October 26, 2015

Vikings get first road win of the season, beating Detroit Lions 28-19

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

I nearly gave up on this game early after Detroit ran up 17 points on the Vikings, but that turned out to be the Lions’ high-water mark except for a safety given up by the Vikings late in the fourth quarter. Lions QB Matthew Stafford absorbed a career-high seven sacks, while Teddy Bridgewater was dropped for five, including a strip-sack that was recovered by the Vikings. A sixth sack was eliminated by a penalty on the Lions.


October 23, 2015

The Orangutan Theory of Division 1 football

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

Gregg Easterbrook points out the weirdness that is big-time college football in the United States:

These three coaching changes share in common what T.M.Q. calls the Orangutan Theory of Division 1: that football-factory programs have such incredible built-in advantages in recruiting power and gimmick schedules that an orangutan should be able to lead one to bowl eligibility.

Not only do the top recruits flock to prestige programs like South Carolina and U.S.C., but they also play under gimmick conditions. This year the Gamecocks have seven home games and five road dates; one of South Carolina’s opponents is lower-division Citadel. (Initially South Carolina scheduled eight home games and four road dates; a home game was moved because of Hurricane Joaquin.) U.S.C. enjoys seven home games versus five away; one of the Trojans’ opponents was Arkansas State, which plays in a lesser conference. Such schedules are as if the Denver Broncos played twice as many games at home as away, and one of the home games was against an Arena League team.

In the wake of the Spurrier and Sarkisian departures, the sports world — SportsCenter, Sports Illustrated, ESPN’s College GameDay — wondered when glory would return to these programs. Unless I missed it, not a word was said about the educational goals that are the ostensible purpose of the universities in question.

Spurrier’s team had a 51 percent graduation rate, including a 46 percent rate for African-Americans. He should have been given the boot for exploiting players without ensuring their educations: Instead all the boosters and the networks seemed to care about was his won-loss ratio. South Carolina is an SEC school. CBS has the contract for that conference, and benefits when the Gamecocks win. Where is the 60 Minutes segment on SEC football graduation rates?

Sarkisian’s team was graduating 47 percent of players, including 38 percent of African-Americans; Kiffin’s team had a 48 percent graduation rate, including 39 percent for African-American players. ESPN and Fox, which broadcast Pac-12 football, devoted lots of air time to the recruiting and ranking ramifications of the Kiffin and Sarkisian dismissals. Did either so much as mention graduation rates?

Even from programs like U.S.C. and South Carolina that produce many N.F.L. draftees, more than 90 percent never receive a professional paycheck. Because of the risk of injury and brain trauma and because of the effort and time that goes into the sport, colleges should make extra efforts to ensure football players receive educations. And yet many big football programs exploit African-American football players for profit without giving them the level of support to get the bachelor’s degree that is most people’s ticket into the middle class, or even distract them from education by demanding all their time and effort go into football. In many cases the boosters and boards of trustees don’t care, and the sports broadcasting world, which takes a cut of the exploitation, stays silent.

You want to discuss inequality? There are many thousands of NCAA football players, many of whom could not possibly attend university without athletic scholarships. They are subject to arbitrary rules that threaten to yank their funding at the slightest violation, constantly required to put aside any actual education-related activities to concentrate on training for games and in many cases, they are “studying” for degrees that don’t have much post-academic future. Most of them won’t ever be considered for the NFL, so getting that degree is the most important thing about attending university, but coaches and administrators collude to deprive them of that possibility in order to win football games, which attracts donations from alumni and TV coverage.

October 21, 2015

The first rule of Donut Club

Filed under: Football, Randomness — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

I’ve been following the Minnesota Vikings Donut Club for a few years on Twitter, but as far as I know, this is the first coverage of the secretive organization in the mainstream media:

“We just like to see commitment from guys. We need to see proof that you want to be a part of this club and want to be part of something bigger than yourself.”

That quote isn’t just another cliché being spewed by an NFL player about next week’s game. It’s a passionate explanation from veteran linebacker Chad Greenway about a different kind of club that meets early on Saturday mornings and follows a rule book that’s nearly as detailed as the league’s: The Minnesota Vikings’ Donut Club.

By even acknowledging its existence, Greenway has already broken the first rule of Donut Club. “I’m now getting yelled at for talking about it,” he says. “It’s like Fight Club. You’re going to get me in trouble.”

