Harrison Smith Mr Nice guy in TC

Harrison Smith Mr Nice guy in TC
Hardest hitting safety in the NFL

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The NFC North losing streak is over

It has been 1001 days since the Vikings have been in first place alone. Yes, the Chicago Bears don’t play until Monday so for now the Vikes are in first place alone thanks to a lot of solid efforts by different players.

When is the last time you heard the FOX pregame guys talk about the Vikings in a positive way? The comments were so fun to listen to as Jimmy Johnson talked about the Vikings defense.

When is the last time you could hear booing with the Vikings being the road team and the home team fans were letting their own team have it? The opening kickoff return by Percy Harvin for a touchdown really brought out the boo birds that could be heard through the TV set.

The Detroit Lions set an NFL record Sunday by being the first team to allow a kickoff and punt return for a touchdown 2 game in a row. Detroit had the same thing happen in the Tennessee game last week.

Congrats to Coach Frazier for getting his first win against an NFC North opponent. The last road win by the Vikings in the NFC North was in 2009 when the Vikings won at Green Bay.

This draft class of 2012 each week gets better and better. I am so happy with the performance of left tackle, Matt Kalil. He seems to really be handling himself well.

Rhett Ellison is getting playing time just no stats to show his efforts. He would not be on the field if the coaches did not think he could contribute.

Kicker Blair Walsh has been so special and so much appreciated by his efforts. Yes, he missed one field goal, but that is going to happen eventually. The stat of 5 touchbacks Sunday was huge; in fact it tied a team record. He has been a gift with his ability to keep the opponents starting position around the 20.

5th round draft choice Robert Blanton made an outstanding play on Chris Kluwe’s beautiful punt in the 4th quarter. Blanton was able to down the ball at the 2 leaving 98 yards for the Lions offense.

Josh Robinson is getting more playing time and is getting picked on but I still love his effort. He gets right in there and is not afraid to hit. Last week against the 49ers he got his first career interception.

The play of Harrison Smith has been unbelievable. The play in the end zone in Detroit when Calvin Johnson had an apparent touchdown until Smith and Jamarca Sanford made a tremendous hit jarring the ball and the officials called in incomplete. How many close calls on Sunday did Smith come so close to an interception Sunday? His time is coming. The effort he puts forth as a startin rookie safety has got to have the rest of the NFL on alert of his hitting abilities.

The defensive backs coming into the season was where many people were concerned with so many youngsters. My thought so far so good and can only get better assuming they stay healthy.

The defensive back who may have played his best game of the year was 14 year veteran, Antoine Winfield. He is simply amazing with his size and his continually able to take the big guys down rather easy.

I am really appreciating the safeties and their hitting. It has been a while since we can say that. Lion’s running back Mikel Leshoure breaks through the line and here comes Sanford to lay the wood causing a fumble.

The defensive line played well but I thought the player who had the best game was Everson Griffen.

The passing game Sunday did not have as good of day as I had hoped. They did enough to get the job done. The insertion of Jerome Simpson made a huge difference. The 2 flags Simpson drew as the Lions interfered with him were just as good as a completion. The pass Ponder floated and Simpson went up to get it was spectacular. The play call at the time was beautifully timed and I give credit to Coach Bill Musgrave for the call. Thank you for not being predictable on that particular call.

Do you ever feel yourself trying to tell Ponder through the TV, watch out a guy is so close to getting you? The presence of feeling pressure coming, Ponder seems to be getting better.

How can you not talk about a win without mentioning a certain running back who is playing out of his mind considering what he just went through with the surgery. You just have a feel he is a shoe lace away from breaking the long one. The first 100 yard game by AP is incredible considering the amount of fighting for extra yards after getting hit. His 28th 100 yard game as a Vikings is one short of Robert Smiths team record of 29.

Special teams were key, along with the defense on Sunday. Percy Harvin’s opening kickoff touchdown and then punt returner Marcus Sherels’ awesome return was just what the team needed on the road for the spark. I thought for sure when he caught it he was going down but to his credit he had an incredible return. Sunday was Sherel’s 25th birthday. What a way to celebrate your birthday.

Overall it does not matter which Vikings unit is better than the other it is a team effort that got the job done on the road Sunday.

The Vikings are the talk of the league and it is fun to listen. Just think winning 3 games all last year and now winning 3 of the first 4. It is going to be a good work week.

Thanks for reading
Purplestick

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A big week of good news

The NFL had tried using replacement officials while the regular officials were locked out starting out in June. The talk at work has been different because of the usual talk of people’s favorite teams winning or losing rather it was the calls that were being made by the officials. It made for some fun conversations. I just hope in my life time we as fans do not have to live through this. The one fact is if the replacement official had not helped out would we have had football. It is a question we do not have to worry about anymore.

I looked on line to see who would be the referee for the Vikes-Lions game. The answer is Clete Blakemon who was a referee for the Big 12 conference until he was promoted to the NFL in 2010. It is so good to have the guys back.

The other big news of the week is the announcement of the Vikings naming their architectural team, the Dallas based, HKS Inc.

As every step get accomplished brings the reality that much closer. It is so exciting as a season ticket holder for my wife and myself knowing in 2016 we will be part of it.
This architecture team also designed the Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys stadium. The Vikings have a formal bid to host the Super Bowl in 2018, 2019 or 2020. The 2018 Super Bowl site will be chosen at league meetings in May of 2014. The last time Minnesota hosted a Super Bowl was in 1992 when the Washington Redskins beat the Buffalo Bills.

The new stadium trend has shown that Indianapolis opened their stadium in 2008 and had the Super Bowl in 2012. The Dallas Cowboys opened their billion dollar stadium in 2009 and hosted the Super Bowl in 2011. No promises but I sure have hopes to get it in 2018.
As a fan there is so much to be excited about. The ground breaking will happen next year. The games that will be played at TCF Stadium will be something as outdoor football will be experienced.

I know I attended the Vikings-Bears Monday night game when that was played at TCF Stadium. We had a snow storm that night as we watched the Vikings loose big. The first time in 30 years outside since the old Met. An historical night and I was able to be part of it.

The future for fans has the Metrodome, TFC Stadium for a little outdoor football and then finally back inside for a new stadium with still a possibility of a retractable roof.

In closing I cannot wait to see what kind of magical place this firm will design. I love the Wild, Gophers football, and Twins new stadiums and soon I will love the Vikings new stadium.

Thanks for reading
Purplestick

Vikes defense vs Lions offense

As I am writing this blog I figure a little under 16 hours from now the game will kick off. The question I ask myself is, can the Vikings go into Detroit and get the third win of the season? I feel good about the chances and when it happens the total wins will be at 3 equaling all of last year.

I would like to look at the Lions offense against this young Vikings defense starting with Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. He is averaging 290 yards a game passing. He is currently throwing at a clip of 69 percent. He has only 3 touchdowns but the stat I like is he has already thrown 4 interceptions. He has been questionable early in the week but now appears ready to go. Stafford last year was unbelievable with over 5000 yards passing and 41 touchdowns. The defense really needs to get him uncomfortable like the Vikings did with 49ers quarterback, Alex Smith. Stafford has only been sacked 4 times in the early part of the season. Jared got his first sack last week so let the pursuit of the quarterback sack record looking for number 2 or more happen in Detroit.

The receiving corp will be a huge challenge for the Vikings defensive backs. Calvin Johnson also known as “Megatron” will be a huge task to stop. I use the word huge literally as Johnson comes in at 6’5” and as athletic as there is in the NFL. He is the face of Madden ‘12” and as most people talk the curse of being on the cover does not seem to have affected him yet. Maybe Sunday will be the day he finally suffers such as no touchdowns. I do not know if the team can completely shut him down. The key will be if and when he catches it the Vikings defensive team speed needs to tackle and do not allow the YAC (yards after catch). The other receiver is Nate Burleson who is a former Vikings draft choice. It is hard to believe Nate is in his 10th year in the league. It does not seem like 10 years already.

The linebackers for the Vikings will get a stiff challenge as the Lions have 2 very good tight ends in Tony Scheffler and Brandon Pettigrew. The Vikings I thought did a god job against 49ers tight end, Vernon Davis so once again the linebackers will be challenged. One unusual thing with this group is the amount of sacks they have got. Jared Allen has 1 while Erin Henderson and Chad Greenway both have 2. Erin will be out again Sunday, but I still feel this group has done a great job 3 weeks in. The question of many is how will new middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley do? The answer is so far so good. I like his progress and the hustle he brings.

