz) of Kare 11 sports fame joins the show to talk about the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings, Bowties, and I explain what a PhunkeeDuck is.

Other “Uptown. PhunkeeDuck. Uptown PhunkeeDuck.” Talking Points Include:
• Whatever a PhunkeeDuck is, it looks stupid
• Amazon Shoutout to JP!
• Dave Schwartz
• Dave went to Hobart. Which is NOT Hogwarts
• Backstory, how did he get his start?
• Is sports news as fun as he makes it seem?
• Quick Wolves Chat: Karl-Anthony Towns + Tyus Jones #OneOfUs
• Oddest Vikings offseason he’s covered?
• What it was like covering “Favre Watch”
• Visanthe Shiancoe eats chicken wings weird
• Thoughts on the Adrian Saga Wrapping Up
• Second chance for Adrian Peterson
• What to expect from Teddy in 2015
• Cordarrelle Patterson is boom or bust this year
• Thoughts on the Draft
• Biggest question mark remaining: Offensive Line
• Biggest Surprise So Far: Mike Wallace
• Dave’s STONE COLD HOT TAKE
• The Gauntlet
• Do Adam Thielen & Marcus Sherels have to worry?
• Dave compares his hockey game to Matt Cooke. Take note, #WildTwitter
• Josh Robinson’s Social Media Gaff
#BuyDavesTies for Parkinsons Research

All that and other “6 Weeks Til Training Camp Seems Like a Lifetime” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

by -
19

A lot of people are talking about the great pieces the Vikings are putting together, and there is even some speculation that Minnesota could be the dark horse and sneak into the Playoffs this season. That being said, what do you see as the biggest key to the Vikings’ success in the upcoming season? 

Brent: Offensive Line
I will try to differentiate yet again, as I like to try to provide a different perspective for each Question of the Week. I think the glaring answer here is obviously Teddy Bridgewater. There is little question in my mind that the Vikings would have been much, much worse last year had he not played so well in the second half of the season. That said, in order for Bridgewater to continue his progression as an NFL quarterback without hitting a sophomore slump, I feel the offensive line is the biggest key for the Vikings’ success. Not only will the O-line pave the way for Adrian Peterson to run wild, but its ability to help keep Bridgewater upright will be essential to take advantage of deep-threat Mike Wallace. Wallace is a perfect fit for Norv Turner’s offense and the deep threat the Vikings have been looking for to complement their power run game. In my opinion, success on offense starts with the offensive line; without that unit providing consistency, neither Peterson, Bridgewater or Wallace can thrive as intended.

Lindsey: Offensive Line
You’ve heard me complain about the offensive line before, and I have to go back to it with this question. Bottom line: the crew needs to improve. Granted, injuries to Brandon Fusco and Phil Loadholt hurt the Vikings last season, and I expect the O-Line to automatically improve with their healthy return. However, Matt Kalil has been abysmal the last two seasons. If he doesn’t get his stuff together, we’re in trouble. I’m also hoping that Fusco can possibly move over to left guard to fill that vacancy.

A huge piece of Minnesota’s success in 2015 is of course Teddy Bridgewater and his performance, and also the impact of Adrian Peterson, but neither one can perform well if there is no protection. Bridgewater spent way too much time on the ground last season … that needs to change if the Vikings hope to see the postseason.

by -
0

An American flag flutters in the wind over the Vikings' new stadium

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

In a move expected by many, the NFL’s 32 owners approved the Competition Committee’s proposal on extra points for the 2015 season. The rule changes, which were passed on a 30-2 vote Tuesday, are as follows:

  • The extra point will now be kicked from the 15-yard line with two-point conversions remaining at the 2-yard line.
  • If the defense returns a blocked extra point or failed two-point try for a touchdown, they will be awarded two points. Under the previous rule the ball was dead on a failed try.

Blair Walsh, the Vikings’ ace fourth-year kicker, has been nearly perfect when kicking extra points — in 109 attempts, he’s missed just one kick, giving him a 99.1 career percentage in such situations. With the changes, extra points will now move to the 15-yard line, where Walsh has been nearly as successful.

In 31 career attempts between 30-39 yards (extra points are now 33 yards), Walsh has connected on 28 kicks. His leg from this distance is close to perfection, as he’s a 90.3 percent kicker in this range. When news broke of the rule changes, Walsh shared his response on Twitter:

For Walsh, the change in distance is negligible. His percentages from either distance are above average, and 33-yard field goals are routine for most NFL kickers. Defensive coaches and special teams coordinators will adjust their gameplans, scheming more “block” concepts into these plays, but I expect minimal effect on box scores next season.

If anything, the news is beneficial to players like Walsh; an increased importance on the extra point equates to an increase in value for kickers who can deliver from this range. Walsh, in turn, may enjoy a salary increase once his rookie contract expires.

For more Vikings news, check out the links below:

by -
5
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Go back and watch any Vikings game from 2014. What did you see? A promising rookie quarterback who struggled early and blossomed late in the year? A defensive end who thrived as a pass rusher and run stopper? A safety who asserted himself as one of the league’s best?

You probably saw all three, but nothing was more apparent than the struggles of the offensive line. Right tackle Phil Loadholt tore his pectoral muscle early in the year, landing on Injured Reserve and missing almost the entire season. Left guard Charlie Johnson, who was released this offseason, struggled in both the run game and in pass protection. However, success is almost impossible when lined up next to a player like 2014 Matt Kalil:

Hopefully, Vikings fans won’t have to watch more of this in the coming season. In a recent interview with the Star Tribune’s Sid Hartman, Mike Zimmer explored the idea of shifting the team’s offensive line in 2015 and replacing Johnson with one of three in-house options:

“We are looking at a few guys right now,” he said. “Obviously [veteran] Joe Berger has a chance to fit in with the mix. We have actually been looking at Brandon Fusco moving over to left guard and T.J. Clemmings playing right guard. Also the kid [tackle] Carter Bykowski] that we took off of San Francisco’s practice squad has looked good as well.”

In the same interview, Zimmer shared that Matt Kalil “feels great” and will play with “a chip on his shoulder” in 2015. After the team picked up his fifth-year option, Kalil will need to bounce back from a horrendous 2014 campaign. With two healthy knees, he may have a chance to do just that. On the other side of the line, fourth-round pick Clemmings may see time at right guard; he practiced primarily on the right side, at both guard and tackle, during rookie minicamp.

After the jump, a look at the latest developments around the NFC North:

According to Chris Tomasson, the Vikings will pick up the fifth-year options for both Harrison Smith and Matt Kalil. GM Rick Spielman implied earlier that the 2012 draft picks would be re-signed for 2016, but the team made it official Monday morning.

Smith, drafted No. 29 overall, will bring in a $5.2 million paycheck; Kalil will make $11.096 million as a No. 4 overall pick.

No questions existed about Smith remaining in Minnesota, as he is arguably the top safety on the team and a no-brainer to keep around. In his first three seasons in purple, Smith tallied 192 tackles, 62 assists and 10 interceptions. He also added three sacks in 2014.

Smith played in all 16 games last season; if he stay healthy moving forward, he will continue to play a huge role for the Vikings’ secondary. Tomasson reported that the Vikings plan to work out a longer-term contract with Smith prior to the regular season. Smith has been vocal about wanting to stay with Minnesota, which is great news for fans.

Get Social

2,732FansLike
5,202FollowersFollow