Saturday, January 21, 2017

packers

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Helping you endure Sunday's games.

The Vikings season may be a distant and bitter memory, but that doesn’t mean we have to turn our backs on the rest of the NFL slate. Let’s not let our purple angst cause us to miss out on one of the greatest weekends on the schedule: championship weekend, where the talent is abundant, the stakes are high, and we as Vikings fans have no rooting interest, and thus no risk of feeling the pain and anger we invite into our lives each week during the regular season. (Except for the game involving that team across the border, of course, which I promise we’ll get to.)

But here’s the problem: for those of us who bleed purple, watching these games that do not feature our beloved squad can be a little confusing. We’re like a puppy that’s lost its way, or a man without a home; who do we root for? What do we get mad about? And what does it all mean?

For this, I give you this guide, created by the Vikings fan, for the Vikings fan. In it, I’ll counsel you through this weekend’s matchups, helping you decide who to root for and generally telling you how to feel about what will take place on your television Sunday afternoon. Let’s get to it!

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One single thought from the Vikings' loss to the Packers.

rogue
Image courtesy of VIkings.com

This is generally a “Five Thoughts” column in which I lay out five observations about the Vikings game, and where it went right or wrong and what it means. Despite the sluggish and mildly depressed (if completely expected) way I was feeling about the 38-25 loss to Green Bay Saturday, that was still my plan. It was probably going to be about Adam Thielen’s scintillating 12-catch, 202-yard, two-touchdown day, and Sam Bradford’s stat line that was actually very good despite the offense’s struggles (again), and how, even with all that, that the Vikings still got handled, and how that felt perfectly right, and a few other things. Until I saw this headline from the Star Tribune:

Vikings DBs switch up game plan on Mike Zimmer regarding Jordy Nelson

So pardon me while I ditch the usual format and focus on this one highly alarming story from the game. I must start by asking, in all sincerity, what in the ever loving hell is going on?

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We’ve reached it, my friends. Rock bottom. The depths of darkness. The squad needed a win to keep the playoff hopes (realistically) alive, and instead they laid an egg. With two games to go, the season has gone with a whimper.

But there are things to be thankful for. Please join me in sorting through the mess, and grappling with what it truly means to be a fan of the Minnesota Vikings. We can get through this together.

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vikings gain ground
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

It’s a luxury when you’re able to gain divisional ground without playing a game, and that’s the good fortune the Vikings found in Week 6. With the Cowboys handing Green Bay its second loss, the 5-0 Vikings are now at least two games up on the rest of the division. The Bears continue to be impressively inept, and while the Lions managed to climb to .500, that also seems like a likely place for them to end the season.

The bye week theoretically gave the Vikings a chance to heal their injuries, most notably Stefon Diggs. Monday practice reports had Diggs sitting out the session, which is slightly concerning considering the extra week off, but only slightly. Groin injuries can linger, so there’s a chance Diggs sits out another week, but the Monday rest may also simply be a precautionary measure for a player who doesn’t need a full week of practice to be effective on game day. It’s probably a sign of how the season has gone that my initial reaction to the prospect of Diggs not playing against Philadelphia was basically, “Oh well. Thielen will just tear it up again.”

We’ve been lucky, haven’t we?

Let’s take our weekly gaze around the division.

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US Bank Stadium
Image Courtesy of Andy

Alright fine. I’ve been famously (infamously?) curmudgeon about all of the endless US Bank Stadium construction updates. I’m a big “skip the labor, show me the baby” sort of guy. But now that the baby has been born, I’m in love with this $1.1 billion dollar bundle of joy. We’ll hop into some of the gritty details of the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings latest encampment this week. LUKE BRYAN….. Hooray.

All that and other “Ice Up, Arden Hills” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

An Andy Carlson Joint

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