Category Archive: Polls

Nov 20

2016 Week Eleven: Vikings vs Cardinals

The Vikings have been through a tremendous amount of change lately, most notably Norv Turner’s departure; but we also released Walsh. Interestingly, from the very start, the game felt different. And it wasn’t because we had the purported A-squad of announcers in Joe Buck and Troy Aikman (boo, hiss).

While the offense “felt” better, I will say that the defense was REALLY bad – atrocious – against the run. Terrible. Like… repulsively bad. The half-time adjustments made by Zimmer helped a bit, but “stout” against the run the defense was not.

Let’s talk about all of the personal fouls that the Cardinals drew during the game. The sports commentators didn’t like most of them. But you know what? There was no reason to knock Bradford on his tush when he was lined up on the outside. Sure, it’s football, but what was Bradford going to do? I’ll tell you what he was going to do: nothing. So there was no point in hitting him hard enough to knock him down. That was unsportsmanlike. And the hit on Diggs? That was unnecessary, too. With all of the TBIs and CTE being a factor for players, their safety cannot be unnecessarily put at risk. And that’s what the Cardinals were doing today and I was not a fan of some of their choices.

All that being said, let’s break it down.

Xavier Rhodes gets the game ball (in my opinion).

Xavier Rhodes gets the game ball (in my opinion).

The Good

  • The Vikings defense took care of the Cardinals’ first offensive series, forcing a punt.
  • Vikings’ opening offensive series actually included rushing yards – 16 even! Average of 5.3, which is an improvement over previous weeks.
  • After the negated Bradford/Rudolph TD in the 1st quarter, the Vikings regrouped and Bradford hit Thielen for just in front of the end zone. Initially the refs said the pass was incomplete, but Zim challenged the call and won it – so the Vikings put 6 points on the board less than 5 minutes into the game. Forbath made the extra point and the Vikings were up by 7.
  • Xavier Rhodes intercepted Palmer on 3rd and goal… and he took it 100 yards to the house! Tremendous defensive play and exactly what the Vikings needed. FYI – this is a team record.
  • Cordarrelle Patterson had his 5th kick-off return TD of his career to start the 3rd quarter.
  • McKinnon looked pretty good today; the running game was slightly better for it.
  • Xavier Rhodes intercepted Palmer in the 3rd quarter. Palmer threw deep… to the wrong guy. #RhodesClosed
  • A commentary on Larry Fitzgerald. Late in the 4th quarter, Fitzgerald hit Kendricks low and Kendricks was slow to get up. When Larry saw that, he rushed to Kendricks and helped him up. THAT is sportsmanship.
The Vikings o-line is terrible. (Get it... it's a purple sieve... because the o-line... it's like a sieve. A purple one. With holes and stuff...)

The Vikings o-line is terrible. (Get it… it’s a purple sieve… because the o-line… it’s like a sieve. A purple one. With holes and stuff…)

The Bad

  • The Vikings scored a beautiful passing TD on their first possession… until Sirles was called for illegal use of the hands. Typical Vikings maneuver… something fantastic negated by a stupid, careless penalty.
  • Munnerlyn held Fitzgerald to the point where they both hit the turf. Munnerlyn seemed surprised when he was called for a penalty. C’mon man!
  • The Vikings 2nd offensive series was pretty pathetic. One 1st down conversion and then a 3 and out, returning the defense to the field.
  • On the Cardinals 3rd offensive series, David Johnson just keep running 8 – 10 yards at a time. The Vikings had no countermeasures against the Cardinals’ rushing game. The really bad part of this drive was that the Vikings didn’t bring out the blitzing until the Cardinals were in the red zone. Ultimately the Vikings held them to 3 points, but they shouldn’t have gotten that far in the first place!
  • The Vikings defense literally had no answers for the Cardinals today, absent a disruptive play like a fumble/interception. When all things are equal, those Cardinals just marched up and down the field at will throughout the 1st half. It was really hard to watch… because the defense is CLEARLY on the decline. There were some adjustments after the half time break, but the Cardinals still came VERY close to winning this game.
  • Mid-way through the 3rd quarter, the Vikings decided to go for it on a 4th and 3. Bradford was nearly picked off and the Cardinals got tremendous field position. Not a bright spot in the game – and this was after the failed wildcat behind an o-line that literally no other team in the NFL would want. What redeemed this entire fiasco was that the defense managed to hold the Cardinals to a 3 and out, punctuated by a B-Rob sack on Palmer.
  • Thielen was called for offensive pass interference, eliminating a 20 yard completion. That penalty was quickly followed by a delay of game penalty.
So many things were not right today. It was a win... but barely.

So many things were not right today. It was a win… but barely.

