Saturday, November 18, 2017

NFC North

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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. 

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bears
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

This is the second installment of our Opposing View series, in which we gauge the league-wide perception of the Vikings by talking to bloggers from around the NFL. For each post, I’ll seek out a writer for a team on the 2017 Vikings schedule, and ask them a few short questions about the way they view our squad from afar. 

This installment features a divisional perspective, as I chatted with Jeff Hughes of Da Bears BlogThe Vikings play Chicago in Weeks Five and Seventeen. 

(Check out the first installment with Steelers writer Alex Kozora here.)

VTTop of your head, give me the first things you think of with the Minnesota Vikings going into 2017.

Jeff Hughes: Honestly, I think of a team that will probably be around 8-8 again because I think Sam Bradford is an 8-8 quarterback. Bradford’s problem has always been the same thing: he prefers not taking chances. So you’re going to get a high completion percentage and high quarterback rating but you’re going to be limited when it comes to explosive plays in the passing attack and I’m just not sure how you win that way in the modern NFL.

2016 Bears had this problem. Hoyer moved ball. Barkley moved ball. But the team didn’t score enough. Because the red zone is where the top quarterbacks separate themselves.

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Thoughts on the Vikings from around the league.

steelers
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

This is the first installment of our Opposing View series, in which we gauge the league-wide perception of the Vikings by talking to bloggers from around the NFL. For each post, I’ll seek out a writer for a team on the 2017 Vikings schedule, and ask them a few short questions about the way they view our squad from afar. 

The first installment features Alex Kozora, writer for Steeler’s DepotThe Vikings play Pittsburgh in Week Two. 

 

VTTop of your head, give me the first things you think of with the Minnesota Vikings going into 2017.

Alex Kozora: Think of an offensive line that has improved but still needs to get better. An uneasy quarterback situation. Teddy Bridgewater’s future is still a complete unknown. Sam Bradford, to be general in my description, is competent but not someone who is going to outduel Stafford/Rodgers in the North. A run game that should, and desperately needs to be, better this year. Defensive ends who can get after the QB and a solid secondary.

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Episode 77

Graphic designed by Brett Anderson

BJ Reidell and Drew Mahowald discuss the Minnesota Vikings’ backing of Michael Floyd’s Kombucha claim, surprise starters and make a couple end-of-June predictions for the NFC North division based on their recently-completed rankings segment. The guys also wrap-up the show with Take 5 lists on their favorite travel destinations.

Episode 77 is sponsored by local stand-up comic Brendan Gay — Catch the LIVE recording of his first comedy special at the Joke Joint Comedy Club (Lilydale, Minn.) on August 10th! Use to the promo code “BRENDAN” to get 40% off your ticket at www.JokeJointComedyClub.com!

PRIMARY TALKING POINTS

  1. Intro: The Agenda (0:00)
  2. Advertising: See Local Comic Brendan Gay Perform LIVE August 10th (1:37)
  3. Floyd Filler: Somebody Screwed the Pooch Here (2:30)
  4. Surprise Starter: Who will be Minnesota’s Surprise Starter Mid-Season (13:00)
  5. NFC North Rankings: Final Takeaways featuring Multiple Tangents (22:33)
  6. NFC North Rankings: Knee-Jerk 2017 Records & Standings Predictions (31:34)
  7. Take 5: Favorite Places Visited & Where BJ Got His Butt Tattoo (43:23)
  8. Drew’s Final Take: Final Thoughts & Recap Notes (55:37)
  9. Sign-Out: Standard Procedure + Pumping Our YouTube Tires (56:35)

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Episode 76

Graphic designed by Brett Anderson

BJ Reidell and Drew Mahowald talk about the Minnesota Timberwolves’ deal to acquire Jimmy Butler, debate the Minnesota Vikings’ biggest offseason additions and departures rank the NFC North division’s safeties and list their top video games of all time.

PRIMARY TALKING POINTS

  1. Intro: The Agenda (0:00)
  2. Advertising: Comic Brendan Gay to Record 1st Special at St. Paul’s Joke Joint Comedy Club (1:09)
  3. Timberwolves: Jimmy Butler to Minnesota (1:41)
  4. Arrivals: Vikings Biggest Offseason Acquisitions (8:41)
  5. Departures: Vikings Biggest Offseason Losses (16:54)
  6. NFC North Rankings: Safeties (26:05)
  7. NFC North Rankings: Instinctive Takeaways (33:56)
  8. Take 5: Best Video Games (36:46)
  9. Sign-Out: Back to Our Regular Tuesday-Thursday Schedule Next Week (47:00)

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