Thursday, November 26, 2015

phil loadholt

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Get your countdown clocks (and your coffee) ready; Minnesota Vikings football returns one week from tonight! For those not on the west coast, the Vikings will take the field against the 49ers at 9:15 pm CT, making this one of the latest starts in recent memory and a tough early test for this young roster.

Rain or shine, late or early, head coach Mike Zimmer is confident in his team’s development this preseason and optimistic heading into Week One:

“We’re never going to stop working,” Zimmer said. “I think that our guys feel good about … training camp. I think they feel good about the effort they’ve given and about the preseason. I’ll probably feel a little better after tomorrow than I do tonight.

“This team has a chance if we’ll figure it out. You don’t want to lose. You’d rather lose a preseason game. There’s some things that we can correct from tonight’s game. … It’s probably a good eye-opener for these guys.”

In true Zimmer fashion, the Vikings’ second-year head coach refrained from wholeheartedly calling his team a playoff contender, but didn’t completely disregard their strong preseason. Save for their loss last Thursday to the Titans, the Vikings finished the preseason 4-1 and looked mostly solid doing so.

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After releasing eleven players yesterday, including veterans Joe Banyard and Brandon Bostick, the Minnesota Vikings made two more moves on Monday to bring their active roster closer to the 75-man limit.

As announced on the team’s official website, the Vikings placed Josh Robinson on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, and the fourth-year cornerback will sit out the first six games of the season. Robinson missed all of training camp and the preseason after tearing his pectoral muscle during minicamp — an injury that will keep keep him from practicing until October 19.

Bykowski, a third-year tackle out of Iowa State, joined the Vikings last December after spending two years on the San Francisco 49ers’ practice squad. He was competing for the backup spot behind left tackle Matt Kalil before tearing his his pectoral muscle in the Vikings’ August 15 preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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Normally, a team with low expectations looks forward to preseason victories. With each win usually comes a performance or two that provide a boost to the optimism within the fan base.

In 2015, the Vikings are not used to entering August with high expectations, but that is indeed how the end of their offseason concluded. Unfortunately, as the preseason victories pile up, the list of potential downfalls continues to grow and enough things are going wrong that fans have to be worried about just how snake bit this roster could end up being by December.

HALL OF FAME GAME: Trae Waynes Isn’t An Immediate Star

Regardless of what history tells us, fans can’t help but hope their team’s first round selections are immediate contributors and, in some cases, immediate stars. Vikings fans have somewhat recent experience watching top selections dominate the NFL with Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin both earning rookie of the year honors and others earning Pro Bowl honors right out of the gate.

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Preseason rolls on for the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings and we do to as we ramp up for the 2015 season by getting into our brand new Monday-Wednesday-Friday format! Di Murphy (@DiMurphyMN) stops by for her first regular Wednesday appearance.

Queen of The Shoes Talking Points Include
• Jerome Simpson is DUMB
• Teddy is as smooth as quality peanut butter
• Christian Ponder returns to Minnesota (Dun dun dun)
• The Phil Loadholt injury: Ripple Effects (#TeamClemmings #TeamShepherd)
• Andy jokes about bringing Charlie Johnson back
• Cordarrelle Patterson is done in Minnesota. Let’s be real.
• Eric Kendricks is redonkulous & has stepped up the games of Audie & Hodges
• Anthony Barr injury. Concerned or nah?
• New DE Khalil Mack vs Matt Kalil – The Khalil vs Kalil Bowl
• Di talks about the Lynx & compares them to Vikings players
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All that and other “Teddy over Luck” fun on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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Last week, I wrote that the Norv Turner and the Minnesota Vikings need to let Teddy Bridgewater operate from the pocket, or, create moving pockets through roll-outs and play action. If the Vikings are going to be successful this season and beyond, they’ll need to ride those skinny knees of a healthy Teddy Bridgewater.

While play-calling helps minimize the effect of a defense’s schemes and blitzes, protecting the quarterback begins at the line of scrimmage with the offensive line and running backs — two of the most important positional groups heading into 2015.

Their importance has skyrocketed in recent days, most notably after the loss of Phil Loadholt during Saturday night’s preseason game against the Buccaneers. Loadholt suffered a torn achilles and will miss the entire season, which puts him at risk of being cut before 2016. As Adam wrote on Sunday, the Vikings have a few options to replace “Big Phil,” though the job at right tackle appears to be rookie T.J. Clemmings’s to lose.

So much relies on the Vikings’ group up front, and so much of that pressure falls on a select few players, from embattled left tackle Matt Kalil to newly-minted right guard Mike Harris. Can this reshuffled and retooled line live up to the test, or will Teddy Bridgewater end up battered and bruised like he was last season?

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