If Football is Handegg, then Soccer is Divegrass. Basketball is FlopDunk, Hockey is IcePunch, and Baseball is CrotchGrab.
Dave Rappoccio, “Soccer Rules!”, The Draw Play, 2015-04-01.
November 7, 2016
November 2, 2016
As I mentioned in the game wrap-up post the other day, rising fan dissatisfaction with the Vikings’ predictable play-calling was putting some pressure on offensive co-ordinator Norv Turner. In the news this morning, Turner has offered his resignation to the team and will be replaced on an interim basis by tight ends coach Pat Shurmur. Jim Souhan reacts:
Norv Turner’s resignation is surprising in terms of its timing. It is also a logical development.
Turner took over from the oft-criticized Bill Musgrave and could not match Musgrave’s offense either in terms of running efficiency or pass protection.
He could not match Musgrave’s creativity in using Cordarrelle Patterson.
He couldn’t protect either Teddy Bridgewater or Sam Bradford.
And his willingness to allow failing offensive tackles to lose two games without helping them was likely to lead to Norv’s departure, whether by his choice or coach Mike Zimmer’s.
Pat Shurmur will take over as the Vikings’ offensive coordinator with the knowledge that he needs to improve offensive line play, protect the quarterback and improve both running and short-passing efficiency so the offensive line and Bradford don’t have to run so many plays in obvious passing situations.
If nothing else, Turner’s departure should mean we’ll see fewer seven-step drops for Sam Bradford … behind this offensive line, he was literally taking his life in his hands every time he dropped back. A lot more quick release pass plays will help Bradford stay on his feet.
November 1, 2016
Nobody really expected the Vikings to go undefeated in 2016, but the loss last week to Philadelphia was supposed to be the exception, not the blueprint for following weeks. On Monday night, the Vikings looked like a struggling 1-5 team, not a 5-1 team that was briefly the last undefeated team in the NFL. There were a few good individual performances, but overall the team looked flat and uninvolved. The offensive line was its usual hot-mess self, demonstrating an inability to pass block (allowing five sacks and a multitude of hits on Sam Bradford) or run block, but perhaps the most shocking development was the ineffectiveness of the defensive line. The defensive line has been the bedrock strength of the team this year and they just didn’t get pressure on Jay Cutler. The best run defense in the league gave up nearly their average yards per game on a single early run by rookie running back Jordan Howard.
October 31, 2016
In the current edition of ESPN Magazine, Tim Keown talks to members of the Minnesota Vikings about what happened to Teddy Bridgewater. It’s hard reading:
THE MEN WHO agree to talk about what happened do so reluctantly. Their eyes invariably drift to the spot in question: the grass practice field, somewhere near the 30-yard line, right hash. It happened with the offense heading north, 22 men on the field, no contact allowed.
They won’t talk about what the injury looked like, out of respect. These are men who long ago came to terms with the inhumanity of their game. They laugh about concussions and broken bones as a defense mechanism, the way an electrician might laugh with his buddies about getting a jolt from a faulty circuit. Occupational hazard.
But this is different. They close their eyes and wince, the image flashing in their minds. They shake their heads reflexively, as if they can dislodge the memory and evict it from their brains. They watched Teddy Bridgewater go down on that field on Aug. 30, his left leg separating at the knee, during the first minutes of a Vikings preseason practice. Every time they think about it, every time they stand near this field and close their eyes, they see it again.
Minnesota’s coach, Mike Zimmer, canceled practice. NFL teams never cancel practice. The game never stops. In a way, it’s a repudiation of Next Man Up to send everyone home — an acknowledgment that some injuries transcend the transactional. Sometimes, even in such a brutal world, circumstances dictate that the next man can’t reasonably be expected to step up, at least not right away.
“It happened at the beginning of practice, and obviously Coach made the right call to cancel,” Vikings quarterbacks coach Scott Turner says. “We weren’t going to get anything done that day.”
