Friday, July 21, 2017

xavier rhodes

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Vikings Analysis: Xavier Rhodes Solidifies Top-10 CB Status — Episode 41

Logo designed by Steve Danielson

BJ Reidell and Drew Mahowald officially establish the About the Labor format for NFL draft season with the show split in half with random Minnesota Vikings analysis and the beginning of an ongoing prospect discussion revolving around rankings and best fits for the Vikings’ needs and resources.Primary talking points include a debate surrounding where cornerback Xavier Rhodes ranks relative to professional cornerbacks, Wisconsin Ryan

PRIMARY TALKING POINTS

  • Vikings Analysis: Debating where CB Xavier Rhodes ranks amongst his peers
  • Draft Discussion: Wisconsin’s LT Ryan Ramcyzk opens as ATL’s No. 1 offensive tackle
  • Draft Discussion: Alabama LT Cam Robinson’s run-blocking and slider status
  • Draft Discussion: Temple LT Dion Dawkins’ mauler mentality a fit in Minnesota
  • Draft Discussion: Troy LT Antonio Garcia gearing up for significant rise
  • Draft Discussion: Crash course on the potentially the best class of cornerback prospects ever

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Defense Reigns Supreme

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

“You are what your record says you are…”

…Bill Parcells said back in 1994 during his four-year tenure at the helm of the New England Patriots. The two-time Super Bowl champion coach may have been responding candidly with a simple knee-jerk reaction to deflect a difficult question posed by the media, but his eight-word phrase has since been immortalized, as it is still commonly said today by players, coaches and front-office personnel from each level of every sport.

In fact, Buffalo Bills general manager — or so he is titled — Doug Whaley recently verbalized his best Parcells impression on multiple occasions during a rather peculiar season-ending press conference:

Simply put, this quote, “You are what your record says you are,” which has since been attributed to Parcells despite reportedly first appearing in an issue of the San Diego Union back in 1978, has not only become a popular response to media questions revolving around team performance, the statement’s premise also lends credibility to the simple evaluative method of utilizing win-loss record to make a final determination on the quality of a given team.

Mike Zimmer, who has noted his close relationship with Parcells on several occasions throughout his tenure with the Minnesota Vikings, has never invoked the one-liner coined by his mentor on the record, but it’s hard to imagine he doesn’t, at some level, believe in its mystique.

His team finished 8-8 in 2016, which, as Parcells’ quote would argue, reflects an “average” football team. As a result, the 2016 Vikings represent the perfect example of why record merely reflects wins and losses, not the overall quality of a team. If the four previous rankings lists have failed to sell this point — potentially because they are a reflection of moments or games as opposed to 2016 in its entirety — the following “Top-5 Individual Seasons in 2016” rankings should fulfill the role of “closing argument” well enough.

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Sam Bradford's Brilliant Vikings Debut Stands Alone

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Yes, the Minnesota Vikings missed the 2016 postseason. And yes, it was an excruciatingly painful season to endure. But, as we have already noted during previous Top-5 lists, there were a number of standout efforts throughout the season.

The Vikings may have finished with an 8-8 record, but that didn’t stop them from racking up a bevy of outstanding single-game performances. In fact, one could argue that ranking only five individual efforts (plus an honorable mention) does not actually do justice to the number of outstanding games that Minnesota’s 53-man roster produced.

Given that the 2016 season saw four Vikings (initially) named to the Pro Bowl (Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes, Everson Griffen, Cordarrelle Patterson), included breakout seasons from Adam Thielen and Danielle Hunter (if his six-sack rookie year wasn’t enough, that is) and played host to Sam Bradford’s record-breaking season, it should come as little surprise that Minnesota’s rollercoaster campaign included an impressive list of individual game performances.

Also, be sure to check out our previous rankings, and keep an eye out for the remaining articles in our series highlighting the most thrilling Vikings moments from the 2016 season:

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About the Labor: A Minnesota Vikings Podcast — Episode 37

Logo designed by Steve Danielson

BJ Reidell and Drew Mahowald review the Minnesota Vikings’ outstanding defensive season, sift through specific areas in need of improvement, evaluate the year-long performance of the unit’s greatest contributors and speculate both on if the defense will be better next year and how to assure improvement in 2017.

PRIMARY TALKING POINTS

  • Gaudy statistical rankings
  • Spectacular defensive line and pass-rush
  • Regression of linebacker Anthony Barr
  • Mike Zimmer’s ability to develop an outstanding defensive secondary
  • Specific areas in need of improvement
  • Speculation regarding impending free agents and potential hole-fillers

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Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes Atop Defensive Play Rankings

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Keeping the positive energy going with our second installment in a series recapping the greatest moments of the Minnesota Vikings’ tumultuous 2016 season. 

It goes without saying that Minnesota’s season did not end the way fans would have hoped, but the Vikings still managed to produce their finest defensive year since 1995. During the team’s five-game win streak to open the season, Mike Zimmer’s defense was essentially impenetrable, posting a long list of ridiculous statistics:

Over the course of the entire year, the Vikings defense came in at No. 3 in yards allowed (5,038), No. 6 in points allowed (307) and No. 9 in Football Outsiders‘ efficiency-measuring statistic, DVOA, which is determined by a collection of situational details. And if it weren’t for a couple of stinkers against the Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers (ew) late in the year, these rankings would have been even higher.

Naturally, Minnesota’s star-studded, Super Bowl-caliber defense produced an endless supply of highlight-reel moments, which we collected and attributed rankings to below.

Be sure to check out our offensive play rankings as well, and keep an eye out for the remaining articles in our series highlighting the most thrilling Vikings moments from the 2016 season.

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