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Purple People Readers

WHY IT’S NOT RIDICULOUS TO THINK TEDDY BRIDGEWATER SHOULD START
There’s been a lot of talk about how it’s best to let Teddy Bridgewater sit and learn this year.
This “analysis” or “opinion” drives me crazy.
I don’t have inside intel like our local sports reporters, bloggers and talk radio hosts. They may have the inside scoop and if so, I’d like them to detail why they think Cassel has performed so well that it’s ridiculous for fans like myself to think Bridgewater should start.
I’ll address three arguments that are commonly used as reasons to not start Teddy.
1) Matt Cassel Clearly Won QB Competition
He did? Cassel went into training camp as the starter and has played well to keep his job. No denying that. But in 3 preseason games, Cassel and Bridgewater have almost identical stats:
Cassel: 26 of 39 for 367 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INTs.
Bridgewater: 26 of 40 for 266 yards, 4TDs, 0 INTs
Sure, the naysayers will claim most of Bridgewater’s numbers are the result of playing versus the other team’s scrubs. True. But if Bridgewater is any good, he should shine against lesser competition, right? Also remember that Teddy is playing with our reserves, so it’s a level playing field. It’s not like Bridgewater is running with our first-team against our opponent’s second- and third teams.
You have to give Bridgewater credit for making the most of his moments to shine. He lead the team to a last-minute victory while facing blitzes nearly every play on the winning drive against the Arizona Cardinals. Then versus the Kansas City Chiefs, he was efficient in the red zone throwing 2 touchdowns to TE Allen Reisner. Bridgewater sidestepped the rush on one TD toss and froze the defense with a look-off before throwing the second TD.
Whoa, hold on, what about the Oakland Raider game when Teddy looked so-so? I would argue that if Bridgewater’s roll-out completion to WR Greg Jennings hadn’t been called back for a penalty and the first-team offense didn’t sputter due to subsequent penalties, Teddy might have had a different night. Sure, I’m speculating, but it’s not like our first-team helped Bridgewater that night.
2) Sitting Worked For Aaron Rodgers
The people pushing for Teddy to sit his rookie year often use Aaron Rodgers in their argument. Rodgers sat on the sidelines for 3 years waiting for Brett Favre to decide to retire. It worked with Rodgers so why shouldn’t it work for Bridgewater?
My hunch is that Rodgers always had the talent and intestinal fortitude to be a starter in his rookie season. He didn’t need “marinating”. And either does Bridgewater.
Unfortunately, Rodgers had to sit because he couldn’t “beat out” Favre, who by then, had already become a living legend in the NFL. Rodgers had to sit because of “office politics”. You can’t be “the man” until “the man” leaves.
Matt Cassel is not Brett Favre. Cassel is an adequate NFL starter. Favre is a future first-ballot Hall of Famer. With the Vikings situation, if the QB competition is close and Cassel is not Brett Favre, then let Teddy start.
The Vikings and their fans don’t “owe” Cassel anything. Yes, Cassel was treated badly by the Vikings and should have been allowed to start last year rather than endure the Christian Ponder experiment. But that was then, this is now. I’m not looking to make up for Cassel’s mistreatment.
3) A Rookie QB Will Hurt The Vikings Chances
Hurt our chances for what? This is a rebuilding year for the Vikings. New coaching staff. One of the youngest teams. Playing in a tough division. Yes, we are improved and will be better than expected. But we’re predicted to be only slightly better than last year’s awful 5-10-1 team – with little chance to compete for the NFC North title or make the playoffs. 
If Bridgewater starts, do you think the Vikings are going to be so much worse? Do you think the difference between Cassel and Bridgewater is the difference between a winning or a losing record? I don’t think so. This isn’t Cassel versus Ponder. If Cassel had started last year, I believe the Vikings would have had a winning season.
I have nothing against Matt Cassel. I like Cassel and believe he can lead the Vikings offense. But I’m about the future. Teddy Bridgewater is the future for the Vikings. Cassel has had his chances in the NFL. Now it’s Teddy’s turn. 
I’m a big believer in learning by doing. It’s easier to learn how to do something from actually being forced to do it, rather than watching someone else do it. Sure, you’ll make mistakes, but if you’re smart and capable, you’ll pick things up fast and bounce right back. 
The sooner Bridgewater goes through the ups and downs of his rookie season, the sooner the Vikings can become a legitimate contender year after year. The only thing ridiculous is to say that it’s ridiculous to believe that Bridgewater should start.
From what I’ve seen and read, Bridgewater has not disappointed the coaching staff. Both Head Coach Mike Zimmer and Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner have praised Bridgewater’s talent, work ethic and mental makeup. Bridgewater’s nickname is GUMP (Great Under Major Pressure). He doesn’t seem like the type of player that wilts in the spotlight or fears mistakes.  
With all things close going against Cassel and opposing defenses, Two-Minute Teddy time is now.
Skol, yo!

