December 3, 2014

Teddy Bridgewater update

Filed under: Football,Humour — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 07:20

Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t set the league on fire, but he’s still learning and improving his game (with the occasional regression, like all rookie quarterbacks). He played well enough on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers to get a nomination for rookie of the week honours for 15 of 21, 138 yards, two touchdowns and a career high 120.7 passer rating.

ESPN‘s Ben Goessling looks at Teddy’s play in the game:

Whenever he’s talked about a need to get rid of the ball faster as a rookie, Bridgewater has known the key to making that happen was the ability to identify coverages sooner. The way he operated on Sunday, in a victory over the Carolina Panthers, suggested he’s starting to figure out some of quarterbacking’s nuances.

On his 17-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings, Bridgewater walked to the line to see the Panthers playing off receivers Charles Johnson and Greg Jennings, who were lined up in a stack formation to the quarterback’s left. Bridgewater could see from his pre-snap read that he’d have room to hit Jennings underneath since the Panthers were guarding against a deep pass with 23 seconds left in the half. He threw a 5-yarder out to Jennings, who had room to show why he’s still one of the league’s best after the catch. Jennings made Antoine Cason miss, got to the outside and beat Bene Benwikere to the end zone, gaining 12 yards after the catch on a TD that put the Vikings up 28-6.

“I made the decision before the ball was snapped,” Bridgewater said. “The offensive line did a great job of allowing me to sit back there and make the throw, play pitch-and-catch with Greg. Greg was able to make a move and score a touchdown. Each week, I’m trying to make quicker decisions and continue to trust those guys each week.”

Meanwhile, over at the Daily Norseman, the Teddy Bridgewater Underground discovers that things can get tougher after the revolution is over:

Once we had toppled the Old Guard, I don’t think any of us realized that the transition from Revolution to Legitimate Government would be as difficult as the Revolution itself. Man, it’s easy to rile up the masses, especially when they feel they’ve been cheated out of the basics of good quarterback play their whole life. It’s easy to get them to rally around The Cause, and even to go to war over it, if necessary.

The Cause.

It started more as an Idea, but quickly grew into something that grew even faster than the most ardent revolutionaries could’ve imagined. From the moment we heard that in other lands the people enjoyed quarterback play, and we tapped in to forbidden short wave transmissions and hacked in to foreign TV feeds to confirm this was true, The Idea became The Movement. The Movement became The Cause. And The Cause became The Revolution.

¡Viva la Revolución!

But once we took over, the transition to governance wasn’t easy, far from it. Look, it’s easy to topple a government that was practically begging to be overthrown (there’s a Josh Freeman joke here somewhere, I just know it), but once that happens…there’s no one to blame but you if things go wrong. So from those heady days of overthrow and victory parades, we had to figure out how to run a country, and we had to do it without too many things going wrong.

Because when things go wrong, an idea can form. And then transition quickly to a Movement, a Cause, and then the next thing you know you’re in a ‘Quarterback Re-Education Center’ watching 16 mm game film of Joe Kapp, Fran Tarkenton, and Tommy Kramer. And you’re trying to tell yourself that the Marcus Mariota Movement isn’t a revolution, just a couple of peasants in neon green pants made by Nike.

December 1, 2014

Vikings dominate Carolina Panthers, 31-13

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 07:35

Another game that wasn’t broadcast in the Toronto area … but this time they had a good excuse, it being Grey Cup weekend. In the Maple-flavoured game, the underdog Hamilton TiCats lost to the Calgary Stampeders by a score of 20-16. Well, #oskeeweewee guys and good luck next year!

In Minneapolis, the Vikings were the beneficiaries of not just one but two blocked punts run back for touchdowns. This is the first time the Vikings have scored on a blocked punt since 1986 … longer than almost all the current members of the team have been alive. It had been the longest ongoing span of games in the NFL when Adam Thielen blocked the punt, scooped it up and ran 30 yards to the end zone for six points and a Vikings record. The record — the longest TD scoring run off a blocked punt lasted less than 20 minutes before Jasper Brinkley blocked another punt which was run back by Everson Griffin for 46 yards to set a new record.

