Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mike Remmers

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The Minnesota Vikings enter Sunday’s Week 3 home matchup with the Detroit Lions as two-point favorites, according to My Bookie. If you’re a straight-up gambler, Minnesota is -130 favorites while Detroit is +110 underdogs.

The Vikings are one of the toughest teams to evaluate thus far in 2017. At home against two mediocre teams, they’ve been electric and looked like a championship-caliber team. But in their one road game against a more challenging opponent, Minnesota looked like a bottom feeder.

Detroit, meanwhile, has played like an elite football team all season. They ran away from Arizona for an easy Week 1 victory and then marched past the New York Giants on Monday Night in Week 2. The Lions are inches from boasting an undefeated record after Golden Tate’s last-second touchdown effort was stopped just short of the end zone against undefeated Atlanta last week.

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Minnesota Vikings salary cap update

This offseason, despite having over $20 million in salary cap space, the Vikings chose to hang onto their money rather than sign some notable free agents. It was a puzzling move at the time. The offensive line needed help and there were still quite a few positions to fill. But fast forward to now, and the decision makes complete sense.

The team used the excess cap space to lock up its best core defenders. In addition to the three contract extensions of defensive end Everson Griffen, defensive tackle Linval Joseph and cornerback Xavier Rhodes that were inked this preseason, standout safety Harrison Smith signed a 5-year, $51 million contract last year. The last two offseasons, the Vikings committed $135 million in guaranteed money to four defensive starters.

Because of the enormous salaries top defenders command, it has been difficult for NFL teams to keep an elite defense intact for very long. However, the Vikings front office has shown they’re committed to doing just that. Financially, they have put the team in a strong position to succeed for the long haul.

Let me tell you why.

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Skol Scale
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Do you remember when Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur told all of us that his offense would be more explosive in 2017 and none of us believed him? We all laughed at him. He was hammered for religiously operating a dink-and-dunk offense in 2016 while quarterback Sam Bradford attempted passes further than 20 yards downfield at an alarmingly small rate.

He said this in February before the Vikings acquired new tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers to give the quarterbacks more time to throw. He said it before the Vikings drafted Dalvin Cook and Pat Elflein to provide a running game and another reliable starter on the offensive line. He also said it before he knew Bradford would miss two (and counting) games and Case Keenum would be his starting quarterback.

And he was still right (so far).

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Purple FTW! Podcast: Scooping Out Bradford's Knee with Darren

What is it with Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings quarterbacks and knees? For the latest on Sam Bradford’s banged up left knee, we brought in the big guns with Darren “Doogie” Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) of KSTP Sports and The Scoop Podcast. Doogie and I chatted about the latest rumblings around Bradford’s injury, how many games Case Keenum could start and the team still make the playoffs, iif the Vikings had inquired about other available quarterbacks, and how Teddy Bridgewater coming off the Physically Unable to Perform list plays a part in this 2017 Greek tragedy. Plus some Tramaine Brock, Michael Floyd, and Alex Boone tidbits.

All that and more “Take No Action for Lamar Jackson” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

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Turnstile, he is not.

Riley Reiff turns heads
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Duct tape may prove a quick fix for leaky pipes, but as every DIY repairman knows, a patchwork job only lasts so long. In the NFL, where leaks in the offensive line can flood a team’s Super Bowl aspirations, duct tape is the least desirable option in a general manager’s toolbox.

Jake Long, Jeremiah Sirles, Matt Kalil, and T.J. Clemmings were just that — temporary measures in the season-long effort to protect Sam Bradford‘s blindside. The Minnesota Vikings survived the year, but not without catastrophe along the way. General manager Rick Spielman recognized he’d need more than a roll of tape to fix the critical infrastructure; he’d need to replace the pipes completely.

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