Monday, December 5, 2016

teddy bridgewater

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Thankful for a Minnesota Vikings Win
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

1. Happy early Thanksgiving, friends.

Thanksgiving came a little early for the Minnesota Vikings and their fans. Following Sunday’s roller coaster of a victory over the Arizona Cardinals, the thought of Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday night got that much more delicious.

While I’m thankful for the win — six weeks in the making — I’m not ready to sit down at the dinner table just yet. Sure, the Vikings are 6-4 and tied for first place in the NFC North, but their co-champions are gearing up for what’s likely the team’s most significant game of the season.

Thursday morning, as we prep the turkey, loosen the sweatpants and enjoy the company of our loved ones, the Detroit Lions will try to sweep the Vikings for the second time in three years. Minnesota enters Week 12 having skirted a five-game losing streak, while the Lions are enjoying their own two-game series of wins.

As Vikings fans, we deserve to savor yesterday’s “W.” The defense came back to life with four sacks, Sam Bradford played another relatively clean game, and Mike Zimmer’s crew put together an impressive display of  “team football.”

This is only the appetizer of what could be a satisfying full-course meal on Thursday.

And on a side note, since it is that time of the year, thank you. Thank you for being such loyal readers, followers, and fans of this crazy, wonderful team. You make writing here a joy, and I’m thankful to call Vikings Territory home.

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VT's Midseason MVP
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

He wasn’t supposed to lead the Minnesota Vikings to five straight wins. He wasn’t supposed to be a top-10 quarterback this season. Heck, Sam Bradford wasn’t even supposed to be in Minnesota this year.

But here we are, and Bradford’s earned his title (fan-voted, thank you very much) as Vikings Territory’s most valuable player and most valuable offensive player. Halfway through the season, Bradford’s play has been, for a lack of a better term, remarkable.

This is a quarterback that landed in Winter Park just two weeks before the season opener, absorbed a large chunk of the playbook, and won his first game in purple and gold — a thrilling Week 2 victory to open U.S. Bank Stadium against the Green Bay Packers.

Despite losing their last three games, the Vikings remain atop the NFC North, firmly in control of their own playoff destiny. And despite the massive trade that brought Bradford to Minnesota, the Vikings’ newest quarterback is proving to be a worthwhile return on investment.

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Vikings Territory Midseason Awards
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

It’s the halfway point of the season, meaning it’s time to take stock of the current Minnesota Vikings. Adam Patrick put together his own recap earlier in the week, but now, we’re giving you the power to assess exactly where this team stands.

At the end of last season, we handed out fan-voted awards to a number of players. You named Harrison Smith the Vikings’ best defensive player, declared Eric Kendricks the team’s most outstanding rookie, and agreed that Adrian Peterson deserved two awards — best offensive player and most valuable player.

But this year’s roster is completely different, and such, deserving of a little midseason evaluation. Gone are Peterson, Teddy Bridgewater, Mike Wallace, and the architect of the 2015 offense — Norv Turner. In their place, Sam Bradford and a trio of complementary backs are doing their best to keep a Pat Shurmur attack afloat.

On defense, the core remains, and at the beginning of the year, was one of the league’s best units. Injuries and a regression to the norm, however, have spelled trouble for Mike Zimmer and Co. in recent weeks. There’s plenty of individual talent, but collectively, the “Purple Reign” hasn’t lived up to its name since Week 5.

After the jump, we’ll open the polls and give you a chance to vote on four awards — Most Valuable Player, Most Valuable Offensive Player, Most Valuable Defensive Player, and Most Valuable Special Teams Player. Remember, we’re picking the winners based on eight games; these will certainly change as the season progresses!

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Minnesota Vikings - PFF

The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings are indeed in the hunt for some good will after falling to 5-3 after a promising five-game win streak to begin the 2016 campaign. To make some sense of the mess, I brought in Dr. Eric Eager, Pro Football Focus contributor, to talk a little Purple and explain to me the method behind the PFF madness. Should people treat their grades as gospel? (No.) And what is the best way for the average jackass fan (like Andy) to incorporate PFF’s content to enrich their viewing experience and make them a better fan.

We also dove into general Vikings topics: Why does it appear that Anthony Barr is struggling? What makes Terence Newman so valuable this season? Was Norv really the only problem on the offense? #TeamTeddy or #TeamBradford going forward? And some Blair Walsh derpiness. Plus Eric shares memories of squaring off against THE Winona State University’s Chris Samp (aka Jeff Janis before Jeff Janis.)

All that and more “Do You Like Apples?” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint

VT QOTW

Bumps in the Road
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

A drive down any street is sure to include a few potholes, but lately, the ride that is Minnesota Vikings football has been unbearably bumpy. Missing is the smothering defense, the efficient, if conservative offense, and the team that won five straight games to start the season.

Minnesota’s two-game losing streak was punctuated with the resignation of Norv Turner, who conceded play calling duties to Pat Shurmur on Wednesday morning. We’re not even at the halfway point of the year and the Vikings have already seen turnover at quarterback, running back, offensive line, and now, offensive coordinator.

There’s hope things will smooth over on the road ahead; the defense is still a top-3 unit and the switch to Shurmur could spell positive changes for what’s been a lackluster offense. I tend to take the more optimistic route when it comes to this team, but I wanted to see what the Vikings Territory writers had to say. Their answers, after the jump:

Is it time to hit the panic button on the Vikings, or is this two-game losing streak just a bump in the road?

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