WHY IT’S NOT RIDICULOUS TO THINK TEDDY BRIDGEWATER SHOULD START

There’s been a lot of talk about how it’s best to let Teddy Bridgewater sit and learn this year.

This “analysis” or “opinion” drives me crazy.

I don’t have inside intel like our local sports reporters, bloggers and talk radio hosts. They may have the inside scoop and if so, I’d like them to detail why they think Cassel has performed so well that it’s ridiculous for fans like myself to think Bridgewater should start.

I’ll address three arguments that are commonly used as reasons to not start Teddy.

1) Matt Cassel Clearly Won QB Competition

He did? Cassel went into training camp as the starter and has played well to keep his job. No denying that. But in 3 preseason games, Cassel and Bridgewater have almost identical stats:

Cassel: 26 of 39 for 367 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INTs.

Bridgewater: 26 of 40 for 266 yards, 4TDs, 0 INTs

Sure, the naysayers will claim most of Bridgewater’s numbers are the result of playing versus the other team’s scrubs. True. But if Bridgewater is any good, he should shine against lesser competition, right? Also remember that Teddy is playing with our reserves, so it’s a level playing field. It’s not like Bridgewater is running with our first-team against our opponent’s second- and third teams.

You have to give Bridgewater credit for making the most of his moments to shine. He lead the team to a last-minute victory while facing blitzes nearly every play on the winning drive against the Arizona Cardinals. Then versus the Kansas City Chiefs, he was efficient in the red zone throwing 2 touchdowns to TE Allen Reisner. Bridgewater sidestepped the rush on one TD toss and froze the defense with a look-off before throwing the second TD.

Whoa, hold on, what about the Oakland Raider game when Teddy looked so-so? I would argue that if Bridgewater’s roll-out completion to WR Greg Jennings hadn’t been called back for a penalty and the first-team offense didn’t sputter due to subsequent penalties, Teddy might have had a different night. Sure, I’m speculating, but it’s not like our first-team helped Bridgewater that night.

2) Sitting Worked For Aaron Rodgers

The people pushing for Teddy to sit his rookie year often use Aaron Rodgers in their argument. Rodgers sat on the sidelines for 3 years waiting for Brett Favre to decide to retire. It worked with Rodgers so why shouldn’t it work for Bridgewater?

My hunch is that Rodgers always had the talent and intestinal fortitude to be a starter in his rookie season. He didn’t need “marinating”. And either does Bridgewater.

Unfortunately, Rodgers had to sit because he couldn’t “beat out” Favre, who by then, had already become a living legend in the NFL. Rodgers had to sit because of “office politics”. You can’t be “the man” until “the man” leaves.

Matt Cassel is not Brett Favre. Cassel is an adequate NFL starter. Favre is a future first-ballot Hall of Famer. With the Vikings situation, if the QB competition is close and Cassel is not Brett Favre, then let Teddy start.

The Vikings and their fans don’t “owe” Cassel anything. Yes, Cassel was treated badly by the Vikings and should have been allowed to start last year rather than endure the Christian Ponder experiment. But that was then, this is now. I’m not looking to make up for Cassel’s mistreatment.

3) A Rookie QB Will Hurt The Vikings Chances

Hurt our chances for what? This is a rebuilding year for the Vikings. New coaching staff. One of the youngest teams. Playing in a tough division. Yes, we are improved and will be better than expected. But we’re predicted to be only slightly better than last year’s awful 5-10-1 team – with little chance to compete for the NFC North title or make the playoffs.

If Bridgewater starts, do you think the Vikings are going to be so much worse? Do you think the difference between Cassel and Bridgewater is the difference between a winning or a losing record? I don’t think so. This isn’t Cassel versus Ponder. If Cassel had started last year, I believe the Vikings would have had a winning season.

