Vikings shut down Giants en route to 4-0 start

Posted by Matt Field | Posted in NFL | Posted on 10-03-2016

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MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota’s defense denied Odell Beckham Jr. all night and forced two turnovers that led to 10 points, and the Vikings mystified Eli Manning yet again during a 24-10 victory Monday over the New York Giants.

Sam Bradford threw a touchdown pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph for the third straight game and kept his turnover-free streak since joining Minnesota intact, helping the Vikings (4-0) lead from start to finish after falling behind in each of their first three wins and record their first 4-0 start since 2009. The Vikings, Eagles and Broncos are the only remaining unbeatens.

“I think they like to compete. I think they like to go out there and prove to everybody that they can be talked about with other good teams in this league,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.

Beckham, who has yet to score this season, was smothered by cornerback Xavier Rhodes and had a career-low 23 yards on three catches.

“It’s not a one-on-one game. It’s 11-on-11, and we got beat 11-on-11 today,” Beckham said.

Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard were quiet, too, and Manning was erratic as ever while finishing 25 for 45 for just 261 yards. Rhodes picked him off in the third quarter , the 15th interception for Manning in eight career starts against the Vikings. He’s 2-6 with only five touchdown passes.

Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon each ran for a touchdown as the Vikings rushed for a season-high 104 yards to strike their best balance of the season as they continue to craft a post-Adrian Peterson strategy without their injured veteran running back. Bradford went 26 for 36 for 262 yards, thriving with quick-release throws behind an offensive line that protected better than it had in any of the previous three games.

“I didn’t get hit, hardly at all,” Bradford said. “The game ball should go to those guys.”

The Vikings, who have allowed only 50 points in four games and rank second in the league in that category, have an NFL-best turnover margin of plus-10. The Giants (2-2) dropped to minus-8 for the season, including a muffed punt in the first quarter by Dwayne Harris that was forced by Vikings wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson in his new role on the coverage team.

“A good team on the road, especially this team, you can’t give them two possessions,” Giants coach Ben McAdoo said. “The message is getting through. I just think we need to take care of the ball.”

RUDOLPH

Rudolph’s wife, Jordan, was scheduled to give birth to twins by induction on Tuesday morning. He joked he wanted a second touchdown catch, one for each of his soon-arriving children. Bradford might as well be their godfather with the way he’s connected with his sure-handed tight end.

“We kind of had a bond early,” Bradford said, adding: “He’s just such a big target.”

MONDAYS WITH MOSS

Former Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss, at the game as an analyst for ESPN, blew the ceremonial Gjallarhorn prior to kickoff to get the crowd going early. Fifteen years ago, Moss caught three touchdown passes on a Monday night game as the Vikings beat the Giants 28-16.

“This is a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful place,” Moss said. “The atmosphere they created, I love it. You live for it, you thrive in it.”

STRUGGLING SECONDARY

The Giants defensive backs are so depleted by injuries that wide receivers were playing safety in practice this week. Andrew Adams, promoted from the practice squad last week, started at safety for Nat Berhe. Trevin Wade had trouble all game, starting at cornerback for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Wade was beaten by Charles Johnson for receptions of 30 and 40 yards, had a pass interference penalty on Rudolph and got away with one on an early incompletion to Adam Thielen.

WALSH, WIDE LEFT

Blair Walsh‘s 46-yard field goal attempt failed early in the third quarter, already his fifth miss (three field goals, two extra points) of the season. The interception by Rhodes gave him the chance to make a 44-yarder less than 3 1/2 minutes later.

INJURY UPDATE

Giants TE Larry Donnell (concussion) was blown off his feet in the second quarter by blitzing Vikings LB Anthony Barr and quickly ruled out for the rest of the game. Donnell was obviously woozy as he walked slowly to the sideline.

Vikings RT Andre Smith (right elbow) was hurt in the first quarter and was replaced by Jeremiah Sirles.

UP NEXT

The Giants play at Green Bay (2-1) on Sunday night.

The Vikings host Houston (3-1) on Sunday afternoon.

Vikings open new stadium in style with a win over Packers

Posted by Matt Field | Posted in NFL | Posted on 09-18-2016

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MINNEAPOLIS — Sam Bradford had a Minnesota debut almost as dazzling as the new $1.1 billion building itself, completing 22 of 30 passes for 286 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers to lead the Vikings to a 17-14 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night just 15 days after he arrived in a trade.

