Friday, October 20, 2017

Pat Shurmur

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Enough is Enough
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A mother’s comforting words; a friend’s unexpected call; the reassurance that everything is going to be okay.

For Sam Bradford, such a moment came on the sidelines, captured quietly by ESPN’s Monday Night Football cameras. He sat exasperated on Minnesota’s bench, looking beaten down in the midst of his long-awaited return to the Vikings huddle.

With a pat on the leg, Shurmur signaled what could be the end of Bradford’s season (and career) in Minnesota.

Three weeks of rest weren’t enough to rejuvenate the quarterback’s chronic, bruised knee. From the moment he took the field, Bradford looked like a shell of himself; misfiring on normally automatic throws, grimacing in the huddle, and pulling himself off the turf more slowly with each subsequent sack.

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Knee injuries are a pretty consistent theme for the Minnesota Vikings franchise. Over the past 12 years, all of the most valuable “franchise” players have suffered a significant knee injury — Daunte Culpepper, Adrian Peterson, Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford.

We can now add Dalvin Cook to that list.

Cook’s scorching hot start came to a screeching halt when his knee buckled while making a cut against Detroit last week. The injury deflated any momentum the Vikings may have had, and the end result was a 14-7 home divisional loss to drop to 2-2 on the season.

Minnesota’s offense slouched considerably without Cook in the game. The running game went from reliable to barely serviceable and the Detroit defense was able to commit to the pass, flustering Case Keenum more than he was already flustered.

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Embrace the good takes, own the bad ones

No One Knows
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For as unpredictable a sport as football, our ability to foresee future outcomes is pretty surreal. Credit the number of tools, metrics, and resources we can access, but the average, plugged-in fan is more well-informed than ever.

Less stunning, though, is the number of bad takes and opinions we contribute to the running narrative. Given the breadth of options at our disposal, we should have a better grasp on what we’re seeing and how we interpret that information. But football, for all its cut-and-dried variables, is an emotional game, and those emotions can seep into the logical nerve endings of our brains.

I’m no stranger to the phenomenon. Just the other night, I sat on the VT Roundtable and declared Jordy Nelson “washed,” only to watch him score two touchdowns on Thursday Night Football. I said Dez Bryant was less of a threat than Cole Beasley in Dallas, labeled Trae Waynes a “good” cornerback, and generally, elicited raised eyebrows from my cohosts.

It happens; we don’t always hit our mark with our opinions, and that’s okay. I think it’s important to embrace the fact that no one knows — really knows — what’s happening, or what’s going to happen every Sunday. It’s healthy to admit fault, to take a step back from the hyper-aggressive sandbox that is Twitter and say, “You know, I don’t have to be right.”

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Episode 112

Graphic designed by Brett Anderson

BJ Reidell and Drew Mahowald go more in-depth on Case Keenum’s impressive performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and wonder if offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur deserves more respect in Minnesota.

Episode 112 is proudly sponsored by BlackStack Brewing and The Twin Cities Directory.


  1. Into: The Agenda (0:00)
  2. Sponsor Note: BlackStack Brewing & The Twin Cities Directory (1:25)
  3. Upon Review: Pat Shurmur Deserves Some Respect (2:00)
  4. Twitter Takes: Mike Evans is Mad Online (36:36)
  5. Sign-Out: Thanks for Listening! (49:46)

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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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