The running back the Lions started last week I really liked in college when he played at the University of Illinois, Mikel Leshoure. In his game against the Tennessee Titans he ran 26 times for 100 yards and a touchdown.

The Vikings defensive line did a great job in shutting down 49ers running back, Frank Gore, holding him to less than a 100 and no touchdowns. The defensive team pursuit of Gore was awesome to watch so Sunday time to continue and do not let up.

On Sunday September 23 we saw Jared get his first sack and Chad Greenway collect 16 tackles, let’s see who steps up Sunday and has a monster game.

Just mentioning NFC North game gets me fired up. A win would be so big with not only separating by a game more but also get the tie breaker.

A big home win last week will be bigger if the team can get the job done on the road.
Noon kickoff I cannot wait. I hate to repeat myself but after 2 long years with too many losses a chance to get a third win is so big.

Thanks for reading
Purplestick

GO VIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Vikings offense vs Lions defense

An earlier blog in the week the fact was stated that the Vikings are on an 11 game NFC North losing streak. The fact in the middle of this is the Vikings have lost 3 in a row to Detroit.

This 2012 Vikings team has 2 wins already and last year won 3 all year. This is a big day in Detroit with the Vikings offense having a chance to build on from last week.
I would like to look at the Vikings offense and what I would like to see happen starting with the leader Christian Ponder. He has looked so sharp early in the season and avoiding the interception. This Lions defense will come in with something to prove especially at home after the Tennessee Titans scored 44 points last week against Detroit.

Titans quarterback Jake Locker finished 29 for 42 and 378 yards. I was surprised what they gave up to Tennessee, but the one stat that stood out to me was the sack column that showed 0 for the Lions defense. Ponder has got to be feeling good but has to be careful. It is a division game and these each year these NFC North games are a dog fight. Ponder has weapons and needs to rely on them continuing to make plays. He just needs to continue to play within himself and will be fine.

Ponder in last week’s big performance against the 49ers was not sacked once with a huge credit to the young Vikings offensive line. This week’s opponents, the Lions, have a very strong front line maybe in the top 5 in the NFC. The defensive ends, both Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch will be very tough for Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt. This will be a great test to see what we really have for tackles with 2 weeks in a row going up against the 49ers and now the Lions. I am a believer in this team and know Kalil and Loadholt can do it. The Lions also have what many consider the best defensive tackle in football besides Kevin Williams is Ndamukong Suh. John Sullivan and the guards will have their hand full. The no sacks against Tennessee will bring an even more fired up Lions front four. The other tackle the Lions have, Corey Williams is out after having surgery. He will have backups Sammie Lee Hill and Nick Fairley as his replacements.

The Lions defense gave up a 61 yard touchdown to Titans tight end Jared Cook. Kyle Rudolph could be in line for another big game. The Vikings finally used Rudolph last week and look what happened. My wish is it happens over and over until he gets stopped. Kyle is such a big target and with great hands.

Jerome Simpson returns finally after serving the 3 game suspension. The number 378 yards which Tennessee had last week included a 71 yard touchdown to wide out, Nate Washington. The nation will finally get to see what I saw in Mankato. The speed and the connection Simpson had with Ponder was both amazing and fun to watch. It is time for what fans have been hoping for, the bomb. Let it fly, Christian, Simpson will flag it down for six. I am so excited; I even picked up Simpson last week in my fantasy league.

Another weapon for the offense with Simpson could really pay dividends for Percy Harvin. Teams are going to try to shut him down already. You might be able to defend Percy, but once the ball is in his hands he creates havoc out there as teams try to tackle him. I believe this early part of the season he is on a mission and defenses had better be prepared to pay the price. He is delivering more punishment to the defense than they can get on him.

Adrian Peterson is getting stronger every week. It just seems each game he is just that close to breaking the big one. The Lions is one of the teams in the NFL he has some bigger games against.

I love what the offensive line is looking like early on not giving up sacks and with a healthy Peterson behind them there is no limit to what the team can be. Look for Peterson to have his first 100 yard game of the season.

Confidence is good but also need to be careful and take it a game at a time. A win and the Vikings team go to 3-1 and the Lions 1-3 with essentially a 3 game lead over the Lions.

The excitement of talking to people around town is fun again. I find I am finally finding believers in Ponder, Frazier and the rest of the team. It has been a tough last 2 seasons so early on we are seeing encouraging signs.

Next up: Vikings defense against Lions offense

Vikes Win 31-21

Thanks for reading
Purplestick

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Vikings-Lions fun facts

The Minnesota Vikings enters Sunday’s game in Detroit on an 11 game NFC North losing streak. The Detroit Lions swept the Minnesota Vikings last year for the first time since 1997. Detroit has also won 3 in a row in the series.

This will be the 102nd meeting between the 2 squads. The Vikings hold a 66-33-2 lead in the series. The Vikings home record is impressive against the Lions going 36-13-1. The game is in Detroit where the Vikings have won 15 of the last 18 in Detroit. The Vikings are also 16-6 in the month of September against the Lions.

This will be the last game against an NFC North team until November when the Vikings host the Lions at Mall of America Field.

Let’s take a look at some of the key players for Sunday’s game beginning with quarterback Christian Ponder. Did you know he was 1 of 3 quarterbacks in the NFL that has yet to throw the dreaded int?

Ponder is 2nd in the NFL with a 70.1 percent completion rate. He is the 5th rated passer with a qb rating of 104.9.

Ponder’s first NFL start came on October 23, 2011. Percy Harvin, Mr Excitement, has benefited with Ponder running the show. Did you know since that date Harvin is number 1 in catches in the NFL since 10/2311 with 89? The next to follow are Wes Welker with 87, Roddy White with 85, and then Victor Cruz and Calvin Johnson come in next tied at 84. What an impressive stat for Percy.

Percy’s 3 game total catches with the Vikings is 27 which breaks the record of 23 by Cris Carter in 1997.

Adrian Peterson plays well against Detroit in fact his longest run of his career which was 80 yards came in 2010.

Marcus Sherels, kick returner had his best pro game as a Viking against the Lions on September 25, 2011. He had 90 yards in returns.

Kyle Rudolph after his 2 touchdown performance against the 49ers in now tied for third in the league with 3 touchdowns.

In looking at some connections between the 2 teams I found this. Quarterback Matthew Stafford and Vikings kicker Blair Walsh both played for the Georgia Bulldogs.

Lions wide receiver, Nate Burleson played for the Vikings from 2003-2005. Lion’s backup quarterback, Shaun Hill played here from 2002-2006. Scott Linehan, Lions Offensive Coordinator was Minnesota’s Offensive Coordinator and qb coach from 2002-2004.

I like the chances of Minnesota coming into Detroit and getting the important win on the road and more importantly a win in the division. Throw out the last 3 games in the series and you look at Vikings domination. This team has to build on last week’s impressive win. A flop in this week really puts a damper on last week. It is a week at a time. The team showed the fans the potential if they put all 3 phases together. I am not expecting anything less. Vikes win!!!!

Next up: Minnesota offense against Lions defense

Thanks for reading
Purplestick


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

NFL off to a crazy start

The Minnesota Vikings shocked the nation and beat San Francisco last Sunday. There were many Vikings believers I had talked to that knew it could happen. This team can look so good at home. The last time I remember the team looking so good at home would be the playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys in the 2009-2010 season.

The Vikings find themselves tied with the Chicago Bears for first place in the NFC North. It was just last season with the Vikings winning one game all year at home and now this season they are 2-0. What a strange season. It is great for Vikings fans but leaves a few scratching their heads and did not see it coming.

It is early and too soon to get over excited but it is a start and a great one at that. The team showed last Sunday what it is capable of. The addition of Jerome Simpson will be something to keep an eye on. I know I saw many nicely thrown deep connections from Ponder to Simpson in Mankato.

Let’s take a moment and step away from the Vikings and look around the league. In the AFC the last time New England Patriots were under .500 was in 2003. The Patriots currently are 1-2 after suffering a Sunday night loss to Baltimore Ravens after leading late in the 4th quarter 30-21 and ended up losing 31-30. The other team struggling and seemingly every year a playoff team, the Pittsburgh Steelers are also 1-2. Houston Texans 3 weeks into the season look to be the team to beat thus far starting out 3-0.

The NFC has 2 undefeated teams with Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals both 3-0. Atlanta does not surprise me, but Arizona considering the opening day backup for the Cardinals is now in charge. Kevin Kolb is playing well at quarterback and their defense is playing well. The progress will be something to watch. They surprisingly shut out the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. The Vikings host the Cardinals in a few weeks so we will keep an eye on this hot starting team.