The Ugly

  • The Vikings defense was sub-par on the Cardinals’ 2nd offensive drive. Palmer kept hitting people over the middle as the team just marched right down the field, scoring on the 12th play of the drive as David Johnson ran right into the end zone, basically untouched. Completely unimpressive defensive effort on the part of the Vikings.
  • On the 2nd TD for the Vikings… the Cardinals blocked the Extra Point. Let me repeat: the Cardinals blocked the Extra Point. What the hell are the special teams doing?
  • And speaking of special teams, Forbath completely shanked the kick off after the TD sans Extra Point and the Cardinals just ran right up the field. Um… do I need to call for Priefer’s firing next? I’ve had no respect for him since his bigotry was revealed back when Chris Kluwe was around, so it wouldn’t take much for me to call for a change at that coaching position either. Now, you might point to the Cordarrelle Patterson kick off return TD – but to me, that’s Cordarrelle all the way. To me, the Walsh issues speak to Priefer’s inability to help him turn the corner and be the kicker he was his rookie season. That’s problematic, in my opinion. Add to that the punt return yardage the Cardinals were able to secure – then you have a mounting case for problems with the special teams scheme.
  • Trae Waynes is still drawing stupid penalties. Repeatedly. Is he going to settle in at some point and stop being a liability?
  • The o-line began melting down with 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter. The score was 30-17 as this began to happen. First there was a possible fumble, which stood as an incomplete pass and that was followed by Bradford getting demolished on the very next play, ruled a fumble (not an incomplete pass) with a Cardinal recovery. The o-line is terrible. Really, really terrible. NOTE: on the subsequent drive, Kendricks got dinged up and the Cardinals scored a TD. Blame the O-Line for being weak and soft.
  • Tom Johnson was called for a bogus personal foul after the Vikings had them pinned with a 4th down. Total crap officiating. The Vikings let the Cardinals got a subsequent 1st down on a Palmer rush (yes, Carson Palmer ran down field). Thankfully, Danielle Hunter ended the Cardinals’ hope with a huge sack for a loss on 4th and 5. NOTE: Carson Palmer was hit 23 times in today’s game.
So many terrible calls today. Honestly, this was potentially the worst officiating I've seen since the 2009 NFCCG in New Orleans.

So many terrible calls today. Honestly, this was potentially the worst officiating I’ve seen since the 2009 NFCCG in New Orleans.

The Inexplicable

  • Not Bad Inexplicable: The Trickery! Direct snaps to McKinnon, a Patterson to Bradford flip for a deep pass downfield to Thielen, who was interfered with, bringing the Vikings to the 1 yard line. A hand off to Asiata and the fortuitous placement of a Cardinals’ body, keeping Asiata off the turf, resulted in the Vikings’ 2nd TD of the game mid-way through the 2nd quarter.
  • Kinda Bad Inexplicable: if you have a terrible o-line, why would you run the wildcat in critical moments?
  • Really Bad Inexplicable: The Vikings had to use 2 challenges to ensure their TDs were counted. That is CRAP officiating. Given that I’m writing this in real time and we’re not done with the 2nd quarter, this could really come back to hurt the Vikings.

So that’s week 11 of the 2016 season. The Vikings managed to win the game, moving to 6-4. And they’ll be playing the Lions on Thursday… to battle for 1st place in the division…. because they didn’t beat the Lions last time they met. (sigh). So – I’ll take this opportunity to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving (if you happen to celebrate it) and we can all meet back here on Thursday. Skol Vikings Nation!

Use the poll below to predict the Vikings 2016 final regular season record.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2016/11/2016-week-eleven-vikings-vs-cardinals/

Oct 31

2016 Week Eight: Vikings vs Bears

This game was more painful than last week’s game to watch. It sucked and frankly I’m tired of the sub-standard product the Vikings are putting on the field. But – after 40+ years of watching this franchise, I should have expected this devolution sooner or later.

Let’s break it down.

I don't think it's too soon to say that the Vikings are going nowhere this season.

I don’t think it’s too soon to say that the Vikings are going nowhere this season.

The Good  (Yeah – there was nothing good)

  • One good thing about the 1st quarter: Jeff Locke’s punts.
  • The Bears incurred an unsportsman-like penalty on a Vikings 3rd down, giving the Vikings their first drive that wasn’t a 3 and out. The super-charged offense managed to put up 3 points. Barely.
  • The Vikings managed to score on a 4th down and 4 in the 4th quarter. No one cared because it wasn’t like they were moving fast enough to mount a come from behind thriller of a win. At this point, they were just going through the motions. And to prove that, with 5 minutes left, and 10 points down, they did not perform an onside kick and didn’t bother to get the Bears off the field in a 3 and out – they just let them march on down the field. Because that’s how the new Vikings roll.

The Bad

  • The Vikings first offensive drive went no where. Asiata couldn’t run it more than a yard or two, Bradford’s timing was off and the offensive line collapsed repeatedly, allowing pressure to affect the QB
  • The 2nd offensive drive was a 3 and out.
  • The 3rd offensive drive was a 3 and out.
  • .The entire 1st half sucked. All phases. Xavier Rhodes was the lone stand out.
  • I was THRILLED when the first half was over. I imagine I’ll be thrilled when the whole stupid game is over.
McNugget vs McNabb. What's the difference?

A McNugget could block better than TJ Clemmings.

The Ugly

  • Kearse doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing – The Bears’ Howard broke off a 50+ yard run – it was ugly and made me swear. Repeatedly. Somehow, the Vikings managed to hold the Bears to a field goal.
  • The offensive line is a complete and utter joke. Unbelievable.
  • Zimmer challenged the dumbest call ever and it cost him a time out. When a runner is declared down and the video shows him down, don’t challenge that stuff.
  • The 3rd quarter was terrible. It’s always fun to listen to the announcers talk about the lack of urgency of the Zimmer squad when they’re behind. And it’s true – so it’s not like we can dispute it. When the Vikings are down, Zimmer has NO URGENCY. And it’s infuriating – because we never have enough time to come back. Ridiculous. I don’t go after Zimmer often, but on this, the announcers are correct.
  • The 4th quarter, while it saw an actual passing TD, was terrible, too. This was the worst football I’ve seen since… last week.

