MINNESOTA VIKINGS-Season in review…and a glimpse foward


There are many ways to sum up the Vikings’ 2016 season…as long as it ends with yet another “crash and burn” story like only the Vikings can conjure up, then you’ve done your part in first witnessing the debacle, then lamenting over it.

The 2016 campaign for the Vikings were highly anticipated to be the year that they were to make a deep run in the playoffs, picking up where they left off from the soul crushing defeat to Seattle that ended the 2015 season.Yes the Vikings were primed and ready. Then something happened…Teddy Bridgewater went down in a freak non-contact injury and in an instant he was lost for the year. Suddenly the 2016 season was already in jeopardy before it had even begun.

Knowing the window of opportunity closes fast in the NFL, a window the Vikings had thought was now open, they made a daring unexpected move. Rick Speilman pulled off a trade that would send Sam Bradford-the then “starter” for the Eagles to Minnesota for our first round pick and a pick to be determined by how far the Vikings had gotten in the playoffs. Of course we now know they didn’t get there, so it became a fourth round pick.

Many pundits-and fans alike hated this trade because of the drafts picks that were given up in particular a coveted first round pick. I am not one of those people. If the Vikings thought they were Superbowl contenders,they needed to make a move to give them the best opportunity to reach that goal…of course it didn’t happen, but no one could have predicted the injury riddled season that was lying ahead-and ready to attack.

After a 5-0 start, it seemed that the bold move would pay instant dividends as pundits and fans alike were talking Vikings-playoffs-Superbowl…but the injuries had just begun to rear it’s ugly head. The offensive line took the biggest hit, although that had actually started in OTA’s with Phil Loadholt retiring, John Sullivan being released and Mike Harris unable to play with an undisclosed illness. Matt Kalil, Andre Smith, and newly acquired Jake Long-all starters, were all placed on the IR list. Add Sharrif Floyd to the IR as well as he never saw the field of play in 2016. IR was a very bad word in Viking-land in 2016.

Many key players also went down with varying injuries..most notably Peterson, which required knee surgery. Fusco, Boone, Berger, Sirles, and Clemmings also lost playing time due to injuries/concussions. Unfortunately Diggs had knee and hip issues down the stretch that limited him in the final games. Sherels also missed games with an ankle injury. There were other assorted injuries here and there but you get the picture-the injury bug struck hard on the Vikings in 2016.

There were some bright spots though, as we all witnessed elite play and became “Hooked on a Thielen” for real. At the start of OTA’s and into training camp, Adam Thielan wasn’t on anyone’s radar as the next top-tier Wide Receiver, which is probably why Laquon Treadwell was likely targeted in the first round.Take into account the unknown future of Cordarrelle Patterson and the WR group consisted of Stefon Diggs…and Jarius Wright.

By the time training camp was over, Thielen overtook everyone except Diggs. What a remarkable story for the local kid! Now the Vikings have a legitamate #1 and #2 receiver. At this point Treadwell can only hope to be the #3 guy…a first round pick! Well look at it this way, Charles Johnson won’t be on the roster next year.

But alas, there just weren’t enough bright spots to shine through the dark cloud of reality, that was the Vikings season. So, to make a long story short, as the injuries plied up, so did the losses. The Vikings managed to finish the season at just 8-8…third place in the NFC North…and a harsh reminder that 16 games is a long season that, from start to finish can bring elation or despair in every game. How ironic is it that when the Bradford trade happened, the biggest worry was his injury-prone history…but after 15 consecutive games played, he literally was the last man standing…

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And now as we look forward to the upcoming draft and the shape of the team for the 2017 season, lets tale a peek into what we may see before the first snap:

Players:

I have always been a huge fan of Chad Greenway-since day one. He is the epitomy of what a coach and a fan wants in every ball player; be a hard worker, be a role model and leader in the locker room, be involved in the community, be unselfish, be thankful for the opportunity you’ve been given-and the reward, and of course be a great player. Greenway was all of these, and so much more.