Donut Club has its roots in the 2008 season, when starting quarterback Gus Frerotte brought a few dozen donuts into the training room one Saturday morning. They were devoured in a matter of minutes, and it became a regular thing. “I just kept bringing donuts in because it’s a great thing to see when a guy sees fresh, big-ass donuts and they want to eat them,” says Frerotte, who retired after that ’08 season, his 15th in the NFL. If he returned to the Vikings’ training room now, he wouldn’t recognize the cult-like institution that grew from his humble act of generosity.


“The athletic trainer never pays for the donuts,” Sugarman says. When Frerotte first brought in donuts, it was a nod of appreciation for the trainers and equipment staff, so players rotate paying for three dozen donuts on a weekly basis in the regular season. YoYo owner Chris Moquist, a lifelong Vikings fan, remembers when the Vikings first started ordering from his shop: “A guy came in to pick up an order and we went, ‘Wow, that guy’s neck is way too big to be a normal person. That’s Chad Greenway. That’s awesome!’ ”

October 19, 2015

Vikings defeat Kansas City Chiefs, 16-10

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

This was very much a game of two halfs, as the Vikings moved the ball at will through the first half … through the air, if not on the ground, while in the second half the Chiefs came alive and threatened to take control of the game. Adrian Peterson had one of his worst games as a pro: at one point he’d rushed for something like one total yard on fifteen carries and he was being hit well before he got to the line of scrimmage on many of those runs. Early in the game, it appeared that the Vikings had scored a safety, as offensive holding was called in the Chiefs’ end zone, but the referee determined that the hold had started in the field of play, so it was not a safety. Teddy Bridgewater had another up-and-down performance with some nice throws, but two interceptions and only one touchdown. The offensive line did a somewhat better job against the Chiefs than they did against the Broncos, but Teddy was still not getting a clean pocket to work in as often as he should have. A bright spot for the Vikings was the play of rookie receiver Stefon Diggs, who posted the first 100 yard game for Minnesota this season. In his first two games, he’s caught 13 of 19 for 216 yards, making some observers wonder why he didn’t see the field earlier in the season.


October 8, 2015

The koans of Zim Tzu, Broncos edition

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

Ted Glover comes back to us from the most recent press conference of Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and after the appropriate cleansings, meditations, and ritual incantations, distills the wisdom of Zim Tzu for us:

Mike Zimmer, the Vikings head coach and Chief Philosopher In Charge, doesn’t genuflect or toss out false praise after a close, hard fought game that the Vikings lost. No sir, because pats on the back are for the weak and needy, and Mike Zimmer is anything but that. But he does pass out knowledge bombs like a B-52 carpet bombs, if you know what you’re looking for,* and that’s where Zim Tzu comes in. What is Zim Tzu, you ask? Zim Tzu is Mike Zimmer’s calling card,** aside from his football acumen.

*I have no idea what I’m looking for

**I have no idea what the metaphor ‘calling card’ means, it just sounded good when I wrote it

It’s a philosophy*, a way of life**, and one must understand the nuances of the spoken word to get behind what he’s really trying to say.***

*Really, this is just a press conference with me inventing stupid things he never said

**Seriously, if this gives you some true meaning of life or answers some mystical question you’ve pondered for years, you are very susceptible to being brainwashed by a cult. Please seek professional help. Immediately. Like put this down and go see a therapist now kind of immediately

***No idea what he’s really trying to say. This is more farcical than Donald Trump’s hair.

As always, we take excerpts from Mike Zimmer’s weekly press conference and interpret his words into their final, crystallized true meaning.* What the coach actually said will be in quotes, and the Zim Tzu translation immediately follows.

*Seriously, if this were a book, you would find it in the ‘fiction’ section, because it’s all made up. Or in the ‘toilet humor’ category, between ‘dirty Irish limericks’ and ‘fart jokes.’ Wait, this starts with a Z. So it would be last. Where it belongs.

    What Zim Tzu said: After watching the tape, I kind of really feel a lot like I did yesterday after the ballgame. Disappointed that we didn’t start better. I think we have some resiliency and some tough guys and some fight. Probably didn’t play good enough to win; too many mistakes against a team like that. We’re never going to have moral victories around here. Questions?

What Zim Tzu meant: FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKKKKK…we could’ve won that game. Moral victories suck. Winning at Denver would’ve been pretty cool, not gonna lie.

