Monthly Archive: December 2015

Dec 28

2015 Week Sixteen: Vikings vs Giants

I was actually at the game last night, courtesy of Bose, so my review is later that usual. Let me start by saying it was bloody cold out there last night. I like a nice 70 degrees at all times, so 12°F with a wind, making it feel around 0°F wasn’t really cutting it for me. To the lady who told me I’d be sorry for not wearing ski pants – I hate you; and also, thank you for the astute observation.

Soooo… the Vikings won last night. Soundly. In fact, one might say they delivered a knock-out beat-down on those Giants with a 49-17 win.

Prior to the game, I spent my time at Manning’s off Como, laughing as the Packers lost to the Cardinals, so we arrived at the game in great moods and I was looking forward to a trouncing of the Giants; I think we all know that the Vikings are Eli Manning’s kryptonite. And last night was no exception.

Let’s break it down.

Eli Manning: sacked 4 times during the game.

Eli Manning: sacked 4 times during the game, intercepted 3 times. I always love when the Giants come to town!

The Good

  • Mid-first quarter, Sendejo intercepted Eli Manning off an Xavier Rhodes tipped ball. The first Sad Eli face of the night was delicious and I enjoyed it.
  • Danielle Hunter got the first sack on Manning for the evening. It was a good opportunity for me and my friend Moon to jump around and celebrate to get some blood flowing in the breezy corner of the end zone. Not for nothin’ but that was Hunter’s 6th sack of the season. He leads all rookies in that particular stat (and I have to believe a lot of veterans, too).
  • Jarius Wright had several key catches during the game, including a nice 1st down pick up near the end of the 1st quarter.
  • Peterson’s ankle seemed stout. He made a lot of impressive cuts and tied Emmitt Smith for an NFL record.
  • Brian Robison started the 2nd quarter with a sack on Manning. Yet another great reason to cheer.
  • Harry-baby, you're the one! You make Pick-6s so much fun!

    Harry-baby, you’re the one! You make Pick-6s so much fun!

    Harrison Smith – stopping the run, covering receivers, jumping routes and scoring with a Pick-6. Praise the Sweet Baby Odin he’s back and healthy.

  • Vikings first passing TD of the night was a beautiful throw to Kyle Rudolph at 4 minutes into the 2nd quarter. Teddy hit 82 in stride and it was a beautiful play.
  • Linval Joseph is back. Boy, is he. Instrumental against the run, it was great to see him on the field.
  • Teddy B has started working the hard count to pull the opposing defense off-sides. Great to watch him evolve.
  • This game had the least-bad offensive coordination of the season in my opinion.
  • With 4 minutes left in the 2nd quarter, Harrison Smith jumped a route and ran it back for a Pick Six. So impressive, I’ll mention it twice. One caveat: although the play was great, his attempt at spiking the ball to celebrate was the lamest attempt I’ve even seen, with the ball spinning off the top of his hand and I’ll just say it reminded me of a Donovan McNabb pass. If you didn’t catch it, go watch a highlight reel – it made me laugh. #SorryHarry
  • The Vikings seemed to have addressed some of their issues with tackling fundamentals. OR, three 2nd or 3rd stringers are now sitting back on the bench now that we have our 3 starters back and that has resolved the issue. One of those (or maybe both) are true.
  • Tom Johnson got the 3rd Manning sack of the night. He just busted right through and smacked Eli down to the turf. I approved then and I approve now.
  • Robert Blanton recovered an on-side kick near the end of the 3rd quarter. He had quite a good run back, too. Teddy said in his presser that he teased Blanton when he got back to the sideline for being chased down by an offensive lineman. Clearly Teddy found that to be hilarious, and I can’t disagree.
  • Teddy did a lot of good things during the game, including scrambling, making good decisions about whether or not to throw the ball and connecting with receivers in critical moments.
  • Matt Asiata had some nice runs. Jerrick McKinnon is obviously more explosive and versatile; however, Asiata has his place, too. It’s nice having a deep RB bench to use in various situations.
  • Captain Munnerlyn (Theeeeeeee Captain!) had a great INT in the 3rd quarter. It’s always nice to see him active on the field.
  • Chad Greenway led the team (per the usual) in tackles (6) and assists (3). I get so pissed when people discount his presence on the field. He’s repeatedly been the tackling leader on our team over his tenure. Also – if anyone thinks the team would have been able to hold their own with 3 of our defensive starters on the sidelines without Greenway at mike over the last couple of weeks, they’re out of their ever-lovin’ mind.
  • Jerrick McKinnon’s 2nd TD was mighty pretty!
Oh, AD... if you're not fumbling, you're muffing catches. Please work on your trade, which (by the way) includes pass protection. (PS - great 39 yard run - 'preciate ya!)

