Saturday, September 14, 2013

Keys for Vikings to Leave Chicago Victorious

Week One didn’t go exactly how the Vikings wanted it to, but in reality that can be said about literally half of the National Football League. By now, last week’s matchup against the Detroit Lions has been analyzed and overanalyzed by everyone and their brother; it’s time to move on.

The Vikings take on the Chicago Bears at noon (central) on Sunday, you can catch that game on FOX. What do the Vikings need to do to beat the Bears on Sunday?

Soften Forte

That’s a horrible music joke, but it gets the point across. The Vikings got run over last week by the Lions’ new toy, Reggie Bush. If the Vikings want to leave Soldier Field with a victory, they need to make sure that Bears’ running back Matt Forte doesn’t do the same thing.

Ponder Power

Let’s face it; Ponder’s leash is getting short. Christian Ponder has to show something soon for the Vikings or the starting QB job will soon be handed off to backup Matt Cassel. It’s time for Ponder to open it up a little bit.

Everything gets easier if you open up the offense. If Ponder throws deep or at least throws some completions, it doesn’t allow the opposing defense to stack the box so much against league MVP Adrian Peterson.

Open it up, Ponder. There is nothing to lose.

Close in on Cutler; Field Marshal

Jay Cutler is a good quarterback, not great, but better than Christian Ponder. The Vikings need to get into Cutler’s face. Every QB gets a little jittery when they get pressure, Cutler is no different.

While doing that, the Vikings need to cover up Cutler’s favorite target, Brandon Marshall. That’s the QB-WR combo to watch for the Bears, Vikings fans wish they just had one for someone to focus on defending.

Absolutely Adrian

Adrian Peterson had a shot heard round the world with his first touch of the season last week with a 78 yard TD… then he really didn’t do anything else. His stats look good, but it wasn’t that impressive of a game for Adrian Peterson. It wasn’t a MVP-like performance from the MVP.

The Vikings need AD/AP to get going and rolling.

If the Vikings’ season is a car, the quarterback play would be the steering wheel, but Adrian Peterson is the engine of the vehicle. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

U of M's Richard Pitino Buys Big, Spendy House

What would you do with $999,000? Buy a new house in Edina? If you are University of Minnesota head men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino the answer to that question is yes.

According to Twin Cities Starlight, in early August, Pitino bought the house out in the west metro. It being in Edina, we know that it is quite swanky and by looking at the pictures on the website, I can confirm.

The house has 4,920 square feet of spacing featuring 5 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. Some add on features would be a porch, patio, deck, a hot tub, sprinkler system and a three-car garage.

Not too bad.

The house and the price tag may be big, but what’s bigger is the message. Richard Pitino is going to be around for a long, long time. You don’t put down almost a million dollars on a house if you don’t plan to be living there for a while.

The house is pretty big, so maybe this could be the Gophers practice facility as well… Just a thought.

(picture from Twin Cities Starlight)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Vikings Week One Jottings: Bush is a Beast, Pondering about Ponder and Fun with the Box Score

Well, well, well. Week 1 is in the books for the Vikings and it didn’t quite go the way that Vikings fans wanted it to go. When the game came to a close, the scoreboard read 34-24 in favor of the Detroit Lions. Here are some thoughts about what the heck happened:

Reggie Bush is a beast and an excellent pickup for the Lions

-         Reggie Bush had 191 yards overall. 101 via the air and 90 on the ground. Bush only crossed the goal line once for the Lions, but he was the main spoke in the wheel that ran over the Vikings. What’s more impressive is that Bush did all of this after dislocating his thumb early in the contest and right after that pulling a groin.

It could have been uglier, much uglier
      Detroit had some really bone-headed penalties throughout the contest on Sunday; the Lions racked up 11 penalties for 88 yards. Take out those 88 penalty yards and give Detroit a couple touchdowns for about the four times they missed the goal line by inches, the Vikings could have left that game much more scarred than they did.

Umm, Adrian?
      I believe my exact tweet was “Oh my god. Adrian bleepin’ Peterson”, when Peterson busted up the gut for a 78 yard touchdown scamper on the Vikings first touch as an offense this season. It was quite incredible and everyone on Twitter seemed to think the same way. Then he kind of went away. Adrian had three touchdowns on the day, but only rushed for an additional 15 yards after that first touch.

Adrian was getting bunched up behind the line and that could be for various reasons, one could be that every other team in the league knows the Vikings are going to run it and they might as well put a million people in the box. It helps when Christian Ponder is able to stretch the field, but we all know that doesn’t happen too often. Bottom line is if the Vikings want to be successful this season, Adrian needs to get more going.

Pondering about Ponder
      In all honesty, Ponder didn’t look terrible, but he didn’t look good either. I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it does if you think about it. You have to look somewhat decent. I’m not a Ponder basher, but I understand why some people are. He has a leash and he’s not quite to the end of it. Other than the three interceptions, which I know isn’t a thing we can just ignore but alas, Ponder’s stats didn’t look all too bad. He went 18-for-28, 236 yards, 8.4 yards a toss and one TD toss to Peterson.
      Ponder looks good… okay decent… on paper, but when you watch him live, it’s not pretty. The Vikings have a very early Bye Week this season, scheduled for Week 5 after the Week 4 London trip against the Steelers. This could be a good thing for the Vikings and Vikings fans, but a very bad thing for Christain Ponder’s job security.