The special teams did so well that it pretty much overshadowed the improved performance at quarterback by Teddy Bridgewater: not record setting numbers, but two touchdowns and no turnovers along with a 120.7 passer rating. Derek Wetmore looks at the special teams heroics:

Adam Thielen and Everson Griffen etched their names into team history books, and they combined to pull off a rare feat.

First, Thielen blocked a punt in the first quarter and scooped it up with one hand as he returned to his feet and raced to the endzone. The Vikings already led 7-0 at that point, so the longest blocked punt returned for a touchdown in team history put Minnesota up by two scores.

But his 30-yard return didn’t stand as the franchise-long for very long.

With the Vikings leading 14-3, Jasper Brinkley got his mitts on a punt and Everson Griffen was there to recover it and take it into the endzone, setting a new Vikings record for the longest blocked punt returned for a score: 46 yards.

One of the weirdest things about the game is that even with the win, the Vikings are at the bottom of their division with a 5-7 record and only mathematically alive for a wildcard spot in the playoffs. Even with the loss, Carolina (at 3-8-1) still has a chance to win their division and host a playoff game!

November 27, 2014

How bad is the NFC South this season?

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 07:29

Dave Rappoccio says it’s this bad:

This week, the NFC south is a dumpster fire, and that might be an insult to dumpster fires. The Saints and Falcons are tied in first with 4 wins each, and the woeful 2-9 Buccaneers are one game out of picking 1st in the draft and 2 games out of first place. No team looks to have a winning record by the end of the season and we could potentially have a 5-11 division winner while a potential double digit team in a real mans division misses the playoffs entirely. IS THIS ACCEPTABLE?

November 24, 2014

Vikings fall short against Packers, 24-21

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 07:44

I didn’t get to watch yesterday’s game, as we were visiting friends for the afternoon. From the overall comments, it sounds like the defensive scheme worked very well against Aaron Rogers and the Packers, holding them to about half the scoring they’ve managed in the last few games. Unfortunately, Teddy Bridgewater got off to a slow start and wasn’t able to get into a rhythm until the fourth quarter. Although he wasn’t sacked too often, the pass protection was allowing the Packers to disrupt the passing game and Teddy was missing his targets a fair bit during the first half.

At the Daily Norseman, Ted Glover presents his weekly stock market report:

Blue Chip Stocks:

The Vikings Secondary: Yes, there were a couple of breakdowns, but the bottom line is that the Vikings held Aaron Rodgers and the Packers explosive passing attack to 209 yards. All in all, you can’t ask for a performance much better than that, and Xavier Rhodes led the way with I would argue his best game. He blanketed Jordy Nelson early, breaking up two passes, and although I’d have to go back and re-look, it seemed the Packers quit throwing his direction in the second half. Rhodes was the guy that stood out the most, but this was a team effort, and one where everyone deserves recognition. It’s a complete 180 degree turn for this unit from this time last year, and it’s largely the same guys.

Mike Zimmer: One of Zim’s mentors is Bill Parcells, who famously said ‘you are what your record says you are’. The Vikings are 4-7, but is there any question in anyone’s mind that this team is better than they were last year? And had this been last year, there’s no doubt in my mind this game would have been over by halftime. There’s still a ways to go, but I like this coach, and I like the attitude he’s bringing to this football team. Good things are coming, that I firmly believe.

Solid Investments


Teddy Bridgewater, QB: Teddy had some ugly throws early, but he also made some very good throws, and wasn’t helped out by a receiving corps that dropped at least four passes that I can think of off the top of my head. His backfoot throw that became a pick was terrible, but damn it, the kid never gives up, and is pushing the ball down the field. He’s also doing a much better job stepping up in the pocket, and running the ball and getting something out of nothing. All in all, I’ll take it, and he’s getting better.

