Thursday, May 5, 2016

xavier rhodes

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

A win in Atlanta earned the Vikings a seat atop the NFC North, one game ahead of the Green Bay Packers, and the hype train is again starting to pick up steam.

Minnesota won’t have to do an unreasonable amount of winning during the remaining schedule to land themselves a playoff spot, but maintaining their lead in the NFC North could indeed prove to be a difficult path to navigate.

With a crucial Week 13 battle against Seattle looming, we are taking a look around the web to see what all is being said about our beloved purple during this exciting time:

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The holiday season, as Andy Williams so famously sings each December, is “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The glimmering lights of a Christmas tree, the taste of fresh-baked sugar cookies, and the sound of jingle bells remind me of my childhood, when my only concern was what I’d put on my annual wish list to Santa. Did I want a scooter? A PS2? A pair of headphones? I made my list, and the big man in red always checked it twice, leaving unwrapped presents under the tree each Christmas.

The joy of Christmas doesn’t come from the gifts we receive, though. It’s the traditions, the quiet moments with family, and the act of giving that make Christmas so special for me. Whether we’re baking Grandma’s favorite cookies or watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation for the hundredth time, I’ll always cherish the memories I make each December with my closest family and friends. It’s this time of the year, in particular, that reminds me of the things I appreciate the most in my life.

Unfortunately, that anxious, greedy child in me lashes out when I think of the Minnesota Vikings. They’re 8-3, sitting alone atop the NFC North, and yet, I want more from my favorite football team. With Christmas just 24 days away and the stress of holiday shopping upon us, there’s no better time than the present to start a new tradition at Vikings Territory and share my grown-up, Vikings Christmas list with you. Hey, maybe Santa will deliver a few of these presents by season’s end.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Mike Zimmer is a man of few kind words on the field. Read his lips during a broadcast or listen to him after a game in the locker room; you’ll be sure to hear some “bleeps” and “beeps” as he chastises a referee, grills his players, or reacts to the play of his defense. Zimmer’s an old-school coach, one who leaves the pleasantries at the door every Sunday in favor of a certain few four-letter words.

And every so often, Zimmer lets his guard down to tell the media how he really feels. When Bobby Petrino deserted the Atlanta Falcons — and Falcons defensive coordinator Zimmer — in 2007, Zimmer left nothing to the imagination, calling Petrino a coward and a “gutless MF“. Maybe that’s why yesterday’s 20-10 win over the Falcons was so important to Zimmer.

More important to Zimmer, though, is the progression of his young players and the growth of his football team. He’s opened up at the podium before, most notably last January when effusing praise on the team’s top cornerback, Xavier Rhodes. He did the same yesterday when asked about Anthony Barr, Minnesota’s second-year linebacker, who forced two fumbles on Sunday and continues to improve as an every-down linebacker in the league:

“Anthony is a special player, a special kid, as he continues to play he will be even better. I really think the sky is the limit for the guy. There are so many things you can do with him. He has been limited the last couple of weeks because of the hand and today we decided we would let him loose a little more, that was good and I think he has a very bright future and can be a tremendous football player.”

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Since Mike Zimmer’s arrival in Minnesota, the Vikings haven’t unlocked the door to beating Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. The door slammed in their faces last October, when Christian Ponder and Mike Zimmer’s young team lost 42-10 to the Packers in embarrassing fashion at Lambeau Field. It creaked open later in the year, when Teddy Bridgewater returned to the lineup and nearly beat Green Bay at home, 21-24.

Now, the key is in the Vikings’ hands, and they’re standing at the door ready to turn the handle. Sitting alone in first place and a game ahead of Green Bay, Sunday’s Week 11 matchup could be Minnesota’s greatest opportunity to win the NFC North since their historic 2009 season. To do that, though, they must stop Aaron Rodgers.

Linval Joseph spoke to reporters on Tuesday and expressed confidence as the team prepares for their toughest test yet. “He’s a very good quarterback, elite quarterback and in this league, you want to play against the best,” he said. On Sunday, Joseph will have the chance to sack Rodgers and lead the Vikings to a win. But against a quarterback like No. 12, it’ll take more than just sacks to pull out a victory. They’ll need Mike Zimmer’s best blitz packages, solid play from every cornerback, and a disciplined, yet aggressive pass rush for their eighth win of the season.

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The Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings earned an ugly win at the buzzer 23-20 over the Chicago Bears at Solider Field Sunday on the foot of Blair Walsh, who was perfect on the day. The Purple (5-2) now have two-straight divisional road wins in their pocket as we plow through the 2015 season towards the playoffs. We recap the game that broke the mythical 7-game losing streak in Chicago.

“Teddy Had a Tebow Game” Talkers Include
• Teddy Bridgewater Was Good When It Mattered
• Stefon Diggs is a Treasure
• That Defense….
• Adrian is Back to Being a Bulldozer
• #FreePruitt
• Eric Kendricks Love
• Harrison Smith Messed Up
• Props to Charles Johnson
• Marcus Sherels Love
• Hai, Blair Walsh
• Rams Next. HOW ARE WE GONNA STOP TODD GURLEY?
• Mike Wallace is not healthy.
• Credit where it’s due: Matt Kalil did well.
• This Vikings offense leaves roughly 10 points a game on the field
• Jerick McKinnon should be used like Dion Lewis
• Great teams finish drives…
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All that and other “Start Over” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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