At his first news conference after the injury, a still-shaken Zimmer said his team would mourn for a day and move on. If anything, this meant his players needed to recommit to the mission. “No one is going to feel sorry for us, or cry,” he said. “I’m not going to feel sorry for us either.” He said he’d spoken with his mentor, Bill Parcells, for advice on how to deal with the trauma his team experienced. He said he spoke with his deceased father “in spirit.” As he continued, the coach in him drained from his eyes. He transformed from functionary to human being, and when he was asked a question about grieving — a question that somehow seemed utterly appropriate — Zimmer paused and looked down. After a deep breath, he looked to the sky as his lower lip quivered. “My wife passed away seven years ago,” he said. “It was a tough day. The sun came up the next day, the world kept spinning, people kept going to work. That’s what we’re going to do.”
In my early twenties, I had a knee injury — nowhere near as serious as Teddy’s — and to this day I can’t watch replays of leg injuries that the networks seem to always want to show as often as they can. It doesn’t just upset me, I get nauseous and have to look away. Later in the article, Keown mentions that there are no images available of Bridgewater during that practice, despite the fact that NFL teams film just about everything that happens at team events. I’m very grateful that those images are being kept from the public.
October 26, 2016
After every Vikings game, the Daily Norseman‘s chief Zimologist analyzes the finely crafted koans of Zim Tzu to tease out the finer, hidden meanings of the otherwise inscrutable and mystical words of the Vikings head coach. This week’s press conference followed the “game” that was “played” in Philadelphia against the Eagles:
The Vikings warrior poet/head coach dispenses his profane words of wisdom.
That’s not a word or emotion a warrior poet takes lightly. It’s an emotion that if channeled properly can be used effectively, but if allowed to go unchecked leads to one’s own destruction. Rage most assuredly didn’t overcome the Vikings in Philadelphia did so much as incompetence did … but in the aftermath of the Letdown at the Linc rage is what consumed Mike Zimmer.
[ED NOTE: Also, if you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, don’t read the first paragraphs that has asterisks, or the asterisks, because I give away a spolier. And rage is what you will feel if you haven’t seen it yet. Also, bad language warning.]
And the warrior poet harnessed it, allowed to to grow into a fireball of genius on Monday, and will use it to light a fire under the asses of the Minnesota Vikings next Monday in Chicago. And it is a fire that will metaphorically burn Chicago to the ground once again, if Cubs rioters haven’t already done so. Because there is nothing Mike Zimmer can’t harness and ultimately use to his advantage. Not. A. Fucking. Thing.
Because he is Zim Tzu: High Septon Of Mankato, Eviscerator of Titans, Maître Fromager, Spinner of the Charlotte Web, Beanstalk Chopper, He Who Implodes The Lone Star, and Warden Of The North.
And speaking in front of the Great Unwashed Poletariat of the Free Press is the ultimate in rage control, as the questions they ask make you want to snap necks and go all Negan on Glenn. But you can’t. You must harness that rage, focus it like a laser, and aim it at your next opponent.
And that’s where we come in, The Greatest Blog In The History Of The World.* We take your rage, and unleash it for you.** We are Negan, we wield the baseball bat, and we give you some eye popping results.***
*Maybe a slight bit of hyperbole here
**We really don’t as we have undergone no formal training to do this. Is there formal training to do this?
***I don’t watch The Walking Dead so if you just read a spoiler HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA not sorry because this was a good joke and I warned you up top.
So what do we do in the channeling of rage?* It’s quite simple, really.** We take Mike Zimmer’s weekly day after the game press conference and interpret the true meaning of words that come out of his clenched jaws.***
*This is a rhetorical question as we literally do nothing.
**Writing sophomoric jokes is actually hard, man.
***We literally do nothing close to that. It’s just all made up, stupid shit. I’m stunned it’s as popular as it is, tbh.
October 24, 2016
The NFL’s last unbeaten team has faceplanted, allowing the surviving members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins to pop the champagne one more time (I doubt that any of them actually follow this tradition, but it’s a sports writer’s meme that just won’t die). As a football game, Sunday’s match between the Vikings and the Eagles was painful to watch for fans of either team, as the turnover bug bit hard and repeatedly. “How bad was the game?”, I pretend to hear you ask. It was literally this bad:
Keystone Cops has broken out at Fed Ex Field.