“He can throw the ball,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “He’s got some toughness about him, and this isn’t his first rodeo.”

The defense did the rest, harassing Aaron Rodgers for five sacks and two fourth-quarter turnovers that quashed the comeback and sent the crowd of 66,813 into a deafening frenzy in celebration of the first regular season game at U.S. Bank Stadium.

“I don’t think this is anything to get super crazy about,” Rodgers said. “It’s a tough opponent, a division opponent. They’re a good football team. They’ve still got to come to our place later in the season. Hopefully we’re in a position to play for something then.”

Adrian Peterson limped off in the third quarter with a right knee injury, and only 19 yards on 12 carries, but the Vikings (2-0) proved they still have a lot of options. Stefon Diggs caught nine passes for 182 yards and a touchdown. They held the Packers (1-1) to 65 total yards in the first half, withstanding an early touchdown pass by Rodgers to Jordy Nelson on a drive aided by two penalties by cornerback Terence Newman.

“They didn’t win the division last year by accident. You do have to give them their credit,” said Mike Daniels, who had one of Green Bay’s four sacks.

Trae Waynes, who had two penalties himself, intercepted Rodgers’ pass in Vikings territory with 1:50 left to seal the victory. The previous drive was killed with a strip sack by Brian Robison, when Shamar Stephen recovered at the Minnesota 44 with 6:53 remaining.

Rodgers, who ran for 29 yards and a touchdown, began to find a groove throwing the ball down the stretch. He finished 12 for 21 for 154 yards in the second half, but Bradford was the better quarterback on this night.

The Vikings, who aggressively traded two premium draft picks including next year’s first-rounder to Philadelphia to fetch Bradford after Teddy Bridgewater went down with a massive left knee injury, boldly eschewed a field goal try early in the second quarter.

Bradford found Diggs for a 4-yard completion on fourth-and-1 from the 18. Then he hitKyle Rudolph for an 8-yard touchdown pass three plays later.

“When quarterbacks and receivers are on time, they’re very tough to stop,” said Packers cornerback Damarious Randall, who was matched up with Diggs for most of the game.

Bradford was hit hard on his non-throwing hand by Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews while following through on a pass at one point during the drive. He visited the locker room briefly for further examination but never missed a snap, despite significant swelling beneath his left pinky.

There were only a couple of instances that even hinted of newness for Bradford and the offence, when one throw on the first drive sailed well past where Rudolph’s route ended and another later in the first quarter was in the air too quickly for Rudolph to turn around.

“These guys have had my back from day one,” Bradford said.

PETERSON UPDATE

Peterson, who was on crutches after the game and wearing a brace on his right leg, will have an MRI exam on Monday. Zimmer said he was told the injury had already “calmed down” afterward.

“He might miss a week. I don’t know if he will or not,” Zimmer said.

TURNOVER TRADE

Davante Adams fumbled at his own 13 on Green Bay’s first play, a short completed pass, when Eric Kendricks punched the ball out and Andrew Sendejo picked it up with an eye toward the end zone. Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb wrestled him down and stripped the ball in the process, recovering it himself. Each team was charged with a turnover because of the change of possession.

Eric Kendricks Named NFC Defensive Player of the Week

Posted by Matt Field | Posted in NFL | Posted on 09-14-2016

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Eden Prairie, MN (September 14, 2016) – Minnesota Vikings LB  Eric Kendricks has been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week after securing his first career interception and returning in 77 yards for his first career touchdown. According to the coaches tally, Kendricks also posted seven tackles (five solo), including one tackle for loss, in the 26-15 win at Tennessee.

 

Kendrick’s 77-yard interception return touchdown paired with DE Danielle Hunter’s 24-yard fumble return touchdown to mark the sixth time in team history the Vikings scored on an interception return and fumble return in the same game.

 

The second-year LB from UCLA became the first rookie to lead the Vikings in tackles since Rip Hawkins in 1961, after posting 105 tackles during his initial campaign. The 2014 Butkus Award winner was also named the NFC Defensive Rookie of the Month for October 2015 and was selected to the PFWA All-Rookie Team last season.

 

Kendricks becomes the eighth different Viking to earn NFC Player of the Week honors under head coach Mike Zimmer.

