Harrison Smith Mr Nice guy in TC

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

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Vikings crank up the defense leading to a big road win in Detroit


The Minnesota Vikings traveled to Detroit to take on the Lions and looking for a rare road win while Detroit comes in with their first win last week in the home OT win over the Bears.

The way the game started out in the first half watching the Lions march easily down the field and put up 2 touchdowns made me anxious and somewhat concerned. The Minnesota Vikings come in giving up a league low 16 points a game and the Lions already had 17 was this a sign it might not be the Vikings game?

Teddy is so fun to watch yet at times can be a little frustrating. I have so much mixed emotion of what I am seeing. Teddy completes 25 of 35 for 316 yards and that is awesome yet takes some bad sacks at times. Yes, he is young and will learn so with that I can be optimistic. He has through the early weeks taken some big times hits and I do worry that one time he may not get up.

The offensive line makes me want to close my eyes at times watching them get out physicaled seemingly much of the time but I also know just how inexperienced these guys are so do I have a right to be concerned? I think so yet it is a good learning year for TJ Clemmings and Brandon Fusco with one a rookie and the other playing a position new to him. I will leave my faith in Coach Davidson that he will get these guys playing better in the future.

My other thought with the O-Line comes with Adrian Peterson. Is he dancing too much because there is no hole? As strong as he is I would love to see him lower his head and just hit the line. It seemed Jerick McKinnon had a few good runs on Sunday.

The offense seemed to be able to move the ball better 2nd quarter and beyond but seemed to stall too much. Blair Walsh who has been a talker early season had maybe the game of his career as far as need. Yes, he missed an extra point but in the first half connected on a 53 yarder and at half hit a 51 yarder to leave the Vikings only down 2 at half.

The Vikings get the ball back 2ndf half and with the first drive ends with an incredible Stefon Diggs 36 yard reception from Teddy. If this is not a ESPN top 10 play from Sunday I will be shocked.

This game was so strange watching the Lions score 17 points fairly early in the game and the rest of the game get 2 on a Vikings safety.

The Vikings score 22 straight until the last 2 by the Lions. The TV screen showed a stat going up to the last Lions drive that stalled at the goal line on 4th down that the Lions only had 5 total yards.

The Mike Zimmer lead defense put on a blitz clinic leaving Lions quarterback, Matthew Stafford repeatedly lying on the ground after a hit. The Vikings sack him 7 times which ties a record of a team that has sacked Stafford in one game.

The look of disgust each play was enjoyable and so much needed by the Vikings. The team struggles to win on the road but Sunday a team showed up that was determined to get that illusive road win.

I am so proud to be a Vikings fan each week but today just felt extra special. Was it a perfect game? No, but it was a team win!!!!

If I was a fan who could give game balls out I would give them to:

1) Stefon Diggs with his 6 catches for 108 yards and his first NFL touchdown which will be a top 10 play on ESPN

2) Mike Zimmer for the defensive call that caused so much destruction of the Lions offense

3) Blair Walsh 5-5 on field goals including 2 over 50 and yes I know he did miss an extra point.

4) Teddy Bridgewater who finished 25-35 316 yards 2 touchdowns and NO Interceptions

This is a great Sunday watching the Vikings getting a rare road win and in the NFC North even. The Packers (6-0) are on a bye week so a loss today would have really hurt the Vikings. It should be a fun flight back from Detroit for the team and now must get ready for another NFC North road trip as the team travels to Soldier Field to take on the Bears.

On a sad note the death of Timberwolves part owner, GM and coach Flip Saunders at age 60  on Sunday should be a sign to all of us to just enjoy what we have today because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring us. RIP Flip Saunders

Thanks for reading

Todd Walkingstick

 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Rookies shine as Vikes hold on to stay undefeated at home


Purplestick

The Vikings hosted the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday October 18th on a day that turned out absolutely beautiful with blue skies and temps in the low 60.’s. What a beautiful day on the campus of the University of Minnesota.

The Vikings are coming off a bye and the Chiefs come in after a last second loss to the Chicago Bears and in that game the Chiefs lost running back, Jamaal Charles, who I believe is a top 5 running back in the league.