— Judd Zulgad's Hoodie (@JZHoodie) October 23, 2016
— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) October 23, 2016
And that wasn’t even the entire first quarter of “action”.
October 13, 2016
The re-interpretation of Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer’s weekly press conference with the local Minnesota media, as interpreted, expanded, and re-coarsified by Ted Glover of the Daily Norseman:
The Vikings warrior poet/head coach dispenses his weekly words of wisdom
Complacency. That’s a word you despise, a word you abhor, a word that is your mortal enemy. Complacency has no place in your life, and it is something you seek to destroy at every opportunity. Much like the football teams you play. Complacency is for the weak, the bloggers who spew their vile in their underwear from Mom’s basement, and the Green Bay Packers. You seek out and destroy complacency wherever you see it, much like the Kardashian family snuffs out good taste and decorum at every turn.
And that’s what the Houston Texans represented this past Sunday. A trap game, one that trips up complacent teams. Teams that think they’re better than they are. But you won’t let complacency creep into your team, or in to your psyche.
For you are Zim Tzu: High Septon Of Mankato, Eviscerator of Titans, Maître Fromager, Spinner of the Charlotte Web, Beanstalk Chopper, He Who Implodes The Lone Star, and Warden Of The North.
When you need discuss the latest mauling like a lion eating a gazelle on the Serengeti, you need to do it in a way that doesn’t offend the senses, because this is America, damn it, and we need safe spaces from your fucking trigger words.
Oops. My bad.
So, we here at The Daily Norseman would like to offer you our services, free of charge.* We will take what Mike Zimmer says in his weekly Monday/Tuesday press conference, translate it for you,** and give you the true meaning of those words, unfiltered and fresh,*** much like that homemade beer you have percolating somewhere in your basement right now.
* We provide no service at all. As a matter of fact, we legitimately waste the precious oxygen resource on this planet by breathing, and give you nothing in return. We’re basically killing you and destroying the planet with this piece of satire. You’re welcome, World.
**I just add swear words and stupid jokes. Literally. Killing. You. Nothing. Redeeming.
***Just like no one wants to hear about your fantasy team, no one really wants to try your homemade beer, because 99% of homemade brew literally tastes like shit. Including mine. But my fantasy team, though…
Hey, it might taste like panther piss when it’s fermented, but By God it’s raw and real.* Much like Zim Tzu.** As always, what Coach Zimmer literally says will be in block quotes, and what he literally means will be immediately below.***
*Seriously, I made beer once from one of those home brew kits. Worst shit I ever had. Gross, man. Much like Clay Matthews’ greasy ass hair.
**This is so fake.
***We do use his actual presser quotes. Everything else is fake and made up. Like Roger Goodell’s method of fining and suspending players.
October 10, 2016
Going into an early bye week, the Vikings dominated the J.J. Watt-deprived Texans in every phase of the game until late when the Texans finally managed a first down (other than by penalty) and scored their lone touchdown of the day. In four total meetings between the teams, the Texans are still winless (they’re the only team in the league without a win against Minnesota). At one point, the Texans had more yards on penalties (mostly against cornerback Xavier Rhodes) than they did in combined offence, making this tweet rather appropriate:
Before the game started, Minnesota’s leading receiver was ruled out with a groin injury. Without Stefon Diggs, could the rest of the Vikings receiving corps step up to replace him? Yes, both Adam Thielen (7 for 127 yards) and Cordarrelle Patterson (4 for 39 yards) scored receiving touchdowns, along with a 79-yard punt return touchdown by Marcus Sherels (the fifth in his career, extending his team record), and a rushing touchdown from Matt Asiata. Tack on a perfect day from kicker Blair Walsh who made a field goal and all four of his conversion attempts, which at least keeps him on the roster for another week…
October 6, 2016
At the Daily Norseman, Ted Glover takes on the weighty task of interpreting the words of Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer as he debriefs the local media after each Viking game. Glover is perhaps the best suited of all Viking fan bloggers thanks to his many, many years of study of zen wisdom, middle-American profanity, and the many glories of Minnesota culture:
The Vikings warrior poet/head coach dispenses his weekly words of wisdom.