The New Orleans Saints 0-3, who would have seen this coming? Washington Redskins in week 1 go into New Orleans and get the Redskins only win of their season so far. Week 2 Carolina Panthers beat New Orleans in Carolina. In thinking Carolina had looked good I thought the next week at home Carolina could beat the New York Giants on Thursday night football. The Giants destroyed the Panthers 36-7. Week 3 sees a winless Kansas City come into New Orleans. The Chiefs not only won, but came from way down on the road and beat the Saints in OT. Washington and Kansas City’s only win both on the road against the Saints. What has happened to this powerful Saints team? Is Sean Payton not being on the bench and coaching the big difference from a team who is used to winning and now cannot even win at home? The Super Bowl is in New Orleans this year.

The game on Monday night with Seattle and Green Bay was talked about so much Tuesday there is not much left to be said. All argument aside the bottom line is the Packers are 1-2 and tied for last.

The Vikings in first and the Pack in the cellar and again it is early but sure feels good to say.

Week 4 has New Orleans traveling to Green Bay. I cannot think of a better timed matchup with the NFL controversies. Green Bay’s controversial loss Monday night and now they host the New Orleans Saints. The controversial Saints and their bounty gate scandal ending with the loss of their coach for the year. What a time for the country to see this national game starting at 3:25. Which team wants it more? Can New Orleans really start 0-4 or the Pack lose a game at Lambeau.

The 49ers come in week one to Lambeau and take the Pack down something they have not dome since 1990. The Vikings two weeks later beat the 49ers convincingly. This season is crazy. but fun so hang on for the ride of our lives. It is so hard to make the weekly picks with all the upsets.

Next up: Fun facts about the Lions-Vikes game

Thanks for reading
Purplestick

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A great team effort is rewarded with a big win

The San Francisco 49ers came in as the Las Vegas’s biggest favorite road team to win a game with the point spread of almost 7 points. I got to my seat around 11 am and saw more red than purple causing a concern of what the crowd would be like. The stadium filled as it closer to kickoff and the purple was showing up. The red definitely was easy to pick out.

The 49ers then chose to have their offensive starters announced and with that Randy Moss’s name would be called. I listened to see how the crowd would react. I honestly would call it 50/50 with boos and cheers.

The way the Vikings played Sunday was so encouraging. The first touchdown was especially refreshing. The team could have settled for a field goal on the drive but the gutsy call by the Vikings coaching staff paid off with a touchdown pass from Ponder to Kyle Rudolph. This took guts with a powerful team like the 49ers if the Vikings would have failed could have given the 49ers a confidence on the road. It really got the crowd into the game.

The first half was as good as I have witnessed in person for quite some time. The hustle by the defense was awesome to watch. The play of Chad Greenway was huge finishing with a game high 13 tackles and sacks to boost.

The sack numbers were not high but the discomfort the defense caused San Francisco quarterback, Alex Smith went on all day. He just could not get comfortable and made some bad throws. A hurried pass is just as good as a sack in a game like Sunday.
Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder I thought today had as good as protection as he has had maybe since he took over as quarterback last season. The decisions he made Sunday were remarkable. It seemed as though he could finally feel pressure if he got is and either ran or threw to receivers working to get open.

Ponder scored on a long scramble but would not have made it without a block like I saw Adrian Peterson throw for him. It is another example of teamwork that happened at Mall of America Field.

The partially blocked field goal attempt by 49ers kicker, David Akers by Letroy Guion with less than a minute left in the half brought out a huge ovation from the fans as well. The fans were in the game the whole time and made the victory even more special feeling the crowd could contribute.

Blair Walsh also got in the act with a 52 yard field goal with 4 seconds left in the half. This is the 3rd straight game of a 50 yard or more which puts him the Vikings record book. Blair is the first Vikings kicker to accomplish this feat of 3 straight games with a field goal over 50 yards. Congrats to Blair Walsh

Minnesota goes into the locker room with a 17-3 lead at halftime and left to a well-deserved standing ovation by the crowd.

The biggest series of the year by the defense came early in the 3rd quarter. 49ers Kyle Williams takes the opening 2nd half kickoff 94 yards and thank god for Jamarca Sanford and his hustle to save a touchdown. It was such a eerie feeling sitting in the stands knowing the 49ers cannot get any sniff of a hope. The defense came up with the series of a lifetime and left the 49ers with only a field goal attempt. The 49ers had it first and goal from the Vikings 14 and had to settle for a field goal. Kudos to the Minnesota Vikings defense and not letting an easy score occur.

The 49ers get a touchdown 6 minutes and 29 seconds making it a game. Are we watching 2011 all over again? The Vikings play huge in the first half and then early in the third quarter here we go again.

The difference this year is the belief of the Vikings in themselves I am seeing. Ponder lead a huge drive ending with a spectacular touchdown catch by tight end Kyle Rudolph. It is a top 5 play on ESPN. The thing about this touchdown it is the same end zone I witnessed in person in 2009 as Greg Lewis made the improbable catch. What a catch by Rudolph, one-handed. This end zone is magic for the Vikes when they play the 49ers.

What a way to end the 49ers hopes watching Jared Allen coming up with one of his most important sacks in his career here. I watch him as much as I can when I am at a game and he is so close. His hustle was finally rewarded. The hugs and high fives he got on the Vikings bench was so neat to see.

I predicted a 24-20 Vikings victory. It was a great day to be a Minnesota Vikings fan and be part of this upset victory.

The 2011 season ended with a home record of 1-7 and now after 2 home games in 2012 they are 2-0. Could this be the season of good home cooking?

Thanks for reading
Purplestick



Saturday, September 22, 2012

Updates on the 49ers-Vikings tilt

The news of Outside linebacker Erin Henderson sitting out Sunday against the 49ers is extremely disappointing considering the start of the season he is off to leading the team in sacks with 2 and also the leading tackler on the team. The thought is he suffered a concussion last Sunday in Indy so the team is definitely doing the right thing by holding him out. I just feel bad for him considering what he has gone through to make the team as an undrafted rookie free agent a few years ago. My best wishes for him and hope to see him in action soon.

Henderson’s replacement is Marvin Mitchell who has veteran experience in fact he played on the New Orleans Saints Super Bowl team. He looked very good in camp so tomorrow when the game counts I am anxious to see how he performs.

An update for fans in Minneapolis as the city is trying to provide something different and it is called “Railgating.”

It starts Sunday with 2 blocks along 5th Street that will be blocked off right next to the light rail tracks.

16 food trucks will be parked on the sidewalks some serving gourmet breakfast foods, others typical grill-out options.

Beer in not allowed as of yet as part of this Railgating as far as sales.

Mayor Rybak is encouraging fans to get down their early as Railgating starts at 7am and lasts until an hour after kickoff. This is all in the works for every home game and could expand if there is interest.

The Mayor has also introduced what he calls “Purple Path”. It is the name for 5th Street on game day. It is a path from the Warehouse district to the corridor downtown through the Armory district to the stadium.

The food trucks are helping to chip in to help pay for the cleanup as well as providing Port-A-Poties.

In addition to Railgating the city is for the first time in their history allowing tailgating the parking meters.

Hope to see a lot of people trying this, it should be fun. I appreciate Minneapolis trying to help get the fans involved even more.

One last bit of info before this big game and that is my final prediction: Vikings 24 49ers 20.

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

Friday, September 21, 2012

Vikings offense against 49ers defense

The 4th quarter of the first 2 games for the Vikings has been amazing but as a fan would rather not have to wait and see the offense become effective as far as scoring wise.

The team moved the ball last week but unfortunately the end result was a Blair Walsh field goal. 3 points is better than 0 but in this league you just cannot try and outscore a team by field goals only. The team works hard to get 2 field goals and then one play by the opposing team scoring a touchdown you are now behind.

The 49ers defense did a great job of shutting down the Packers and Lions offense. The 49ers gave up one touchdown to Green Bay in the first 3 quarters of their game The Lions scored one touchdown all game. In 2011 the Packers averaged 35 per game and the Lions 30. It is kind of concerning with watching the Vikings struggle until the 4th quarter to see a team of this strength coming to town.

Christian Ponder will lead the offense with his NFL leading 75 percent completion rate. This will be a challenge of a lifetime to go up against such a fundamentally strong team.

The Vikings have an advantage over Green Bay and Detroit and that is the team has the best running back in football going. I watched both 49ers game and the team tackling that goes on is incredible. If the Vikings offense can open just a small hole Peterson can use his speed and strength to his advantage.