The Inexplicable

  • How could the Vikings go from so great before the bye to such a BIG PILE OF CRAP after the bye? I mean, this team is terrible. And yes, I’m aware that we’ve suffered a ton of injuries – but the team that went into the bye had something special. This team? This team is going to lose ever single game for the rest of the season unless something drastic happens.
  • Did I mention no urgency? And middle of the field throws as the time wore down? I do not understand how the hell Zimmer could allow that to happen.

So that’s it for another week, Vikings brethren. The Vikings are 5-2 and clearly on the downward trend. We should have known this world happen – and probably, secretly, we did.

Here’s a poll.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2016/10/2016-week-eight-vikings-vs-bears/

Sep 11

2016 Week One: Vikings vs Titans

The game started out with a mediocre Blair Walsh kick off, which the Titans returned to the 29 yard line. The Titans’ first offensive series ended with a punt… but for a while there, the Titans were having their way both on the ground and in the air. Eventually, Brian Robison stepped up and made a couple of plays to get the Titans’ offense off the field.

That’s how the 2016 season started for the Vikings. There is a lot of football to be played before we see how it ends.

The way the 1st game of the Vikings’ season ended was in a Vikings victory, which I admit surprised me given the team’s performance in the first half.

We haven't seen our team on the field since January. Momentarily, I was glad they were back.

We haven’t seen our team on the field since January. At times, I was glad they were back… and my attitude noticeably improved when we were up 25-10!

The Good

  • During the Vikings’ 2nd offensive series, Hill managed to complete passes! He was out there spreading the ball around like a pro! Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph…. and then the drive ended in disgrace as Blair Walsh missed [another] field goal.
  • Somehow the Vikings managed to stop the Titans from scoring on their 3rd offensive series. I will attribute this to a deficiency on the part of the Titans, not on any skills the Vikings may or may not possess.
  • To start the 2nd half, Blair Walsh managed to make a 50 yard field goal. On Twitter, we all celebrated and then I realized how pathetic is was that we were still down 7 points and just relieved our once mighty kicker could actually score.
  • Shawn Hill actually hit some of the receivers in stride and played a relatively mistake-free game.
  • 2nd half adjustments are something that Zimmer is able to achieve in a way no Vikings coach has managed to do since Bud Grant.

    2nd half adjustments are something that Zimmer is able to achieve in a way no Vikings coach has managed to do since Bud Grant.

    Coach Zimmer and his 2nd half adjustments. My friends, we finally have a coach for the long-haul.

  • Blair Walsh made a 2nd field goal at 30+ yards out. It’s only in the “good” category because I don’t have a “table-stakes” section.
  • Eric Kendricks scored a TD off a pick. A “Pick-6” as they say in the business. It was a tremendous boon for us. Too bad our “kicker” missed the extra point.
  • Adam Thielen is great both on and off the field.
  • There was a Cordarrelle Patterson sighting as a receiver AND he made a great catch.
  • The Titans fumbled and Danielle Hunter made the best out of the situation by taking it to the house!
  • Shemar Stephen forced a fumble and Andrew Sendejo picked it up. It was fun to watch, but the Vikings were unable to capitalize on it and Locke came out to punt.
  • Late in the 4th quarter, Hill connected with Diggs for a 33 yard passing play. I was very happy to see it!
I had this same expression on my face for much of today's game.

I had this same expression on my face for much of today’s game.

The Bad

  • The defense was sluggish out of the gate. The second time they were on the field, they were terrible against the run and terrible against the pass. Tackling fundamentals were non-existent. The Titans were held to a field goal by sheer luck.
  • The offense was worse; on the first drive they went 3 and out and Hill had a pathetic passing attempt… like, it was nowhere near the receiver (Diggs). I hated Donovan McNabb…. but at least he could get the ball in front of the receiver… or, at least, his feet.
  • Adrian Peterson looks slow and continues to have “vision” problems, meaning that he continues to be unable to see holes. He picks where he wants to run before the play develops and never deviates from his selection. Frankly a little tired of that. I guess the good news is that he managed not to fumble when he did carry.
  • The Vikings completely failed on their 2nd offensive series. From 2 face mask penalties to generalized incompetency, the series was a dud.
  • Shawn Hill ran on a 3rd down… but not far enough to convert.
  • We had Patterson and Sherels in the backfield to receive a punt and they lateralled into a reverse. Why didn’t we save that for game against a division rival? Now people will expect it if they’re both back there. We don’t need to show everyone everything in the first game guys.
  • Too many of the offensive drives ended in field goals. With Walsh’s mental block, that’s extremely risky and problematic. Especially considering our next opponent.
Good-bye Blair. Get off my team. I was here before you and I'll be here after you.

Good-bye Blair. Get off my team. I was here before you and I’ll be here after you.

The Ugly

  • Field goals. Blair Walsh missed a 37 yarder. And then a 56 yarder – which wasn’t even kind of close. Like it was SO FAR off, that football was on its way to Kentucky. He was less bad later in the game, but I don’t know about this guy. It may be time to cut him. He’s mentally weak and has no grit or resiliency.
  • The Titans exposed some deficiencies in the Vikings defense. We’ve been saying all off-season… even if our offense is just decent, that defense is gonna take us to the promised land. Well, you know what? That defense is NOT as good as we’ve been pretending it is. It took them a long time to get with the program and even then they still had some issues in the tackling arena.
  • Blair Walsh missed an extra point in the 3rd quarter, bring the total points he cost us to 7 on the day. HE MISSED AN EXTRA POINT. This isn’t Pop Warner; this is the NFL and you cannot have a kicker who makes you close your eyes and cross your fingers every time he lines up to kick for points.