November 22, 2014

Adrian Peterson talks to Tom Pelissero

Filed under: Football,Law,Media — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 12:00

Tom Pelissero was one of the best local reporters in the Minneapolis area when he worked the Minnesota Vikings beat for 1500ESPN. Earlier this year, he moved to USA Today, but still lives in Minnesota. Earlier this week, he talked with disgraced Vikings running back Adrian Peterson in an exclusive interview:

Adrian Peterson the football player will be back one day. He’s sure of it, even after the NFL suspended the Minnesota Vikings’ star running back Tuesday for at least the rest of the 2014 season after his no-contest plea to a misdemeanor reckless assault charge.

Peterson had expressed remorse for injuring his son and maintained he was disciplining him — with a “switch” from a tree — the way he was disciplined as a child. If Peterson meets the court’s requirements, no conviction will go on his record. But Peterson, a father of six children by six women, knows he faces a lifelong challenge to prove he’s not an absentee parent, not a child abuser, not any of the demons he’s been portrayed as since the incident.

“I won’t ever use a switch again,” Peterson said. “There’s different situations where a child needs to be disciplined as far as timeout, taking their toys away, making them take a nap. There’s so many different ways to discipline your kids.”

In the more than 90-minute phone interview — Peterson’s first extensive public remarks since his Sept. 11 indictment — he spoke with USA TODAY Sports on a wide variety of topics, including why he refused to attend a hearing with the NFL before Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him as well as his future with the Minnesota Vikings.

“I would love to go back and play in Minnesota to get a feel and just see if my family still feels comfortable there,” Peterson said. “But if there’s word out that hey, they might release me, then so be it. I would feel good knowing that I’ve given everything I had in me.”

Regardless of his football future, Peterson wanted to make clear his main focus now is on repairing his relationship with his son and trying to make people understand that, contrary to Goodell’s remarks in handing down his ban, his remorse is real.

QotD: The first “American” college football game

Filed under: Cancon,Football,History,Quotations,USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 00:01

… the first college-football contest was not played in 1869 between Rutgers and Princeton, but in 1874 between McGill and Harvard. The game the two New Jersey schools played was something close to soccer, with players (25 per side) allowed to kick the ball or bat it with their hands, and points scored by kicking the ball into the opponents’ goal. This game spread to a handful of other northeastern colleges in the next few years, under varying rules.

Meanwhile, Harvard played a different, more rugbyish game that allowed the ball to be carried and thrown. In 1874 it agreed to a two-game series in Cambridge with McGill, which also played a rugby-type game. The first game, played on May 14 under Harvard’s rules, was an easy victory for the home team. The next day they played under McGill’s rules, which permitted more ball handling, used an oval ball (unlike Harvard’s round one), and scored points with a “try,” similar to the modern touchdown. The contest ended in a scoreless tie, but Harvard’s players decided they liked McGill’s rules better than their own.

The “Boston game” soon became more popular than the kicking-oriented variety, and when representatives from four American colleges met in November 1876 to standardize football rules, they largely adopted the McGill/Harvard version. So while the 1874 game was quite different from today’s football, it is at least recognizable as an ancestor, whereas the game Rutgers and Princeton played in 1869 was an evolutionary dead end.

Fred Schwarz, “Why American Football Is Canadian”, National Review Online, 2014-11-13.

November 19, 2014

Adrian Peterson’s suspension and the Vikings’ future plans

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 07:10

Andrew Krammer looks at the implications of Adrian Peterson’s six game suspension in the light of the Vikings’ planning for next season:

By April 15, the Minnesota Vikings had considerably narrowed down their NFL Draft prospects, had already signed their bulk of free agents and were well on their way to constructing the 2014 roster.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell essentially made the Vikings’ decision for them, if they were even strongly considering keeping Adrian Peterson after 2014 to begin with. On Tuesday, Goodell suspended Peterson for the remainder of the 2014 season (six games) without pay, adding he can’t be reinstated until April 15, 2015 — well into the Vikings’ preparations for the next season.