Mike Zimmer has stated he would love to have Greenway back for one more year, but judging by the way he saluted the fans at the last game of the season, he may have made up his mind already. I hope he stays…

Just because you are under contract doesn’t mean a thing in today’s league. Adrian Peterson is one of those players. He made it perfectly clear he would love to remain a Viking-but understands it’s a business…he wants his money, and Speilman will want to restructure the contract to reflect his age, while keeping in mind he has only played roughly one season of football in the past three seasons.

I expect Peterson to be traded for a second or third round pick.

Brian Robison was quoted as saying he expects Danielle Hunter to take over the starting position next year-he is right, but the question is will Robison be willing to be a backup? I hope so, he has always given it his all and understood the team approach to getting at the QB.

As for TJ Clemmings-release him ASAP he has poor technique and flails worse than a pantomime feeling for an invisible wall.

Other players to mention are Munnerlyn, Newman, Patterson, Floyd, and Kalil. Out of these players I think Floyd has the biggest chance of being released.

Munnerlyn and Newman can be kept for depth, Patty may have found his niche, although he will never be a great route runner, and we need all the help we can get on the O-Line, so Kalil stays.

Remember anyone is expendable-there will always be the unexpected move we never saw coming…

Coaches:

I question Tony Sparano. Zimmer brought him in to bring nastiness to the Offensive Line, but unless you think playing “Pat-a-Cake” with the opposing defensive lineman, is acceptable than you would agree that we seemed to take a step in the wrong direction from last year (which was bad enough.) Perhaps it was a product of the carousel that was the offensive line as there were 10 different combinations on the O-Line throughout the year.

But still, technique is technique right? But what do I know-nothing but what I see on the TV and yell at the TV! I wouldn’t be surprised if Sparano is shown the door…we’ll see.

Pat Shurmur took a more conservative approach to the offense after the Turner walkout. Resulting in three step drop backs and quicker releases.This was both good and bad for the offense. It was good because it helped keep Bradford upright much more often, but bad because some throws-especially on third down and long were 3-5 yard passes, which ended in punt after punt.

Again, perhaps the play calling was a product of the offensive line woes. But one thing for sure is in the NFL you have to be aggressive when you have the ball on offense-there is no reason why you can’t have a stout defense and a high-octane offense. Lets get it done!!!

I think it’s time for Zimmer to relinquish his duties as the primary defensive play caller and let the Defensive Coordinator George Edwards assume play calling. It seemed evident that Zimmer was overwhelmed at times with being a head coach and calling the defensive plays…lets Edwards have a crack at it-and keep (an eye) on him.

Mike Priefer continues bring success to Special Teams-as a whole. We all know the Blair Walsh debacle and the up and down season of Punter Jeff Locke, but all in all, Special Teams remains special for the Vikings.

I think Mike Zimmer now realizes this is a make-or-break year for him regarding his future status as a head coach for the Vikings. I am in full support of him, but I think we all saw some chinks in the armor this year that need to be hammered out. I think he will right the ship and get the team back to their winning ways. He is committed, and is simply too good of a coach to fail…even the “Great Hoodie” himself had a rough start as Head Coach.

I know some people give Rick Speilman a hard time and think he should be fired, but I think he has brought in great talent-remember, Zimmer gives his input with what he wants as he shapes the team-it’s a collaborative effort, although, in the end Speilman pulls the strings. No one can predict injuries-this year was defined by just that unfortunately.

Most people think its an impossible task to “fix” the offensive line in one season-with no first round pick to boot…but, just like Zimmer said he wouldn’t bet against Teddy Bridgewater coming back…I wouldn’t bet against Rick Speilman to get us right back in the mix of contenders in 2017. Between the Draft and Free Agency, there will be moves made for the betterment of the Minnesota Vikings, and the ship will sail mightily once more! Who knows…the Superbowl will be played in Minnesota next year…

Do I hear “Purple Reign”

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SKOL VIKINGS!

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By vikingology

Take down a Bear-Take home a Trophy


It’s hard to imagine where we stand in Viking-land today…

After the first five games of the season, the Vikings were sitting on top of the NFL world as the only remaining undefeated team left…10 games later and our playoff-and Superbowl hopes have been snuffed out slowly, steadily, and with such precision, one would almost think it was fictional book.