The Inexplicable

  • Billy Ray Cyrus singing the National Anthem followed by an aerial shot of a drone. Billy Ray Cyrus does not have a voice that can carry our National Anthem.
  • Smith and Ellison with face mask penalties ON THE OFFENSE. Ridiculous.
  • Everson Griffen’s personal foul needlessly negated a Harrison Smith interception. Completely stupid for a veteran.

To sum up the game, it was a mixed bag of brilliant moments and completely ridiculous mistakes made by players who should know better. We were lucky to come out of the game with a win, 25-16.

So, that’s week one, Vikings brethren. 1-0 to start the season. How are you feeling about the team? Use the polls below to vote.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2016/09/2016-week-one-vikings-vs-titans/

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.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2015/12/2015-week-thirteen-vikings-vs-seahawks/

Nov 01

2015 Week Eight: Vikings vs Bears

The Vikings started the game with an uninspiring three-and-out on offense. They ended the game with an amazing TD effort by Stefon Diggs and a last second field goal by Blair Walsh to give the Vikings the 23-20 win, moving them to 5-2 on the season.

Let’s break it down.

Blair Walsh seems to be past his mental block.

Blair Walsh seems to be past his mental block.

The Good

  • The Vikings held the Bears to a field goal on their first offensive drive.
  • Danielle Hunter sacked Cutler to end the Bears’ 2nd offensive drive. The Bears were forced to punt… and Marcus Sherels was forced to bring the punt return to the end zone. Oh darn!
  • The Bears’ 3rd offensive drive ended in another punt. The Vikings defense initially let Forte rack up 14 yards rushing, but they adjusted and stuffed the Bears, forcing them to punt.
  • Blair Walsh was successful in the 2nd quarter, kicking a field goal at the end of the Vikings’ 3rd offensive drive.
  • The Vikings’ focus on tackling fundamentals since the early games of the season has resulted in the defense being ranked #1 for fewest missed tackles. It just shows how important having a strong base skill like tackling can be when a team is trying to win.
  • Walsh hit a 48 yard field goal on the tough side of the field to tie up the game at the start of the 4th quarter.
  • Stefon Diggs had an amazing catch & run for a TD near the end of the 4th quarter.
  • Walsh hit a 36 yard field goal in the waning seconds of the 4th quarter to secure the win for the Vikings. And while the Vikings won on the road in the division, there were plenty of things that didn’t go right…
How is Zimmer going to put a fire in the team's collective belly?

How is Zimmer going to put a fire in the team’s collective belly?

The Bad

  • The Vikings 2nd offensive drive went absolutely nowhere, despite some decent o-line work, giving Teddy time to throw. But if your receivers aren’t getting open, there’s nowhere to throw and the drive stalls.
  • The Vikings’ 3rd offensive drive ended in a field goal. The offense was moving well until they got inside the 30 yard line of the Bears; at that point, they collapsed and had to rely on Walsh for the field goal.
  • The Vikings’ 4th offensive drive resulted in a punt. It was anemic, full of short runs and few throwing attempts. I can honestly say it had me wondering what Norv Turner was doing with his game plan.
  • Chicago started the 2nd half with a fairly easy march down the field. They weren’t able to convert the drive for a TD, but they did kick a field goal. Chicago seemed to make some half-time adjustments that left the Vikings’ defense scrambling as they worked to readjust.
  • The Vikings completely wasted their 1st offensive drive of the 2nd half. Peterson didn’t fumble, but he needs to start securing that ball when he’s being tackled. Teddy completely overthrew Mike Wallace with a shot to the end zone. The net result was that the Vikings added no points to their 3 point deficit. That’s no way to win the game.
  • The Vikings began melting down on both sides of the ball as the game entered the 4th quarter. The Vikings remain a team that struggles to play all 60 minutes. I have to ask… what is Zimmer doing to fix that?
This monkey expresses my thoughts perfectly.

This monkey expresses my thoughts perfectly.

The Ugly

  • Teddy threw a late INT at the end of the 2nd quarter, giving the Bears 60 seconds to do something with. And what, exactly, did the Bears do? They scored a TD, allowing the Bears to tie the game. It’s notable that at this point in the game, the Vikings had scored only 3 points on offense. Their only TD was from a punt return.

 

The Inexplicable

  • The Vikings offensive game plan. Norv Turner is CLEARLY not an offensive mastermind. Anyone who keeps spewing that lie about him obviously knows nothing about football. To date during his tenure as offensive coordinator, we have yet to see a cogent game plan that highlights the strengths of the Vikings’ offense. Couple that with the fact that Turner seems completely unable to adjust anything during the game, and you have a recipe for repeatedly anemic offensive drives. Last week, Blair Walsh kicked 5 field goals. This week, Blair Walsh field goals were the only offensive points scored until the very end of the 4th quarter, when Diggs had a spectacular catch and then found his way to the end zone. That effort though was all Diggs. At the end of the day, a field goal did win the game, but if the Vikings are going to compete in the division with that horrible team which shall remain nameless, scoring drives must end in TDs – not field goals.

So that’s week eight of the 2015 season. The Vikings are a good team. They could be so much better and every week, I wait and watch to see if this week will be the week in which everything coalesces and the Vikings take charge of their games from start to finish.

How are you feeling about the season? Vote below or leave me a comment. Until next week….