 

VIKINGS TO BE NAMED NFC PLAYER OF THE WEEK UNDER ZIMMER

Defensive Anthony Barr, LB 2014, Week 8, at Tampa Bay
Special Teams Adam Thielen, WR 2014, Week 13, vs. Carolina
Special Teams Marcus Sherels, PR 2015, Week 8, at Chicago
Defensive Linval Joseph, DT 2015, Week 9, vs. St. Louis
Defensive Terence Newman, CB 2015, Week 10, at Oakland
Special Teams Blair Walsh, K 2015, Week 16, vs. NY Giants
Defensive Everson Griffen, DE 2015,Week 17, at Green Bay
Defensive Eric Kendricks, LB 2016, Week 1, at Tennessee

Tuesday Morning Buzz: Fantasy Headlines from Week 1

Posted by Matt Field | Posted in Fantasy Football | Posted on 09-13-2016

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At the Buzz, we’ll review the week in fantasy football and draw some conclusions that will hopefully launch you into a greater understanding of what is taking place across the league. So, let’s dive in to the ten biggest fantasy stories from Week 1…

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Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins and now A.J. Green have torched Darrelle Revis in recent memory.

 

Revis Island Isn’t Such a Bad Place After All

There was a day when lining up across from Darrelle Revis was the kiss of death for fantasy production, even for the best of wide receivers. That day may not be done, but A.J. Green certainly did major damage to the concept and then some with 12 catches for 180 yards and a TD. Maybe Green’s performance says more about his abilities than those of Revis at this point, but NFL coaches will study the film and I will be surprised if we don’t see more big days vs. Revis if his safeties don’t rotate over to help. I thought the loss of Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu would hurt Green’s chances of being a top-five WR this season. For one week at least, it just meant a lot of targets (13) and tremendous production. Up next on “Revis Island”: Sammy Watkins (Wk 2), Jeremy Maclin (Wk 3), Doug Baldwin (Wk 4).

All Is Not Peachy For Freeman Owners

The warnings were there this off-season. Beware of drafting Devonta Freeman with the expectation that 2016 was going to be a repeat of 2015. And yet, most owners who saw Freeman available in the second round of fantasy redrafts selected him to be their primary running back. After Week 1, that is looking like a huge mistake. Tevin Coleman outgained Freeman (117-40) and nearly out-touched him as well (15-13). Particularly telling was Coleman’s 95 receiving yards- a medium of production that helped launch Freeman into fantasy stud status last season. Many forgot that Tevin Coleman was hurt much of 2015 and never got his footing in the offense. Unless he gets hurt again this season, this looks like a timeshare that has the potential to ultimately tip in Coleman’s favor given his prowess on Sunday in the passing game. Trading Freeman at this point probably isn’t viable, so try to trade a player at another position to bolster your RBs if Freeman is indeed your top guy.

New Orleans and Indianapolis: Fantasy Boomtowns

What do Drew Brees and Andrew Luck have in common besides the two biggest QB performances of Week 1? They both feel the need to keep the pedal down constantly on offense to overcome their historically bad defenses. If you think Jalen Richard, Ameer Abdullah, and Theo Riddick will continue to produce the kind of numbers they put up on Sunday, you’re not paying attention. The Saints and Colts can’t stop anybody. That’s great news for Brees and Luck owners as they project to be the top fantasy QBs to own going forward. And, guys like Brandin Cooks (6-143-2), Willie Snead (9-172-1), Donte Moncrief (6-64-1), and Phillip Dorsett (4-94) will continue to ride the tidal wave. Start em’ all next week. Heck, even Jack Doyle is worth picking up this week as your backup tight end. Hitch your wagon to these two offenses- particularly when they’re playing at home. Week 1 is the just the beginning.

Dazed and Confused in San Diego

For nearly one full half, the entire world seemed right in San Diego. The Chargers’ offense was clicking on all cylinders with Melvin Gordon (finally) scoring touchdowns and Keenan Allen routinely giving defenders fits to the tune of six first-half catches. And, then…it all came crashing down. Allen’s season-ending ACL injury is bad news for all San Diego skill position players except maybe Danny Woodhead. Woodhead could be a PPR monster again this year, but to an even greater degree after notching 120 yards on 21 touches Sunday. That’s nearly as many touches as Melvin Gordon had snaps (23). Philip Rivers stands to lose out the most, though, as without Allen, he’ll have trouble working underneath. Travis Benjamin’s role as a field-stretcher will be largely unchanged. If Rivers is your starter, you better start making alternative arrangements. The Chargers averaged 24 points per game last season with Allen on the field, 16 points with Allen on the sidelines. If Allen was someone you were counting on in 2016, you have the Buzz’s sincerest condolences.