If Peterson has any chance of being on the Vikings’ 2015 roster, it won’t be as a suspended 30-year-old running back with a $15.5 million cap hit.

He’s likely donned the purple as one of the franchise’s all-time best players for the last time on Sept. 7, unless a few circumstances play out: (1) Arbitrator Shyam Das would need to rule in favor of the NFLPA this week, saying the NFL had no grounds to keep Peterson on the Commissioner’s/Exempt list after his Nov. 4 plea deal was accepted by a Texas judge. (2) The Vikings, who released a statement in support of Goodell’s decision, would have to then activate Peterson against the grain of public relations backlash that forced their own change of course on Sept. 17 to initially get him on the CE list and (3) if Peterson has any shot of winning an appeal, it’ll come with a neutral arbitrator hearing his appeal and not Goodell, as ESPN.com’s Ben Goessling pointed out.


I have no doubt Peterson will play in the NFL again, I don’t believe it will be for the Vikings after this mess was made worse with Goodell’s handling and the way Peterson has been used as a pawn in a battle between the league and its union.

The first benchmark to watch is the start of the new league year in the beginning of March. If they cut him by then, they’ll avoid paying a $250,000 workout bonus.

Put your proverbial money on that happening if Goodell upholds his own suspension (likely) and if the Vikings are ready to move on after paying Peterson $7 million in 2014 base salary for 75 rushing yards.

Update: At the Star Tribune, Jim Souhan enjoys the spectacle.

The most artfully-written jokes are those that contain the punch line in the premise.

Like this one:

Adrian Peterson thinks his punishment is too harsh.

Tuesday morning, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended the Vikings star for the rest of the season without pay, meaning Peterson will not play for the Vikings again this season, and perhaps not ever.

Peterson’s case is bound to become a quagmire of legal positioning, union rights, management overreach and the ongoing course corrections of one of the most powerful people in sports.

There is one matter that remains clear.

A powerful football player took a branch and beat a 4-year-old until the boy bled through large welts on his back, suffered defense wounds on his hands, and took at least one lash to his genitalia.

Peterson deserves no sympathy, and anyone arguing that he is being unfairly prevented from finishing the season with the Vikings hasn’t done enough reading between the legalistic lines.

Peterson chose to be a legal pawn instead of a football king.

He has chosen to spend the rest of the season as a symbol of Goodell’s arrogance rather than a standout football player.

Peterson could have found his way back to Winter Park this season. His path was cleared by a lenient Texas court. Had he displayed remorse over his acts, and sought counseling, and thrown himself at Goodell’s feet, the commissioner likely would have levied a lighter sentence, perhaps even a retroactive one.

Instead, Peterson played into Goodell’s hands, and Goodell must have cackled at the opportunity presented to allow him to display strength.

Peterson showed no real remorse. He did not promise to change his behavior. He chose to side with the NFLPA and his legal team in challenging Goodell’s power.

If Goodell didn’t have Peterson, he would have invented him.

November 17, 2014

Vikings lose to Bears, 21-13

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 07:36

By the end of the first quarter, you could understand why Fox Sports had “flexed” out of covering this game … it was anything but rivetting TV. The Vikings looked rusty, as if they’d been off for several weeks rather than just the one week bye. The highlight of the game was a fake punt that caught the Bears totally by surprise as Andrew Sendejo took the ball 48 yards (a Vikings record). Aside from that, the offense couldn’t manage very much production and forced the defence to go back on the field far too quickly — the time of possession was very lopsided, as the Bears held the ball for over 38 minutes, leaving under 22 minutes for the Vikings.