I have nothing against Matt Cassel. I like Cassel and believe he can lead the Vikings offense. But I’m about the future. Teddy Bridgewater is the future for the Vikings. Cassel has had his chances in the NFL. Now it’s Teddy’s turn. 

I’m a big believer in learning by doing. It’s easier to learn how to do something from actually being forced to do it, rather than watching someone else do it. Sure, you’ll make mistakes, but if you’re smart and capable, you’ll pick things up fast and bounce right back.

The sooner Bridgewater goes through the ups and downs of his rookie season, the sooner the Vikings can become a legitimate contender year after year. The only thing ridiculous is to say that it’s ridiculous to believe that Bridgewater should start.

From what I’ve seen and read, Bridgewater has not disappointed the coaching staff. Both Head Coach Mike Zimmer and Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner have praised Bridgewater’s talent, work ethic and mental makeup. Bridgewater’s nickname is GUMP (Great Under Major Pressure). He doesn’t seem like the type of player that wilts in the spotlight or fears mistakes.  

With all things close going against Cassel and opposing defenses, Two-Minute Teddy time is now.

Skol, yo!

READ & REACT: PRESEASON GAME 2 VS CARDINALS
The second game of the preseason was a good test for the Vikings. I believe the Arizona Cardinals are a potential 10-win team and playoff contender.
I can’t remember a more memorable preseason game –  which isn’t saying a lot because, well, it’s the preseason – but this one will stick with me for many years.
Here’s 3 reasons why:
1. A Good Problem To Have
Teddy Bridgewater was all the talk after the game and for good reason. With 1:11 left, Teddy proved his namesake of “GUMP” (Great Under Major Pressure) by leading the team to a comeback win on a last second pass to WR Rodney Smith.
Sure, Teddy did it against the Cardinal’s second and third-team defenders but it’s not like they just gave the game to him. Most of the players on both sides are fighting for their livelihoods. 
Teddy made the right reads and got the ball where it needed to go with the Cardinals sending blitzes. Teddy never let anyone see him sweat. He looked sweat-free and cool on the sidelines after the winning drive. Ice, ice (in the vein) baby.
Is Matt Cassel still the starter? The football experts and writers say yes. Cassel played well and I wouldn’t be mad if he got the nod. I’m a big supporter of Cassel. He’s a true pro and a class act.
The undecided starting QB situation for once is a good problem to have for the Vikings. A hell of a lot better than having an undecided starting QB situation because we don’t have an NFL-caliber QB. Now we’ve got two QBs with the skills to start in the NFL and lead the Vikings. 
2. Kyle (And The High-Powered Offense?)
Kyle Rudolph gave us a glimpse of what we hope to see from him in the regular season. Sure, he dropped a TD pass from Cassel early, but finished strong with 4 catches for 89 yards including a 51-yard TD. He can block but has the playmaking abilities of a WR. Rudolph will be a tough matchup for opposing defenses.
In fact, I think the Vikings offense could be problematic for the teams we go up against. With Norv Turner’s offensive schemes and playcalling, the Vikings now have a legitimate offensive with explosive weapons in Kyle Rudolph, Cordarrelle Patterson, Greg Jennings and Adrian Peterson.
Having an offense that can score on long drives that eat up the clock and keep the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford off the field can only help us be competitive. Our rivals can’t score if they don’t have the ball.
3. The Linval Joseph Effect?
Missed tackles and very few timely stops, resulted in a very average performance by our defense overall. I’m not overly concerned because I believe the personnel has improved and they’re still learning head coach Mike Zimmer’s scheme.
Despite Everson Griffen and Sharrif Floyd playing well, I think the Vikings missed Linval Joseph. The Cardinals ran against us effectively and the pressure on passing plays just didn’t seem quite as disruptive.
I’m sure Zimmer will be giving our defense an earful of F-bombs this week on what they need to correct. I have no doubt the D will be wrecking havoc versus the Chiefs next week.
Skol, yo!

READ & REACT: PRESEASON GAME 2 VS CARDINALS

The second game of the preseason was a good test for the Vikings. I believe the Arizona Cardinals are a potential 10-win team and playoff contender.

I can’t remember a more memorable preseason game   which isn’t saying a lot because, well, it’s the preseason  but this one will stick with me for many years.