When you’re a warrior poet, you know one of the keys to victory is one that a lot of people overlook — psychological operations. When you can get inside an opponent’s head that’s covered by Ramen noodles, you make your job easier, and victory that much more attainable.
Because you live for victories, and don’t stomach defeat. You will do everything in your power to put your opponent at a competitive disadvantage, and if that means trying to make him cry on national television, you’ll do that, too. Because you are Zim Tzu: High Septon Of Mankato, Eviscerator of Titans, Maître Fromager, Spinner of the Charlotte Web, Beanstalk Chopper, and Warden Of The North.
And when you talk about making opponents cry, you can’t do it in your no bullshit, no nonsense manner. Well I mean, you’re Zim Tzu, and you can pretty much do what you want, but you don’t want to be fined by that pinhead Roger Goodell, so you have you use your verbal judo skills to tell us what you mean without telling us what you mean. Because Roger Goodell and his Magical Spinning Wheel Of Bullshit and Arbitrary System of Fines And Suspensions makes about as much sense as a fucking BronyCon. [ED note: seriously, I just heard about these things, where grown adults dress up as My Little Pony characters and go to conventions. It’s more terrifying than being stuck in Green Bay for more than two hours. Also, Aaron Rodgers is a Brony. I would bet money he is.]
And as the Officially Licensed Interpreter Of Zim Tzu*, this is where we come in** to make life simpler for you.***
*There’s no officially licensed anything. Although sometimes I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea, because if I could make money doing this it might be the best thing ever the next time my Dad tells me about excessive profanity never paying off.
**And by coming in, I mean I hope I can sucker you in to waste part of your day reading this nonsensical bullshit
***This simplifies nothing.
We take Zimmer’s weekly Monday/Tuesday press conference*, run it through the Fuckyougronifier,** and when it comes out on the other end we have what Mike Zimmer really said,*** if he could use swear words.
*We really do use his actual press conference quotes the day after games. It’s the only thing that’s legitimate in this whole piece.
**Look, you’ve seen Zimmer swear a lot. I’m just using it as top cover to write a lot of bad words and not get in trouble. Also, there is no such thing as as … whatever the hell that made up word is I wrote up above.
***Again, completely made up bullshit on my part. What Zimmer actually said during his presser is in block quotes, the not even close to authentic interpretation immediately follows.
October 4, 2016
The Minnesota Vikings finally developed something resembling an early-game offensive effort capped off with a Matt Asiata rushing touchdown. From that point onwards, the Vikings never relinquished the lead. The Giants’ vaunted receivers were widely expected to take control of the game, but were blanketed by the Vikings secondary until late in the game, while quarterback Eli Manning had his traditional bad game against Minnesota (25-for-45, 261 yards and an interception). The Vikings pass rush wasn’t getting to Manning but he frequently threw the ball to the turf when a defender got close to him, so even though there were no sacks in the game, the pass rush was definitely disrupting the Giants’ plans.
September 27, 2016
Given that Bud Grant is a legendary coach in both Minnesota and Manitoba, I’m surprised this hadn’t already happened:
Legendary coach Bud Grant, a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Vikings Ring of Honor, is joining another distinguished group.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Monday announced Grant is the seventh inductee to the team’s Ring of Honour presented by the Insurance Brokers of Manitoba (IBAM) at Investors Group Field. He will be formally inducted on Friday.
Grant first came to the Bombers as a player in 1953, and played for four seasons before hanging up his cleats and becoming the team’s head coach at the young age of 29. In those four seasons, Grant was named a West Division All-Star three times (1953, 1953 & 1956), and set the still-standing league record for most interceptions in a playoff game with five.
“I enjoyed playing so much. I enjoyed Winnipeg so much. I enjoyed my teammates so much. I enjoyed the atmosphere around the Bombers, Canadian football… everything,” Grant said in a press release from the Blue Bombers. “The town, the people… It wasn’t only the football, it was the whole experience.”
Under his guidance, the Bombers appeared in six Grey Cups from 1957-66, winning four in 1958, 1959, 1961 and 1962. He racked up 102 regular season wins – still tops on the Bombers’ all-time list – and was named the CFL’s top coach in 1965.