Former Viking Jared Allen had by far his best game of the season, treating former Pro Bowl left tackle Matt Kalil like a turnstyle and pressuring Teddy Bridgewater several times and sacking him once. The Viking defensive line was held in check all day, recording no sacks and relatively few hits. Cornerback Josh Robinson was Cutler’s favourite target … as a shorter player, he was at a disadvantage against the Bears’ tall wide receivers, and Cutler completed a lot of passes to whoever he was covering on the play. Brian Hall has the details:

The Vikings knew all about the size disadvantage coming in. The Bears have Brandon Marshall (6-foot-5) and Alshon Jeffery (6-foot-3) on the outside. Minnesota has 5-foot-9 cornerback Captain Munnerlyn starting in the base defense and 5-foot-10 Josh Robinson to go with 6-foot-1 Xavier Rhodes on the outside in the nickel defense.

Chicago knew where Josh Robinson was and targeted him often with the tall receivers. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler just threw the ball up and let Marshall and Jeffery use their length. Jeffery was targeted 17 times and had 11 receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown against Robinson. Marshall had 10 targets leading to seven catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns against Robinson.

Robinson wasn’t out of position in many of the cases, but Marshall and Jeffery used their size to make plays. Cutler was 31-of-43 passing — with 27 attempts to Marshall and Jeffery — for 330 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Minnesota, particularly Robinson, just had no chance against Marshall and Jeffery.

Joe Oberle says the game was actually worse than the score might indicate:

It’s difficult to determine which unit was more culpable for the loss, so we will start with the offense. They say numbers don’t always tell the whole story, but in the case of this game they tell enough. The Vikings had 243 total yards on offense (with 48 of them coming on a fake punt and a bunch more in what turned out to be garbage/prevent time).

Teddy Bridgewater was 18 of 28 for 158 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He was inaccurate when throwing past five yards down field. He was sacked twice and hit five times, which shows once again that the offensive line that struggled to protect him. It was well into the game before Bridgewater targeted a wide receiver, as either he didn’t have time to see them or they were not getting open. Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

These atrocious numbers came against the 26th ranked defense in the league coming in—a defense that had given up 106 points in their past two games. Were it not for the fake punt that set up the only touchdown, the final score would have been worse. Bridgewater and the offense took a step backwards against a team that had been demoralized. This game for the Vikings was actually worse than the score indicated.

November 16, 2014

The Vikings are always snakebit in Chicago … any hope of this changing soon?

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 00:02

The Minnesota Vikings don’t win too often in Chicago — their last win at Soldier Field was back in 2007 and they’ve only beaten the Bears at home three times since 2000 (despite the Vikings leading the all-time series 54-50-2). Sunday’s game may finally change Minnesota’s luck in Chicago, as the Vikings (4-5) are riding a rare two-game winning streak while the Bears (3-6) are in danger of melting down altogether.

In spite of the potential signs of a Vikings win, talk of any kind of playoff push is very premature … and despite that the Daily Norseman‘s Ted Glover dares to hope:

@Chicago: We’ve laid out what the Vikings need to do to beat Chicago, and this is their best opportunity to escape the Windy City with a win since 2009…and they couldn’t get it done then. And let’s face it, the Vikings have to beat the Bears to keep any chance at the post season alive. A loss puts them at 4-6, and no realistic shot.

Green Bay: The Vikings have been on the short end of the stick more often than not against Green Bay and Chicago in recent seasons, but I don’t know if I was ever more dis-spirited than after the Thursday night debacle in Lambeau. In the wake of that disaster, the Vikings defense actually played a decent game, until the three and outs piled up by the offense just got to be too much. This is going to be one of the two toughest remaining opponents the Vikings face, and a win here would be huge. Can they do it? With Teddy Bridgewater, at home, I think they can.

I can’t emphasize how big two division wins would be for the Vikings here. Not only for playoff positioning, but as a ‘stand up and take notice that we’re here to stay for awhile’ kind of statement. We all want to beat the Packers, but if the Vikings are going to start their climb to the top of the NFC North and stay there, they have to start beating them. Starting that climb here would be fantastic.