The pregame had a great Minnesota sports flavor with Maya Moore along the Minnesota Lynx team having the honor of blowing the Gjlarhorn. Maya blew it with the rest of the team around her.

The coin toss was conducted and Sunday’s honorary captain was Minnesota all-time great, Jim Marshall.

THOUGHTS ON THE FIRST HALF

Minnesota absolutely dominated every sense of the game especially in stats. Teddy was already at over 170 yards passing but Adrian was shut down very well by an aggressive attacking Chiefs defense.

The Vikes defense held the Chiefs to less than 70 yards of total offense so the Vikes passing game going strong and the Chiefs going nowhere left me not feeling as confidant as I had hoped.

It seemed the Vikes would make big plays to get down the field but then bog down and end up with either a field goal or eventually punting,

The kicking of Blair Walsh on Sunday was a much needed boost. It is such a strange atmosphere in the stadium when Blair gets ready to kick. I hear so much out fans, don’t screw it up or please don’t miss it again. The kick is up and it seems the crowd gets so quiet as all eyes are on the ball making sure it goes through the uprights.

The offensive line seemed to really struggle in the run blocking on Sunday but the pass protection seemed a little better as the sack numbers allowed were down from the Broncos game. The other part of this is the athleticism of Teddy was a big part of the sack number being down as well.

In my opinion one of the biggest plays of the first half involved the non-call of what I felt was a sure safety as the result of holding in the end zone by the Chiefs. As it turned out the ref said the holding was outside the goal line which I still don’t believe as I am writing this Sunday night. It is what it is and the game rolled on.

Half has come with the Vikings dominating yet only up 13-0. The thought of 2 plays by the Chiefs and we could be down real quickly.

The halftime had more Minnesota theme with the University of Minnesota marching band performing at half. The second part of halftime was the introduction of several former Viking players who participated in all 4 Super Bowl games. What a treat to see the heroes of the past even though the Vikings lost all 4 games.

THOUGHTS ON THE SECOND HALF

The Vikes made plays at times but not consistent enough leaving Kansas City in the game. The game sees Kansas City come to 4th and less than a yard and Quarterback Alex Smith takes the handoff and pitches back to the running back and bam he is stopped short. It was a great win for the Vikings defense on that play. I will never understand NFL teams when it’s that short why not give the ball to an up back or qb sneak.

I know late in the 4th quarter the Chiefs were driving again but thanks to the hustle of the Vikes defense a fumble was caused by Danielle Hunter and recovered by Brian Robison. Thank you, Vikings.

GAME BALLS HANDED OUT

If I was a coach today I would hand 3 game balls out with 1 going to 2015 5th round rookie, Stefan Diggs who made his first NFL start and what does he do? He makes 7 catches for 129 yards with 3 of the 7 catches on 3rd down good for a first down.

The other 2 game balls I would give to rookie linebacker, Eric Kendricks who got the start at middle linebacker lead the team in tackles and was all over the field.

The other game ball would go to Danielle Hunter who started in place for Everson Griffen, Hunter got credit for a half sacks and was also responsible for forcing the fumble with the Chiefs driving late in the 4th quarter.

OVERALL SUMMARY

The Vikings won the game they needed. Was it pretty? Absolutely not but it is a win. There is definitely much to improve on. The home winning streak now goes to 6 which include 3 from last year. The Packers won again going to 6-0 so the Vikings really have no margin for error.

NEXT UP:

Sunday October 25th at the Detroit Lions

Thanks for reading

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Tough loss yet so proud of the no quit Vikings


The Minnesota Vikings came into Denver after winning 2 in a row at home after getting embarrassed on Monday night football in San Francisco in Week 1. Denver comes into the game undefeated and boasting the number 1 defense.

A road game on national TV and the Vikings are playing in the high altitude and comes in as a touchdown underdog. The defense is facing a future Hall of Fame quarterback so how would a Mike Zimmer team fare?

The way the first drive went by Denver was concerning but the bend but not break settled down and hold the Broncos to a Field Goal. Win goes to the Vikings defense!!!