“Bud Grant is not only a legend around these parts, but a legend in Minnesota and across both the CFL and NFL as well,” said President & CEO, Wade Miller. “After his career here in Winnipeg, he left for the Vikings and became an icon with that franchise, too. He is the first coach in history to appear in both the Grey Cup and Super Bowl. His accomplishments are truly incredible, and we couldn’t be happier to add his name to the Ring of Honour.”
September 26, 2016
Very few prognosticators gave the Vikings a chance to win this matchup with the defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers (the oddsmakers had the Vikings as seven-point underdogs), and for much of the first half, it looked like the bookies were right as Carolina ran up a 10 point lead. Then things started to go right for the Vikings, beginning with a safety for defensive end Danielle Hunter who sacked Cam Newton in the end zone and followed by a punt return touchdown by cornerback Marcus Sherels. Kicker Blair Walsh missed the conversion attempt, so the teams went into the locker room at halftime with the Panthers leading 10-8.
While the Panthers had looked unstoppable for the first two drives in the game, a combination of penalties and improved play by the Vikings defensive line and secondary soon had Newton under pressure and unable to consistently gain yards and keep the chains moving. It took rather longer for the Vikings to show signs of life on offense, however. Cornerback Trae Waynes snagged his second interception in as many games to snuff out Carolina’s attempt to score late in the half and the Vikings took a knee to run out the clock.
In the second half, it was almost as if they’d just been sandbagging the Panthers and waiting to spring the trap, as the Vikings suddenly discovered that they could get the ball to Kyle Rudolph, Stefon Diggs, and Adam Thielen and took the lead on a Sam Bradford pass to Rudolph. Rather than risk another missed PAT, Jerick McKinnon ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 16-10. Two Blair Walsh field goals (with every Viking fan holding their breath during the kick) added six more points to finish the game.
As the game wore on, the Panthers offensive line wore down, exposing Newton to heavy pressure and ended up taking eight sacks on the day. Newton was also intercepted by cornerback Terence Newman and defensive tackle Tom Johnson, in addition to the first half pick by Waynes.
It seems like no game report is complete without yet another Viking injury and today’s feature was guard Alex Boone who had to be carted to the locker room with a hip injury. The good news is that he was able to return to the sideline, but did not get back into the game. He’ll get a full evaluation tomorrow, and hopefully won’t miss much more time. His replacement on the line, Jeremiah Sirles, wasn’t mentioned by the TV commentators … which is a very good thing for an offensive lineman. Also not drawing any attention during the broadcast was T.J. Clemmings who was playing at left tackle in place of Matt Kalil who was placed on IR earlier this week.
September 21, 2016
2016 is becoming more and more of a soap opera every week for the Minnesota Vikings. Before the regular season even started, we lost starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for the season on a freak non-contact injury. In the second half of last week’s game against the Packers, running back Adrian Peterson went down with a knee injury. Today, we learned that Peterson needs surgery and up to four months recovery time, oh and get this: the team also announced that starting left tackle Matt Kalil is also being placed on injured reserve. Let’s be honest here … there’s a limit to how far this “next man up” philosophy will carry a team.
Of course, the Vikings fan base has been through this before, so they’re handling it with dignity and aplomb:
All this Vikings news got me…. https://t.co/zRa8tvdrNP
— Judd Zulgad's Hoodie (@JZHoodie) September 21, 2016
— Luke Inman (@Luke_Spinman) September 21, 2016
Week 3: Stefon Diggs eaten by coyotes
Week 4: Linval Joseph lost in Canadian wilderness
Week 5: Harrison Smith gets typhoid fever
— Steve Neuman (@RandBallsStu) September 21, 2016
Last year’s right tackle, T.J. Clemmings, will replace Kalil and we’ll probably see the (rather successful) running back committee of Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata filling in for Peterson. Heretical personal opinion: through both of the games this year, I’ve actually been happier seeing Asiata in the backfield than Peterson: Asiata isn’t a 100-yards-per-game back, but he’s much better at blocking and receiving than Peterson and was no less effective running the ball.
