Sunday, June 26, 2016

Matt Kalil

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We play the role of coach and GM in this week's QOTW

Vikings first round draft
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

It’s far too early to be predicting what the Minnesota Vikings will do in the 2016 NFL Draft, but that’s part of the fun of the offseason. As fans of the team, we can put on our “general manager” hats and pretend to sit at Rick Spielman’s desk for a few months out of this year. And this time around, we’re fortunate enough to have some help from the team at Draft Season. They’ve already provided a number of different scouting reports on top college prospects and recently released their first seven-round Vikings mock draft. With their help, we’re preparing to have the most productive, informative offseason at VT yet.

For this week’s QOTW, I reached out to fans on Twitter and asked for their dream first-round draft pick this year. Many responded, and many provided a flurry of exciting options for the Vikings:

I also asked the team here at VT for their choices, and the answers varied. Check them out, after the jump!

Who is your dream first-round pick for the Vikings this year?

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PFWA All-Rookie Team
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

General manager Rick Spielman’s reign at the head of the Vikings’ draft room began in 2012, when he famously selected Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder with the 12th pick in the first round. Though that decision was an ultimate failure, Spielman has been largely successful in acquiring college talent. Three of his latest draft picks — Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter, and Stefon Diggs — were named to the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) All-Rookie Team on Tuesday morning.

Spielman’s rookie classes have produced eight players on the annual list. Kendricks, Hunter, and Diggs became the first trio to make the team since Matt Kalil, Harrison Smith, and Blair Walsh did so in 2012. In 2013, Cordarrelle Patterson was added to the roster as a kick returner. The following year, Teddy Bridgewater was honored for his solid rookie campaign as the Vikings’ starting quarterback.

Before the 2015 season began, ESPN’s Ben Goessling reported that 39 of the team’s 53 players had “seen all of their NFL snaps for the Vikings.” The continuity illustrates Spielman’s reliance on the draft and conservative approach in free agency. If the Vikings are going to build a roster, they’re going to do it from within Winter Park.

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Instead of working on a Monday morning (overrated), I decided to yammer on for 40 minutes about the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings offseason, what priorities should/should not be in free agency and the draft, who’s safe and who’s not on the offensive line and which training camp battles I’m excited to see. Straight off the cuff, unprepared (shocker), unrehearsed Vikings takes if you’re into that sort of thing.

All this and other “Shut Up, Old Man” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint

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The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings did NOT lose by fiddy points as most of #VikingsTwitter expected, but did fall to the Arizona Cardinals 23-20 Thursday night. Teddy Bridgewater played one of the best games of his young career, yet will only be remembered for the strip sack that sealed the game for Arizona, the second game ending strip sack to end a 23-20 road game this season…

We discuss the game that was and look forward to the remaining games on the schedule while determining if the Vikings can hold off Tampa Bay for the Wild Card or if Green Bay can still get got for the NFC North crown (spoiler: they can).

Other “Such a Vikings Way to Lose” Talking Points Include
• Two Ways to Look at Teddy’s Game
• The Mandatory Norv Turner Talking Point
• Adrian Peterson Got Fed
• Wide Receiver Run Down
• Tight End Play is Official
• The Offensive Line Was What It Was
• The Injured Defense Played Decent
• Xavier Rhodes. Cmon Man
• Hai, Anthony Harris
• Trae Waynes Assessment
• 10-Days Off is Huge
• Playoff Picture

All that and other “Gotta Get To 10-6” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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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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