Q: Did they blitz more than you anticipated after recording seven sacks?

    What Zim Tzu said: They blitzed a little bit more, yeah. We had a couple mental errors, we had a couple guys get beat, so it was a combination of things. I thought Teddy did a good job of getting the ball out, but there was a couple of time where we weren’t able to adjust the protection because of some of the movement things that we had going on.

What Zim Tzu meant: No more than the Germans blitzed Poland or France back in the day…YES THEY BLITZED MORE BECAUSE IT WORKED. If we would have pulled our heads out of our asses maybe we could’ve stopped it, but sometimes it felt they had 22 or 23 guys at the line of scrimmage. I’m just glad that Teddy wasn’t murdered. He was almost murdered.

October 5, 2015

Broncos beat Vikings 23-20 in Denver

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Let me say right up front, despite my team ending up on the wrong side of the score, this was a good game. The Vikings took the shots, but stayed competitive right up to the final drive, and with only a bit more luck (Blair Walsh’s first field goal attempt), the game was still winnable for either team right down to the wire. The stats may not be gaudy, but the Vikings showed that they are much improved from last year and the Broncos are probably very relieved to get the win.

Playing in Denver is tough for visiting teams, but the Vikings did almost enough to win the game on Sunday. Rookie wide receiver Stefon Diggs got his first regular season snaps and did a lot of good things in his first opportunity (six catches for 87 yards, but needs to work on keeping control of the ball once he makes the catch). Safety Harrison Smith again showed why he should be high on everyone’s list for this year’s Pro Bowl voting (except for probably getting an unwelcome envelope from the league over a helmet-to-helmet tackle on a Denver receiver), and despite being under siege pretty much all game (taking seven sacks, including the strip-sack to end the game), quarterback Teddy Bridgewater showed that he has what it takes to succeed in the NFL. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes was clearly in the crosshairs of the officials, as he drew more than his fair share of flags during the game, some justified but some ticky-tacky.


September 28, 2015

Vikings defeat San Diego Chargers 31-14

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Minnesota defeated the San Diego Chargers on Sunday with a dominant running game featuring regular doses of Adrian Peterson (20 carries for 126 yards and two touchdowns) and a special appearance by fullback Zach Line, who now has two runs for two yards and two touchdowns in his NFL career, after getting his first career carry (and touchdown) last weekend against Detroit. Teddy Bridgewater didn’t have a good game statistically (only 13 of 24 for 121 yards and a pick), but was able to keep the chains moving and keep San Diego’s Philip Rivers on the sideline. The run defence showed up for a second game in a row, holding Chargers rookie running back Melvin Gordon to only 51 yards rushing.

There was a scary moment during the second quarter as cornerback Xavier Rhodes had a nasty collision with safety Andrew Sendejo and was motionless on the field for a bit. When he got up with help from the training staff, he was replaced by rookie Trae Waynes for the rest of the game. Rhodes is being evaluated for a concussion and may not be available for next week’s game until after he passes the mandatory concussion protocol. Sendejo also left the game later in the second half and was replaced by Robert Blanton.

The play that put the game out of reach was a 91-yard interception returned for a touchdown by linebacker Chad Greenway. I’m not saying that Greenway is a slow runner, but it might as well have been announced as “Chad … Greenway … could … go … all … the … way!” Pretty much the entire Vikings defence escorted him into the end zone. It was also accompanied by a penalty against the Vikings bench as an assistant coach collided with a game official and one or the other of them also took down head coach Mike Zimmer.

September 21, 2015

Detroit Lions visit Minnesota in search of first win, go home empty-handed

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

After the terrible performance the Vikings put on in San Francisco last Monday, all the fans were hoping to see the Vikings beat the Lions in their home opener at TCF Bank Stadium. The Lions had their own bad start last week as well, allowing 30 unanswered points after building up a three-score lead. We’re one week into the season and both teams are looking at this game as a must-win.

I watched the game on Fox, but overlaid with Winnipeg commercials … normally this isn’t really worth mentioning, but thanks to that I wasn’t abused by the DraftKings or FanDuel commercials that everyone on my Vikings Twitter list was complaining endlessly about.

