Quotulatiousness

November 20, 2017

Vikings beat Rams 24-7 after a slow start

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

The Los Angeles Rams took the opening kickoff and marched down the field to score the opening touchdown of the game, and (probably like a lot of Vikings fans) I thought “Oh, no, here we go again.” Yet that was it for Rams scoring for the rest of the day. The Vikings were slow to start, but eventually reeled off 24 unanswered points (plus two missed field goals) to advance their record to 8-2 on the year.

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November 13, 2017

Vikings beat Washington 38-30 in DC

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

The Vikings play Washington so frequently, this almost seemed like a divisional game. Case Keenum was having a really good game up until back-to-back interceptions allowed Washington to (almost) climb back into contention. Both errant passes were intended for tight end Kyle Rudolph, but both went instead to D.J. Swearinger. For a $2 million investment, Minnesota has had fantastic production from their backup quarterback, but this game showed why he’s never been able to lock down a starting role. When the Vikings defence is on their game, all Keenum needs to do is keep the chains moving and avoid turnovers — this wasn’t one of the times that the vaunted Vikings D was showing at their best (Everson Griffen was not active for the game, and demonstrated how much he provides to the team).

That said, I still hope that the Vikings offer Keenum an extension to stay with the team for at least 2018, but still as a backup to Teddy Bridgewater (or, if Teddy really can’t get back to his pre-injury form, Sam Bradford).

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October 30, 2017

Vikings rally in the second half to beat Cleveland 33-16 at Twickenham Stadium

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

Early Sunday morning (North American time), the Vikings faced the Cleveland Browns at Twickenham Stadium in the last of four NFL regular season games to be played in the UK this year. Cleveland took advantage of an early break, scoring a touchdown after a Case Keenum pass was deflected and intercepted during the first offensive series (but they didn’t convert on the kick). As the TV announcers mentioned several times, this was only the Browns’ second lead of the season (the Browns were 0-7 coming into the game). At this point, long-time Viking fans may have suddenly started to feel that oh-too-familiar dread that the team had fallen into yet another trap game…

Minnesota took advantage of a muffed punt deep in Cleveland territory, but the drive stalled out quickly so Kai Forbath was called on to kick a field goal. Late in a sloppy first half, Keenum scrambled and passed the ball to an unmarked Adam Thielen in the corner of the end zone for the Vikings’ first TD of the game (the kick was blocked). The half ended with the Vikings trailing by 1 point, 13-12.

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October 2, 2017

Lions beat Vikings 14-7, in a game where if it could go wrong, it did go wrong (for the Vikings)

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

Two very good teams met in Minneapolis on Sunday afternoon, and the outcome was in doubt until the final minutes. Both teams’ defences held up very well, and both teams’ offences were lacking, so the outcome depended on penalties and luck. The officiating squad didn’t throw a lot of penalty flags (including some that were blatant, yet un-noticed), so the game came down to luck. The Vikings were in luck, but it was all bad.

Sam Bradford’s knee is still not back to normal, so Case Keenum got the start again for the third straight game. Keenum is a very good backup quarterback, but he tends to be a one-read player so he sometimes misses big opportunities because he’s watching the receiver he’s already decided to go to and doesn’t see a better chance elsewhere on the field. Against Tampa Bay, that didn’t matter, but against Pittsburgh and on Sunday against Detroit, it mattered a lot.

The Vikings defence played (mostly) lights-out against the Lions. Danielle Hunter started the game off with a bang, notching his first sack of the season on the opening play, and he got another sack during the game. Everson Griffin chipped in with a sack of his own and two tackles for loss. Linval Joseph also got a sack, and linebacker Eric Kendricks got two. On the other hand, it seemed like everyone in purple had a chance for an interception but none of them could hang on to the ball, and there were periods in the game where Lions ball carriers appeared to be coated in Teflon and the Vikings just couldn’t wrap them up on the tackle.

Injuries are always at least a background concern for NFL teams, and the Lions came in to Minneapolis with a long list of injured players, but the worst injury of the day was on a non-contact run by Vikings rookie sensation Dalvin Cook, who may have torn his ACL while trying to make a cut (he fumbled the ball at that point, but I’m certainly not going to hold it against him under the circumstances). He’ll have an MRI on Monday which will clarify the extent of his injury. Sadly, Eric Thompson’s tweet is still as appropriate as ever:

Update: Yes, coach Zimmer confirms that it’s an ACL tear and Cook is going to be put on the injured reserve, ending his season.

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September 25, 2017

Tampa Bay at Minnesota – welcome to the Case Keenum show, starring Case Keenum!

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

Minnesota’s starting quarterback is still out with knee issues, so backup Case Keenum got all the practice reps with the first team this week, and it really showed to excellent effect in this game. I noted in my game report last week that Keenum didn’t seem to be able to release the ball as fast as Bradford, which allowed defensive pressure to get to him far too often. That issue was completely cleaned up in this game — although it should be noted that Tampa Bay was missing a number of their defensive starters and suffered a rash of injuries during the game on top of that. The final score of 31-17 makes the game appear closer on the scoreboard than it was on the playing field.

The difference a week of practice will make for an NFL quarterback: Keenum found out about an hour before the Steelers game that he’d be starting, and hadn’t had much chance to work with the starters, and the result was painful to watch. In contrast, having the full week of practice allowed Keenum to develop a good working relationship with wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, both of whom had great games (Diggs – 8 receptions for 173 yards and 2 TDs, Thielen – 5 for 98 yards). Keenum finished with 25 of 33 completions for 369 yards (a career best) with three touchdowns and a passer rating of 142.1. Best supporting actor player for the offense was probably Dalvin Cook, who is playing at a very high level indeed (my favourite infographic during the game showed a comparison between Adrian Peterson’s first three games and Cook, showing Cook ahead on total yards and yards per carry on fewer carries … while the announcer said “nobody is comparing him to Peterson”). Cook’s numbers for the game were 27 rushes for 97 yards and a TD, with five receptions for 72 yards.

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September 12, 2017

MNF – Vikings beat New Orleans Saints 29-19 in season opener

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

One of the bigger story lines coming in to Monday night’s game between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings was the return of running back Adrian Peterson. After spending his entire career with the Vikings, he was clearly relishing the chance to play against his former team and provided lots of juicy quotes to the media about his plan to “stick it” to the Vikings. It didn’t quite work out the way he was hoping…

The Vikings’ expensively re-tooled offensive line — who didn’t play a single down together during the preseason — did a great job of protecting Sam Bradford. Right tackle Mike Remmers was responsible for one sack by Cameron Jordan, but otherwise the line largely kept the pressure away from Bradford. Without the need to constantly check down or run for his life (like most of the 2016 season), Bradford put in a very impressive performance, 27 of 32 for 346 yards and three touchdowns. The most impressive was a lightning-quick three play drive late in the first half that covered 74 yards and ended in a touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs.

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