But this is not fiction-this is Minnesota Viking football-at its best (or worst, depending on how you want to phrase it.) And now here we are, week 17 with nothing whatsoever at stake regarding post-seasonal play. This is just a game to get us to .500 nothing more, nothing less.

So, fellow Viking Football Bloggers, as we ring in the New Year, lets raise our glasses and toast the Minnesota Vikings one last time this season and turn our focus toward the upcoming NFL draft! CHEERS! and SKOL VIKINGS!

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By vikingology

VIKINGS vs PACKERS Fill in the blank ________ the Packers!


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It seems the Vikings are all but forgotten in the eyes of every sports analyst out there , and the Packers are where they should be, in the playoff picture…after all they have the anointed one-Aaron Rogers at the helm. Well there is only one thing to say to that…______ Aaron Rogers and ______ Green Bay!

The Vikings have been through practically every detrimental scenario this season-between the astronomical amount of injuries to key players, to the O.C. walking out on the team, to the head coach having multiple eye surgeries, not to mention our former kicker being shown the door, it seems Minnesota has finally succumbed to the season of hell.

But there is unfinished business-the business of beating the Packers and severely damaging their playoff hopes just like we had our hopes dashed last week. Nothing would warm our hearts more than the Vikings pulling off the victory against their hated rivals, why, because ______ the Packers, and ______ Rogers and while I’m at it ______ that long haired ______ too.

So as we draw closer to kickoff, lets send all the positive vibes to our team in purple and all the negative ______ to those ______ Packers…why, because______ the Packers that’s why. And by the way, all I want for Christmas is that ______ Aaron Rogers two front teeth, and a Viking victory over Green Bay, so ______ the Packers and SKOL Vikings!

Merry Christmas to all!

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By vikingology

COLTS vs VIKINGS…28IF


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The Vikings remain alive in the quest for a playoff berth as they welcome the Colts into town in what is another must win game.

But before we look forward to tomorrows tilt, lets turn the page back-back to the year 1969 (Although I understand some of my fellow VFB’ers were not born yet.) In the fall of 1969 the Beatles Abbey Road was released in what would sadly be their final album.

The album was filled with many clues regarding the conspiracy that Paul McCartney had died in a car accident in 1966 and a lookalike impostor posed as Paul. One of the clues in particular was a license plate on a Volkswagen Beetle that was in the background of the iconic “Fab-Four” as they crossed the street. The license plate read 28IF, referring to the age Paul would have been if he were alive at that time.

Ultimately the rumors were proved to be false and Paul was alive and well-and still is as one of the last two remaining Beatles alive.

Which brings me back to 28IF. Perhaps by now you have made the connection while I’m having a little fun with the post. Yes, by now we all know the Vikings 28 is not an if anymore, but a when, and that when is this Sunday as we welcome back #28 Adrian Peterson back into the lineup.

How much he will play and how effective he will be is remains to be seen, but he will have to be accounted for, and that is a plus for the offense as a whole.

Welcome back AP-and SKOL VIKINGS!

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By vikingology

4th Quarter Begins-Vikings vs Jags


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After a strong start-and the only undefeated team left after five weeks, the Vikings have since them commenced to lose six out of their last seven games and now stand at a meager 6-6 looking up at the Lions and sideways at the Packers.

We all know the story of how the Vikings arrived at this position as unimaginable as it sounds, it is the Vikings after all…we’ve come accustomed to the improbable,  haven’t we.

A few weeks ago I wrote in a post that the last two games  (Lions and Cowboys) would define our season-well it most certainly has. Instead of controlling our own destiny to make the playoffs, we now not only need to win out the last four games, we will need some other teams to falter down the stretch.

I don’t blame Speilman, I don’t blame Zimmer, I don’t blame Bradford, I blame fate-as only the Vikings can produce-the kind that you never saw coming, but expected the whole time.

So, fellow bloggers, lets sit back, relax and enjoy the last quarter of the season, as only a Viking fan can, after all, we always have hope-don’t we?

SKOL VIKINGS!

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By vikingology

Cowboys vs Vikings All Hands on Deck


If there was ever a time for the Vikings to pull out all the stops-this is the game. The Vikings have one last chance to right the ship with a win against the Cowboys on Thursday night.