The other hope is to use Toby Gerhart and let him pound on the 49ers defenders. What a 1-2 punch AP and Gerhart.

My hope is Peterson and Gerhart will wear down the 49ers giving Ponder a chance to get some passes down field. The frustration level of not seeing many deep balls needs to change.

The other factor that comes in to play is the man that was signed as a free agent in the off season and that is tight end, John Carlson.

This team has got to figure out how to get Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson involved. The league has become tight end friendly. I watched in Mankato as Rudolph had some nice catches in the end zone in short distance. This is my hope and wish to have Ponder float the ball high and let Rudolph go get it. I was excited when Bill Musgrave came to Minnesota with his background in getting the tight end in use like he did in Atlanta. In a little over a year it just has not happened. It is not to late.

The disappointment by fans with the lack of a deep ball I do agree with. I sat every day in camp and watched Ponder look very good with his touch of a deep ball.

I just seemed to remember quarterback Randall Cunningham step back and throw it as far as he could and let Randy Moss go get it. There might be an occasional interception but at times it is as good as a punt.

The season is early and with one deep ball to any receiver would light this crowd up. I know I have read thoughts by other writers the Vikings receivers cannot get separation. Let’s just let it fly and just see how fast the young receivers are.
As good as the 49ers defense is one big play by the Vikings offense could get the 49ers reeling. I would be a liar if I did not admit the 49ers worry me.

The NFL knows about Percy Harvin and his incredible strength. I cannot wait to see the 49ers and how they will attempt to slow number 12 down. In my opinion the only one to shut down Harvin will be Harvin.

When is the last time a Vikings team had 2 players like Peterson and Harvin who look to punish defenders when they are running.

The offensive line will have their hands full with the 3-4 defense. The right side of the linebacker corp is unbelievable with Aldon Smith on the outside and Patrick Willis playing right inside linebacker in my opinion will be the 2 best we will face this season.

The Vikings need to play a perfect game with keep their wits and not taking any unnecessary penalties.

Some have said the team should be 0-2 but my heart and allegiance to the team believes the Vikings will be 2-1 after Sunday.

Thanks for reading
Purplestick

Thursday, September 20, 2012

49ers offense against the Vikings defense

San Francisco 49ers enters Sunday’s game scoring 57 point in the first 2 games. The Vikings defense enters this game giving up 46 points in the first 2 games. The 49ers are filled this year with fantastic playmakers. Can the Vikings hold this highly talented team to 23 points or less is the question and get a win? The home crowd will need to be the biggest 12th man in quite some time.

I spent time looking at the 49ers depth chart and found players that were some of the best of their particular draft class.

The quarterback, Alex Smith was the number 1 pick overall in 2005. This guy has been through the ringer and now with coach Harbaugh supporting him he is becoming the player they had hoped.

The offensive line the 49ers have just might be the best the Vikings defensive line will face all year. The left tackle, Joe Staley, 2007 1st round pick and next to him left guard Mike Iupati, 2010 first round pick. The center is Jonathan Goodwin was a 2011 free agent pick up. The right guard is Alex Boone undrafted in 2009 and finally right tackle another first round pick in 2010, Anthony Davis. 3 out of 5 are 1st round picks and young.

Jared Allen and the rest of the defensive line are going to have their hands full. I still feel the crowd will be huge advantage potentially causing false starts and even better the D-Line may get the jump they need due to the crowd noise. All it takes is a split second difference and there you have Alex Smith lying looking at the new dome ceiling

The tight end, Vernon Davis another firs round pick this time in 2006. It was mentioned on tv last week that Davis is the fastest receiver in the receiving corp.

The Vikings linebackers are going to have to play the game of their lives. I do not believe you can double cover Davis because of the wide receiving corp the 49ers have. The possibility of being without leading tackler Erin Henderson is concerning. Marvin Mitchell, who played on the Saints Super Bowl team, may get his chance to shine.

The wide receiving corp is a quarterback’s dream. The starters are listed as Michael Crabtree, 2009 1st round pick and the other wide out is former number one pick in 1998 non other than Randy Moss. I cannot tell you anything you don’t already know about this freak of nature. The Vikings defensive backs had better be ready. An ex Vikings coming back home and would love to show the Minnesota fans he still has it. Will it be cheering or booing from the crowd? The 49ers already talented not only signed Moss but they also added Mario Manningham who came from the Super Bowl Champ, New York Giants. The rich get richer.

The Vikings have so much youth in the secondary that it is concerning on how to shut these men down. Chris Cook needs to play a monster game no matter who he faces. Antoine Winfield if there ever was a game the leadership was needed this would be the game. The young safeties just have to play with themselves. They have both shown the ability to hit. I can see a lot of rotating of cornerbacks to get the rest needed.

The pass rush has been getting close in both games but for this game close is no good. The home crowd advantage along with the facing of many experts calling for the 49ers to be in the Super Bowl, if this doesn’t give an emotional boost I do not know what will.

The 49ers have 7 of 11 offensive starters that were 1st round picks going against 4 Vikings 1st round picks which includes Antoine Winfield, Buffalo Bills first round pick. The other 3 are Kevin Williams, Chad Greenway and Harrison Smith.

A battle of first round picks should be fun to see in a way what team drafted better by seeing how each of these picks performs.

In the end it is a team game but it is neat to see how teams are formed.

Next up: Thoughts on Vikings offense against 49ers defense

Thanks for reading
Purplestick

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fun facts involving 49ers-Vikings players

The upcoming game home game against the San Francisco 49ers is coming quickly. The first NFC team of the year the Vikings will play after finishing 1-1 against the AFC in the first 2 weeks.

Lets’ looks at some of the facts entering this battle coming up, beginning with the two teams having met 44 times and the 49ers lead 22-21-1. The Vikings are 13-9 at home including a 4 game winning streak. The Viking are also 7-3-1 in the month of September against the 49ers.The last win in Minnesota by San Francisco was back in 1992 when the 49ers beat the Vikings 20-17.

The Vikings are struggling to a degree but 2 weeks in some interesting numbers have come out. Christian Ponder is ranked first in the NFL with a 75.8 percent completion rate. On 1st and 2nd down he is 32-40 for 339 yards and a quarterback rating at 110.3 in these 2 quarters.

The rookie sensation, Blair Walsh only 2 weeks in is so far proving his doubters wrong. The kickoff sensation has had 7 successful touchbacks. The Vikings team is tied for 4th in opposition starting at the 19.4 just a shade of a touchback starting position. Props go out to the special teams for a job well done the first 2 weeks of the season.

Blair has kicked 2 field goals of 50 yards or more in the first 2 games which ties a Vikings record held by Fuad Reviez. If on Sunday Walsh can get another 50 plus field goal he will hold the record by himself.

Walsh has 22 points which is tied for 2nd in both the NFC as well as the rest of the NFL. He is 6 for 6 which puts him at 100 percent that is first in the league. The 6 field goals is also the most in the early season.

Percy Harvin’s has a combined 387 yards which breaks the team record held by Troy Williamson in 2006 which was at 352.

Some of the Vikngs-49ers player connections are rather fascinating. Mike Singletary and 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh were teammates with the Chicago Bears from 1987-1992.
2012 Vikings draft choice Rhett Ellison is the son of former 49ers linebacker Riki Ellison who played from 1983-89 and was part of 3 Super Bowl teams in his time in San Francisco.

The one obvious connection is number 84, Randy Moss who played in Minnesota 1998-2004 and back in 2010. I will never forget the highlight catches he made in Minnesota. Who can ever forget the Monday night game in Lambeau or Thanksgiving day in Dallas. He now is a 49er. It will be interesting to see the crowd reaction when he steps on Mall of America Field.

Toby Gerhart who went to Stanford University played for Jim Harbaugh, then coach of Stanford. Erin Henderson and 49ers tight end, Vernon Davis played college ball 2 years at Maryland University. Vikings safety, Jamarca Sanford and 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis played college ball 3 years at Mississippi University.

Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave was the 49ers backup quarterback from 1991-1994.

In 2007 Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis were each named respectively offensive and defensive rookies of the year.

Next up: Looking at the 49ers offense against the Vikings defense

Thanks for reading
Purplestick





Monday, September 17, 2012

A talker Monday

It was truly a talker Monday with many opinions. I love to sit back and listen. The talk of getting a new offensive coordinator seems to be a popular thought. It seems awfully early to be thinking that way but like I said it is people thoughts and I appreciate people willing to talk. The other popular subject is why only the 4th quarter does the team look so good. I wonder myself that as well but trust that the coaching staff will fix it. It is only 2 games in and not time to panic but concern I believe is valid.

