November 25, 2015

If only Minnesota got the Mike Wallace they thought they were getting

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

In my post on Sunday’s awful outing at TCF Bank Stadium against the Green Bay Packers, I aired my opinion on the value of having wide receiver Mike Wallace on the roster. I’m not the only one wondering if Wallace was this year’s worst acquisition for the Vikings, as Judd Zulgad clearly feels the same way:

Mike Wallace arrived in Minnesota last March with the reputation for being a headache off the field but with the promise of being a dynamic playmaker on it.

The Vikings’ hope was that Wallace could serve as the team’s deep threat in the passing game and that the chemistry he would develop with Teddy Bridgewater would keep everyone happy.

According to all accounts from Winter Park, Wallace hasn’t created any issues in the locker room and has been pleasant enough to be around. Unfortunately, for the Vikings, Wallace hasn’t come close to living up to expectations and, unless something turns around quickly, his stay in purple will be a short one.

The statistics don’t tell the story of how ineffective Wallace has been.

The 29-year-old wide receiver is third on the Vikings with 28 catches for 318 yards and a touchdown. A guy who was supposed to stretch the field has a season-long gain of 22 yards.

Through 10 games, Wallace is the biggest disappointment on the Vikings’ roster and it would not be unfair to label him a bust.

Zulgad also pulls up a statistic which surprised me as much as it seems to surprise him: “Pro Football Focus has Wallace with only four drops this season, but anyone who has watched the Vikings on a regular basis would put that number closer to 10.” I haven’t been able to watch every game this season, but I was pretty sure I’d seen Wallace do his patented butterfingers routine on at least a dozen passes.

Zulgad also senses the growing inevitability of the end of Wallace’s time with the Vikings:

Considering Wallace’s lack of productivity, one would think that Johnson and Wright should get more work. The pair certainly has better chemistry with Bridgewater. But benching a guy making $9.85 million for a guy making $510,000 (Johnson), or $1.5 million (Wright) might be a tough sell to the front office.

What won’t be a tough sell is cutting ties with Wallace long before he collects on those eye-popping paydays of $11.45 million he’s due each of the next two seasons.

November 23, 2015

Vikings struggle against Green Bay, give up NFC North lead

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

The Vikings held the NFC North lead for only one week, as Green Bay came to Minnesota and got lots of help from Minnesota to take control of the game. While Teddy Bridgewater did just about everything he could (he would have thrown for over 300 yards if Mike Wallace had caught anything thrown his way), the running game never got going and Bridgewater was under pressure for much of the game, absorbing six sacks (second most of the season after the Denver game). A critical Adrian Peterson fumble put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter. One of the deciding factors in the outcome was penalties, particularly ill-timed penalties at critical moments on the guys in purple. The Vikings entered the game as the least-penalized team in the NFL, but you’d never have guessed that watching the first half of play … yellow flags seemed to fly after every other play, uniformly against the Vikings.


November 16, 2015

Vikings beat Raiders 30-14 in Oakland to move into first place in NFC North at 7-2

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

Unfortunately, the game wasn’t available in my area, so I had to follow the Twitter feed to keep track of the game. It was a fascinating day in the NFL, as Peyton Manning set a new NFL passing record and got benched in the same game, Detroit finally beat the Green Bay Packers for the first time in 24 years, and Adrian Peterson notches his first 200+ yard game in nearly two years (and the sixth in his career, tied for the most in NFL history).

It’s been a while since the Vikings had a five-game winning streak … since 2009, as a matter of fact. And the significance of Adrian Peterson’s 2012 numbers above? That’s his career best year when he fell just a few yards short of setting a new NFL single-season rushing record.


November 9, 2015

Vikings beat Rams 21-18, but Bridgewater knocked out on cheap-shot

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

The Vikings moved into a tie for first place in the NFC North by (barely) beating the St. Louis Rams at the same time as the Packers lost to the Carolina Panthers. Both the Vikings and Packers now have 6-2 records, but Minnesota has more wins within the division so they’re technically ahead (for playoff standing, divisional wins are more significant than conference wins, which are in turn more important than out-of-conference wins).