Oh, AD… if you’re not fumbling, you’re muffing catches. Please work on your trade, which (by the way) includes pass protection. (PS – great 39 yard run – ‘preciate ya!)

The Bad

  • In the 3rd offensive series, Peterson muffed an easy screen pass that could have secured a Vikings 1st down. This was a big deal because a) Teddy got sacked on the play immediately following, causing the Vikings to punt and b) the Vikings did not capitalize on the Sendejo interception. When your defense forces a turnover, great teams turn that into points. The Vikings rarely  do, which is not going to help the team win in the post-season.
  • Jerrick McKinnon’s first TD was negated by a false-start by Matt Kalil. Seriously, Kalil – you’re not a rookie. Act like a veteran when you’re out there.
  • The Giants scored a TD when Sendejo took the lazy-man’s way out when trying to tackle the Giants’ Randle late in the 3rd quarter. Running into a player isn’t enough to bring them down sometimes… which is why you actually have the tackle!
  • Teddy was sacked 3 times during the game. Our o-line needs to step it up.
  • I’m sure there were some other things that I thought were bad but in the afterglow of finally being warm, I’m not quite as nit-picky as usual.
NINE TIMES. ARodg was sacked 9 times. What a tasty treat the week before we see that horrid team again. Let's hope their o-line is equally as ineffective on 1/3.
NINE TIMES. ARodg was sacked 9 times. What a tasty treat the week before we see that horrid team again. Let’s hope their o-line is equally as ineffective on 1/3.

The Ugly

  • The Vikings’ first 2 offensive series resulted in zero production in terms of points. Let’s get serious now: the Vikings cannot wait to produce offensive points until the 2nd quarter when we play the Packers next week. There’s no way the Vikings win against the Packers if they take an entire quarter to warm up.

The Inexplicable

  • In terms of the inexplicable – I don’t really have anything for the Vikings for once! Instead, we could talk about the Cardinals/Packers game. That was fairly inexplicable. Like… Aaron Rodgers fumbled 3 times and lost 2 of them. I think he’s been infected with Peterson-itis, which is fantastic, as long as he keeps it away from us (i.e. doesn’t give the issue back to AD). With 101 net rushing yards and a hilarious 77 net passing yards because *someone* (not saying who, Aaron Rodgers) was sacked NINE times for a loss of 78 yards. Hahahahaha! I am sure you were laughing as hard as I was. Now… let us just hope that the Packers are equally as ineffective next week when our beloved Vikings take the field at Lameblow (NoPackNo).

So, that’s it, Vikings fans. One game left in the regular season. Whatever happens next week, the Vikings are going to the play-offs for the first time since 2012. Frankly, we have a lot more to like about this team than the one that somehow backed into the post-season 3 years ago.

So I have a new poll question for you this week. What will next week bring?

 

 

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Dec 20

2015 Week Fifteen: Vikings vs Bears

I’m back. I didn’t blog the Cardinals game since I was hosting my team at my house for the holidays. We did have the game on and it was not the national spotlight embarrassment I expected, which was a nice surprise – except for the fact it felt like the Vikings could have won that game with just a little more effort, so that was almost worse than a blow out.