The San Francisco 49ers after 2 games looks like a team that is on a mission. The win in Lambeau followed by a home win over a 2011 playoff team, Detroit Lions is quite the way to start the 2012 campaign. A strange schedule for the 49ers in the first 3 week they play all NFC North teams.

The thought at my work today was the 49ers will come to town and destroy the Vikings. A loss to the Colts and a win barely over Jacksonville has people concerned over how on earth can the Vikings compete with this power house from the NFC West.
49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was very successful at the University of Stanford then leaving and taking the 49ers job in 2011. His first year in San Francisco and he takes the team to the NFC Title game before losing to the eventual Super Bowl Champ, New York Giants.

The playmakers brought in added to an already talented roster at least on paper makes this challenge for the Vikings look like we have no chance.

I believe the one advantage the team has it is a home game and there will be 63,000 screaming Vikings fans making so much noise hopefully distracting the 49ers.

I remember back in 2009 the San Francisco 49ers came to Minnesota in Week 3 as well. The date back then was Sunday September 27th. The Vikings won on a late touchdown on a pass from Brett Favre to Greg Lewis. The Vikings were down 24-20 with fans holding their breath as they saw the ball sailing. I was at the other end and saw the catch but could not tell if Lewis was in or out of bounds. We all know the results of that.

The coach of the 49ers in 2009 was Mike Singletary and now he is the Vikings in 2012 Linebacker coach. The Vikings only have 13 players left from that team.

The 49ers finished 8-8 that year and now in 2012 come in on fire. Is there a hope? Always a hope, but cannot come out flat or the team will be in for a long Sunday.

The New Orleans Saints are 0-2, the Arizona Cardinals went into New England and beat the Patriots 20-18. The NFL is young in the season with a long way to go but I would say these are story likes these teams did not see coming.

Anything on any given Sunday can happen. I will believe the Vikings can beat the 49ers and will believe up to and through the entire. If a loss occurs I need to accept and move on. My hope is the team competes with this team and eventually gets the win. It appears for now a mountain to climb but this mountain climbing can be achieved with 63,000 fans and all 53 players and coaching staff believing.

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Disappointment in Indy

The streak lives on as the Vikings cannot get their first win on the road against the Colts. It was a frustrating day for Vikings fans.

The number of penalties that occurred during the game is concerning but more concerning was the timing of the penalties. The Vikings on the road with a chance to give a young Colts an 0-2 start actually turned out more Christmas present like from the Vikes to Colts. As a fan sitting at home and watching the self-destruction was so hard to take.

The win last week was so big and then today the setback can only be damaging if next week at home we do not see a better performance against the San Francisco 49ers.
The use of time management in the 4th quarter is head scratching. Today’s game was so similar to last week with the offense coming alive in the 4th quarter. The Vikings offense in the 4th quarter makes things look so easy, so why it can’t be like that the first three quarters of the game.

The Vikings had held the Colts to 1 yard in the 4th quarter until the last Colts drive. The credit goes to Andrew Luck and the Colts offense as they made the plays they had to.

It is only 2 games in so not time to panic but do wonder what it will take to get the team to score a touchdown early in the game.

The pass rush was so close to getting to Luck. I feel like milliseconds earlier and the team would get a much needed sack. Jared Allen and Brian Robinson were so close on several plays. It is just a matter of time. The effort is there, just no success yet.
I thought the touchdown right before the half as Luck connected with Reggie Wayne in the end zone was a huge heart breaker. It is 3rd and 3 with 14 seconds left in the half and then the touchdown. The first 2 games have had the same problem and that is trying to get off the field after stopping a third down. What a difference if this could have happened. It is too late now but what if the Colts would have kicked a field goal to make it 13-6. It is only a thought. These failed third down stops are just killing to watch.

The stats of Ponder in the first 2 games are amazing and you would not think they would be this good with the offense sputtering early and often. Week 1 he is 20-27 and a quarterback rating of 105 and Week 2 goes 27-35 with a rating of 114.6. You would not think we would be discussing the struggles of the offense with a quarterback who is throwing at a 76% clip.

I love this team and want them to do so well. They have so much potential just need a spark. Maybe a team like the 49ers team that is favored to go to the Super Bowl coming to Mall of America Field this young Vikings team can shock the world. The fans will have their backs as I can only imagine a loud crowd.

I am a Vikings fan and will be until the day I die. I will always find positives in a loss and today was easy. The play of Percy Harvin continues to amaze. He went over 100 yards in receiving with much of the yardage after the catch. I am so in hope the team gives him a much deserved extension. The team cannot afford to let a talent go after the season.

Blair Walsh continued to show his value. The 51 yard field goal right down the middle is so nice to see a Vikings kicker with consistency. The kickoffs were outstanding once again.

Tight End Kyle Rudolph came through big today and making the game tying touchdown catch. The touchdown by Stephen Burton was aided by Kyle Rudolph’s tip in the end zone with Burton making a very alert play.

The hustle by both defensive ends, Brian Robison and Jared Allen is appreciated and never gets old. I still feel even though the sack numbers are not there it is just a matter of time.

The no quitting by the offense especially in the 4th quarter sure makes the game fun to watch. It is week 2 with 2 games going down to the wire.

It would be nice to have started out 2-0 but 1-1 with some issues to work on. The team is young but I feel there is enough veteran presence to keep the faith. San Francisco will be tough but a win can be done.

Overall a frustrating loss in Indy but also appreciate a team that does not quit. Week 2 is over and now it is time for the team to watch film, learn, and move on with a huge home game coming up on Sunday September 23.

Thanks for reading
Purplestick

Final thoughts before the Colts game

The NFL is such a fun sport to watch and so hard to figure out because just when you think a team looks or seams unstoppable the shock occurs.

Week 1 sees Chicago destroy Indianapolis 41-21 and Green Bay lose to San Francisco 30-22. The off season I read that many of the experts have Green Bay and San Francisco in the NFC Championship game. The fact of the 49ers coming and winning in Lambeau Field for the first time since 1990 makes you wonder just how strong the 49ers really are.

Week 2 sees Green Bay destroy Chicago Bears not so much the score was indicative but rather the hurting the Packer defense put on Jay Cutler and rest of the offense. How did the Bears put up 41 points against the Colts and look that bad the next week. It makes a Vikings fan want to lick their chops in hopes of a big day in Indianapolis for the Vikes offense.

Is this the week the Vikings come into a place they have never won and come out with a first win?

Adrian Peterson I believed shocked the NFL world with his performance in week 1 now another chance to get some more reps. This could be a monster day for the man we know as AP “All day.”

Percy is going to be a huge key today. Can the Colts tackle? Will they kick it away from him? Will they put extra defenders on him? This will be a huge spot for a player like Michael Jenkins or Devin Aromashodu to step up.

The history of this series with the Vikes never winning on the road against the Colts is going to change today as the fun begins today at noon.

The 14 NFL experts picks are in with 8 choosing the Colts and 6 picking the Vikings.

Go Vikes

Thanks for reading
Purplestick

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Looking to stay undefeated

I would like to start by sending my congrats to Vikings kicker, Blair Walsh for being named Special Teams player of the week on Wednesday for his superb effort.

The game coming up Sunday is not just another game rather it is a chance to build on a little momentum created from the overtime win against Jacksonville. Indianapolis finished 1-15 and became the winners of the number one pick in the draft, Andrew Luck.

Colts (1-15) and the Vikings (3-13) in 2011 have a lot to prove in 2012. Why would a team want to relive a nightmare?

The Colts open up their home schedule this weekend and with that rookie quarterback Luck will want to show his home team fans they have something to be excited about in the future.

The Colts defense has switched from a 4-3 defense to this season 3-4. The Vikings new defensive coordinator, Alan Williams was the Colts defensive back coach last season. In the hopes of Williams being able to use his knowledge of the Colts will not be as easy. The change of defense after he left leaves him knowing what individual defensive player’s strengths and weaknesses are. The story line will be fun to follow to see if he can maybe help the Vikings offensive coaches this week in practice.

Minnesota Vikings first unit offense struggled in Game 3 of the preseason and then in the first half of the Jacksonville game. The second half looked much better and has room to get better. It is funny a tale of two halves. The key Sunday is Ponder and heating up early rather than late. On the road any advantages the Vikings can come up with will be needed.

It may be easy to think the Vikings can go against a Colts team that is not the same after Peyton Manning left and cruise to a win. It has been a long time since the Vikings won in a blowout. The close games are good for football ratings but this fan’s heart it is aging me quickly.

