2015 was an interesting season for the Minnesota Vikings. After a 7-9 year in 2014 without Adrian Peterson for 15 games, many people were excited about his return. That excitement was validated with Peterson winning his 3rd rushing title and leading the Vikings to an NFC North division title. The Vikings offense was rocky at best this year and it was obvious throughout this season that the defense was close to championship level, while the offense lagged behind.
Over the last month of the season the Vikings looked like a team that could knock on the door of greatness. Finishing the season with three victories in convincing fashion (38-17 over the Bears, 49-17 over the Giants, and 20-13 over the Packers in a game where they were up 20-3) In the wild card round the Seattle Seahawks came to town to face the 3rd coldest weather in NFL history. The Vikings got out to a 9-0 lead and it looked good for the home team. However, in the playoffs things can turn on a dime quickly, and that they did. Russell Wilson miraculously recovered a snap that went 15 yards behind him to find an open Tyler Lockett who takes it and goes down to the 5 yard line and the Seahawks scored on the next play. On the next possession, the Vikings were gonna run some clock and let Adrian Peterson do his thing. Unfortunately he fumbled the ball and set up what would end up being the winning field goal for Seattle. Seattle went on to take a 10-9 lead and it was up to the offense to drive down the field and score. Teddy Bridgewater led the offense down the field with poise wise beyond his 2nd year status. Blair Walsh comes on to attempt the game winning field goal with 12 seconds left in regulation. 27 yards. Everyone in the stadium thinks the game is won. Chip shot. The kick is up, and it hooks wide left. Not even close. Disbelief. In the words of KFAN Vikings radio play by play announcer Paul Allen, “The season can’t end like that!” sadly, it did.
I think moments like this can make a team motivated to come back better than ever before. The Vikings have young nucleus of players who just gained a great experience of winning a division title and hosting a playoff game. Organizationally, the Vikings are one of the top teams on the rise. With the new stadium being close to complete, the Vikings will bring a well coached and hungry young football team. I think this team has what it takes to make the next step next season. This season will have great expectation for the purple and gold and I’m already looking forward to it. Forge ahead and skol Vikings!
We are three quarters of the way through the NFL season. With four games left in a season that has flown by, many teams are vying for playoff spots. My favorite team, the Minnesota Vikings is fortunately one of them. With an 8-4 record the Vikings would be the 5th seed in the NFC playoff bracket if the season ended today. The next four weeks will be a challenge for the purple and gold, starting with a trip to Arizona to face a legitimate Super Bowl contender in the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona is a team that is well coached, has an MVP candidate in Carson Palmer at Quarterback, a ferocious defense, and depth across the board. Heading into tonight’s contest, the Vikings have a banged up defense. Starting safeties Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo are both inactive, along with Linebacker Anthony Barr, and Defensive Tackle Linval Joseph. With these four players missing the majority of last week’s thrashing against the defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks many expect more of the same, myself included. The alarming fact about this football team is this, it’s offensive line is one of the worst in the league, if not the worst in pass protection. Teddy Bridgewater is the future franchise Quarterback of this team and is taking hits like a crash-test dummy week in and week out. If that does not change, this offense is one dimensional and easy to stop and has a great chance to finish this season with an 8-8 record.
Up to this point the Vikings winning formula has been this; run the MVP running back Adrian Peterson and play lights out defense. Seattle did the same thing the last two years with a developing Russell Wilson (who is now playing like a Top 5 QB in the NFL) and have appeared in the last 2 Super Bowls. When Adrian Peterson gets 20 touches or more, the Vikings chance to win improves significantly.
At the front of this season I predicted the Vikings to finish the season with an 11-5 record and as a Wild Card team in the NFC playoffs. The losses included; (twice to Green bay, Seattle, Arizona, and Denver) Now that was before injuries to Center John Sullivan and Right Tackle Phil Loadholt(both are out for the season) and the injuries on defense I have listed above. If this defense can get healthy for their last 3 games against Chicago, New York Giants, and Green Bay I believe they can win two of those games and finish this season with a 10-6 record which would most likely earn them a wild card seed in the post-season.
Tonight Carson Palmer gets to pick apart a banged up secondary and based on what I have observed the last few weeks the Vikings do not have the passing game (due mostly to poor pass protection) to keep up with an aerial attack like Arizona’s. Arizona also has a tough defense that could mean another dismal outing for Adrian Peterson and Teddy Bridgewater.
Tonight’s final score prediction: Arizona 31 Minnesota 14
With NBA Free Agency beginning at midnight tonight, few teams are positioned for the future better than the Minnesota Timberwolves. Coming off of a 16-66 season (worst in the NBA) there wasn’t much the Wolves could ride home about. Andrew Wiggins was acquired in a deal that sent superstar Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Wiggins came in and dazzled en route to Rookie of the Year honors. Rookie guard Zach Lavine showed off his athleticism winning the NBA Dunk contest in dominating fashion. After this injury plagued season, the Wolves were going to get a high draft pick, and ended up winning the Draft Lottery with many expecting New York or Los Angeles to win despite the Wolves having the worst record and greatest chance to win. With the Timberwolves winning the lottery, they were poised to add another cornerstone to a solid foundation for the future.
With the first pick in the 2015 NBA draft the Wolves selected Karl-Anthony Towns out of Kentucky. He’s a big man with a versatile skill set. He has a sweet shooting stroke, can block shots with overall solid defensive play, and post-up in the paint. The Wolves needed a dominant big man to pair with Andrew Wiggins and this could become one of the league’s dynamic duos in years to come. It will be interesting to see if Towns can live up to the hype of being the first pick in the draft. He should be a solid piece for this team to build around.
Later on in the first round, the Cavaliers selected Tyus Jones (Point Guard out of Duke University, and native of Apple Valley, MN). The Cavaliers then traded the Point Guard to Minnesota in exchange for it’s two second round selections (31 and 36 overall). The trade brought the hometown kid back to Minnesota. He now has a chance to fill the backup Point Guard role behind Ricky Rubio and potentially win an NBA championship on the same floor he won a state championship on his high school days at Apple Valley.
As far as I am concerned, the Timberwolves hit a homerun at this year’s draft and have a young corp that will be formidable. With players like Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Zach Lavine, Shabazz Muhammad, Gorgei Dieng, and Tyus Jones they have a young nucleus loaded with great talent.