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2015/11/2015-week-eight-vikings-vs-bears/

Oct 04

2015 Week Four: Vikings vs Broncos

I hate having to wait until the afternoon or evening to watch the Vikings. Firstly, I’m not a patient person. Secondly, nothing good ever happens when the Vikings don’t play at noon. Now, sometimes terrible things happen at noon, too… but the later the team plays the worse they are. Today, it looked like the Vikings were going to reverse that trend. For a while. But, in the end, they lost. And while the game was competitive, we saw some of the same old problems we’ve seen week after week: terrible o-line play, sloppy tackling and Blair Walsh’s mental performance issues continue to plague.

But, there was some good stuff, too. Let’s break it down.

Excellent 1st start for this rookie.

Excellent 1st start for this rookie.

The Good

  • The Vikings defense was able to hold the Broncos to a field goal on their first offensive drive through pressure on Manning and a near interception from Blanton.
  • A pass from Teddy to Mike Wallace kept the 2nd offensive drive alive; it had been at risk of a 3-and-out. A quarterback sneak on a 4th and short kept it going for a 2nd time. And a long pass to Mike Wallace for a 2nd time kept the drive alive… all for naught, though, since a big sack (the 3rd of the short game) on Teddy killed it.
  • On the Broncos’ 2nd offensive drive, the Vikings’ defense held strong and were aided by the Broncos’ penalty meltdown. Kendricks had a great sack on the aged QB to force them into a punt at their goal line.
  • In the 3rd offensive drive for the Vikings, the o-line was fairly terrible, but Teddy mostly kept his composure and had a hell of a pass to Diggs to keep the drive going, just in time for Blair Walsh to completely miss a 38 yard field goal.
  • Diggs was instrumental throughout the game. Quite a beginning for his first professional NFL game.
  • Blair Walsh managed to make a field goal at the end of the 2nd quarter. Collectively, Vikings Nation held our breath as we watching him approach the ball to kick. Praise be to Odin, he snuck it through the uprights.
  • Anthony Barr had a great interception at the end of the 2nd quarter. I find it more amusing when Eli Manning gets intercepted. I love his sad Eli face. Peyton’s head hanging low will have to do for this game.
  • Mike Wallace was wide open and caught a laser from Teddy in the end zone, bringing the Vikings within 3 as they headed into the locker room for half-time.
  • Blair Walsh fails again - this time with devastating consequences.

    Blair Walsh fails again – this time with devastating consequences.

    Shout out to Teddy who never gave up (despite a lackluster o-line performance), kept his composure and maintained his focus. Tough job for a 2nd year quarterback.

  • Hodges had some good tackles when defending the run.
  • Harrison Smith let Damaryius Thomas know that he was on the field, putting an end to the Bronco’s 2nd offensive drive of the 2nd half.
  • Anthony Barr was all over the place on rushing plays, many times bringing a runner down with just a hold on his feet.
  • 4th and inches with 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter…. and the horrible o-line manages to make a hole… and Peterson runs through it and into the end zone. Way to wake up from a nap! (Peterson… not me… I’ve been paying attention the whole game).
  • Harrison Smith had a great interception with 9:07 left in the 4th quarter. Good way to create some momentum for the Vikings on the road. The Vikings offense ended up with a field goal, which is less than desirable, but it tied the game.

The Bad

  • The o-line completely failed during the first offensive drive, allowing Teddy to be sacked. You could see it coming and the o-line totally collapsed, losing 13 yards in the process.
  • On the 2nd offensive drive, Bridgewater had all the time in the world to throw a pass and successfully did so, if you consider throwing the ball high enough and long enough for a fan in the stands to catch it. I’m being somewhat hyperbolic… but it was close.
  • The Vikings defense was a sloppy mess to start the 3rd quarter, allowing the Broncos to march down the field (aided by several penalties by the Vikings). It looked like the Vikings were going to make an impressive goal line stand… until the Broncos went for it on 4th and goal and Manning did a sweet little pass to the left… where he had a completely open receiver getting a pedicure as the Vikings defense bunched up in the center of the end zone… and committed holding to boot.
No, I say. These things are not good.

No, I say. These things are not good.

The Ugly

  • The offensive line couldn’t stop the Broncos’ defensive pass rush. They applied pressure, they blitzed and our o-line collapsed like an underdone soufflé.
  • After Blair Walsh’s complete and utter miss on the field goal, the Vikings’ defense let the first rushing play go for 72 yards… right into the end zone.
  • The receiving corps leaves a lot to be desired. Not a lot of separation, unable to beat man on man coverage. If the Vikings are going to reach their full potential, those receivers are going to have to find a way to beat the coverage.
  • While well-conceived, the direct snap to Peterson went nowhere. Because the offensive line was terrible.
  • Xavier Rhodes had 4 penalties today. And they were costly. I have to ask: did they return him to play too soon after the collision with Sendejo? Because he didn’t look effective out there and worse, he cost the team yardage that they needed.

The Inexplicable

  • Blair Walsh. I get that he sucks. That’s not the inexplicable part. What I want to know is why the hell is he still on my team? The Vikings really should bring in someone to compete against him. According to a discussion I had with Kluwe on Twitter, Walsh’s issue is mental. So… maybe competing will get him in better head space… or maybe it’d be the nail in the coffin. Either way we’d end up with a better kicker.
  • The Offensive Line: Matt Kalil, Brandon Fusco, Joe Berger, TJ Clemmings and Mike Harris, I’m talking to you. And, by extension, I’m talking to anyone the Vikings used to help on pass protection and rushing plays. The o-line effort today was atrocious. A total embarrassment. Which leads me to…
  • Teddy Bridgewater was sacked 7 times during the game. What kind of incompetency does an o-line need to have to allow that? Zimmer better fix that.