The game on Monday featured the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals. The Ravens won big but what I saw was with the score out of hand Baltimore was still throwing the ball. They wanted to keep the pedal down and I like this approach. A young team like the Vikings if they could get this opportunity would be such a huge boost for confidence.

The bottom line is a win. I took a lot of grief about the Vikings win last week that they got lucky, didn’t deserve it were some of what I heard. I responded the team just did not quit. How many games in the past was the team not able to pull something like this out. I am proud of the team for not giving up and considering the circumstances it may have been easy to think that way.

The Vikings offense found a couple of things that will be extremely hard to stop. First, Arian Peterson coming off surgery and in his first game back run for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns. In only game 1 and these results think of week 2, 3, 4 and so on. It is only going to get better.

The other factor and major at that is Percy Harvin. What is intriguing about Harvin is teams can scheme all they want for him. The problem for NFL teams is trying to catch him and if they do catch him how many players will it take to get him down. A one yard catch can quickly be made 50-60 yards in a blink of an eye.

The offensive line played well last week and again in week 2 will be another week to work together. Colts all pro defensive end Dwight Freeney is usually a major wrecking force. This time he is dealing with an ankle injury. I personally want him to play because I would love to see how Matt Kalil would do against an elite defensive end.
The key of how Ponder starts, Peterson’s improving, Harvin being a man possessed all over the field, are all ingredients in a successful recipe of a big win. A little sprinkle in of all available receivers contributing makes the recipe that much more delicious for us fans.

The defense showed signs of life but once again this week shutting down the 3rd down is a priority especially on the road.

After week one the efforts by Rick Spielman and the rest of the Vikings management looks like a winner with this Vikings ship full sail ahead. The choppy waters for this boat will be the crowd in Lucas Oil Field. How do the youngsters handle the noise?

Vikings win 31-13

Thanks for reading
Purplestick

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fun facts past and future

The game last Sunday for the Vikings not only was a win I also found some surprising numbers from the first week that may shock football fans.

There are many rating in the NFL but one rating that caught my eye was the quarterback rating. The NFC North not only has Ponder, but also Aaron Rodgers (Packers), Matthew Stafford (Lions), and Jay Cutler (Bears). The first week had Ponder’s the leader in this category with a rating of 105.5 followed by Cutler at 98.9, Rodgers had 93.3 and Stafford brings up the rear with a 69.4.

The week Blair Walsh put him 3rd in the NFC with 14 points only behind Matt Bryant (Falcons) and Billy Cundiff (Redskins) who each had 16 points. The 55 yarder by Walsh was also second longest behind David Akers (49ers) who had a NFL tying 63 yarder at Green Bay. What an opening week for the rookie kicker from the University of Georgia.

In speaking from a fan perspective the last 2 home games with the one Week 17 on January 31 that ended the 2011-2012 season and now week 1, September 9, I was able to see 2 new records set by Vikings players.

Jared Allen broke Chris Doleman team’s sack record on January 1, 2012 against the Chicago Bears and then last Sunday., September 9,2012 Adrian Peterson broke Robert Smith’s record for most rushing yards by a Vikings player. It is so rewarding to be in the crowd and get to see these records broken. The old saying records are meant to be broken and someday Allen and Peterson’s record may be broke but at least for now I can say I saw 2 new team records.

Sunday September 16th the Vikings travel to Indianapolis for the team’s first road game of the year. This will be the first time for the team to play in Lucas Oil Field. The Vikings are 0-10 on the road against the Colts. This includes the day when the Colts use to be the Baltimore Colts. The all-time record is 7-15-1 against the Colts with a 7-5-1 record at home and then the 0-10 on the road.

This would be a sweet win in hopes of a 2-0 record for the first time since 2009. This is also the first time since 1988 the team has played the first 2 games against AFC opponents.

The Colts have a new coach and his name is Chuck Pagano. The Vikings faced in week 1 a new coach in Jacksonville’s Mike Mularkey and now in week 2 another new head coach.

The Colts lost big in Chicago last week and now their first home game will be against the Vikings. There will be a lot of emotion in Indy with their prize rookie number one pick quarterback Andrew Luck making his home debut.

The game will be on Fox and have the announcing team of Thomas Brenneman and Brian Billick. I really like Billick and his insight especially being a former member of the Vikings coaching staff.

Week 1 could not have brought more excitement, what will week 2 on the road bring?

Next up: Thoughts on what needs to happen to get the all-important win on the road.

Thanks for reading
Purplestick

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Never leave a tight game early

The weather was beautiful outside, but inside Mall of America Field the weather started out cold as for the first 29:19 minutes of the first half was a struggle. The temp heated up in the second half as the Vikings came out with a huge victory in overtime.

The dome crowd started out so loud in the pregame with the announcements of the Vikings offensive starters. The first 10 were announced and it was loud but when the 11th player was announced the place blew up. That 11th player was Adrian Peterson. My ears were ringing with everyone screaming as AP made his entrance.

The loudness of the crowd to start turned to some unfortunate booing when the offense just could not get much moving in the first half.

The defense I thought played alright in the first half with one problem area. The issue was so frustrating to watch as the Jaguars repeatedly were successful with their 3rd down conversions and allowing the drives to continue. This being said still to the credit of the defense held the Jaguars to 9 points in the first half.

The touchdown finally for the Vikings as Adrian Peterson ran the ball in with 41 seconds in the first half may have been as big of touchdown the team has scored in some time. The booing I had heard during the first half turned to cheers and continued as the team made their way to the locker room just down 2.

The touchdown by the Vikings coming out of halftime was so encouraging for the fans as it was really getting loud in the dome.

The connection Christian Ponder found with Percy Harvin repeatedly was so fun to watch. It did not take big deep throws, rather the short pass and then seemingly taking half of the Jaguars team to drag down Harvin.

The play of Harvin and Adrian’s return were the medicine at least for today that seemed to inject the much needed life into the offense.

The young defense came to play as I sat in the upper deck watching many of these youngsters really hustled to make plays.

A seam pass quarterback Blaine Gabbert threw seemed open looking from the upper deck like it would be successful. The effort by safety Mistral Raymond to come across and break the play up was such a nice effort.

I really thought Harrison Smith made his presence felt today. He made a great break up of a pass in overtime.

The crowd today was awesome, but I was also concerned as with the Vikes up with 5 minutes left fans were exiting.

The touchdown Gabbert threw to the corner of the end zone with 20 seconds made many other fans exit. The game seemingly to be a game the Vikings would finally win and then this disaster. Did this create another disappointment for the fans? Only time would tell.

Christian Ponder just would not give up. The 2 completions he had in the final 16 seconds with one to Devin Aromashodu and the next one to Kyle Rudolph are as big of completions this team has had in sometime.

I wrote in an earlier blog questioning with which receiver would step up in the absence of Jerome Simpson. We got some great answers as Michael Jenkins and Aromashodu both came up big today. Percy Harvin there cannot be said enough about him. His desire, his strength are such a pleasure to watch.

The kicker Blair Walsh, who I watched kick 50-60 yard field goals in training camp consistently came through Sunday going 4-4 including the 55 yarder to send the game into overtime. The pressure for Walsh to do what he did so successfully will not be forgotten. I drafted him in both fantasy leagues I am because I am a believer.

The overtime was interesting as Walsh gave the Vikes a three point lead. I watched to see if the crowd would have thought we won. The fans seemed to have good knowledge of the rules. The intensity of the game just would not go away as Gabbert threw the last pass of the game and it fell incomplete. What a win!!!!!! Who would have thought especially after the Jaguars TD.

The first game of 2012 is in the books and for the fans that did stay all I can say is thank you. The crowd was a huge difference maker even though as the game went on fans kept leaving.

It was Coach Frazier’s first opening day win along with Ponder’s first win at home. This win was a total team effort. You saw veterans and rookies contribute.

These games are truly draining but in a win like today it is worth everything to yell and scream for everything you are worth. My voice will eventually come back to normal.

Thanks for reading
Purplestick

Friday, September 7, 2012

The new look begins Sunday


I can’t help but think this Sunday’s game might be one of the bigger ones in franchise history. That may sound funny, but with 2010 and 2011 being tough years as far as record wise the start of 1-0 could be huge for players and fans. The old saying take it a week at a time is so true especially in 2012. Let’s get in the victory column and go from there.