Come back, Kevin Williams
      It may have just been that Reggie Bush went beast mode in his Detroit debut, but it may have been a slightly different story with Kevin Williams fronting that defensive line. Football teams are well oiled machines and it really don’t matter how much oil you got if you take out one of the major cogs to the machine.

Jared Allen looked good
      I think we can all admit that Jared Allen never looked real great last season, but today against Detroit he was one of the few bright spots for the Vikings. Allen had four tackles, including a sack, and he lead the team with two pass deflections.

Hello, Jerome Simpson
      Maybe it’s because Tom Pelissero left the Vikings beat, maybe it’s because he wasn’t suspended at the beginning of this season, but Simpson looked good today. Simpson had seven catches for 140 yards on eight targets. Solid, solid day for Mr. Simpson.

Fun with the box score

      Adrian Peterson had more tackles than Ndamukong Suh today. Adrian Peterson registered a solo tackle while Suh only registered a pass deflection and QB hit on the day.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Key for Vikings to Leave Detroit Victorious

There are keys to the season for the Vikings and then there are keys for single games. Usually those go hand-in-hand. The keys to the season are basically this: Adrian runs like a mad man, Christian Ponder/Matt Cassel doesn’t totally screw things up and the secondary needs to step up and not be a collect group of Swiss cheese.

So, what is the main key for the Vikings against Detroit? The Vikings can have no dairy products playing in the secondary on Sunday.

Matthew Stafford has a big arm and can tear up a defense, especially one with a mediocre staff of backs like the Vikings. Throw on top of Stafford’s arm the fact that the best receiver in the game, Calvin Johnson, also plays for the Lions, it’s crucial to lock that portion of the game down.

It’s not just Calvin Johnson to be worried about. Former-Vike Nate Burleson is on the opposite side, the Lions had respectable tight end Brandon Pettigrew and a great receiving threat out of the backfield now with Reggie Bush. Detroit’s offense is pretty dynamic.

Who is dynamic on the Vikings’ DB squad? Harrison Smith? Possibly. It’s an okay group, but not really a lot more than that.

The Vikings need to get a lot of pressure on Stafford right away and try to make him make bad passes or the Vikings could end up leaving Detroit with a one in the right hand column.  You want one in the left hand column.

Obviously, for the Vikings to win Adrian needs to have an Adrian type day with Ponder not throwing the ball to the Detroit defense too often either. It’s a winnable game for the Vikings, but it’s also a losable game.

If you have any lucky charms, send their good charms toward Chris Cook, Jamarca Sanford, Harrison Smith and Josh Robinson, Vikings fans.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Collin's NFL Preview: Gusty Predictions

The NFL season is about to kick off and everybody and their cousin has their NFL predictions out on the interwebs. I am also going to throw my hat into that ring.

The process that goes into these predictions is quite simple. You go to ESPN’s website, click on the NFL page, click on schedule and then you see every game for all 17 weeks of the NFL season. This way assures me that I don’t give both the Cowboys and the Giants a win in a Cowboys vs. Giants matchup.

That’s about all there is to it.

I didn’t do extensive amounts of research, this is more of a gut feeling kind of thing. So, I suppose, these are really ‘gutty’ predictions, if I say so myself.

Here’s how you read the chart: a ‘1’ equals a win for the week, a ‘0’ equals a loss and a ‘BYE’ means it is that team’s bye week. The AFC teams are the first half of the chart; the NFC is featured in the bottom half. The different colors are meant to separate the divisions for easier reading. The ‘WINNER’ featured at the end of some records equals the winner of that division; ‘WC’ stands for a Wild Card winner. The teams listed after are the playoff seeds. Enjoy:

Speaking of the playoffs, here’s how I predict they will go down.

In the AFC:

The Patriots and Broncos will get the byes. Third seeded Indianapolis will beat the sixth seeded Cleveland Browns. Fourth seeded Cincinnati will be victorious over the fifth seeded Houston Texans.

In the second round, the Patriots will face the Bengals and come out on top against the Stripes. Peyton Manning will beat his former Colts squad and Andrew Luck leading the Broncos to the AFC Championship game.

That AFC Championship game will be a battle of great quarterbacks and looks to be a great one on paper. Tom Brady, the greatest-living American, will not be able to topple Mt. Manning in a snowy Foxboro. Broncos head to the Super Bowl.

In the NFC:

The 49ers and the Falcons will grab the byes for NFC dominance. Green Bay will grab the third seed, but will be upset by a sixth seeded Cowboys team led by Tony Romo, who will finally win a big one. The Giants and Eli Manning will go to Seattle to face the Seahawks and the 12th Man. The 12th Man will leave the stadium happy, toppling the Giants.

Second round pits the Niners and the ‘Boys against each other and will trigger many, many great playoff memories. The ride will continue for the Niners, whom will beat the ‘Boys pretty handedly. The Seahawks will once again go into the Georgia Dome to face the Falcons in the Divisional Round, this time the Seahawks will fly victorious.

Of course, it’s not a real shock; the NFC Championship Game will feature an NFC West divisional matchup with the 49ers hosting the Seahawks. A whole lot of mobility and a whole lot of familiarity will result in a fabulous game, that results in the 49ers being the ones heading to a (according to the Farmer’s Alemannic) a snowy New York/New Jersey for the Super Bowl.

That means the Super Bowl comes down between the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers. I would really like to make this dramatic, but… the Denver Broncos will be winners. Peyton Manning will win his second Super Bowl ring and will further cement his place in Canton.

Only time will tell how good wrong I am.