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

Matt Forte kept slipping in redraft leagues during August as rumors swelled pertaining to his usage in the Big Apple. Turns out (at least for one week) that those rumors were poppycock. Forte’s 27 touches for 155 total yards looked a whole lot like what he did in Chicago for many years and should put to rest the notion that he’s anything less than a borderline RB 1/2 moving forward. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are so good in the red zone that Forte’s TD numbers still project low given that reality. But, to say that he’s part of a timeshare is laughable given his production this past weekend.

Help! I Burned a First-Round Pick on Dez Bryant

The above is the kindest possible statement being made this Tuesday morning by those who got burned counting on Dez Bryant on Sunday (1 catch, 8 yards). Bryant nearly caught a TD pass, but that is of little consolation to the fantasy owner who started Bryant thinking he had the upper hand against the owner starting Jordan Matthews or Mike Wallace. To Dak Prescott’s credit, he was a good game manager and didn’t force the issue downfield against the Giants. While that’s good from a real-world football perspective, it was and could continue to be very damaging to Bryant’s prospects in the weeks to come. Dallas will no doubt do everything in its power to get Bryant the ball early and often in Week 2, but will that desire be enough to produce favorable results? Color us skeptical here at the Buzz of Bryant’s value moving forward. Keep starting him, but adjust your expectations until Tony Romo returns (if he returns).

It Was a Great Weekend for Zero-RB Strategists

Spencer Ware (199 total yards, 1 TD) and Theo Riddick (108 total yards, 2 TDs) were available very late in most redraft leagues. C.J. Anderson on the other hand, carried a steeper price tag, but if you picked him to be your starter at the position, you probably began your draft by snagging two top wide receivers. And this morning…you look like a genius. Add in Danny Woodhead (16-85; 5-31-1), Ameer Abdullah (12-63; 5-57-1), T.J. Yeldon (21-39-1; 4-30) and you’ve got a mountain of evidence against burning an early pick on a running back. How do you feel this morning if you selected Adrian Peterson in the first round instead of A.J. Green? Or, if you chose Eddie Lacy in the second when you could have had Brandin Cooks? Maybe Week 2 will be a rebound week for the highly touted rushers, but we’re not betting on it. Those who went WR-WR in the first two rounds are smiling on this day…unless they took Dez Bryant and Brandon Marshall with those picks.

It Was a Bad Weekend for Tight Ends

Unless you started one of the tight ends that Andrew Luck throws to, you were probably disappointed in the production you received from the position. Coby Fleener registered one short catch. Gary Barnidge managed one less than that. Delanie Walker (3-42) had a quiet day. Martellus Bennett only caught 3 balls for 14 yards with Rob Gronkowski sitting it out. Tight ends have played a major role in the storylines for Week 1 the past couple of seasons. Not the case this time around. Is it a trend? Only time will tell.

Houston, We Have a Problem…Or Do We?

The answer to that question depends on whether you’re a DeAndre Hopkins owner or perhaps took a late-round flier on rookie Will Fuller. Hopkins benefited last season from having very little help on the other side of the field in the sense that he became an absolute target monster (192). But, 2016 is shaping up to be a different year with Fuller in the mix. He recorded 5 catches for 107 yards and a TD on Sunday and it could have been even more if he hadn’t dropped another sure-TD after blowing by the defense. Fuller’s speed is proving to be hard to handle for defenses. His emergence bodes well for the fantasy value of Brock Osweiler…but could continue to harm the value of Hopkins.

Monday Night Steeler Steamroller

DeAngelo Williams partied like it was early season 2015 all over again netting 171 yards and 2 TDs. Big Ben (300-3) and Antonio Brown (8-126-2) weren’t too shabby, either. Despite his fluky touchdown, Eli Rogers (6-59-1) is going to be a thing after winning the slot role during camp and has a good chance to finish the season as the Steelers No.2 fantasy wideout ahead of Sammie Coates and Markus Wheaton. The Steelers have a better defense than New Orleans and Indianapolis, so they won’t be in shoot-outs every week. But, as Monday night proved, they’ve got a different gear than all other teams, and it’s fun to watch if you’re an owner of one of their stars…terrifying to watch if your opponent has ownership.