The Vikings put a decent drive together but stalls and puts into the hands of struggling Blair Walsh’ foot and the kick was up and there it goes wide left. Oh no, can the Broncos cash in on a possible momentum changer?

The answer was a resounding yes, as Broncos running back, Hillman takes the ball wide left and there he goes 72 yards for a touchdown. Oh boy that’s all we need as the announcers had been talking how much the Broncos running game had been struggling. The Broncos up 10-0 at home, so how would the young Vikings react to a 10 point deficit?

The pounding Teddy Bridgewater took over and over I really had more respect than I already had. The Broncos defense at times absolutely made the Vikings makeshift Offensive Line look silly.

The first half even though the Vikes were down 10 I could not help be impressed by the Vikings defensive effort. Yes, Manning had his share of completions but the young defense came to play.

Vikings linebacker, Anthony Barr made the play of the half for the defense for an absolutely beautiful interception which the offense got 3 out of and we have a game.

Denver gets a field goal to go back up 10 but the no quit Vikings come back on a much needed drive with veteran receiver, Mike Wallace coming through with a big catch and then the touchdown. We have a game at halftime as we are only down 3.

The second half had Denver drive the length of the field  and the Vikings made a huge stop down on the goal line setting up 4th and short. Does Denver go for 3 or do they risk it and try for 6 knowing if they fall short the Vikings would really have the momentum?

Denver Coach Kubiak rolls the dice successfully as Manning finds a wide open tight end for an easy 6. Denver goes up by 10 again. Can Minnesota keep coming back?

Fourth quarter begins with the Vikes down by 10 so can this team find the energy to make a game of it? The team answers first with a much needed field goal to cut it to 7. We have a game and then the Vikings drive again with just over 10 minutes left in the game and Minnesota is in Denver territory faced with a 4th and short.

Do we go for it or play the field position game? The Vikings offense got a huge spark as Adrian takes the handoff deep in the eye and behind two huge blocks from center, Joe Berger and left guard; Brandon Fusco Peterson hits the huge whole and is gone for 6. We have a tie game at 20.

Denver does what a good playoff contending team does and drives the ball but ends up only with 3 leaving the game in doubt.

I will say Xavier Rhodes had a tough guy to defend all game in Damarius Thomas and Rhodes had a few flags thrown against him but on this drive Rhodes made a touchdown saving knockdown.

I love this team for many reason sand one of them is plays like this. Rhodes had a tough game but he never stopped competing and it paid off.

Yes Denver did get a field goal but it could easily have been a touchdown. The Vikings had a chance to drive and were driving but the way the drive ended typified the day for the Vikings offensive line all day as the Broncos defense got to Teddy and stripped him.

In years past I would have been totally bummed out way more than I was today. The Broncos defense created havoc all day for the Vikings offensive line which honestly I kind of expected.

I have so much respect for Teddy as he took a pounding all day but was resilient and gave the Vikings a chance to win on the road.

I have so many players I loved to watch on Sunday. How about the play of rookie wide receiver, Stefan Diggs along with Adam Thielen who made his first NFL start? The 2 combined for 12 catches with each hauling in 6. Diggs had 6 for 87 yards and Thielen had 6 catches for 70 yards.

Veteran receiver, Mike Wallace had 8 catches for 83 yards including a touchdown. Mike seemed to really make the clutch catches when the team needed him.

The offensive line took a beating but I did see one block from tight end, Rhett Ellison crushed Broncos Linebacker, Von Miller. I do not know if I have ever seen anyone destroy Miller like that by any NFL team.

One player that may have gone unnoticed was punter; Jeff Locke who I thought really had a very nice punting performance.

The defense I can’t give the defense enough credit which may sound strange after a loss. I absolutely love the game played by 3 in particular and they were Safety, Harrison Smith along with Linebacker, Anthony Barr and defensive tackle, Linval Joseph.

Every fan has thoughts after a tough loss but today’s game I will stay positive. The team never quit and the defense picked off Manning twice along with holding him just under 220 yards at home. How many teams can say that?

I love my team and now a bye week followed by a home game with the Kansas City Chiefs coming to TCF Bank Stadium.

Go Vikings

Have a great week everyone and thanks for reading

Purplestick

Todd Walkingstick