So… we’re left to contemplate what would have happened in Overtime if Blair Walsh had just made the 38 yard chip shot field goal in the first half.  We’ll shake off this disappointing and needless loss as we think about week 6. Because the Vikings have a bye next week, which from my perspective, isn’t good after this loss. We’ll see if they can win their next game at home.

Until 2 weeks from now, thanks for reading. And vote below before you go!

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2015/10/2015-week-four-vikings-vs-broncos/

Sep 20

2015 Week Two: Vikings vs Lions

After the Monday Night Football debacle, I admit, I was filled with both excitement and terror. No matter what, I’m always going to watch the Vikings… but as a long-time Vikings fan… I have every right to be terrified of what kind of product my team is going to put on the field on any given week.

Despite the very best efforts of the officiating crew, the Vikings were still able to win the game. Did I tweet the NFL about how terrible this officiating crew was? You know I did!

Let’s break it down.

Trattou - intercepting Stafford like a boss!

Trattou – intercepting Stafford like a boss!

The Good

  • The first offensive drive featured lots of Adrian Peterson with some good yardage… and an actual, real life passing touch-down from Bridgewater to Rudolph!
  • The first defensive appearance initially looked like a 3-and-out for the Lions, but Stafford connected with Golden Tate for another set of downs. Then B-Rob came in with a bat-down and the Lions were forced to punt.
  • In the 1st quarter, the Vikings defense only allowed 5 rushing yards on 4 carries. We’ll take it!
  • At the end of the 2nd quarter, during the 3rd offensive drive, there was a terrific reverse from AP to Wright resulting in a 17 yard gain. Bridgewater was involved in blocking for Wright.
  • The 3rd offensive drive began at the 50 yard and ended with Teddy faking to Adrian Peterson on 4th and goal and then running it into the end zone untouched. I’ll take that, too!
  • Munnerlyn stripped the ball in the opening offensive drive by the Lions at the start of the 3rd quarter. Sendejo picked it up and returned it right into the red zone – the 6 yard line. See The Ugly section for what happened next.
  • After Adrian Peterson fumbled the ball away, Brian Robison was a beast on defense, keeping the Lions to their side of the field and forcing a punt.
  • Riddick coughed up the ball when Harrison Smith went for the strip mid-3rd quarter, resulting in a Vikings take-away.
  • Marcus Sherels made quite a few varied and impressive plays. Love him. The Little Sherels Who Could.
  • Justin Trattou intercepted Matt Stafford in the 4th quarter. It was fantastic.
  • Everson Griffen sacked Stafford late in the 4th quarter. It was the first time the Vikings got to the quarterback all game. (I’d file that 2nd part under “Bad”)
  • Rhett Ellison recovered the Lions’ on-side kick, securing possession for the Vikings.
Xavier Rhode's Pass Interference cost the Vikings a Harrison Smith INT.

Xavier Rhode’s Pass Interference cost the Vikings a Harrison Smith INT.

The Bad

  • The 2nd offensive drive went nowhere. If the Vikings want to make it to the post season, they’ll have to focus on being more productive on offense.
  • During the first quarter, the Vikings’ pass rush was anemic. Stafford had plenty of time to find a target – which is not a good plan when Calvin Johnson is in the receiving corps.
  • At the start of the 2nd quarter, the Lions had quite a bit of success passing against the Vikings’ defense. The Vikings need to work on man-to-man coverage and increase the intensity of the pass rush. In this 3rd offensive series, the safeties were forced to do a lot of clean up of misses by the corners.
  • Net result of the 3rd Lions offensive drive was a field goal by Prater. Vikings defense was serviceable on this drive – although they had lots of missed opportunities to shut down the Lions offense.
  • Adrian Peterson’s blocking is… less than stellar. So even if he makes up for it by catching a flip for long yardage… his blocking skills still need to be addressed.
  • The Vikings couldn’t score a TD off a solid 4th offensive drive. The good news is that Blair Walsh actually made the 28 yard field goal.
  • Matt Kalil backed the Vikings up with a stupid personal foul. Hey Matt – you’re not a rookie. Stop behaving like one.
  • Harrison Smith intercepted Stafford… until Rhodes was called for Pass Interference. C’mon man…
  • Everson Griffen undid his good sack-the-QB work with an Illegal Use of the Hands penalty, giving the Lions a first down.
Remember this? It appears to be back.

Remember this? It appears to be back.

The Ugly

  • The o-line protection when Teddy was trying to pass. You can very much tell that 2 starters are missing.
  • As soon as the Vikings got a take-away… Adrian Peterson fumbled it away on the first play post-take-away. I swear to Odin, if we have to live through another season of Adrian Peterson’s stupidity when it comes to protecting the ball… I will scream the way I screamed from my hospital bed in December of 2009 when he fumbled away our home-field advantage on Soldier Field in OT.
  • Adrian Peterson fumbled AGAIN on a run to the end zone. Were it not for a penalty on the Lions, the Vikings would have been in deep doodoo. I am just going to end my sentence there because I have nothing good to say if I keep talking about Adrian and his inability to protect the ball.
  • On the terrible news front, AP fumbled for a third time. See “The Inexplicable” section for further commentary.
  • Anthony Barr made a completely bone-headed move in the 4th quarter by hitting Stafford when he was well out of bounds.

 

This monkey expresses my thoughts perfectly.

This monkey expresses my thoughts perfectly.