After that, the Vikings should beat Carolina and the Jets, then they face the Lions in Detroit which is likely a loss, then two winnable games against the Dolphins and the Bears (who might be playing for an interim coach if Trestman can’t turn the Bears around). A 10-6 finish would be fantastic for the Vikings after their horrific start to the 2014 season (and it’d be two games better than I expected … and I didn’t foresee Adrian Peterson being out for most of the year when I made that guess).

November 6, 2014

Souhan – Peterson should be suspended for the remainder of the NFL season

Filed under: Football,Humour,Law — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 10:01

The Star-Tribune‘s Jim Souhan takes a strong stance against leniency for Vikings running back Adrian Peterson after he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanour in Texas:

Roger Goodell has treated player discipline with the consistency of that annoying person you get stuck behind in line at Starbucks every morning.

One day, they want a Venti triple-foam frappé low-fat caramel macchiato topped with handmade artisanal whipped cream drained by pacifists from the udders of a cow that has attended global warming symposiums.

The next day, they order a black coffee. Small.

When he became NFL commissioner, Goodell wanted to impose discipline on every minor player infraction. He was going to make his name by cleaning up a league filled with violent young men.

Goodell proudly wore the badge he fished out of a box of Cracker Jack until Ray Rice punched his fiancée in an elevator, and Goodell’s friends with the Baltimore Ravens told him to proceed cautiously, and Goodell blinkered himself like a skittish horse.

Goodell went overboard with player discipline, then effectively disappeared when he could have taken a dramatic stance against players performing violent acts, and particularly violent acts toward women. He went from Mr. Venti-Everything to, suddenly, Mr. Small Black Coffee.

This week, Adrian Peterson, who has admitted to the severe and cowardly beating of his son, got the Texas treatment in court. He was allowed to agree to a generous plea deal that allows him to resume his life and career. It’s a wonder he wasn’t presented with a gold star for upholding the tenets of traditional parenting.

This time around, Goodell can get it right. He can establish that he has higher standards than the anachronistic Texas courts, that he holds players, and especially players who have gotten rich because of the NFL’s remarkable wealth, to a higher standard than the average citizen.

Goodell can and should suspend Peterson for the rest of the season. Doing so would improve Goodell’s reputation, and save the Vikings and the league a lot of grief.v

November 5, 2014

Adrian Peterson’s legal situation now clear … NFL disciplinary situation less so

Filed under: Football,Law — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 07:04

Yesterday, Adrian Peterson agreed to a plea deal that would reduce the charges he faced from a felony to a misdemeanor (thereby also reducing the maximum punishment from jail time to a fine, probation, and community service). He pleaded no contest to the lesser charges and if he completes the probation without incident, he won’t have a criminal record. He will also be subject to random drug testing but no travel restrictions. Despite this, his situation with the NFL is still up in the air — he’s been on the commissioner’s exempt list since week two, getting paid but not being allowed to practice with the team — and the only way he’ll be allowed back on the field is after Roger Goodell decides on what league discipline is now called for.

November 3, 2014

Vikings 29, Washington 26 – and Matt Asiata only scores touchdowns in threes

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 00:03

After a bad first half, the Vikings came to life in the final two minutes and then carried that momentum into the second half. The hero of the game was Matt Asiata, who scored three touchdowns, for the third time in his career (he also scored a two-point conversion). Chris Tomasson tweeted that Asiata scored the fourth most in a game in Vikings history (Chuck Foreman and Ahmad Rashad each scored 24 and Rich Karlis scored 21). Teddy Bridgewater threw for 26 of 42 gaining 268 yards and a TD pass to backup tight end Chase Ford, and the Vikings defence sacked RGIII five times to keep the game in reach.

Washington got a gift of four points after a terrible roughing the passer penalty against safety Harrison Smith (replays showed little if any contact between Smith and RGIII, but it kept a stalled Washington drive alive). Instead of settling for a field goal, RGIII found a receiver on the goal line on the next play for the touchdown.