The Vikings got the ball to start the game and put on a really nice long drive, capped off with a Teddy Bridgewater to Kyle Rudolph touchdown pass. Bridgewater ended the game with a stat line of 14 of 18 completions for 153 yards and a 120.6 passer rating (he also scored a rushing touchdown). Adrian Peterson got more carries for more yards in the first drive than he did in the entire first game (he also developed a fumbling problem, unfortunately). He carried the ball 29 times for 132 yards and caught two passes for 58 yards.


September 15, 2015

Monday Night Football – Vikings at San Francisco … well, that happened

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 09:23

Minnesota Vikings fans were very optimistic about the first game of the regular season, with hopes that Teddy Bridgewater would continue his ascent from the end of last season, excitement over Adrian Peterson returning after nearly a full year away from the game, and the promise of speedy new wide receiver Mike Wallace to stretch the field. In a few cases, that optimism might have lasted into the second quarter. Last night was a bad, bad game for the Vikings. The defensive line, supposedly a strength of the team, was giving up first downs like party favours. When the Vikings got the ball, we saw three quick incomplete passes and the punting unit came out. The offensive line was worse than advertised: at one point Teddy basically got sacked by his own right tackle as he ran for his life deep in the backfield (http://streamable.com/p0oa). It was almost as if the preseason had been extended one more game, and nobody in a Vikings jersey seemed to be mentally prepared to play a real football game.

At the Daily Norseman, Ted Glover delivers the Stock Market Report on the game:

Blue Chip Stocks:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, you’re kidding me, right?

Well, Mike Zimmer’s press conference tomorrow might be an all time epic rant. But that’s about it.

Solid Investments:

Mike Wallace, WR: The guy that came over in a trade with Miami has to be thinking what the hell, yo? But he was about the only guy that provided an offensive spark, at least while the game was still competitive–I SEE YOU KYLE RUDOLPH.


Junk Bonds:

The Offensive Line: One of the big concerns we collectively had coming in to the season was how the offensive line would hold up. If week one was any indication, we should be having a funeral and wake for Teddy Bridgewater sometime about the third quarter in week seven. That was brutal, man. Worse than brutal. I don’t know what’s more brutal–the o-line play in week one, or Trent Dilfer on the mic. We had to endure both.

Adrian Peterson, former Gulag Prisoner: So this is a funny story. Right after my fantasy draft, I damn near traded Aaron Rodgers for AP, straight up. I hedged at the last minute, because of the o-line. I am a genius for not making that trade. Peterson wasn’t able to get anything going, except for one pretty ridiculous catch and pinball wizard run, and overall, he was quieter than than a mute in a soundproof room.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB: Man, I had such high hopes for Teddy coming into week one. But as the game went on, he was running for his life, and making decisions that were more questionable than a drunk teenager. I think this game is an anomaly, but still…Teddy gave me a sad.

Blair Walsh, K: I don’t know about you guys, but personally, I’m going to JUST FREAKING LOVE chewing my fingernails to the bone wondering if, on any given kick this year, Walsh might actually make it, becase right now it’s 50-50, at best. It will give us a lot of excitement in what is looking to be a possibly grim season.


September 11, 2015

“In the daily cuss-off between Turner and head coach Mike Zimmer, Turner has been the surprise winner”

Filed under: Football — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 04:00

In the Star Tribune, Jim Souhan reveals the surprising result of the coaching cuss-off competition:

Norv Turner strolled through the Vikings locker room Tuesday, cursed amiably and smiled.

Well, “strolled” isn’t exactly the right word. He half-limped, half-creaked — crimped? — across the room, looking exactly like what he is — a lifelong football coach.

There is nothing glamorous about Turner, the Vikings offensive coordinator. He’s made millions in the NFL, has stood on many podiums, won many titles and coached many superstars, but if the NFL were a Batman movie, he’d be Alfred the butler — instructive and wry and comfortable behind the scenes whatever his true ambitions may be.

Well, he’d be Alfred as played by Louis C.K. Turner was blue long before he wore purple.

In the daily cuss-off between Turner and head coach Mike Zimmer, Turner has been the surprise winner. Zimmer is highly qualified in the art of language-seasoning, but he has nothing on Turner in terms of volume, frequency and creativity.

“Norv cusses a lot,” receiver Charles Johnson said.

Does the defense try to get Turner to swear in practice?

“It’s definitely a goal,” safety Harrison Smith said.

Last year, Turner had the right to swear out of frustration. This year he may get to swear in affirmation.

In 2014, Turner’s first season as the Vikings offensive coordinator, he coached with one back tied behind his back, not to mention a tight end.