All that said, the Bears came to town today. The Bears started the 2nd half with an unexpected on-side kick. They recovered and the momentum the Vikings wanted went directly to the Bears. Until 2 plays later when Robison went for the sack, the strip and the recovery. The Vikings were able to capitalize on the turnover with a great passing play from Teddy to Diggs for 6 points. When Teddy ran for a TD mid-4th quarter, the game was over and the Vikings had one more win on the season.

So, let’s break it down.

Teddy Bridgewater was the MVP of the game. Maybe we do have a real QB after all.

Teddy Bridgewater was the MVP of the game. Maybe we do have a real QB after all.

The Good

  • While down our top 3 defenders, the Vikings’ defense managed to hold the Bears to 3-and-Outs on their first two offensive series. Andrew Sendejo and Chad Greenway had big plays in the second series.
  • The Vikings offense looked sharp starting the game. They marched 93 yards and a TD pass from Teddy to Stefon Diggs capped the drive.
  • Blair Walsh managed to make a 53 yard field goal. He banked it in off the left upright so extra credit for giving the Bears fans hope that it might miss.
  • Tom Johnson made some critical plays, as did Sharrif Floyd. While having Joseph, Smith and Barr out is doing the Vikings no favors, there are some players stepping up, which is good to see.
  • Danielle Hunter had a beautiful sack on Cutler in the 2nd quarter. Robison started the pressure and Hunter finished it. Sweet! Bears were forced to punt.
  • Jerrick McKinnon – did Norv finally figure out how to use him? Before the half, he already had 2 TDs. So many games, we could have used points like that.
  • Adam Thielen made a welcome appearance late in the 2nd quarter. The special teams coverage on the kick-off was stout for the first time in a while.
  • Brian Robison with a strip-sack and subsequent recovery at the start of the 2nd half returned the momentum to the Vikings after the Bears’ on-side kick recovery to start it.
  • Teddy connected with Stefon Diggs for a TD, making the most of the turnover. Bonus: Blair Walsh made the extra point.
  • Chad Greenway had a very good game today, including a sack.
  • Trattou - intercepting Cutler like a boss!

    Trattou – intercepting Cutler like a boss!

    Justin Trattou intercepted Cutler with 9 minutes or so left in the 4th quarter, embodying the old motto of “next man up”.

  • After Trattou’s INT, Teddy ran for a TD as the Bears looked on in disbelief. I had to chuckle. There. Is. Your. Dagger.
  • Adam Thielen anticipated another on-side kick and recovered it. Between Jerrick McKinnon and Matt Asiata, the Vikings ran the ball to eat up time on the clock.

The Bad

  • The Vikings deferred after winning the toss and then allowed a 49 yard kick-off return. Special teams weren’t so special to start the game.
  • The Vikings allowed Matt Forte to break free on the first play of the Bears’ first offensive series. The good news was that the Bears decided to hold on that play (and the refs caught it) so the run was negated.
  • Teddy was sacked for a 10 yard loss, stalling the Vikings’ second offensive series. They settled for a barely-there field goal by former Legatron, Blair Walsh.
  • The offensive line started to break down mid-2nd quarter, preventing Bridgewater from having enough time to throw. Worse – the Bears defense was able to sack Teddy and put enough pressure on him to almost get a safety.
  • The Vikings defense looked a little low-effort once the Vikings were up 31-10. We need 60 minutes of football, men.
Mike Priefer: Get your special teams in order.

Mike Priefer: Get your special teams in order.

The Ugly

  • Tackling fundamentals. Surprisingly, I don’t start every game review with this as a permanent bullet – although by the 2nd quarter, it’s always here. Watching the Vikings tackle is like riding a psychotic horse through rush hour traffic. You never know what’s going to happen play by play.
  • Adrian Peterson was injured in the 2nd quarter, rolling an ankle. Since the Vikings running game starts and ends with him, that didn’t bode well for the 2nd half of the game.