The game itself was a slugfest, with both teams depending heavily on their defences to mask the weaknesses on the other side of the ball. Neither team was at full strength, with the Vikings lacking new rookie sensation Eric Kendricks at middle linebacker and the Rams without defensive ends Chris Long and Robert Quinn. Injuries piled up during the game even before the personal foul that took Teddy Bridgewater out of the game. Cornerback Terence Newman (suspected concussion) and backup middle linebacker Audie Cole both left the field, with Cole being carted to the locker room with a broken ankle and is probably done for the season. After the game, reporters noticed that linebacker Anthony Barr had his left arm in a cast, although he didn’t appear to miss any snaps during the game. Both Bridgewater and Newman have to go through the concussion protocol, so it won’t be known for at least a few days whether either player will be able to play next week. Rookie Trae Waynes stepped in for Newman and veteran backup quarterback Shaun Hill played the remainder of the game for Bridgewater.

It didn’t take long for suspicions to form about infamous (former New Orleans Saints) defensive co-ordinator Gregg Williams repeating his “bountygate” past:


November 8, 2015

Nobody wants to get on the Vikings bandwagon

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

Draw Play Dave finally came up with an idea for a comic about the Minnesota Vikings:

Click to see the full comic at The Draw Play

Click to see the full comic at The Draw Play

For a few months now I’ve been playfully jawing with a Vikings sportswriter on twitter (Arif Hasan, he’s good, you should read his stuff if you care about the Vikings) about making or not making a Vikings comic. He kept bugging me to make one. I actually wanted to, to be honest. The Vikings are one of the teams I’ve neglected over the past few years, and when there is no obvious comic material out there I usually try to pick a team I ignore and give it some love so people on reddit can call me an unfunny jerk because I mocked their team. So for months now I’ve been trying to come up with a Vikings comic, if only to give them some love and get Arif (who is the viking pictured here) to shut up. And I couldn’t do it, because the Vikings are the blandest, least interesting team I can possibly think of. How else can you explain the fact that they are currently 5-2 and are getting less media attention than basically every other team?

Every other team has interesting things about them that make them fun to follow. Some more than others obviously, but frankly every team seems to have something interesting going on. The Vikings don’t. Obviously Vikings fans are likely to disagree with me on that front because they are following the tiny minutiae more closely but from an outside fan perspective, even trying to find the Vikings interesting seems futile to the point where the only idea I can feasibly come up with is about how nobody cares. Teddy Bridgewater is progressing nicely, but he’s a boring QB. He’s got no personality, he’s got no quirks, no flair, and he’s not doing good enough or bad enough to really matter yet. The Defense is good, but not Denver good, or Seattle flashy, or Giants non-existent. Mike Zimmer was all sorts of hilariously blunt as a coordinator, but he never gives great soundbites anymore, or if he does nobody quotes him. About the only exciting thing going on right now is Stefon Diggs, who made the only interesting play of the season when he turned a Teddy overthrow into a beautiful lunging TD two weeks ago.

Who are the drunkest NFL fans? Come on down, Buffalo Bills fans!

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

A breathalyzer company conducted a study to determine who are the drunkest fanbases in the NFL, and Buffalo turned in the highest overall score:

Click to see the full-size map at CBSSports.com

Click to see the full-size map at CBSSports.com

Apparently, losing does drive fans to drinking, at least according to a recent study done by BACtrack.

The Breathalyzer company spent the past six weeks anonymously collecting BAC samples and what they found is that Bills fans really, really, really like to drink.

According to the study, Bills fans had an average blood-alcohol level of .076 through the first seven weeks of the NFL season, which was the highest among all NFL fan bases.

If you’re wondering how BACtrack was able to hunt down the BAC level of random fans, they didn’t. The samples came to them.

The company used anonymous samples sent in by fans who were using the BACTrack app on their phone, an app that works as a Breathalyzer.

The company then collected data on Sundays between Sept. 13 and Oct. 25 to try and accurately gauge how much fans were drinking. Only samples sent in between 6 a.m. on Sunday and 5:59 a.m. on Monday counted toward the study.

The data was only collected from geographic locations that were hosting NFL games during the first seven weeks of the season.

There were probably plenty of flaws in the study, but based on what I’ve seen from Bills fans, it’s not surprising they’re No. 1.

I find it amusing that the NFC North’s drunk fan index exactly matches the teams’ relative standings right now, with Green Bay fans the most sober (at 0.042), followed by Vikings fans (0.046), then Bears fans (0.054), and finally Detroit fans (who definitely have reason to be drinking more this season) at 0.069.