Before Week 2, All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson began what would in effect become a 15-game suspension. In Week 3, starting quarterback Matt Cassel was lost for the season. All season, tight end Kyle Rudolph — who might have been the primary benefactor of Turner’s system — caught passes in only seven games.

When the coaching staff decided to treat Cordarrelle Patterson as a true pass-catching receiver instead of a wide-ranging running back, the Vikings were left with a rookie quarterback surrounded with inexperienced or unproven skill-position players.

September 7, 2015

Vikings add practice squad members for 2015

Filed under: Football — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 05:00

As with the regular season roster, there is usually some churn on the practice squad over the course of the season as players sign to the Vikings’ 53-man roster or other team rosters or the the team decides it needs to add more depth in this or that area of current weakness. As of Sunday evening, the following players were offered spots with the practice squad:

  1. DL B.J. Dubose
  2. OG Isame Faciane
  3. WR Isaac Fruechte
  4. S Anthony Harris
  5. DL Zach Moore (waived by the New England Patriots)
  6. LB Brian Peters
  7. FB Blake Renaud
  8. LB Brandon Watts
  9. RB Dominique Williams
  10. OL David Yankey

September 6, 2015

Vikings cut down to “final” roster for 2015

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

Here’s how the Vikings’ cut-down went down … compared to my initial guess from yesterday for who’d make the 53:

  • QB (3) — Teddy Bridgewater, Shaun Hill, Taylor Heinicke
  • RB/FB (4) — Adrian Peterson, Jerick McKinnon, Matt Asiata, Dominique Williams, Zach Line
  • I actually didn’t expect Williams to make the team, but I thought he was a better option than Zach Line, who did make the team.

  • WR (6) — Mike Wallace, Charles Johnson, Jarius Wright, Stefon Diggs (R), Adam Thielen, Cordarrelle Patterson
  • TE (4) — Kyle Rudolph, Rhett Ellison, Mycole Pruitt (R), Chase Ford
  • OL (9) — LT Matt Kalil, LG Brandon Fusco, C John Sullivan, RG Mike Harris, RT T.J. Clemmings, C/G Joe Berger, T Austin Shepherd, C/G Zac Kerin
  • I said this is the most likely position the team might fill from the waiver wire … instead, they traded with San Diego, giving up a 2016 sixth round pick for OT/OG Jeremiah Sirles)

  • DL (9) — RDE Everson Griffen, NT Linval Joseph, UT Sharif Floyd, LDE Brian Robison, DE Justin Trattou, DT Tom Johnson, DT Shamar Stephen, DE Scott Chrichton, DE Danielle Hunter
  • LB (6) — WLB Chad Greenway, MLB Gerald Hodges, SLB Anthony Barr, LB Audie Cole, LB Eric Kendricks, LB Brandon Watts, LB Michael Mauti, Edmond Robinson
  • I didn’t see Watts or Mauti being waived, but there was a logjam of quality linebackers and not all could be retained on the roster. Mauti is especially surprising given his prowess on special teams.

  • CB (5) — Xavier Rhodes, Terence Newman, Captain Munnerlyn, Trae Waynes, Jabari Price (suspended for first 2 games, won’t count against roster), Marcus Sherels
  • S (4) — Harrison Smith, Robert Blanton, Andrew Sendejo, Antone Exum
  • P (1) — Jeff Locke
  • K (1) — Blair Walsh
  • LS (1) — Kevin McDermott

There will likely be a change or two before the kickoff of the first regular season game, but this should be pretty much the team the Vikings will play 2015 with. Practice squads can be formed once the waiver period expires for players who were cut from their teams on Saturday. Among the players I expect to see the team sign to the practice squad are C Tom Farniok, G Isame Faciane, RB Dominique Williams (or RB Joe Banyard … I don’t think both will make it), FB Blake Renaud, WR Isaac Fruechte, LB Brian Peters, CB Josh Thomas, and S Anthony Harris. The team isn’t restricted to the players they had in their own training camp, so a couple of signees could be players nobody in Minnesota has heard of.

September 5, 2015

Preseason football finally finishes … and the Vikings finally lost in preseason action

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

Mercifully, the Thursday night game between the Vikings and the Titans wasn’t available on TV in the GTA, so I had an excuse to go play World of Warships or Guild Wars 2 instead of watching the carnage as third- and fourth-string players risked life and limb to try to stand out to their coaches in advance of Saturday’s final cut-down to 53 players.