The Inexplicable

  • Remember when we had good special teams coverage on punts and kick-offs? Me either. It’s been so long since the Vikings special teams looked good, I barely remember the days we’d stuff the opponent deep in their own territory. Hey Priefer…. you might wanna fix that!

So the Vikings win and the Giants are up next. The Vikings have 2 must-win games ahead. Let’s see what they’ll do.

Until next week Vikings Nation…

 

 

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Dec 06

2015 Week Thirteen: Vikings vs Seahawks

Coming into this game, all of the analysts agreed that the Vikings had to win this game if they wanted to be taken seriously. I’ve been less worried about this game than the upcoming game against the Cardinals. Clearly, I should have been more worried about this game, since I’ve pretty well written off the Cardinals game some weeks ago. In fact, I’m hosting my team from work on Thursday, so I won’t even be Tweeting or blogging the game.

DISCLAIMER: if you don’t like a real assessment of a terrible performance and are hoping for some positivity in the face of a horrible loss, this isn’t the post (or really the blog) for you!

Back to today’s travesty. The Vikings were terrible, horrible, atrocious… I could go on forever with negative adjectives to describe the absolutely pathetic showing the Vikings had today. In full disclosure, I cleaned my kitchen during the 3rd quarter to give myself a mental break. I mean – as a fan – I couldn’t really be expected to watch the crap the team put on the field today for the entire game, could I?

The game started with some seriously crappy special teams play on the kick-off, with the Vikings allowing a 49 yard return… and it just got worse from there. I don’t understand why people weren’t booing more. Had I been at the game, I would have been booing the entire game. Especially after some of the players stopped playing with any heart. To say the team lacks resiliency would be an understatement.

Let’s break it down.

Thanks for the points, Cordarrelle.

Thanks for the points, Cordarrelle.

The Good

  • On the good news front (after the crappy special teams play), the Vikings (Exum) forced an almost immediate fumble on a Seahawks run by Rawls, with Antone Exum on the clear recovery. My immediate thought after the turnover was: will the Vikings’ offense be able to capitalize? The answer, of course, was no.
  • Danielle Hunter was instrumental in shutting down the Seahawks’ offense early in the 2nd quarter. Way to step up, kid!
  • The Cordarrelle Patterson sighting included a kick-off return TD with NO post-play penalty; however, he did excessively celebrate a TD that changed nothing. Now… if he were able to score 4 more of those today, then he could celebrate.
Teddy just isn't getting it done.

Teddy just isn’t getting it done.

The Bad

  • The Vikings had a prime opportunity to smash the Seahawks’ morale to the ground after they fumble. Per the usual, the offense failed to make anything happen, returning the momentum to the Seahawks.
  • The Vikings defense on Seattle’s 2nd offensive series was filled with mistakes. Penalties, missed tackles (really TERRIBLE tackling). They couldn’t seal the deal on any big plays, allowing the Seahawks to eat up a bunch of time on the clock and repeatedly convert 3rd down after 3rd down. There was minimal pressure on Wilson. Did I mention the tackling was atrocious? Net result: TD Seahawks
  • Before the 2nd quarter even ended I was sick to death of this game. I mean honestly – would it be too much to ask for the team to come ready to play? And to actually TRY?
  • Teddy managed to complete some passes in the 2nd quarter, which was miraculous, given how horrible he was playing earlier in the game. It was all for naught, though, because the Vikings offense did exactly NOTHING with the series.
What gives, Zim? Your team looks like crap. What are you going to do about it?

What gives, Zim? Your team looks like crap. What are you going to do about it?