I will be looking at 10 different areas that were a concern coming into this year. The first will be looking at Christian Ponder coming into his second year. I have seen the arm strength so that is not the concern rather his decision making when he is being pressured. The ability to get rid of the ball and make sure it is legally done so not to be called for intentional grounding will be huge. Ponders’ hanging onto the ball to long and taking a sack will be something to watch to see if he can avoid. I like what I saw out of Ponder in Mankato but the real test will start Sunday.

The offensive line is young with this the first year they will be starting to work together. Two new guards in Brandon Fusco and Charlie Johnson along with new left tackle Matt Kalil is quite the overhaul of a line. Johnson is believed to be back in his natural spot. Fusco and Kalil are young and inexperienced. I feel with Sullivan at center and Johnson, both veteran players will be huge keys to communicating with the youngsters. I rather like the youth because if it does work out and I believe it will the team will have an O-Line for years to come. Ponder took such a beating last year but with the big man at the left tackle Ponder should have more time. I am very excited about this line the team has assembled.

The drafting of Toby Gerhart might go down as one of the better picks in team history. Who would have ever thought Adrian Peterson would go down last season and have major knee surgery? Yes, he has made an awesome comeback so far. It is just nice to have Gerhart who finished runner-up in the Heisman trophy award when he was at Stanford as a backup. Toby will be more valuable than people would have thought when he did get drafted. Toby is a punishing runner and does not quit. I rather like our running back situation.

The loss of Jerome Simpson for the first 3 games is a blow but it does give others a chance to step up. Percy Harvin is a proven receiver who is a threat to score each time he touches the ball. Who will step up and want the ball is the question. Michael Jenkins, a former 1st round pick is a veteran but after that is a lot of youth and inexperience. The hands I saw in camp were awesome but now it counts. Who wants the ball, please step up.

The free agent signing this off season of John Carlson I thought was great. The injury early in camp we never really got to see what he can offer. These first few games will be a major tell in what the team has in John. We know Kyle Rudolph, but do we know what Carlson can do yet. He has the size to be a nice target. I cannot wait to see his first catch. I feel it will be worth the money the team spent.

The days of the Williams Wall are over but it seems like it has been a while since Kevin Williams has had a partner that can help stuff the run consistently. I really like what Christian Ballard, LeTroy Guion and Fred Evans offer. Which one of these 3 will be the other half of the wall? If they rotate them so be it, but it needs to be tight so no runs occur up the middle forcing the linebackers to take the running back down.

The new middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley has been anointed as the man who patrols the middle. He is young and athletic. I really thought preseason he made some strides. On Sunday all eyes will be on Brinkley. Can he cover tight ends if needed? Will he be in position to make the tackle if needed? I cannot to wait to see him in action. The team has 3 athletic linebackers in Chad Greenway, Erin Henderson and Jasper Brinkley. This will be a fun group to watch this season.

The defensive backs are all young. Chris Cook I thought looked very good in camp. Can he keep this up? Antoine Winfield is solid although getting up there in age. Which youngster steps up and shows he wants playing time? The safeties will be something to watch for as rookie Harrison Smith gets the start along with Mistral Raymond in his 2nd season. This is as young as a team can go. If the pass rush can be successful these 2 young men’s lives will be a lot easier.

The release or Ryan Longwell and the keeping of rookie Blair Walsh will be something to watch. Walsh’s kickoffs in preseason were outstanding. The obvious question will be if he struggles at field goals how will his attitude be. He is young and I have a ton of faith he can get the job done. I even drafted him in both my fantasy drafts this week.

The last area of concern is the fans themselves. I believe the team will come out strong and get the victory. If I am wrong and things do not go well for the team how do fans react? The team is young and with that how patient are the fans with these youngsters? It might be the most interesting story line of the game. A win and you have 64,000 smiling fans whereas a loss, god forbid and what are fans saying as they leave the stadium on Sunday?

I do not believe I have to worry about a questioning crowd rather I will be walking back to my car in a swarm of purple clad fans who are celebrating a home opener victory. The Vikes win 27-10.

Thanks for reading
Purplestick

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Season ticket joy

The start of the 2013 Vikings regular season is just around the corner and with that for me is another year of season tickets.

I get told by more people that they would rather stay at home and watch the game. They would rather not deal with the traffic and potential extra money at the game such as food, drinks.

I feel it is worth every penny as I go into a game day I experience. The screaming, the loud music, the fans and what they may or may not do possibly foolishly is just part of why I enjoy my tickets. The way people dress up, hearing people boo or cheer you just cannot get that same feel at home. I do not put a dollar value on my tickets rather the enjoyment in being the part of my other 63,000 family members. The memories from games, the keepsakes such as programs, or hand out is all part of the ticket experience.

Yes, there has been 2 home preseason games, but the atmosphere is just not the same as a home game when the regular season kicks off.

We leave our house every Sunday 3 hours prior to the kickoff. We follow I-35 going north and with that comes the sight of many Vikings fans. As I drive I enjoy seeing the different license plates of Vikings fans on cars as they go by. The amazement each week is the non-Minnesota cars making the journey with people in their jerseys making the way to Mall of America Field.

We usually pull into our parking lot in Minneapolis around 10:30. The walk to the stadium continues to be beautiful as many hundreds of fans are making the walk as well. All the different clothing such as jerseys, different hats, and all the face paint people come with.

We are now at the stadium and the most beautiful sight of hundreds of people in Vikings colors out on the plaza eating, drinking, and socializing. The opponent usually has their share of fans which are easy to pick out since they are not in Vikings colors.

The plaza offers so much with different food vendors. You will find a dunk tank out on the plaza as well. This gentleman has sat in the chair as long as I can remember. He always has the opponent’s jersey on. He is so good at heckling fans and pushing people’s buttons. If you want a good laugh you have to watch this guy in action.

We now make our way inside to go to our seats in section 215. It is so fun to get into our seats and meet who we will be sitting by all year. The 2 preseason games we went to the seats by us were pretty empty so we have not met this year’s neighbors as of yet.

The team comes out group by group to arm up. A horn sound is made as each group enters the playing field. I enjoy watching as you can see if any player is missing that you did expect to be out there as they come out. I always wonder what the rookies think as the stadium noise builds. They go through their warm ups. In the end a team huddle is formed, they break and head back to the locker room.

The inflatable Vikings ship is lying lifeless while the players are warming up but once they are back in the locker room the ship is inflated amazingly fast.
There is not a better feeling in the world as a fan to see workers shake the ship giving the effect of a ship making its way as the players come running through it to a loud ovation more than I can describe. The chills that go through my body is something that just does not get old.

The national anthem is sang and as it is going fireworks are shots as the words rockets’ red glare is sang. The first time I heard the boom it caught me off guard but now know what to expect.

The coin toss is conducted. The teams take the field. The music blares as the kickoff occurs. You can feel the beat throughout your body. The clapping head bobbing to the music, cheering is at a fever pitch and the game is now started.

I hope all of you will make an effort to get to a game and get the experience and see what I am talking about. The 13 years of season tickets including playoffs, I have only missed one game and that was a preseason game.

This 2013 season more memories will be made as we hope to have a successful campaign. Go Vikes

Thanks for reading
Purplestick


Two teams with similar draft patterns

The kickoff is near as Vikings fans get ready to fill the Mall of America Field. It seems like an eternity since the last game on January 1st at home against the Chicago Bears.

I went through 2 fantasy drafts on Tuesday September 4th and what I found in common in both is the Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew and the Vikes Adrian Peterson did not go as high as in the past.

This is a game coming up with two of the premier running backs in the league. Jones-Drew just ended a 38 day holdout before just recently showing up to the team. Jacksonville has named Rashad Jennings their starter however I would not be surprised to see Jones-Drew get more carries.

The Vikings Adrian Peterson all Vikings fans know his story about his incredible comeback thus far. There is much speculation in the media how much AP will play. The only way we are going to find out is by watching the game and see for ourselves.
It will so fun to see how the Vikings defense can do against the Jaguars running game. The team had been making better strides in preseason and now that it counts can they keep up the getting tougher against the run? Noon on Sunday we all witness first hand this youthful Vikings team with hungry home fans supporting the team wanting a victory badly.

The two teams have not had the best couple of seasons and with that comes high draft picks. In 2011 Jacksonville took Quarterback Blaine Gabbert out of Missouri with the 10th pick. Minnesota two pick later took Christian Ponder. The stats although in the past season were very similar with Gabbert throwing 12 TD’s and 11 interceptions while our own Ponder had 13 TD’s and 13 interceptions.