At quarterback for the Vikings was third-stringer Taylor Heinicke, who played what sounds like an excellent game despite the rapidly crumbling walls of the second-string offensive line in front of him. In fact, Heinicke did so well that he made it almost unthinkable for the team to try to sneak him through waivers onto the practice squad — he’d be snapped up very quickly by a team looking for a good backup/developmental QB). If he continues to improve, he might make current backup Shaun Hill expendable next year. Despite his good work in earlier games, I think the team was expecting him to sit on the practice squad this year, but they shouldn’t risk losing him (so another player will have to be cut who might otherwise have made the roster).

By the time this gets posted early Saturday morning, any predictions I might want to make about who will make the final roster will be overtaken by events … but I’m still going to take a stab at it anyway:

  • QB (3) — Teddy Bridgewater, Shaun Hill, Taylor Heinicke
  • RB/FB (4) — Adrian Peterson, Jerick McKinnon, Matt Asiata, Domonique Williams
  • WR (6) — Mike Wallace, Charles Johnson, Jarius Wright, Stefon Diggs (R), Adam Thielen, Cordarrelle Patterson
  • TE (4) — Kyle Rudolph, Rhett Ellison, Mycole Pruitt (R), Chase Ford
  • OL (8) — LT Matt Kalil, LG Brandon Fusco, C John Sullivan, RG Mike Harris, RT T.J. Clemmings, C/G Joe Berger, T Austin Shepherd, C/G Zac Kerin (this is the most likely position the team might fill from the waiver wire)
  • DL (9) — RDE Everson Griffen, NT Linval Joseph, UT Sharif Floyd, LDE Brian Robison, DE Justin Trattou, DT Tom Johnson, DT Shamar Stephen, DE Scott Chrichton, DE Danielle Hunter
  • LB (7) — WLB Chad Greenway, MLB Gerald Hodges, SLB Anthony Barr, LB Audie Cole, LB Eric Kendricks, LB Brandon Watts, LB Michael Mauti
  • CB (5) — Xavier Rhodes, Terence Newman, Captain Munnerlyn, Trae Waynes, Jabari Price (suspended for first 2 games, won’t count against roster), Marcus Sherels
  • S (4) — Harrison Smith, Robert Blanton, Andrew Sendejo, Antone Exum
  • P (1) — Jeff Locke
  • K (1) — Blair Walsh
  • LS (1) — Kevin McDermott

Practice squads can start to be assembled about 24 hours after the final cut-downs, and up to ten players can be signed. Two of the spots can be used for more experienced players.

August 30, 2015

Vikings beat Dallas 28-14 to keep preseason winning streak alive

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

I sat down in front of the TV last night, expecting to watch the Vikings at the Cowboys, but after scrolling through the 500+ listings on Rogers, they were only showing one preseason game, and that was the Seattle versus San Diego contest. I ended up watching the NFL Network in order to catch the odd play and keep up with the scores. By the time I got to see any of the game I was interested in, Teddy Bridgewater and the first team offense had already handed over to the backups.

Unless he plays in the final preseason game, that gives Teddy a preseason stat line of 7-for-7 and 76 yards in this game and 29 of 35 for 295 yards and a TD with no interceptions over four games. That’s a completion rate of 82.8%, which would be very impressive if he carries that over into the regular season. He’d said earlier this week that his season goal is to complete 70% of his passes.

In the various final roster predictions that have been showing up in the fan pages lately, a popular “hot taek” has been that Cordarrelle Patterson was on the bubble and might not make the team. Then he does something like this and reminds everyone why teams didn’t want to kick to him if they could possibly avoid it. That’s a 107-yard kick return for a Vikings TD.


August 23, 2015

Vikings 20, Raiders 12 in weather-delayed preseason game

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 10:09

I didn’t get to watch this game, as we had guests over for dinner, but the chances of being able to watch the game in the Toronto area probably weren’t that high anyway. Here’s The Daily Norseman‘s Christopher Gates on the game summary:

It took a really long time, thanks to a weather delay, but by the time the rain cleared and everything was in the books, the Minnesota Vikings continued their preseason perfection under Mike Zimmer with a 20-12 victory over the Oakland Raiders at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday night.