November 5, 2015

The koans of Zim Tzu – Bears edition

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

It’s a great philosophical treat to get the words of Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, as re-interpreted by the Daily Norseman‘s Ted Glover. Glover has made a life-long mission to understand the true meanings of the sometimes occult and difficult phrasing of Minnesota’s own warrior-poet, despite all the difficulties and problems of reducing the essence to the point that mere mortal sports fans can understand. Here’s Ted’s report after the Vikings barely managed to beat the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field last weekend:


November 2, 2015

Vikings beat the Bears in Chicago for the first time since 2007

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

No matter how strong the Vikings may have appeared and how weak the Bears may have looked, when the Bears hosted the Vikings at Soldier Field, the outcome was always biased strongly in favour of the hosts. Since the 2000 NFL season, the Vikings had only won twice at Chicago, until yesterday. I didn’t get to watch this game, as Elizabeth and I were away for the weekend (but in an odd twist, Elizabeth watched a few minutes of the second quarter as the game was shown in the bistro in Trenton where we stopped for a late lunch).


October 30, 2015

QotD: Maybe the Minnesota Vikings should also change their name

Filed under: Football, History, Humour — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

After the fiancée-punching scandal the NFL suffered this fall, the league is working on an anti-domestic-violence campaign; a new public-service announcement featuring about two dozen pro footballers debuted this Thursday during the Chargers–Broncos game. But the question persists: How can the NFL paint itself as progressive while it permits one of its franchises to use a patently offensive team name? Calling a team “the Vikings” is grotesquely insensitive to everyone concerned about domestic abuse. Minnesota might as well call its team “the Pillagers” or “the Rapists.”

Of course, the public’s attitude toward Vikings has changed over the years. According to a piece in The Spectator by Melanie McDonagh, “the Vikings-as-peaceful-traders approach has now been academic orthodoxy for two generations.” But according to an Aberdeen University historian named David Dumville, whom the piece quotes, “We’re being invited to forget vast amounts.” Dumville “puts the fashion for cuddly Vikings squarely down to ‘Swedish war guilt about not participating in the [second world] war and American political correctness.’” In fact, McDonagh writes, “the Vikings’ cruelty and joy in battle put them in a class of their own.” Per the article’s title, “the Vikings really were that bad.” And according to the Huffington Post, new research done at the University of Oslo suggests that Vikings’ slaves and sex slaves would be beheaded and buried with their deceased masters. Is the NFL promoting rape culture?

Josh Gelernter, “Cleaning up the NFL”, National Review, 2014-10-25.

October 28, 2015

The koans of Zim Tzu, Lions edition

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

At the Daily Norseman, the eminent Zimmerologist Ted Glover provides an informed, wise, and fully footnoted translation of the most recent press conference of Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer. Rather than merely repeat Zimmer’s words, Glover transcribes, analyzes, and explains the subtle nuances of the famed Zim Tzu, warrior-poet, philosopher, and football coach:

… it was a somewhat content Mike Zimmer that took to the podium today for his weekly knowledge dump we call Zim Tzu. What is Zim Tzu, you ask? Zim Tzu is a form of communication,* an ethos,**, and a way to make people around you better.***

By speaking in carefully thought out phrases* that have hidden clues amongst subterfuge and deception,** only then can we determine the true meaning of what Mike Zimmer actually meant.***

*It’s just me swearing a lot, which is kind of fun sometimes.

**I have no idea what anyone means when they talk about anything, much less Mike Zimmer talking about football. I can’t stress how much of a moron I truly am.

***This is just something to try and get you to laugh, and totally made up. 100% fake. Like Kardashian emotions.This will not make you, in any way, a better person. Literally not at all.

As we always do, we take excerpts of Mike Zimmer’s weekly press conference and interpret them.* What Zimmer said is in quotes, and what he actually meant is deciphered** by me immediately below.

*Again, there is no interpretation involved at all. I’m lucky if I can piece two sentences together and make them coherent.

**Look, my lawyer says spell it out, because there are people out there that are so dense that light cannot escape a room they might be sharing: I am making this all up. I can’t read minds, because if I could, I’d be like a super villain or something. I’d at least have keys to the Playboy Mansion. That would be sweet.

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 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.


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