Here’s 3 reasons why:

1. A Good Problem To Have

Teddy Bridgewater was all the talk after the game and for good reason. With 1:11 left, Teddy proved his namesake of “GUMP” (Great Under Major Pressure) by leading the team to a comeback win on a last second pass to WR Rodney Smith.

Sure, Teddy did it against the Cardinal’s second and third-team defenders but it’s not like they just gave the game to him. Most of the players on both sides are fighting for their livelihoods.

Teddy made the right reads and got the ball where it needed to go with the Cardinals sending blitzes. Teddy never let anyone see him sweat. He looked sweat-free and cool on the sidelines after the winning drive. Ice, ice (in the vein) baby.

Is Matt Cassel still the starter? The football experts and writers say yes. Cassel played well and I wouldn’t be mad if he got the nod. I’m a big supporter of Cassel. He’s a true pro and a class act.

The undecided starting QB situation for once is a good problem to have for the Vikings. A hell of a lot better than having an undecided starting QB situation because we don’t have an NFL-caliber QB. Now we’ve got two QBs with the skills to start in the NFL and lead the Vikings. 

2. Kyle (And The High-Powered Offense?)

Kyle Rudolph gave us a glimpse of what we hope to see from him in the regular season. Sure, he dropped a TD pass from Cassel early, but finished strong with 4 catches for 89 yards including a 51-yard TD. He can block but has the playmaking abilities of a WR. Rudolph will be a tough matchup for opposing defenses.

In fact, I think the Vikings offense could be problematic for the teams we go up against. With Norv Turner’s offensive schemes and playcalling, the Vikings now have a legitimate offensive with explosive weapons in Kyle Rudolph, Cordarrelle Patterson, Greg Jennings and Adrian Peterson.

Having an offense that can score on long drives that eat up the clock and keep the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford off the field can only help us be competitive. Our rivals can’t score if they don’t have the ball.

3. The Linval Joseph Effect?

Missed tackles and very few timely stops, resulted in a very average performance by our defense overall. I’m not overly concerned because I believe the personnel has improved and they’re still learning head coach Mike Zimmer’s scheme.

Despite Everson Griffen and Sharrif Floyd playing well, I think the Vikings missed Linval Joseph. The Cardinals ran against us effectively and the pressure on passing plays just didn’t seem quite as disruptive.

I’m sure Zimmer will be giving our defense an earful of F-bombs this week on what they need to correct. I have no doubt the D will be wrecking havoc versus the Chiefs next week.

Skol, yo!

SYMPATHY FOR THE PONDER
Something bothered me about the Vikings first preseason game versus the Raiders. Work has been extremely busy so haven’t had a chance to write about it sooner. But even though it’s been almost a week, I still feel compelled to bring it up.
What bothered me was Christian Ponder. Nope, it wasn’t his play. Ponder played as he’s always played. Making the best of his limited QB abilities. He completed his usual number of rudimentary throws mixed with near pick 6’s. His third string offensive line didn’t do him any favors either. Ponder was under pressure most of the night.
Fans booed Ponder. And that’s what really bothered me. Sure fans paid money to attend the game and yes, they have every right to express their feelings about what they see on the field.
Considering Ponder’s current role on this Vikings team, I’m not sure what the point is in booing him. We know he’s not the man anymore. But more importantly, Ponder knows he’s not the man anymore.
Some fans have criticized his mopey body language and questioned his loyalty to the team. Ponder seems like a good guy. I’m sure he’s giving his best during his limited reps. I find it hard to imagine any athlete at any level wanting to suck.
I feel for Ponder. He was put in a bad situation he probably never asked for or even imagined in his wildest dreams. Rick Spielman selected Ponder 12th overall in the 2011 draft. I was shocked as anyone. I’m sure Ponder was just as shocked.
Spielman filled Ponder with hope that he could be a franchise QB. I was definitely rooting for Ponder. Why wouldn’t I? He wore the colors of my favorite team. I’m not an NFL GM or even close to a draft expert. I assumed Spielman saw something in Ponder.
Unfortunately, over three seasons and given every opportunity to be the man, Ponder made us see just how far away he was from being an NFL QB. Ponder was (and still is) a one-read-stare-down-his-WR-with-no-touch-and-prone-to-overthrows-and-underthrows kind of QB. His play was made even more depressing by the fact that the Packers have arguably the best QB in the league in Aaron Rodgers.
But like I said, I feel for Ponder. Just place yourself in Ponder’s cleats for a moment.
Think about a time where you had a dream opportunity and it slipped away despite your best efforts. That fumble you had against your crosstown rivals that cost your team the game. That big presentation for that big client that you froze at. That hot girl you finally got a date with but blew it because well, you were young, dumb and full of cum. (I’ve only heard about these things from a friend of a friend. Ahem. Cough. Cough.)
It sucks to suck. I wish Ponder all the best whether he’s on this team or not. Who knows, maybe Ponder gets a fresh start with another team and becomes a respectable QB in this league. It can happen. People mature. People can rise to the occasion to fulfill their potential.
At the very least, I hope Ponder can shut up all the boo birds by being terrific at whatever he goes on to do outside of football. Not everyone can make it in the NFL. It’s hard for us diehard Vikings fans to believe, but there is more to life than football.
Leave the man alone. Booing Ponder just takes away from the optimism we all have for this Vikings team and the upcoming season. There are so many things to be excited about. Teddy. Cordarrelle. Zimmer’s D.
Let Ponder drift away into the sunset of Vikings lore. Because this Vikings ship I wholeheartedly believe is headed in the right direction – towards the future shores of Purple Reign.
Skol, yo!