That’s a wrap for the Buzz this week. Until next Tuesday…

Vikings capitalize on turnovers to beat Titans

Posted by Matt Field | Posted in NFL | Posted on 09-11-2016

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The Tennessee Titans made sure Adrian Peterson wouldn’t hurt them.

So the Minnesota defense took control.

Eric Kendricks returned an interception 77 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter and Danielle Hunter scored a 24-yard TD off a fumble return and the Vikings beat Tennessee 25-16 in their season opener Sunday.

The Vikings forced three turnovers in the span of just under seven minutes and also had two sacks.

“The defense came through for us and made some big plays,” Peterson said. “They pretty much bailed us out today.”

The defending NFC North champs needed the help from their defense in scoring 25 straight points after being shut out in the first half with the NFL’s 2015 rushing leader smothered.

Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer did his best to hide his starter at quarterback after the Vikings lost Teddy Bridgewater to a major knee injury Aug. 30, and after they traded their 2017 first-round draft pick to Philadelphia for Sam Bradford .

The mystery finally ended when Shaun Hill, 36, took the field for the Vikings’ first series for his first start since 2014 when he was with the St. Louis Rams.

Zimmer said Hill did well.

“We’ll take it one week at a time and see where it takes us,” Zimmer said.

Tennessee focused on stopping Peterson, who had 1,485 yards rushing last season, and the Titans did just that.

Peterson had 31 yards on 19 carries.

The Titans had a revamped roster from a new general manager for coach Mike Mularkey in his first game since having the interim tag removed in January.

They also opened at home for the first time since 2012 and jumped out to a 10-0 halftime lead looking for a rare home win after going 1-7 in Nashville each of the past two seasons.

Their highlight came on the first of two TD catches by DeMarco Murray, the 2014 Offensive Player of the Year, when he vaulted himself over a defender for a 6-yard TD catch just before halftime.

TURNOVER MELTDOWN

The Titans were driving trailing 12-10 when Marcus Mariota tried to force a quick throw under pressure only to be picked off by Kendricks who returned it for the TD with 1:24 left in the third quarter. The Titans then went three-and-out before turnovers on the next two drives. Mariota lost the ball after faking a handoff to Murray, which Hunter picked up for his own TD return. Then Murray lost a fumble.

“The turnovers obviously were catastrophic,” Mularkey said.

WALSH’S WOES

Vikings kicker Blair Walsh kicked four field goals, including a 50-yarder. But the kicker who missed a 27-yard field goal in the playoffs, costing Minnesota in a 10-9 loss to Seattle in January, had a rough start. His first field goal from 37 hooked wide left. Zimmer sent Walsh out to attempt a 56-yarder at the end of the first half, and the kicker was well short despite being lined up in the middle of the field. The Titans missed a chance to return the kick by taking a timeout. With a second chance, Walsh still missed badly with the ball going way left out of the end zone.

The kicker connected on field goals of 50 and 33 yards in the third quarter, and he added two more in the fourth. But he missed an extra point right after Kendricks’ interception return.

MARIOTA’S STRUGGLES

Mariota had a perfect passer rating in his NFL debut as a rookie, and his second season couldn’t have started much differently. The Vikings pressured Mariota repeatedly, and he threw into coverage while being pressured on the interception. He also lost a fumble and had another turnover wiped out by a roughing the passer call.

INJURIES

Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes was scratched after aggravating an injury in warmups. … Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan went down grabbing the back of his left leg, and he did not return with an injured left hamstring.

FANTASY IMPACT

Stefon Diggs caught seven passes for 103 yards for the Vikings. Titans rookie Tajae Sharpe caught seven passes for 76 yards.

Report: Vikings acquire QB Bradford from Eagles

Posted by Matt Field | Posted in NFL | Posted on 09-03-2016

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The Minnesota Vikings have found their replacement for Teddy Bridgewater.

According to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Vikings are trading for Sam Bradford of the Philadelphia Eagles. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the Vikings will be sending a first round pick in 2017 and a fourth round pick to the Eagles for Bradford.