Cordarrelle Patterson still seems to be in the witness protection program, with only one reception on seven attempts (some of which were badly placed throws by Bridgewater, but others looked like the fault was on Patterson), and he made some odd kick return decisions that didn’t pan out.

At The Viking Age, Dan Zinski pinpoints the game’s turning point:

The key play to turn the game came late in the second quarter when Robert Griffin III threw up a terrible pass that was picked off by Captain Munnerlyn. This set up the Vikings for a 20-yard TD from Teddy Bridgewater to Chase Ford to cut the Redskins’ lead to 10-7.

Trailing by just 3 going into the half, the Vikings knew they were in it. They came out in the second half with a commitment to run the ball down the Redskins’ throats and they got it done.

Norv Turner cranked up the two-headed monster of Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata in the second half, helping Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings find the offensive rhythm they had been missing throughout the first half.

With the running game working, Bridgewater was able to operate much more efficiently than in the first half. Bridgewater threw some bad incompletions early in the game but never lost confidence, still taking shots when they were there.

Though the pass protection was not especially great, Teddy showed his cool under pressure by delivering most of his short passes accurately and, most importantly, not turning the ball over.

November 2, 2014

Pre-game program in Minneapolis

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:11

The Washington Redskins are in Minneapolis today to face the Minnesota Vikings. Both teams have 3-5 win/loss records and both are coming off wins last weekend. However, this weekend’s pregame festivities will include protests against the Washington team name:

People who want Washington to abandon the Redskins nickname are taking their protest to the streets.

After a rally at David Lilly Plaza, several hundred people are marching through the University of Minnesota campus to TCF Bank Stadium, where Washington plays the Minnesota Vikings. Four men banging a traditional drum and women carrying a banner reading, “No Honor in Racist Nicknames or Imagery” are leading the March to the stadium, about a mile away.

“Today it’s going to stop,” Clyde Bellcourt, co-founder of the American Indian Movement, said before the march began.


October 27, 2014

Vikings beat Bucs in overtime, 19-13

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 07:02

Stadium staff in Tampa Bay should have been getting ready to refund the ticket prices for those poor souls who had to sit through the first three quarters of the game yesterday between the Minnesota Vikings and the Buccaneers. There were a few good plays, but for the most part calling the “action” pedestrian would have been a generous way to describe it. That all changed in the fourth quarter, as the somnolent Bucs suddenly discovered both a running game and that the forward pass was still legal in the NFL.

Vikings fans were starting to get that horrible 2013 feeling … that the Vikes were going to lead all the way down to the final minute, then give up the go-ahead score … just like last week. Instead, the last drive in regulation got the score tied up to force overtime, and overtime didn’t last very long at all, as Arif Hasan explains:

Those two minutes (or rather 1:57 after the runback by Patterson) were just enough for rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (after a confusing call by the refs that functionally drained 20 seconds from the clock—though not technically wrong, just unusual) to drive down the field in perfect position for a field goal (with room for error) in order to force the game into overtime.

A pair of offsetting penalties may have felt like more of the same to a franchise whose fans are convinced the organization is snakebitten. But immediately afterwards, a completion to Austin Seferian-Jenkins was turned into a fumble by the goat on the touchdown play, Anthony Barr, who ran it in for a touchdown to end the game.

In the end, just like in the Buffalo game, the real takeaways are not in single plays like the fumble return or the touchdown Barr allowed, but in the balance of the game. The ball bounced the right way for the Vikings this time, but the overall script was a positive one for Minnesota, as they consistently dominated an admittedly weak Tampa Bay team.

Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s stats included 241 passing yards, and a touchdown with no interceptions and only took one sack. 1500ESPN‘s Andrew Krammer discusses Bridgewater’s “up and down” day:

Bridgewater did his part to force overtime, but there is plenty of room for improvement from a rookie quarterback the Vikings initially wanted to have sit and learn in 2014 before Matt Cassel’s season-ending injury. Seven of Bridgewater’s 18 incompletions were tipped passes, including three from the Bucs’ defensive line.