The Ugly

  • The Vikings 3rd offensive series was a complete failure. They couldn’t move the ball and Teddy was a nightmare at QB. Holding onto the ball too long, completely ineffective at passing. It’s probably time we all admit that Teddy is NOT the QB of the future and I’ll state this very clearly: Rick Spielman is a complete joke when it comes to drafting quarterbacks. The Vikings will never be a contender if he continues to be the GM. Of course, I will get comments from people defending Teddy. He’s a likable guy but he’s not the QB of the future. I am quite certain of that. If, say, 2 years from now, Teddy miraculously leads us to a Super Bowl, then I will stand corrected. Until then, I will remain a Teddy skeptic.
  • Teddy was intercepted late in the 2nd quarter. That was bad and the Diggs came by with a facemask to pour salt in the wound. Completely ineffective, totally horrendous and unbelievably bad play.
  • Teddy’s accuracy was so bad that some of the actual catches came from receivers nearly laying on the ground. Somehow I don’t think Mike Wallace sighed with the team to lay on the ground trying to catch poorly thrown passes. It reminded me of the Donovan McNabb & his ducks days.
  • Teddy’s decision making: in the 4th quarter, Teddy under pressure – he throws to McKinnon 3 yards behind the line of scrimmage for a loss. THROW IT AWAY TEDDY. Is it his first NFL game???
  • Tackling. Where was it? The Vikings were the best open field tacklers 3 weeks ago. Now, suddenly, we have no one tackling anyone. I realize Barr and Smith are out – but they weren’t the only ones making plays. This is something more than just having 2 starters sitting out.
  • Norv Turner can’t run an offense. Clearly. Maybe in the off-season, we can agree that Norv Turner couldn’t coach his way out of a wet paper bag and move on to someone new. The Norv Experiment failed.
  • Penalties. This team – I don’t know what the hell Zimmer is doing in practice, but on the field the team has completely imploded.
Is the #5 cursed for the Vikings when worn by a QB? Or did Donovan McNabb possess Teddy?

Is the #5 cursed for the Vikings when worn by a QB? Or did Donovan McNabb possess Teddy when we weren’t looking?

The Inexplicable

  • The complete collapse of anything that resembled a professional football team.
  • Remember when we had awesome special teams play? You know – when they used to prevent the return team from any real return after the punt or kick-off? Yes, it’s all just a memory now. Between 2 blocked punts and a complete failure of the coverage team when it came to taking down the returners, we’ve seen a real degradation in special teams play over the last several games.
  • The Vikings failed in the 2 phases we can typically count on: the defense and the special teams play. Since we never really had an offense, there is no way this team can win if the defense and special teams units are not playing well. Clearly, as we saw today.

Well, that’s it for this week. It was a humiliating travesty of a game. This team isn’t ready for the post season. They, in my opinion, lost their season today. They won’t come back from this because they’re not resilient. The loss to the Packers started the slide – and I know they won last week, but faced with a good QB, this team can no longer cope.

I won’t be here Thursday – hosting 50+ people in my house will have my full attention, and I do believe I will be thankful for the distraction. For those of you who will have to watch Thursday night’s game – stay strong, walk away if you need to, and be thankful that the Vikings will not be able to ruin next Sunday for you.

 

 

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Dec 03

2015 Week Thirteen Picks

Match Up My Pick Actual Result Points
Packers vs Lions Packers
Texans vs Bills Bills
49ers vs Bears Bears
Bengals vs Browns Bengals
Ravens vs Dolphins Dolphins
Seahawks vs Vikings Vikings
Jets vs Giants Giants
Cardinals vs Rams Cardinals
Falcons vs Buccaneers Buccaneers
Jaguars vs Titans Jaguars
Chiefs vs Raiders Chiefs
Broncos vs Chargers Broncos
Eagles vs Patriots Patriots
Panthers vs Saints Panthers
Colts vs Steelers Steelers
Cowboys vs Washington Washington
Weekly Right-Wrong
Season-To-Date Right-Wrong 124-52

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