Friday, August 28, 2015

Norv Turner

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

When Teddy Bridgewater needed a third down conversion on Saturday night, he looked to Charles Johnson. When the pocket collapsed and Bridgewater needed to get rid of the football, he looked to Charles Johnson. And when the Vikings needed a touchdown in the red zone, who did Bridgewater throw the ball to?

Charles Johnson

If reports out of training camp and comments from Norv Turner weren’t enough to convince you this offseason, the Vikings’ third preseason game was the icing on the “Charles Johnson is the team’s No. 1 receiver” cake.  After the game, Bridgewater spoke to the strong chemistry he has developed with Johnson:

“Charles, he came up big for us tonight. You talk about that touchdown catch he had today with the defensive back all over his shoulders. Charles, he’s a big, physical guy. He helps out in the run game with his blocking for the running backs and it showed tonight in the passing game in just the first half – not even the entire first half, but the first quarter. He showed that he’s going to be big for us this year.”

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Veteran writer Brian Hall (@MNBrianHall) recently joined the Vikings Terriory team, so now is the perfect time to get him on the podcast. Brian stops in to talk about his backstory and the #HireBrian movement as well as the recent happenings with the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings.

How will the Loadholt injury affect things on the offensive line, how Christian Ponder will be greeted upon his return to Minnesota Saturday, will Adrian buck the trend of 30-year running backs hitting the wall, why Vikings fans should pump the brakes on Trae Waynes, and “How’s Teddy Look?”.

All that and other “I’m as crazy as Everson” fun on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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And that's okay

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Behind a leaky offensive line and without star running back Adrian Peterson, Teddy Bridgewater found himself in quite a few uncomfortable situations last season. According to ESPN Stats and Info, the rookie quarterback was sacked 39 times, hit another 14, and was pressured on 29.9 percent of his 469 dropbacks in 2014.

In an effort to improve his durability, the team set a 215-pound weight limit for the 6’3″ Bridgewater this offseason, and the quarterback believes the added weight will help him “withstand some hits” he’s “going to take throughout the year,” per ESPN’s Ben Goessling. The muscle, along with a slightly retooled, improved offensive line, are all preventative measures to ensure the longevity and sustained success of the franchise’s most important player.

If I were to step into Rick Spielman’s shoes for a day, though, I’d enact one more policy to protect Teddy Bridgewater’s health:

Don’t Let Teddy Run the Read-Option

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(used w/permission)

I’m a fan of underdog stories.

I’m a fan of hometown heroes.

I’m a fan of hard workers.

I’m a fan of good athletes.

Third-year wide receiver Adam Thielen fits all of the above in my book. I was intrigued by Thielen when the Vikings signed him as an undrafted rookie in 2013, but I really didn’t know that much about him. That year he didn’t make the final cut, but Minnesota signed him to the practice squad. From there, he’s slowly but surely worked his way onto the radar.

I attended training camp in August 2014, and I liked what I saw from Thielen. After interviewing him after a practice, I wrote a feature on the receiver for VT. The following is an excerpt from last year’s post:

Thielen entered his second year ready to make an impression, and he certainly has. His explosiveness, agility and reception accuracy spoke for itself on the practice field, but the receiver stepped onto TCF Field and proved he is ready for the real stuff.

That spotlight came after special teams coach Mike Priefer utilized Thielen on three punt returns in the Vikings’ first 2014 preseason game.

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I had a ton of fun hanging out in Mankato for the weekend at Vikings Training Camp. It was great to meet some previous guests on the show, record a few live podcasts at the Boulder Tap House, and take in our Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings squad from the sidelines. Mentioned this before, but even the more butt-hurt/pessimistic Vikings fans should have reason to believe this year. We have a talented young squad lead by a platoon of teachers and leaders, which is a great combination for sustained success. It was a great experience and big props to Vikings Territory and Vikings PR for helping make it happen. I prattle on about 40 of my observations at Vikings Training Camp.

“Asiata bumped into me and got one yard after contact” Talking Points Include
• Adrian is ready.
• Teddy is a smooth operator, but overly cautious at times.
• Left tackle is the main issue with this team.
• Matt Kalil is a super nice guy. Not sure if he loves football.
• The jury’s gonna be out on Trae Waynes for a while.
• Offensive Line shakeups not over yet.
• An “unconditioned” Anthony Barr is still nuts.
• Right guard may not be decided anytime soon.
• Stefon Diggs is special. Poor man’s Antonio Brown?
• Charles Johnson & Xavier Rhodes have greatly benefited from going at each other every practice.
• Tune in for the other 30 Andy Observations!

All that and other “Love Me Some Mankato” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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