SYMPATHY FOR THE PONDER

Something bothered me about the Vikings first preseason game versus the Raiders. Work has been extremely busy so haven’t had a chance to write about it sooner. But even though it’s been almost a week, I still feel compelled to bring it up.

What bothered me was Christian Ponder. Nope, it wasn’t his play. Ponder played as he’s always played. Making the best of his limited QB abilities. He completed his usual number of rudimentary throws mixed with near pick 6’s. His third string offensive line didn’t do him any favors either. Ponder was under pressure most of the night.

Fans booed Ponder. And that’s what really bothered me. Sure fans paid money to attend the game and yes, they have every right to express their feelings about what they see on the field.

Considering Ponder’s current role on this Vikings team, I’m not sure what the point is in booing him. We know he’s not the man anymore. But more importantly, Ponder knows he’s not the man anymore.

Some fans have criticized his mopey body language and questioned his loyalty to the team. Ponder seems like a good guy. I’m sure he’s giving his best during his limited reps. I find it hard to imagine any athlete at any level wanting to suck.

I feel for Ponder. He was put in a bad situation he probably never asked for or even imagined in his wildest dreams. Rick Spielman selected Ponder 12th overall in the 2011 draft. I was shocked as anyone. I’m sure Ponder was just as shocked.

Spielman filled Ponder with hope that he could be a franchise QB. I was definitely rooting for Ponder. Why wouldn’t I? He wore the colors of my favorite team. I’m not an NFL GM or even close to a draft expert. I assumed Spielman saw something in Ponder.

Unfortunately, over three seasons and given every opportunity to be the man, Ponder made us see just how far away he was from being an NFL QB. Ponder was (and still is) a one-read-stare-down-his-WR-with-no-touch-and-prone-to-overthrows-and-underthrows kind of QB. His play was made even more depressing by the fact that the Packers have arguably the best QB in the league in Aaron Rodgers.

But like I said, I feel for Ponder. Just place yourself in Ponder’s cleats for a moment.

Think about a time where you had a dream opportunity and it slipped away despite your best efforts. That fumble you had against your crosstown rivals that cost your team the game. That big presentation for that big client that you froze at. That hot girl you finally got a date with but blew it because well, you were young, dumb and full of cum. (I’ve only heard about these things from a friend of a friend. Ahem. Cough. Cough.)

It sucks to suck. I wish Ponder all the best whether he’s on this team or not. Who knows, maybe Ponder gets a fresh start with another team and becomes a respectable QB in this league. It can happen. People mature. People can rise to the occasion to fulfill their potential.

At the very least, I hope Ponder can shut up all the boo birds by being terrific at whatever he goes on to do outside of football. Not everyone can make it in the NFL. It’s hard for us diehard Vikings fans to believe, but there is more to life than football.

Leave the man alone. Booing Ponder just takes away from the optimism we all have for this Vikings team and the upcoming season. There are so many things to be excited about. Teddy. Cordarrelle. Zimmer’s D.

