Saturday, January 21, 2017

rhett ellison

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Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen Dominate Offensive Play Rankings

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Unfortunately, the offseason has started a little earlier than the Minnesota Vikings would have hoped.

While Minnesota ended its season on about as high of a note as it could have with a dominating 38-10 victory at home over the Chicago Bears, the Vikings will be watching the postseason from their couches as the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions compete for a Super Bowl.

The worst-case scenario has been engaged with the happiness of Vikings fans now in the hands of the Seattle Seahawks and, more so, the New York Giants — a pair of teams that are certainly capable of bringing peace and harmony back to Vikings Territory in one fell swoop this weekend.

There is not a single Vikings fan in the world who is happy to see the offseason arrive so soon, but there are a few benefits to this heartbreaking situation:

  1. Vikings have extra time to prepare for a critical NFL Draft and Free Agency period
  2. Vikings won’t control your happiness on Sundays for roughly 9 months
  3. Excellent offseason content from your favorite source, Vikings Territory

With a dark cloud currently hovering over Mike Zimmer’s kingdom, the best place to start the Vikings Territory offseason content cycle may very well be through a series of articles highlighting the most thrilling and critical moments and performances that we shared together throughout this rollercoaster ride of a 2016 season:

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Image courtesy of vikings.com

The downward spiral continued Sunday as the Detroit Lions upset the Minnesota Vikings 22-16 at US Bank Stadium. Matt Prater kicked a 58-yard field goal for the Lions (5-4) to force overtime shortly after the Vikings (5-3) took a 16-13 lead with just 23 seconds to play in regulation.

Mathew Stafford connected with Golden Tate for the game winning 28-yard touchdown on the opening drive of overtime to end the contest.

Stafford threw for 219 yards and two touchdowns, but the Vikings actually produced more first downs and out-gained the Lions 337 to 311 net yards. An inability to capitalize in the red zone, poor third down defense, a block field goal and a missed extra point was the storyline behind the Vikings defeat.

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Waive TE MyCole Pruitt
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Injuries have a way of influencing the way teams operate both on and off the field. The balance between sufficient depth and play-making potential is often put to the test when faced with a lengthy injury report.

After weaving through a multitude of high-impact injuries, the Minnesota Vikings were forced to make a difficult decision in an effort to field a 53-man roster that boasts talent, depth, and stability.

The Vikings announced they have activated Taylor Heinicke from their non-football injury list, and, in order to clear a roster spot for the former Old Dominion quarterback, the team waived tight end MyCole Pruitt.

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Stefon Diggs Will Start vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings enter Week 7 armed with arguably their most dangerous offensive weapon, Stefon Diggs. A groin/hamstring injury kept Diggs out of Minnesota’s last game, but the second-year receiver will start as the Vikings look to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles.

With Laquon Treadwell (thumb) and Jarius Wright (ankle) inactive, Diggs should see plenty of play in the Vikings’ new-look, hurry-up offense. It’s an encouraging sign that Diggs is starting, indicating he’s close to full health. In addition to Treadwell and Wright, the Vikings will sit five other players:

Sharrif Floyd continues to work his way back from an early season knee procedure. MyCole Pruitt injured his knee in Week 5 but is expected to return soon.

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Stefon Diggs Out as Vikings Host Texans
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Stefon Diggs “has a groin,” and that groin finally held him out of a game. Earlier this morning, the Minnesota Vikings announced that Diggs, who’s missed practice all week, will be inactive against the Houston Texans.

It’s the first game Diggs has missed since sitting the first three games of his career in 2015. In his place, Adam Thielen will start in two-receiver sets, and Jarius Wright will likely see more field today than he’s seen all season.

The rest of the the team’s inactives include:

  • WR Stefon Diggs
  • RB Ronnie Hillman
  • LB Kentrell Brothers
  • T Andre Smith
  • DT Sharrif Floyd
  • TE Rhett Ellison
  • TE David Morgan

Notable is the loss of Rhett Ellison, a key factor in Minnesota’s two and three-tight end sets. With Ellison sidelined, Sam Bradford and the Vikings offense could look to more 11/21-personnel sets out of the shotgun. It’s a look the team showed heavily in Week 4, when Jerick McKinnon rushed for nearly 100 yards.

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