Sunday, November 29, 2015

xavier rhodes

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Not everything was bad...right?

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The 49ers didn’t just deflate the balloon that was the Vikings’ hopes and expectations for 2015. They snatched it from the hands of optimistic fans, grabbed the sharpest needle they could find, and popped it right in their faces.

Last night’s game was ugly, and one a distraught fanbase won’t soon forget. Carlos Hyde pounded head coach Mike Zimmer’s defense, carrying the ball 26 times for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback the Vikings were supposed to contain, eluded pass rushers and consistently moved the chains with his legs. In the words of Zimmer, maybe his team “just isn’t ready for primetime.”

I could go on, but I won’t — I’ll save the negativity for a breakdown of the game on Wednesday. Today, I want to take a different route, a more positive route. Despite the failures on offense, defense, and special teams — unacceptable given the team’s five preseason games to prepare — there were a few encouraging signs as the Vikings transition to their Week 2 opponent, the Detroit Lions.

Who stood out, and what can the Vikings build on as they try to establish an identity?

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Since our Vikings-Niners Preview episode is already up, we decided to fill the Monday slot with complete non-sense as Andy gives new nicknames to every player on the Vikings roster!

Some Of The HighLights Include:
• Teddy “Dave” Bridgewater
• Stefon “CAN YOU DIG IT” Diggs
• Jarius “Slot Machine” Wright
• Kyle “Your Girlfriend Sneezed on Me At Training Camp” Rudolph
• Sharrif “My Arms Aren’t Short, They’re Economical” Floyd
• Marcus “Mighty Mouse” Sherels
• Tune in for the other 65 nicknames!

All that and other “Are You Ready for some Tuesday Morning Football?!?!” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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Adam: Kyle Rudolph
Last year at about this time, there was an expectation that Kyle Rudolph could fit into Norv Turner’s offense in a similar way to what we saw out of Antonio Gates for so many years in San Diego. Health issues combined with poor quarterback play to derail those hopes last season, but Rudolph now appears to be a healthy pass-catching option capable of carrying some preseason chemistry with Teddy Bridgewater over into Week One. My expectations are sky high for Rudolph this season, as I see him as the best safety blanket and red zone target, and would not be surprised to see Rudolph running routes designed to test that weakened linebacker group the Niners are now fielding. Predicting a first touchdown is a fickle thing (heck, it could end up being a defender for all we know) dependent on a ton of unknowns, but I’ll go ahead and plant my Rudolph flag from the get-go. Why not?

Brent: Adrian Peterson
I see no better way for the Vikings to kick off the season and put 2014 behind them than letting Peterson pound his way through the 49er defense for six. Aside for letting bygones be bygones, it would be wise of the Vikings to establish a strong running game early and often to keep some pressure off Teddy Bridgewater and open the field for downfield passing later in the game/season.

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Even with the game's late start time

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The Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers are franchises heading in different directions. For one, the needle is pointing up after adding significant, young talent on both sides of the ball, from second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to rookie linebacker Eric Kendricks. The other, a perennial playoff favorite, watched former All-Pro players like Frank Gore and Patrick Willis  sign with other teams or retire from football completely.

Optimism heading into Week One is at an all-time high, but to expect an easy win would be discounting a San Francisco 49ers team with a chance to pull of the surprise upset next Monday. I’m of the mindset that the Vikings will win the game, but not without a few challenges.

Where could the Vikings falter, and what will they need to do to ensure a win to start the season?

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Get your countdown clocks (and your coffee) ready; Minnesota Vikings football returns one week from tonight! For those not on the west coast, the Vikings will take the field against the 49ers at 9:15 pm CT, making this one of the latest starts in recent memory and a tough early test for this young roster.

Rain or shine, late or early, head coach Mike Zimmer is confident in his team’s development this preseason and optimistic heading into Week One:

“We’re never going to stop working,” Zimmer said. “I think that our guys feel good about … training camp. I think they feel good about the effort they’ve given and about the preseason. I’ll probably feel a little better after tomorrow than I do tonight.

“This team has a chance if we’ll figure it out. You don’t want to lose. You’d rather lose a preseason game. There’s some things that we can correct from tonight’s game. … It’s probably a good eye-opener for these guys.”

In true Zimmer fashion, the Vikings’ second-year head coach refrained from wholeheartedly calling his team a playoff contender, but didn’t completely disregard their strong preseason. Save for their loss last Thursday to the Titans, the Vikings finished the preseason 4-1 and looked mostly solid doing so.

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