Let Ponder drift away into the sunset of Vikings lore. Because this Vikings ship I wholeheartedly believe is headed in the right direction – towards the future shores of Purple Reign.

Skol, yo!

READ & REACT: PRESEASON GAME 1 VS RAIDERS
OK it’s just a preseason game. So it doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot. Preseason records don’t determine how well a team is going to do in the regular season.
With that said, preseason games serve an important role in seeing how rookies look in live action or to see if players fighting for a roster spot will flash and separate from their teammates.
Here’s my 3 takeaways from the game last night:
1) Teddy Bridging The Gap
Many people are calling his performance of 6 for 13 for 49 yards, “so-so”. But stats often don’t tell the whole story. Bridgewater was Bridgewater in the way he went through his WR progressions and didn’t lock down on one receiver. He also had his typical pocket presence in the way he felt the rush and moved to give himself more time and/or space. He didn’t just duck and run like Christian Ponder. Sure he had a fumble when he held onto the ball too long but that’s a correctable mistake.
Despite tapering at the end of training camp, Bridgewater has received positive reviews for the most part. OC Norv Turner said Teddy is playing at an “awfully high level”. Head Coach Mike Zimmer, who doesn’t beat around the bush, said after the game that Bridgewater will be a great player. Former Vikings Rich Gannon and Mike Morris have raved about Teddy’s smarts, how tall he stands in the pocket and his surprisingly strong arm with a quick, smooth release.
Matt Cassel played well and deserves to be the starter right now. But it’s not a question of if but when Teddy will start. I’m sure there’s naysayers who argue Bridgewater can’t even beat out Cassel, but Cassel is a legitimate NFL QB who has led teams to 11 wins and the playoffs. I still believe that if Cassel had been the starter for the entire season last year, the Vikings would have had a winning record. Teddy is pushing Cassel and Cassel is not an easy out.
It’s good to remember that Bridgewater has never started right from the start even in high school or at Louisville. He got the starting nod after the fourth game of his Freshman season as a Cardinal and never gave it up. When will Bridgewater start? Your guess is as good as mine. But I truly believe once Teddy becomes the starter, he’ll excel.
2) Cordarrelle Patterson Is A Super Stud
Many football experts predict Cordarrelle Patterson will be a breakout star in his second season. These predictions come despite Patterson having to learn a new offense. He’s worked hard during the offseason and it showed in the game. Living up to his nickname, Cordarrelle did indeed “flash” on several plays including his one-handed catch to bail out a throw from Matt Cassel. Patterson will be a beast this season. A great guy and fan-favorite, he’ll be fun to watch.
3) Secondary Improved And Improving
Our defense – and secondary in particular – have been so bad in recent years that there’s no where to go but up. Thankfully, gone are the days of Asher Allen. Defensive backs are Mike Zimmer’s specialty and his coaching ability showed results versus the Raiders. I saw Vikings first-team DBs stick with WRs and be in the right position to make plays. The secondary is deeper with more talent and better coaching. Zimmer’s attacking/blitzing style of defense will also help our DBs in coverage because it won’t let the explosive offenses of Green Bay, Chicago or Detroit pick us apart when we previously sat back in Cover 2 with a weak rush.
All-in-all a good performance to build on for the Vikings. Although I wish we would have shut out the Raiders. But I’ll take the win even if it’s just the preseason.
Skol, yo!

READ & REACT: PRESEASON GAME 1 VS RAIDERS

OK it’s just a preseason game. So it doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot. Preseason records don’t determine how well a team is going to do in the regular season.

With that said, preseason games serve an important role in seeing how rookies look in live action or to see if players fighting for a roster spot will flash and separate from their teammates.

Here’s my 3 takeaways from the game last night:

1) Teddy Bridging The Gap

Many people are calling his performance of 6 for 13 for 49 yards, “so-so”. But stats often don’t tell the whole story. Bridgewater was Bridgewater in the way he went through his WR progressions and didn’t lock down on one receiver. He also had his typical pocket presence in the way he felt the rush and moved to give himself more time and/or space. He didn’t just duck and run like Christian Ponder. Sure he had a fumble when he held onto the ball too long but that’s a correctable mistake.