The Inexplicable

  • Blair Walsh missed AN EXTRA POINT. Are you KIDDING me? We just extended his contract this summer and he is TERRIBLE. Does anyone else on the squad have place kicking skills? Sherels? Cole? Whoever the hell the new long-snapper is? Just pull some guy from the first row at the 50 yard line and we’ll probably have the same result.
  • Adrian Peterson fumbled for THIRD time in the red zone, costing the Vikings a TD. Maybe Adrian needs to sit for a couple of weeks to remember how to protect the ball.
  • The Vikings were playing pretty clean until the 4th quarter when they went on a penalty spree. It was ridiculous! Did I tweet the offenders and tell them so? You know I did.
  • I cannot remember seeing a worse officiating crew since the NFC Championship Game of the 2009-2010 season when those jackalopes let the Saints repeated (and illegally) hit Brett Favre. This crew today? They were flipping ridiculous. Even the replacement refs a couple of seasons ago were less bad.

So that’s it, Vikings brethren. Week 2 of the 2015 NFL season is in the hopper, and the Vikings have their first win of the season after a performance that is more in line with what I was hoping to see this year (although the Peterson fumbling issue is problematic).

Use the poll below to let me know how you’re feeling about the Vikings’ chances this season. See you next week!

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2015/09/2015-week-two-vikings-vs-lions/

Sep 07

Week One: Vikings vs Rams

I’m going to start today’s game commentary a little backwards. If you haven’t already done so, head over to www.vikings.com and check out the Full Highlights video in the video archive. The entirety of the highlight video is the Vikings. The VIKINGS! When was the last time we saw that? 2009?

Coach Zimmer got the game ball awarded to him by Zygi Wilf. I think that’s fitting. It’s been a long time since the Vikings have won on the road, it was Zimmer’s first win as an NFL Head Coach and it’s clear that Zimmer has had a positive effect on the Vikings defense, which looked proficient and maybe even really good today. Quite a turn-around over the travesty of a defense we had in 2013.

There was a lot to love about today’s game. There were quite a few things to dislike, too. Let’s break it down.

The Great

Cordarrelle Patterson runs 67 yards for a TD

Cordarrelle Patterson runs 67 yards for a TD

Cordarrelle Patterson. Whether he’s receiving a kick, catching a pass or rushing down the field, he definitely makes an impact.

During today’s game he had 3 rushing attempts for 102 yards, 3 receptions for 26 yards and 2 kick off returns, with a 29 yard return being the longest effort.

Last season, Patterson had a total of 158 yards rushing. In this new Norv Turner offense, it looks like he could easily double, triple, quadruple… you get the idea.

The question I’m left with is… what does this mean for Adrian Peterson’s production? Time will tell.

Coach Zimmer gives the distinct impression that he's engaged, involved and constantly assessing the team's performance.

Coach Zimmer gives the distinct impression that he’s engaged, involved and constantly assessing the team’s performance.

The Good

I have to start this section with my appreciation for Coach Zimmer’s absolute candor during the post-game presser. If you haven’t watched his press conferences in the past, I would highly recommend you start watching him after the game. He’s brutally honest, direct and, in my humble opinion, quite charming as he takes his team to task for those things that didn’t meet his expectations. It’s so refreshing to have a coach who’s willing to state things as they are; especially after having had 2 coaches in a row who excelled at moving their lips a lot without ever saying anything of import.

Enough about the new coach – about whom I’m feeling oddly positive – let’s talk about the team.

The DEFENSE. That’s right my Vikings brethren… we appear to have an actual defense that takes the field and actually plays 60 minutes of football. I’m trying to stay objective, waiting for additional data points as the season continues, but I can’t quite kill the feeling of glee that wants to escape my person as I think about the Vikings not having one of the worst defenses in the league. Now, I know that bar is set low… but just imagine! Wait – we don’t have to imagine, because…

Josh Robinson had a stellar interception during today’s game, demonstrating great awareness as he touched both feet down in bounds as he secured the ball. That was a great interception… but not the best of the day!

How ’bout that Harrison Smith, flying across the field and picking off a pass with perfect form. That would have been fantastic if that’s where it ended… but that’s not where it ended. Not only did he pick off that pass, but he also took it to the house and every Viking fan rejoiced as a Pick Six was successfully executed during a REGULAR season game.

Let’s take a quick break here so that those of you who have been following me over the last 4 years can unfurrow your brow as you try to comprehend how it could possibly be that you’re reading so much positivity from me. It’s ok – I’m sure I’ll be mega-disappointed soon and things can get back to the snarky normal… but for now, just remember that I can, in fact, be positive about the Vikings.

More good things….

Greg Jennings scored a beautiful TD, getting both feet down just inside the field of play.

Greg Jennings scored a beautiful TD, getting both feet down just inside the field of play.

Greg Jennings had 6 receptions for 58 yards and he and Cassel seem to have found a groove. Jennings also logged his first receiving TD of the season. I’m sure there are many more in his future.

Kyle Rudolph had a receiving TD – which ain’t too shabby when you consider he had 2 total receptions.

Robert Blanton had 7 tackles. Anthony Barr had 6 tackles and 1 assist. Everson Griffin had 2 sacks and the Vikings were able to tally up 5 total of those. Lastly, on the defense, Tom Johnson stripped the football away from Hill – but the Vikings weren’t able to capitalize on that, unfortunately.

The Bad

Ok. Now I’ll probably start sounding more like myself.

Plenty of bad things to comment on today. First, out of the gate, the offense was less than stellar. Lots of missed opportunities. Clear issues with snapping between Sullivan and Cassel. Even by the end of the game – and this is a concern – the offense only converted 27% of the 3rd down opportunities. I know the Patriots lost to the Dolphins today – but I can’t imagine that we’ll be able to log 2-0 if we don’t do a better job of converting 3rd downs.