Both Kalil and Peterson are very highly paid at their respective positions, and it’s possible that neither player will be with the team next year: Kalil is on the fifth and final year of his rookie contract for $11 million and Peterson will be owed $18 million next year unless he opts to renegotiate his contract. Kalil’s best year was his rookie season and Peterson had not gotten back into regular season form before his injury … in other words, the Vikings were not getting value for their investment on either of these players so far this year. Defenders were still honouring the threat of a Peterson break-out run by regularly stacking the box (which has benefitted Stefon Diggs in the passing game), but even that was likely to fade if Peterson didn’t demonstrate that he was still capable of his patented dagger runs.
But, y’know, everything’s fine in Vikingland.
Update: On a much lighter note, here’s Ted Glover at the Daily Norseman with your weekly dose of Zim Tzu from Monday’s press conference:
If there’s one thing you can’t stand as a warrior/poet, it’s whining. You don’t tolerate it on your team, but you have to put up with it with other teams, because you have no control over their day to day activities. Now mind you, if you did, the whining would stop, immediately and forever.
Even if it is part of their DNA. Because you can manipulate DNA to suit your needs. Why?
Because you are Zim Tzu: High Septon Of Mankato, Eviscerator of Titans, Maître Fromager, and Warden Of The North.
Yet, when you cause other teams to wail and moan, along with their fan base as your team delivers the coup de grâce on national television, that’s music to your ears. It’s a song you want to keep singing all year long. You want to rub it in, and show your fans that you relish the victory as much as they do…only you can’t use the words drunken Vikings do while at the podium.
And this is where we come in, the professional* site that is The Daily Norseman. We take the profanity laden inner thoughts of Mike Zimmer** and bring them to life in a way that gives clarity to confusion, food to the starving, and water to the thirsty.***
*That word professional. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
**I have no idea what Mike Zimmer’s inner thoughts are. And I really don’t want to know what his inner thoughts are on this, if he even knows of the existence of Zim Tzu. Which I am sure he doesn’t. Because I’d hate for him to chew my ass over this…which admittedly, I’d probably deserve.
***LOLNOPE not even a little bit close.
As always, we take highlights of Mike Zimmer’s weekly Monday press conference, and break it down in ways that we can all understand.* As always, his actual quotes are first, and our 100% accurate** and literal translations*** immediately follow.
*There is nothing to understand. Unless you’re trying to learn the English language using this article. If so, I implore you to use a different source of reading material. Implore means I pretty please beg.
**And by accurate I mean 100% made up with no insight on anything whatsoever.
***And by literal translation I still mean completely, 100% made up.
September 19, 2016
The Sunday night prime-time game between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers came down to the last minute, with either team able to claim victory until Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes secured an interception of an Aaron Rogers pass to shut down Green Bay’s final drive and allow the Vikings to run out the clock to seal the win.
Newly acquired starting quarterback Sam Bradford quieted a lot of concerns with his performance in the game:
For a guy best known for his injury history when he arrived here 15 days ago, Sam Bradford sure earned a lot of points for not backing down from a beating in his Minnesota Vikings debut Sunday night.
“That dude is one tough (expletive),” Vikings guard Alex Boone told USA TODAY Sports after Bradford completed 22 of 31 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns (and officially took 10 hits) in a 17-14 triumph over the rival Green Bay Packers.
“There was a couple times he got hit – I thought he was dead. He wasn’t moving, so I had to pick him up. I’m like, ‘Sam, don’t be dead.’ Next play: bullet. You’re going, ‘Jesus, this guy’s a beast!’”
The Vikings needed that production and resiliency from their new quarterback on a night they again struggled to get star running back Adrian Peterson going before he was carried to the locker room in the third quarter with a right knee injury.
Peterson had minimal swelling and could extend his leg after the game, providing optimism he avoided a season-ending ACL tear – an injury Bradford is familiar with, since two of them are responsible for 25 of the 35 starts he missed because of health in his first six NFL seasons.
Bradford, 28, did go briefly to the locker room Sunday for an X-ray after taking a helmet to his left (non-throwing) hand on the Vikings’ first touchdown drive, causing nasty swelling from his wrist to his pinkie that was captured by NBC’s cameras.