It’s time for the offense to step up and put some points on the board-stretch the field vertically (not horizontally) and force Dallas out of rhythm…they are too comfortable in what they are doing-a team needs to knock them off their game and on their ass. The Vikings are just that team.

Stopping the run will be essential for the Vikings, but ultimately, the offense will dictate the outcome of this game. Sam Bradford needs to take control of the team right now and do whatever it takes to move the chains. This is it fellow bloggers-this is the game that will either break us or get us heading on a post season surge.

So get your drinks lined up, it gonna be a wild night-“It’s all hands on deck!”

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SKOL VIKINGS!!!

By vikingology

Turkey Hunting-Detroit Style


The next two games for our Minnesota Vikings will more than likely define the season…back to back Thursday games-at Detroit and home against Dallas.

So, here we are getting ready to watch a rare Viking Thanksgiving game as they battle the division rivals-and first place Lions. Since the Lions won in Minny a few weeks ago, the Vikes are looking to return the favor.

This is our time-not Detroit’s…we need to take first place back-and it starts on Thanksgiving Day. So shout out a big SKOL, and watch our Vikings go Turkey Hunting-Detroit Style.

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Left to Right: Hunter, Rhodes, Smith, Griffen

By vikingology

I DID IT MY WAY


It seems that Zimmer has had enough and has decided to tighten the reigns on the entire staff. During his weekly press conference, he announced to the media that the team was going to do things his way…just like the Elvis song-lets hope that the Vikings get back to their winning ways this Sunday at home against the Cardinals-who are also having their issues.

If Sam Bradford has time in the pocket-and that’s a big if-the Vikings will be fine…we are still a great team, we just need to find our rhythm again. Our Defense also needs to buckle up-especially our D-line, which is supposed to be one of the better lines in the league. The Vikes need to apply pressure to Palmer from the get-go.

The Vikings will get back on track with a solid win…with a couple of field goals and PAT’s to “boot.”

Vikings 27-Cardinals 13     “I did it my way…thank you very much!”

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By vikingology

TurNeR ShUrMur


As if the Vikings didn’t have enough to worry about regarding their dreaded offense-they were blindsided with the sudden resignation of Norv Turner. Enter, Pat Shurmur-Tight Ends coach by day, interim O.C. by night. Shurmur has worked with Sam Bradford in two previous stints with the Rams and Eagles as has had various degrees of success. Bradford had a very good second half of the season last year and Shurmur was a key figure in getting him up to speed in the first four games of his beginning tenure with Minnesota.

Somewhere along the line-after the bye, Norv took back the offensive reigns, and the offense-along with Sam Bradford became non-existent, the offensive line-downright ugly…it was as if we went back in time with no offensive direction, just a bunch of guys counting “one Mississippi, two Mississippi whoa,  hold on, I wasn’t ready for the oncoming Rush!”

Our Vikings are thankfully back home playing against NFC North rivals the Detroit Lions. Let’s hope the offensive line isn’t as offensive as it was last week against Chicago. I have a feeling we will get back on track with our winning ways. All three phases will be clicking as the Vikings tame the Lions 30-13.

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By vikingology

SEAHAWKS vs VIKINGS


Two very similar teams go head-to-head this Sunday as the Seahawks visit Minnesota to take on the Vikings in a key NFC matchup.

Of course from this point forward, every game is a key game…just more so now since the Lions somehow lost to the Packers on Thursday. Seattle is coming in with a lot of confidence, stringing some wins together including last week’s barn-burner victory over the Steelers.

But the Vikings have played good football too, losing only once (to our hated rivals) in the last seven games.The Vikings have a chance to silence the critics and put a stamp on the season with a “signature win”-in prime time.

Yes, these two teams are built very similar in many ways…a solid defense, a strong running attack, and an opportunistic passing game. The only real difference is with the QB’s. Wilson is more of a read-option quarterback, whereas Bridgewater is more of a pocket passer who can run if the opportunity presents itself.

All-in-all, this should be a great game, and it’s a great time for the Vikings to exact some revenge on the Seahawks!

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SKOL VIKINGS!

 

By vikingology