Tuesday, January 16, 2018

xavier rhodes

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

2017 Minnesota Vikings Pro Football Focus grades.

Before we get started I would like to make some things clear about PFF grades.

Pro Football Focus (PFF) has been grading NFL players since 2004. The football analytics site evaluates individual performances on a play-by-play basis. On every play of every game, a PFF analyst will grade each player on a scale of -2 to +2 according to what he did on the play.

From the Pro Football Focus website:

pff player grades

The grading method was designed to build a clearer picture of how players performed, rather than simply judging performances based on box-score stats. Stats can be misleading.

While most statistical analysis is quantitative in nature, PFF uses qualitative measures and opinion-based grading as the basis of their rankings, so like baseball umpires, their calls could be construed by critics as “biased.” However, the grading process is overseen by at least three individuals per contest, so while the numbers may not always be perfect, the process itself is rather reliable.

What’s also unique about PFF is that season-level grades also account for the duration of good and bad play, resulting in “compounded” grades (both positive and negative) if the player’s performance continues for long periods of time. Basically, the grades factor in “streaky” play. Kinda cool, right?

Anyways…I hope that helped. It’s better to know these things beforehand because some grades may surprise you.

So without further adieu, here are the 2017 season grades for each qualified Viking. The players are arranged by grade within their position group. Notable position rankings are listed in parentheses.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Well, here we are. The bye has passed, and fate has given us the most intriguing/dangerous/emotionally charged (at least for fans) opponent the NFC has to offer in the Divisional round. Vikings/Saints has the feel of a marquee matchup, and something tells me even neutral fans will be making point to tune in at 3:40 CT Sunday.

I’ll spare you a lengthy windup, because you already know the history and what’s at stake. Instead, let’s get right to it, and take a look at some of the most important individual matchups within the game.

Xavier Rhodes vs. Michael Thomas

Xavier Rhodes vs. somebody seems to be a banner matchup almost every week; 2017 has seen Rhodes shadow Thomas once already, plus Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, Julio Jones, and AJ Green, to name a few. And his exemplary work against this group of elite receivers is one of many reasons Rhodes was named First-Team All-Pro and is widely considered one of the top shutdown corners in the game.

In their first meeting, Michael Thomas caught five passes for 45 yards and was held largely in check. Much has changed for the Saints (and most of the NFL) since Week 1, and Thomas — undoubtedly Drew Brees’ top downfield option — is coming off an eight-catch, 131-yard performance against Carolina in the Wild Card round. Rhodes will have his hands full and will often be asked to cover Thomas one-on-one, but, outside of a head-scratching and altogether subpar performance agains the Lions’ Marvin Jones in Week 12, he has proven almost universally up to the task in 2017.

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A guest post from friend of the site, Luke Braun

Vikings to the Super Bowl
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

This post was guest-written by Luke Braun, a contributor at Purple PTSD and longtime friend of the site. Follow him on Twitter at @spokenflow22.

Every year, I engage in the exercise of picking the entire playoffs before the postseason starts. Think of it like a mini March Madness — mostly just for fun. This year, there’s no reason not to share and explain my reasoning to the world.

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image courtesy of Vikings.com

Minnesota Vikings defensive backs Harrison Smith and Xavier Rhodes were named to the 2017 Associated Press First-Team All-Pro squad.

The end-of-season awards keep coming for the Minnesota Vikings.

The Associated Press announced its annual All-Pro roster Friday morning and it included two of the leaders of Mike Zimmer’s vaunted Vikings defense on the first team and two more Vikings on the second team.

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image courtesy of Vikings.com

Drew Mahowald presents the 20th edition of the Skol Scale following the Minnesota Vikings’ 23-10 win over the Chicago Bears to wrap up the regular season at 13-3.

The Minnesota Vikings aren’t just playoff bound.

They’re already divisional round bound. At home.

Minnesota wrapped up the regular season by winning 11 of its final 12 games to enter the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Mike Zimmer’s team has exceeded any and all expectations set forth before the season by even the biggest of homers.