“It was nice and fat,” tight end Kyle Rudolph said of Bradford’s hand. “But he’s gutsy. Just to stand in there and take hit after hit – it speaks volume of him as a player and a person.”
Equally impressive: Bradford outplayed two-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers with all of two weeks to learn Norv Turner’s offense and about a half-dozen practices under his belt, including three last week getting most of the reps after veteran backup Shaun Hill started the opener.
Before his injury, Peterson was still struggling to find space to run, as the run blocking wasn’t opening up lanes for him and he was ending up with zero or negative yards on several attempts.
For the Packers, Aaron Rodgers didn’t have one of his better games: at one point, there were more pass interference penalty yards than offensive yards. Veteran cornerback Terence Newman was the goat on back-to-back PI penalties that moved the Packers down to the goal line, and Trae Waynes (starting for the injured Xavier Rhodes) was flagged multiple times (and as the TV commentators pointed out, usually he was in good position but being too obviously “grabby” and the officials were watching).
The accolades awarded to Stefon Diggs after his game last week will be redoubled after he put up career-high numbers last night:
After his 182-yard performance on Sunday Night Football, Stefon Diggs was quick to point out that N’Sync is just a band and not how he would describe the first time he and Sam Bradford. His game said otherwise.
In the Minnesota Vikings’ 17-14 win over the Green Bay Packers, Diggs proved to be the best wide receiver Bradford has ever had. He also showed the national TV audience that – for the first time since Randy Moss – a wide receiver is now the centerpiece of the Vikings’ offense.
“I wouldn’t say ‘in sync’ I don’t know too much about N’Sync [except] the band, but [Bradford] does everything the right way,” Diggs said. “He works hard, he comes in every day an we communicate. To get on the same page, you have to communicate. Throughout practice and games, he tells me what he sees, I tell him what I see and we try to make it work.”
Not only did he make a spectacular touchdown catch that turned out to be the game-winning score, but offensive coordinator Norv Turner called for a pass play toward Diggs on third down with 1:40 seconds remaining and the Packers out of timeouts. A pass interference call on Green Bay essentially ended the game. There is no bigger sign of confidence than that.
Diggs got open in every way possible against the Packers, finding holes in zones, turning short passes into long gains and going deep. He caught a 44-yard pass from Bradford on the team’s final drive of the first half that led to a Blair Walsh field goal.
Indicative of his mentality, Diggs’ first comment after the game was not about his nine catches on 11 targets, it was about an unsportsmanlike penalty he took in the fourth quarter.
“That won’t happen again,” he said.
September 18, 2016
In Saturday’s Star Tribune, Jim Souhan looks at the Vikings’ newly annointed starting quarterback and says it can go one of two ways — “Two years from now, Bradford will either have proved he can lead a winning team, or he will be on his way to Ponder-osa.”
Sunday night, millions of Vikings fans and dozens of Vikings players will ask what Sam Bradford can do for them.
Just as important is the reverse.
What can the Vikings do for Bradford?
The answer will shape this season, and the next, and so will Bradford’s career, and perhaps his last chance to improve his reputation.
Bradford was the first pick in the 2010 draft. Which means he was selected by a terrible team.
Bradford did not singlehandedly elevate the Rams. Neither has anyone else. They haven’t had a winning record since 2003.
Bradford muddled through, putting up numbers not all that different from Teddy Bridgewater’s, for four seasons before being traded to Philadelphia.
Last year with the Eagles, while adapting to a new and complex offense, Bradford completed 65 percent of his passes, throwing 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions for an 86.4 passer rating.
Last year, in his second season with the Vikings, Bridgewater completed 65 percent of his passes, throwing 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions for a rating of 88.7.
Bradford is on his third team and was asked to be a savior, so his numbers are considered disappointing. Bridgewater is younger and thought to be improving, so his very similar numbers are considered promising.
The question facing Bradford is whether, at 28, he is still a growth stock. While there is no sure way to predict his future, this is a good time to point out that even great quarterbacks need help, and that Bradford never has played for a winning team, or with a running back like Adrian Peterson.
Two years from now, Bradford will either have proved he can lead a winning team, or he will be on his way to Ponder-osa.