It is year 2 for both and with that the hope at least for Ponder is he can adjust and learn from last season. I am a believer after going to Mankato and watching first hand.
In 2012 Minnesota took Matt Kalil with the fourth pick out of USC and and at pick 5 the Jaguars selected out of Oklahoma State wide receiver, Justin Blackmon. This was a name I heard much about with the speculation who the Vikings would take Kalil, Blackmon, or defensive back Morris Claiborne from LSU.

Kalil vs Blackmon, who will have a better game Sunday will be a fun aspect of the game to watch. The beast Kalil will have pressure to protect Ponder’s blind side and Blackmon will try and help a Jaguar offense get started.

It is strange the first game of the year features 4 draft picks so close in draft order number. It will be two rebuilding youthful teams fighting it out on Sunday. I know the Vikings will not disappoint.

Thanks for reading
Purplestick

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fun facts about the opener

The excitement is building after OTA’s and mini camps have finished in May and June. Training Camp all 15 days in late July through early August have been completed with 51,000 fans coming and watching which works out to 3400 a day.

The next step comes on Sunday September 9th at noon when the Jacksonville Jaguars come to Mall of America Field. The Vikings lead the series 3-1 with going 2-1 at home and 1-0 on the road. The team that has won these games has averaged scoring 27 points in each of the victories. The only loss to Jacksonville came at home in 2001 when the Vikings lost 33-3.

This will be the first home opener since 2007 when the Vikings beat the Atlanta Falcons 24-7. The Vikings are 17-7 in home openers.

The last 10 openers total including road and home the team is .500 going 5-5 in this stretch.

In 2011 Donovan McNabb was the opening day starter. Christian Ponder is now the quarterback in 2012 so not only will it be his first opening day start it will come at home with 63,000 plus supporters trying to help his cause.

Coach Frazier has yet to win an opening game in his career. The team played in San Diego in last season’s opener and played the Chargers tough but came up shorts. I cannot think of a better way to get Coach Frazier his first opening day victory over Jacksonville right here in the great state of Minnesota.

Kevn Williams is now the longest tenured Vikings with 10 years and has played in 140 games. It is hard to believe 10 years already for one of the best defensive tackles in football.

The pregame will have major stadium supporter, Larry Spooner, blowing the Gjallahorn signaling the Vikings to come onto the field.

The halftime show will feature Chris Doleman getting his Hall of Fame ring.

Ties to Minnesota come in the form of Jacksonville Jaguars new coach, Mike Mularkey who took over officially in January. Mike has been in the NFL for 27 years. He has coached in some form in the NFL for 18 years and played 9 years tight end. He played for the Minnesota Vikings from 1983-1988.

The game will be on CBS and Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots will be in the booth announcing the games.

This first game in my mind will be as important as any game in this team’s history. The amount of losing in the last 2 has got to be forgotten. How nice will 1-0 be vs 0-1? It is only 1 game but the confidence can begin Sunday with a victory.

The team is full of youth as we know. I believe in Coach Frazier and his staff. The team has the 8th toughest schedule with the opponents combined 2010 record of 131-125 which works out to .511

Thanks for reading
Purplestick

Monday, September 3, 2012

Practice squad rounded out

The final three more spots were filled on the practice squad giving the team a total of 8. These spots can and will change as the year goes. Let’s look at the final 3 spots.

The first 2 players were in Mankato for the 15 days of practice. They are Kevin Murphy who plays offensive tackle. He was cut, but now resigned. One of the upsides of him is he went to school at Harvard. Matt Birk also went to Harvard. You just do not hear of many Harvard graduates going NFL.

The other player is Ernest Owusu who plays defensive end went to the University of California. He is 6”4” and weighs in at 277.

The team then got another wide receiver added to the practice squad. Chris Summers comes from the Chicago Bears. Summers stands at 6”5” giving the team another big target. He caught 26 touchdowns at the University of Liberty.

I really like the signings of Turley and Summers, giving the team at this position even more depth even through the practice squad. This receiving squad both active roster and practice squad really give me hopes of finally having receivers that team will respect.

The one disappointment on a personal level is the fact that 7th round pick Trevor Guyton did not for now make the practice squad.

One interesting fact I looked up knowing the NFL players can make millions of dollars. How much do practice squad players make? The answer is: 5700.00 a week.

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

Players to look at for Fantasy drafts

The odds in Vegas are for the Vikings are slightly under to win 6 games for the year and also finish last in the division. My feelings are different, but also know the NFC North is getting stronger each year. I feel the team can win 10 games. The 8 home games should always be won and then any 2 on the road and there you have it, 10 games.
The team itself has playmakers and with some fantasy drafts done a lot of people I know will be drafting Tuesday September 4th. I believe the Vikings have players that will be worth looking at.

The obvious choice will be Adrian Peterson. The question, how high will he go in leagues with the scare of his injury and how he reacts to when he gets his first carry or carries. My gut tells me Toby Gerhart will get a bulk of the carries in the first couple of games. It seems as though more teams are going to 2 backs which makes it hard to know who to start. I think it is worth the risk to take Adrian higher. This is a man who has come back from major knee surgery in 7 and a half months. This will a neat story line in fantasy drafts to see just what people think of him

Tight End Kyle Rudolph will be a player that cannot be overlooked. This will be the perfect guy for Christian Ponder to look for in the end zone with Rudolph’s hands and height. In Mankato this year Ponder really had a good working relationship with Rudolph. I know Rob Gronkowski (Patriots) and Jimmy Graham (Saints) are going to go very high for tight ends. If you have a chance, do not pass on Rudolph I believe he will be a fantasy owner’s best friend and will get you your share of points.

Kicker, Blair Walsh is a must. His leg strength with leagues that score for over 50 yards in made field goals is a must. He is a rookie which may make people nervous. I have all the confidence in the world in him. The home preseason game against Buffalo he went 5 for 6 plus 3 extra points giving him a total of 18 points.

A sleeper I believe that fantasy owners need to look at is Jerome Simpson. He is suspended the first 3 games which will hurt his value but I believe in the later rounds he will be a steal. The bombs that were being thrown to him in camp and his catching makes for a great thought to draft him.

The other sleeper on the team will be John Carlson, tight end. I believe the offense for Minnesota this season will be tight end friendly. It is just something to think about when drafting tight ends. John is a big target also along the goal line.

Next up: More signings for the practice squad

Thanks for reading
Purplestick

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Vikings welcome new players

The blog I wrote Friday was titled 53 man roster set for now, with now being the key word. This has been a weekend of change slowly but surely.

On Friday after the 53 man roster was released and sure enough shortly after a change occurred on the roster. The team made a trade with the Arizona Cardinals and obtained cornerback A.J. Jefferson who was coming into his 3rd season with the Cardinals. The Vikings then released Zach Bowman to make room for Jefferson. Bowman had played his first 4 years with the Chicago Bears before coming to Minnesota to start his 5th year in the NFL before his release. The change form Bowman to Jefferson continues the youth movement going from 5 years to 3 years in this transaction.

The same day another transaction occurred with the Vikings signing Mark Asper who is an offensive lineman. Asper was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the 6th round in this year’s draft. The Vikings then released Pat Brown who was in his 3rd year with Minnesota. The transaction has a third year player released to make room for the rookie. Asper is 6”7” and weighs in at 328.

As of Sunday 5 players had been added to the practice squad. Tyler Holmes, undrafted rookie free agent out of Tulsa plays guard. Chase Baker, undrafted rookie free agent out of Oregon. Baker plays defensive tackle. Bobbly Felder, also undrafted rookie free agent out of Nicholls State plays cornerback. Jordan Todman, 2nd year after being drafted in 2011 by the San Diego Chargers plays running back. Todman cleared waivers and the Vikings were able to sign him to the practice squad. This was my hope we could get him back. The 4 players mentioned above all were in 2012 Training Camp with the Vikings.

Tori Gurley may be the most interesting signing. Gurley was on the Green Bay Packers practice squad in 2011. The Vikings tried to sign him for the last 3 weeks in 2011. He turned down the Vikings to stay with the Packers. He is now a Viking in 2012. What a turn of events. He is a big receiver standing at 6’4” and weighs 232.

The team still has work to do to get the rest of the practice squad spots filled. It seems as the year goes the practice squad members change quite often. It is a start for these guys and if an injury does occur to one of the 53 players who knows, maybe they get their shot.

The roster is shook up and full of youngsters with 40 of the 53 players being 27 years old or younger.

One week from today, Sunday September 9th there will be football every Sunday until the beginning of February. I cannot wait, how about you?

Thanks for reading
Purplestick