Wednesday, January 24, 2018

NFC North

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After a mic-related false start last week, Bump & Run returns, buoyed by determination and some electrical tape.

This week, I’m popping champagne to celebrate the NFC North title and the demise of the Packers. We bask in schadenfreude after Green Bay is officially eliminated from the playoffs, reliving the exact moment it happened and discussing what it means for the team. Then, we take a look at the Vikings/Packers game and discuss how much it actually means at this point.

Plus, I examine the three most common criticisms of Case Keenum, and attempt to alleviate the concerns of Vikings fans. Of course, I end with a desperate plea to enjoy the season, because no matter what happens, it’s been a blast so far.

Also I wear a Bob Ross shirt.

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nfc north
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

It wasn’t their most exciting win, nor was it their stiffest competition. But in trouncing the Bengals 34-7 Sunday, the Vikings proved they’re legitimate contenders to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

This season has been one of incremental tests for the squad, and as odd as it may seem, they passed another in beating the Bengals. Cincinnati, now 5-9, is not a good team, and at times the Bengals looked flat and disinterested. But the Vikings answered two major questions in their win Sunday:

  • How do they respond to hard times and misfortune (i.e. last week’s loss to the Panthers)?
  • How do they perform in games in which they’re heavily favored?

These two questions, especially the second, are (in my opinion) what separate mere good teams from championship-caliber clubs. Often we’ve seen capable Vikings squads that lack the extra gear to dispatch with inferior teams in resounding fashion the way this team did the Bengals on Sunday. The 2012 and 2015 Vikings come to mind; winning teams, but without next-level dominance. Those clubs would have probably still beat the 2017 Bengals, but perhaps not with the same exclamation point.

That’s not the case this year. The Vikings throttled Cincinnati from the opening whistle, to the point where the game was well in hand by halftime. And once they had built a lead, they didn’t let up; the Bengals only points came on a meaningless late touchdown after Mike Zimmer had already begun removing his starters. They left no doubt, and that’s what elite teams do.

A few other observations from Sunday’s win:

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Purple FTW! Podcast: Vikings-Lions Recap - We the Gravy of the NFC North (ep. 464)

The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings all but wrapped up the NFC North with an impressive 30-23 over the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. Case Keenum feasted on the Lions secondary and the Zimmer Hellfire Defense brought the desert late to push the Vikes to their 7th straight win. Enjoy the dulcet tones of our uneducated football takes as you sift through Thanksgiving leftovers.

Today’s Talkers Include
• Case Keenum is QB1
• Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon – Dynamic Duo
• Some Kyle Rudolph Love
• Xavier Rhodes. Bruh.
• The Officiating Was Attrocious
• Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are the Best WR Duo in the NFL
• Everson Griffen is Actually Sack Daddy
• Get it Together Mike Priefer
• Odds & Ends
• On to Atlanta

All that and more “Anytime. Anywhere. Anybody.” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

A Carlson Digital Joint

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Purple FTW! Podcast: Vikings-Lions Preview: Big Ones (ep. 463)

The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings roll into the Motor City Thursday morning for the NFC North Title Game aka everyone’s pre-Thanksgiving feast football viewing pleasure. To preview the tilt, we brought in friend of the show and lifelong Lions apologist Michael Grey (@TheMichaelGrey) to have a “no, my team will lose in terrible fashion”-off. Plus we have a special Five Things focusing on Matthew Stafford, Mike Zimmer, the Vikings running the dang ball, and playing my dumb Twitter Thanksgiving Game.

All that and more “Case Needs a Wheelbarrow” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

A Carlson Digital Joint

Subscribe to Our YouTube Channel!

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What we learned from the Vikings' 23-10 win over the Packers.

Packers
Image courtesy of Vikings.com
The Packers are a different team now.

It’s difficult to quantify exactly how important the loss of Aaron Rodgers is to the Packers, but I’ll attempt: it’s possibly the most impactful player injury that could happen in today’s NFL. Rodgers is indisputably one of the top two quarterbacks in football, and we’ve seen the coaching wizard in New England put together an 11-5 season without his golden boy under center, so something tells me this loss matters more than a theoretical injury to Tom Brady. Regardless, the gap between Rodgers/Brady and the rest of the NFL is significant and, somehow, seems to be growing. Aaron Rodgers is one of the best at the most important position in sports, and he may be done for the season.

So the Packers are different now. There will be coach speak and jock talk about “next man up,” but it’s hogwash. The loss of Rodgers is crippling to a team that is decidedly average across the rest of its roster and too often has relied on its magic-maker at quarterback to cover up other deficiencies. That approach is off the table now, and regardless of who’s under center in Green Bay, the Packers will be exposed for what they are.