Both teams got off to a bit of a slow start, including a miss on a 35-yard field goal attempt by Blair Walsh on the team’s second drive. The Raiders then got on the board first, courtesy of a 2-yard touchdown run by Latavius Murray. The drive was highlighted by a 40-yard pass from Derek Carr to rookie Amari Cooper. The Vikings challenged the play, as it appeared that Cooper only got one foot in-bounds, but they lost that challenge. The 2-point attempt for the Raiders was unsuccessful, and they took a 6-0 lead late in the first quarter.

The Vikings answered back on their next drive, putting the ball into the end zone on the second play of the second quarter. Teddy Bridgewater took a snap, floated a pass to the back right corner of the end zone, and found Charles Johnson for a 10-yard score. Blair Walsh’s rough night continued, as he missed the new 33-yard extra point attempt, and the game remained tied at 6-6.

Approximately halfway through the second quarter, the severe weather rolling through the area caused the game to be delayed. The delay went on for approximately an hour, and the teams agreed to jump straight from the second quarter to the third quarter with no halftime break.

After the delay, Shaun Hill and Cordarrelle Patterson had a bit of miscommunication that resulted in an interception by Oakland’s Jonathan Dowling. That meant that former Vikings’ quarterback Christian Ponder entered the game for the Raiders, and after a 39-yard pitch-and-catch with Andre Holmes, the Raiders had to settle for a 26-yard field goal from Giorgio Tavecchio to put the Raiders back on top, 9-6.

The Vikings managed to strike again at the end of the first half, as Hill moved the team downfield and found Chase Ford for a 4-yard touchdown pass with time running out. That sent the Vikings to the locker room for “halftime” with a 13-9 lead after the Blair Walsh extra point.

Eric Thompson compiled the post-game Stock Market Report with blue chip investments:

Teddy Bridgewater. His first drive wasn’t too great. He threw a little behind Mike Wallace and Kyle Rudolph and straight up missed Jarius Wright on a third down. But after that? Pure poetry. His improvisation to Jerick McKinnon, his gorgeous rainbow of a touchdown to Charles Johnson…my goodness. We’re still in very good gloved hands under center.

Chase Ford. Five catches for 19 yards isn’t exactly the stuff that legends are made of. However, his juggling catch while still getting out of bounds followed by holding on in the end zone while getting popped earned him a spot at the top this week. Ford jumped on his opportunity with MyCole Pruitt out due to an injury.

Everyone that watched the entire game. That was a mid-July Red Sox-Yankees-length game that we had to endure tonight. I would personally like to thank everyone on Twitter as well as Fulton Brewery for their delicious Sweet Child Of Vine IPA. Without them I would have fallen asleep or died of boredom around 8:45 PM.

… and the Junk Bonds:

Blair Walsh. What. The. Hell. I don’t care how windy it was at TCF on Saturday night. (As @thevikingpig put it: “The Blair Wind Project.”) You simply cannot miss three field goals and a newfangled extra point. Going 2-for-6 is a nice batting average but it’ll get you fired in a hurry if you’re an NFL kicker. After his second to last miss, Zimmer stared absolute daggers through his kicker while muttering what I’m sure was a string of expletives.

Nobody will be harder on Walsh than himself — in fact, he tried to kick himself after missing the last field goal but was wide left on his attempt. There is no excuse for how poorly Walsh is kicking so far this preseason. It better get fixed soon.

Run blocking. Jerick McKinnon had nowhere to go for all but one of his carries. The team averaged only 2.7 yards per rush. Not even Adrian Peterson is going to get many yards behind the run blocking that was on display most of the night.

Trae Waynes. No, I’m not calling him a bust by putting him in this section. And he did almost have an interception. Sadly, that one didn’t really count because it was thrown by Christian Ponder and nearly picking off Christian Ponder can usually happen by accident. But overall he played pretty poorly again, even after getting less to do by the coaching staff this week. It sucks that the 11th overall pick is probably going to be a project this year.

Cordarrelle Patterson. The bad interception that Hill threw seemed to be his fault. Patterson was pointing to his chest while walking off the field which means he probably ran the wrong route. He also didn’t get to return any kickoffs, which seems like the only way he’s going to make an impact at this rate.

Mother Nature. C’mon, it’s the preseason. We don’t need these games to last any longer than they already do. And can you imagine being a beer vendor at TCF Stadium during that delay? Those poor people.

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