“[Bridgewater] was up and down,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “I thought he took good care of the football, which we’re asking him to do. He was only sacked one time, those things are important too. We definitely are having a hard time scoring points, so we have to do a better job there. I think his composure was very good today. He took some shots down the field, which we have to do. And we missed them. If we keep throwing them, we’ll hit some.”

On a play-by-play count, Bridgewater went 4-for-10 on his deep attempts, missing his first three before tight end Chase Ford reached back to grab a poorly thrown ball to finish with a 19-yard catch-and-run. Three plays later, Bridgewater spiked the ball to set up Walsh’s 46-yard field goal before halftime.

The receivers helped Bridgewater out, including Patterson’s 28-yard tip-toe grab down the sideline that was challenged by Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith and upheld for the Vikings’ longest pass play of the day. But Bridgewater showed the ‘ups’ as well as the ‘downs’ that Zimmer’s postgame comments referred to.

After left tackle Matt Kalil was beat by Michael Johnson, who tackled running back Jerick McKinnon for a loss of five yards, Bridgewater hit Ford for nine yards and then found receiver Greg Jennings over the shoulder for a 17-yard touchdown and 10-0 lead in the third quarter.

“The throw to Jennings was a great catch,” Zimmer said. “Unbelieveable throw with a guy in his face. Those are the throws he can make, just have to continue to make the pocket clean and he has to just keep making those throws.”

October 26, 2014

Vikings vs Buccaneers – “When a 2-5 disaster visits a 1-5 dumpster fire”

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 11:31

I wonder if I’ll even be able to watch this game later today: the Winnipeg CTV affiliate station usually carries the Vikings games on Sunday, but this promises to be a very low-audience meeting. If it’s not viewable in my area, I’ll have to depend on the team’s game highlights which are usually posted on their website the next day. How bad is this matchup? At the Daily Norseman, Eric Thompson thinks that it’ll be such a quiet game, you won’t even hear the boos:

The Minnesota Vikings vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers game on Sunday is NOT a marquee matchup. Who will win on Sunday? And more importantly, who will care?

If the Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers play each other on Sunday and nobody gives a sh*t, does the game make a sound? When a 2-5 disaster visits a 1-5 dumpster fire and nobody can be bothered to care, can you still hear the boos?

We’re only seven weeks into the 2014 NFL season and the two metaphorical trees of the Vikings and Bucs seem to have already fallen in the forest. This was supposed to be a year of improvement and hope for both teams. The Vikings had a new coach to clean up the woeful defense, a promising new rookie quarterback, five starters returning on the offensive line, and the league’s best running back still in his prime. The Bucs had a new coach of their own that has already proven himself in the league, a veteran free agent quarterback that lit it up last year, and enough pieces on both sides of the ball to make a lot of experts choose them as a dark horse playoff contender before the season.

And yet here we are with both teams looking undead before Halloween. Minnesota’s new coach and quarterback are scrambling to learn on the job with the star running back exiled from the team and the offensive line in shambles. Tampa Bay has already benched Josh McCown and suffered two of the NFL season’s most embarrassing blowouts through six games. (The only saving grace for the one-win Buccaneers? The NFC South has been so lousy this year that they’re still only two games out of first place.)


The scapegoat in recent weeks for the Vikings has been Matt Kalil & The Turnstyles, which unfortunately isn’t a 50’s doo-wop cover band. The offensive linemen were scapegoats with good reason — they were an atrocity against Green Bay and Detroit. But they actually weren’t that bad last week in Buffalo. And “not terrible” is a gigantic upgrade for that unit, especially considering the mid-game injuries suffered by John Sullivan and Vladimir Ducasse. So why did the offense still muster only 16 points even though the defense forced four Bills turnovers? Quite frankly, Teddy Bridgewater wasn’t nearly consistent enough with his decisions and throws to make the offense run efficiently.

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Powered by WordPress