The Vikings needed a QB after Bridgewater was lost for the year after injuring his knee in practice. They get that in Bradford, who threw for 3,725 yards and 19 touchdowns to 14 interceptions last year in 14 games for the Eagles.

For his career, the injury-proned former No. 1 pick has 14,790 passing yards and 78 touchdowns to 52 interceptions. The Oklahoma product will be reunited with his college running back, Adrian Peterson, in Minnesota.

Chase Daniel, whom head coach Doug Pederson brought over from Kansas City, is expected to take over as starter in Philadelphia until second overall pick Carson Wentz is ready.

 

Teddy Bridgewater suffers injury in non-contact drill at Vikings practice

Posted by Matt Field | Posted in NFL | Posted on 08-30-2016

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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater went down with a non-contact injury during practice Tuesday, causing the team to call off its final preseason practice after 25 minutes.

Bridgewater dropped back to pass during the drill, planted his foot and immediately went down. Trainers rushed to Bridgewater’s side and began inflating an aircast, while the quarterback appeared to be holding his left leg.

Several players threw their helmets and shouted expletives as they scattered, while many simultaneously dropped to one knee in prayer. Moments later, a siren-blaring ambulance pulled into the team’s Winter Park headquarters, stayed for about 10 minutes and then pulled away.

The nature of the injury was not immediately clear. Bridgewater was still on the practice field grass as the team’s PR staff ushered reporters from the premises.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is scheduled to address the media at 5 p.m. ET.

Players were visibly distraught as they exited the field, some hurling expletives into the air. A small group remained behind, huddled around him in prayer as team athletic trainers worked to immobilize his leg.

If Bridgewater is unable to return in a timely manner, there is little behind him on the depth chart. Shaun Hill is the primary backup, but he’s 36 years old and has played only sparingly over the last five years.

Bridgewater is entering his third season in the NFL and the Vikings were counting on him to take some major steps forward after a promising start to his career. He helped lead the Vikings to the NFC North championship last season as more of a game manager, but Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner have said that they expected him to be much more of a playmaker in 2016.

Bridgewater missed the second preseason game with a sore shoulder, but was very sharp on Sunday against San Diego. He went 12 for 16 for 161 yards and a touchdown in two quarters of work, leaving Vikings players and fans fully confident as the team starts to prepare for the season opener at Tennessee on Sept. 11.

The Vikings host the Los Angeles Rams in their final preseason game Thursday night, though Bridgewater and most of the starters were not expected to play.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Vikings give Zimmer a contract extension

Posted by Matt Field | Posted in NFL | Posted on 07-28-2016

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MANKATO, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings trickled into the residence hall for their two-week training camp stay, toting the usual duffel bags, electronic gadgets and mattress pads.

Coach Mike Zimmer came with a contract extension.

The Vikings announced Thursday they’ve added to Zimmer’s deal, rewarding their revered coach well before his contract status ever became a headline and further galvanizing an organization already buzzing with anticipation of the season and the future.

General manager Rick Spielman declined to disclose the terms of the deal, revealed when the Vikings reported to Minnesota State University, but Zimmer’s original contract was not close to expiring. Zimmer even said he saw no rush to address it, entering his third season on the job.

“They really didn’t have to. There was nothing that was pushing this deal,” Zimmer said. “But I feel very, very fortunate to be the coach of the Vikings. It’s a great organization, a lot of great people.”

Talks took place over the past month between Spielman and Zimmer’s agent, Marvin Demoff.

“Our ownership, myself, the entire organization felt very strongly about getting something done with coach Zimmer,” Spielman said.

“We have so much excitement building up with the new facility, the new practice facility, and I know how strongly we feel about coach Zimmer in leading this football team in the future.”

The ribbon has been cut at U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis. Next week, they’ll break ground on new suburban headquarters. Coming off an 11-5 regular-season finish that earned them the NFC North title, the team has plenty of momentum. Now the power structure has even more stability.

“I can tell you, in my 26 years in the NFL, I have not had the experience and the cohesiveness with a head coach as I do with coach Zimmer,” Spielman said.

Zimmer, a long-time defensive co-ordinator for Dallas and Cincinnati who got his first opportunity to be a head coach with Minnesota at age 57.

He’s 18-14, with one loss in the playoffs. Only Dennis Green, with 20, had more wins in his first two seasons as coach of the Vikings.