The offense looked better as the game progressed, but I’m sure we all remember the last two seasons where the offense would either come out of the gate like a tiger and then wane or take forever to warm up and then finally start clicking – all with the result of lost games. I have zero desire to relive that frustration. Let’s hope Norv Turner and Mike Zimmer can get the offense to engage consistently.

Speaking of Norv Turner… am I the only one worried that he doesn’t have enough focus on Adrian Peterson? Adrian had 21 rushing attempts today, but was only able to rack up 75 yards rushing. Clearly not the performance we expect to see out of AD. I hope Adrian doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

In other unexpected events… Greenway logged only 2 tackles, which seems really low given his long-running standard of having the most tackles on the team over the last few seasons. In other silent performances, where was Brian Robison?

The Ugly

The Vikings racked up 7 penalties for 60 yards. Granted, they weren’t as terrible as the Rams (who had 13 penalties for 121 yards), but still… just the false starts alone were disheartening. Zimmer was very firm during the post-game presser – he wants those cleaned up. And for the first time in a LONG time I think we actually have a coach that can clean that lack of discipline up.

Well. That’s it Vikings fans. The team won. ON THE ROAD. Let’s celebrate! I’ll just end this first game review of the season with the following observation: it feels 9 different kinds of fantastic to not have to complain about coaching in “The Bad” and/or “The Ugly” sections. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have coaching in those sections so that (finally) is something to celebrate. Skol!

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2014/09/week-one-vikings-vs-rams/

Oct 21

Week Seven: Vikings vs Giants on MNF

Vikings and prime time football are like oil and water, as we all know. The great news is that we have 3 weeks in a row of prime time! Our humiliation has just begun and it’s only going to get worse.

Because I cheer for the Vikings, I went into the game with low expectations. The good news is that I was not disappointed. At this point, I feel like we should petition to give a nickname to the offense; we can call them the 3 & Outs. I’ll break down the issues in a bit, but at its core, our inability to convert 3rd downs is why we continue to lose, not just games but the battle for clock time. Make no mistake though: our inability to convert is the result of numerous issues, as I lay out below.

My Favorite

  • Color commentary about Josh Freeman: “Uncatchable is an understatement.” And that, my friends, is the theme of tonight’s game.

The Good

  • Marcus Sherels and his punt return TD in the 1st quarter.
  • Jared Allen’s long armed, one handed sack in the 2nd quarter.
  • Half-time. I really enjoyed the break from the atrocity tonight. In many respects I would have been happy with just one half of a game tonight.
  • Cullen Loeffler’s fumble recovery. You don’t see that from a long snapper every day… or ever.

The Bad

  • The Vikings played in prime time. That’s never a good idea, unless Brett Favre is facing his former team for the first time. But we only had one of those.
  • Josh Freeman is a professional QB. One would think he could hit open receivers down field… but apparently not.
  • Josh Freeman can, however, throw an INT instead of taking a sack which was very Christian Ponder of him. It’s great to know that we have 3 mediocre QBs on board. Maybe Webb can move back to QB just to shake things up.
  • Cornerbacks missing easy INTs. There were 3 of those by the start of the 4th quarter.
  • A Sherels fumble on a punt return and a subsequent Giants recovery.
  • Sharrif Floyd fumbling a kick return… that actually made me laugh and I didn’t stop until the Giants kicked their field goal.
  • The 2 minute warning of the 4th quarter took FOREVER to arrive.

The Ugly

  • Xavier Rhodes and his PI penalty in the first half. That was a costly and unnecessary error.
  • The o-line’s inability to generate even a whisper of space for Peterson to exploit. What ARE they doing?
  • Leslie Frazier did a terrible job of pre-game planning once again.
  • Bill Musgrave didn’t reduce the size of his play card so he could do hand signals. I don’t care what the color commentators say about that. We’ve suffered through 2 seasons of Musgrave and we know he’s unimaginative, uninspired and unable to construct explosive plays.
  • We had more passing plays than running plays… nevermind the fact that the starting QB has had 2 weeks to practice with team and we have the NFL MVP at running back. Clearly Musgrave couldn’t be dumber if he tried.
  • I wanted to cry when I realized that there were still 12:13 seconds left in the 4th quarter.
  • 8:40 left in the 4th quarter didn’t make me happy either.
  • This was a terribly embarrassing performance that was worse than I could have anticipated.

Week 7 comes to a close with the single worst football game I believe I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot. The collective ineptitude of the entire coaching staff, coupled with the bottom of the barrel execution by the team was nauseating. Not to be the voice of doom, but this team is going to suck until someone wakes up and cleans out the coaching staff. And I’m a HUGE fan of taking the front office with them.

We need a regime change and we need people who are actually proficient in managing and coaching an NFL team. We’ve been waiting for SOMEONE to bring excellence to Minnesota since Bud Grant retired for the 2nd time in 1985. How long are we going to have to wait?

My dad died without seeing the Vikings win a Super Bowl. This coaching staff? This front office? They are NEVER taking us anywhere. I have no interest in dying without ever seeing a Vikings Super Bowl win. The Wilfs should cut their losses and move on en masse.

 

 

And that’s it for this week my fellow sufferers. At the end of the day, this is our team… and it’s time to take it back. Frazier has to go. Red shirts anyone???

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2013/10/week-seven-vikings-vs-giants-on-mnf/

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