Wednesday, June 29, 2016

teddy bridgewater

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Too many cooks in the kitchen?

The Offensive Triangle
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

This 10-part series focuses on the biggest questions facing the Vikings as they head into Mankato for their training camp festivities. The second question that comes to mind is how the crowded, experienced coaching staff will coexist and and impact the offense in 2016. If you missed the first question, you can read and respond HERE.

Time is running out for Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Since joining Minnesota’s coaching staff in 2014, he’s failed to turn his lengthy pedigree into on-field results. His offenses have finished 27th and 29th in total yards, respectively,  despite having one of the league’s best young quarterbacks and an All-Pro at running back in Adrian Peterson.

When the 2015 season concluded and head coach Mike Zimmer addressed the media, he made it clear that Turner’s future in Minnesota wasn’t a sure thing. “I anticipate, yes,” he said, when asked if Turner would return the following year. For a coach who campaigned to bring Turner in, Zimmer’s answer wasn’t exactly an endorsement of his second-in-command.

And neither were Zimmer’s subsequent moves — the hiring of Tony Sparano as offensive line coach and Pat Shurmur as the team’s tight ends coach. Both have extensive experience coaching in the NFL, and both have coordinated West Coast offenses — a system many believe would benefit Teddy Bridgewater. They’ll start the year hyper-focused on their respective positional groups, but what happens if the offense doesn’t score or fails to move the football? Will Sparano gain more influence on the running game? Will Shurmur take over play calling duties from Turner?

With two new voices at the table and a contract that expires at the end of 2016, the pressure is on Turner to turn Minnesota’s offense around. If he doesn’t, fans may see a new coordinator (or two) up in the booth for the Vikings.

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Poll of the Week

The Sky is the Limit for the Vikings
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Mike Zimmer’s vocabulary includes a smattering of four-letter words, a treasure trove of unique phrases, and plenty of criticisms. But a word you’ll never hear from the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, no matter how well his team plays, is ‘perfect.’

Despite taking the league’s worst scoring defense from 2013 and making them a top-five unit in just two years, Zimmer hesitates to proclaim he’s actually fixed things in Minnesota. “I don’t think we’re very good, to be honest with you,” he told reporters at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine. “We can be a lot better,” he said, speaking to Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.

The perception around the NFL is that the Vikings are one of the best teams in the NFC, buoyed by an up-and-coming defense with the roster pieces to contend for years. In Teddy Bridgewater, they have a young quarterback with all of the skills and leadership to bring the Vikings back to the playoffs. In Zimmer, they’ve got a top-five coach, one who won’t settle for anything less than perfection.

But in order to fulfill those expectations and clear the historical hurdles, they’ll need improvements across the board. It’s odd to say that about a team that went 11-5 and won the division in 2015, but Zimmer’s right; the Vikings can be “a lot better.” Well, maybe not “a lot” better, but certainly better in a few key areas.

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Laquon Treadwell

School’s finally out for summer. Well…. At least 6 weeks.

The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings wrapped up mini-camp Thursday at Winter Park by cancelling practice and letting the Purple get a jump on their summer vacations a few hours early. We’re still on our grind here though bringing you a ten-pack of Vikings talkers to take you into Father’s Day weekend and the official start to summer.

Today’s Topics Include
• Vikings Mini-Camp Wrapped Up a Day Early
• Joint Practices Announced with the Bengals
• Only 10 Days in Mankato
• Adrian Says to Trade Anyone Not Thinking Super Bowl
• Laquon Treadwell Got Hazed with…. Fruit Snacks?
• Will This be the Year for Cordarrelle?
• Why Linval & Sharrif Benefit from Fletcher Cox’s Mega-Deal
• What if Xavier Rhodes Becomes Good at Off Coverage?
• Decoding What Everyone’s Saying About Mortiz Boehringer
• Vikings Cut DT Bruce Gaston & LB Travis Lewis

All that and other “Madison Treadwell’s School Lunches are the REAL Winner” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

An Andy Carlson Joint

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VT QOTW

shift from Peterson to Bridgewater
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Teddy Bridgewater’s only played in 17 total games with Adrian Peterson, and yet, the Minnesota Vikings find themselves in a bind. Peterson’s 1,485 rushing yards led the league last year and propelled the Vikings to an NFC North title and playoff berth; the team’s first since 2009. But it could be argued that Peterson’s success affected Bridgewater, limiting the young quarterback to the role of ‘dink-and-dunk’ game manager.

This wouldn’t be an issue if Peterson weren’t on the wrong side of 30. A younger running back, like Jerick McKinnon, could learn to work with Bridgewater, adapt to the quarterback’s preferred shotgun formation, and become a liable threat in the passing game. But Peterson is Peterson, and asking an old dog to learn new tricks will only come with challenges. And challenges take time, time the Vikings can’t afford to waste with their Super Bowl quickly opening.

To burst through that window, Minnesota needs to focus on the future. Right now, the future is Bridgewater and his ability to carry the Vikings’ offense. Peterson himself admitted just yesterday that this is the third-year quarterback’s team to lead:

“For this third year we are expecting big things from him,” Peterson said. “I don’t think it’s pressure toward him, but he understands it now even more going into this next year. He’s the leader of this team when it comes to the offensive side of the ball. He just knows that and takes control.”

All signs indicate a shift from Peterson to Bridgewater: the addition of Laquon Treadwell; the hiring of Pat Shurmur; reports of Bridgewater’s improved deep ball; Peterson’s own admission that he must improve as a pass-catcher and shotgun runner.

But if it ain’t broke, there’s no need to fix it, right? That very well may be the case in 2016, especially with Norv Turner at the helm of the offense. Peterson shows no signs of slowing down and remains a focal point of the organization. With one lucrative year remaining on his contract, there’s no reason for Turner not to run Peterson into the ground.

I’ve pitched the ball; it’s up to Vikings Territory staff — and a special guest — to answer the question:

How many rushing yards will Peterson have in 2016?

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Harrison Smith

Harrison Smith is the best kept secret in the NFL. He’s the most complete safety in the league, yet is continually over-looked for accolades and by the national media. Maybe they’ll take notice now that Dirty Harry is the highest paid (by per year average) safety after inking a 5-year, $51.25M deal with $28.578M guaranteed. Now it’s time for Harry to earn that cheddar and he seems more than ready to justify the #Faith shown by the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings.

Today’s Topics Include
• Harrison Smith Got PAID (Rightfully So)
• What’s Going On with Anthony Barr?
• Edmond Robinson Getting 1st Team Reps
• Don’t Count Out Charles Johnson Yet
• SI’s Doug Farrar Has High Praise for the Vikings Defense
• Pressure is On Trae Waynes
• Could Brandon Fusco Be Cut?
• Could This Be Kyle Rudolph’s Last Season in Purple?
• Aaron Rodgers Gave Up Cheese
#MoreThanWords Update

All that and other “Harrison Has More Equity Than Me Now” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

An Andy Carlson Joint

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