“I don’t want to oversimplify it because I think he’s done a lot of things,” safety Harrison Smith said, finally settling on a favourite: “Really, just the get-it-done attitude. There’s no excuses for anything. It’s either you got it done or you didn’t get it done, and guys really enjoy that. Because it’s just straightforward, and you know where you stand, and that allows you to get better.”

Both sons of football coaches, Spielman and Zimmer have been in step from the beginning. Spielman is the boss, but Zimmer said they’ve hardly had any disagreements about decisions regarding the roster.

“We’re kind of like the odd couple. He’s messy, and I’m the clean one,” Zimmer said, before his tone turned serious. “It’s been a real good relationship, and I’m looking forward to more.”

Zimmer is the kind of coach who can keep a team carrying high expectations appropriately grounded. Supplementing his own brand of defiance, fueled by all those head coach positions he interviewed for but didn’t get, Zimmer has rarely missed an opportunity to prod his players by slapping the doubt card down on the table.

Deep passing and the kicking game are the biggest questions surrounding this team, not the danger of complacency.

“When you have a lot of good people, guys who work hard, all the things that I’ve been saying about this team, I think it’s easy,” Zimmer said.

Throughout his first two seasons, Zimmer often said half-jokingly in response to queries about the future that he wasn’t sure whether he’d be around for it. He once dismissed a question from a team official about the colour of the wood in the new stadium locker room: “I said, ‘Heck, I don’t know if I’m going to be here for the new stadium.'”

Here he is, with the Aug. 28 exhibition opener against San Diego a month away.

“That’s what pushes me, that someone else can come and take my job or we don’t play as good as we can play or proving people wrong,” the 60-year-old Zimmer said. “That’s just my mentality.”

Report: Vikings RT Loadholt retires

Posted by Matt Field | Posted in NFL | Posted on 07-25-2016

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Phil Loadholt, Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Offensive tackle Phil Loadholt informed the Minnesota Vikings Monday that he’s retiring, according to reports from ESPN and the NFL Network.

ESPN reports Loadholt will retire as a result of soreness in his surgically repaired Achilles tendon, among other aches and pains. Loadholt missed all of last season due to the torn Achilles, an injury that occurred in pre-season.

Loadholt played seven seasons with the Vikings after Minnesota drafted him in the second round in 2009.

 

Northern Exposure: NFL awards Minnesota 2018 Super Bowl

Posted by Matt Field | Posted in NFL | Posted on 05-22-2014

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Nina Moini WCCO/AP– NFL owners voted to hold Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis in 2018, over competing bids from New Orleans and Indianapolis.

“We appreciate the collaborative effort from Minnesota’s business and community leadership in putting together this winning bid,” Vikings owner Mark Wilf said. “It was evident to me and my brother Zygi that the other NFL owners were extremely impressed with everything Minnesota had to offer, and we have no doubt they will be even more excited with what the community will deliver in February 2018.”

The vote came in the fourth round of voting, which meant that Minneapolis was selected on a simple majority among the NFL owners, and not the supermajority of 75 percent required during the previous three rounds.

Officials with the Vikings and Minneapolis went to Atlanta, Ga., on Tuesday to make their final pitch in a closed-door meeting. The Minneapolis delegation was the first to present.

The Minnesota Vikings’ $1 billion future football stadium in Minneapolis will be done in 2016, and the committee making the final pitch Tuesday afternoon said they had hoped the project would give them a leg up over the other contending cities. They also highlighted our winters as a selling point and the fact that the stadium is in downtown Minneapolis.

The group making the multimedia pitch Tuesday includes Marilyn Carlson Nelson from the Carlson Company and Richard Davis from U.S. Bank.

The Vikings released a logo as part of their presentation. It was designed to match the Vikings new stadium with the Roman numerals for the Super Bowl resembling the stadium’s pivoting doors.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development estimates the game will mean up to $324 million in potential dollars being pumped into the state’s economy, thanks to the predicted 100,000 visitors.

Minneapolis hasn’t hosted a Super Bowl since 1992, when Washington beat Buffalo. Indianapolis has hosted one, which was in 2012, and New Orleans has hosted 10 Super Bowls, which is tied with South Florida for the most.

Next year’s game is in Glendale, Arizona, followed by Santa Clara, California, for the 50th Super Bowl, then Houston.