Despite tapering at the end of training camp, Bridgewater has received positive reviews for the most part. OC Norv Turner said Teddy is playing at an “awfully high level”. Head Coach Mike Zimmer, who doesn’t beat around the bush, said after the game that Bridgewater will be a great player. Former Vikings Rich Gannon and Mike Morris have raved about Teddy’s smarts, how tall he stands in the pocket and his surprisingly strong arm with a quick, smooth release.

Matt Cassel played well and deserves to be the starter right now. But it’s not a question of if but when Teddy will start. I’m sure there’s naysayers who argue Bridgewater can’t even beat out Cassel, but Cassel is a legitimate NFL QB who has led teams to 11 wins and the playoffs. I still believe that if Cassel had been the starter for the entire season last year, the Vikings would have had a winning record. Teddy is pushing Cassel and Cassel is not an easy out.

It’s good to remember that Bridgewater has never started right from the start even in high school or at Louisville. He got the starting nod after the fourth game of his Freshman season as a Cardinal and never gave it up. When will Bridgewater start? Your guess is as good as mine. But I truly believe once Teddy becomes the starter, he’ll excel.

2) Cordarrelle Patterson Is A Super Stud

Many football experts predict Cordarrelle Patterson will be a breakout star in his second season. These predictions come despite Patterson having to learn a new offense. He’s worked hard during the offseason and it showed in the game. Living up to his nickname, Cordarrelle did indeed “flash” on several plays including his one-handed catch to bail out a throw from Matt Cassel. Patterson will be a beast this season. A great guy and fan-favorite, he’ll be fun to watch.

3) Secondary Improved And Improving

Our defense – and secondary in particular – have been so bad in recent years that there’s no where to go but up. Thankfully, gone are the days of Asher Allen. Defensive backs are Mike Zimmer’s specialty and his coaching ability showed results versus the Raiders. I saw Vikings first-team DBs stick with WRs and be in the right position to make plays. The secondary is deeper with more talent and better coaching. Zimmer’s attacking/blitzing style of defense will also help our DBs in coverage because it won’t let the explosive offenses of Green Bay, Chicago or Detroit pick us apart when we previously sat back in Cover 2 with a weak rush.

All-in-all a good performance to build on for the Vikings. Although I wish we would have shut out the Raiders. But I’ll take the win even if it’s just the preseason.

Skol, yo!

A LETTER FROM LOUISVILLE ABOUT TEDDY BRIDGEWATER
In case you missed it, read this well-written letter to us Vikings fans about what we’re getting in Teddy Bridgewater. I already felt great about landing Bridgewater but this letter really seals the deal.
Now, don’t think that I’ve got my purple-colored glasses on and am too blind to see that despite all the talk about Bridgewater’s work ethic and high character, the only thing that matters in the end is his on-field performance.
Christian Ponder is also a great young man, but he can’t play quarterback in the NFL. Being a good human being doesn’t trump your play. If Bridgewater turns out to be a franchise quarterback (which I believe he will be), then his good-guy reputation will further endear him to the fans. 
And that’s a great thing not only for the Vikings, but also the PED-filled and weed-riddled NFL.

A LETTER FROM LOUISVILLE ABOUT TEDDY BRIDGEWATER

In case you missed it, read this well-written letter to us Vikings fans about what we’re getting in Teddy Bridgewater. I already felt great about landing Bridgewater but this letter really seals the deal.

Now, don’t think that I’ve got my purple-colored glasses on and am too blind to see that despite all the talk about Bridgewater’s work ethic and high character, the only thing that matters in the end is his on-field performance.

Christian Ponder is also a great young man, but he can’t play quarterback in the NFL. Being a good human being doesn’t trump your play. If Bridgewater turns out to be a franchise quarterback (which I believe he will be), then his good-guy reputation will further endear him to the fans.

And that’s a great thing not only for the Vikings, but also the PED-filled and weed-riddled NFL.



VIKINGS OTA DAY 1: ADRIAN PETERSON AND HIS PRAYING HANDS CHAIN
The Vikings hit the field for the beginning of Organized Team Activities (OTA). As a fan it’s great to see our favorite team back in action. The Vikings website does a great job of bringing us the highlights in the form of videos and photos. Check out the photo set from today’s workout here.
Most of the photos are what you’d expect, but there was one that particularly stood out because it wasn’t the typical action shot.
The photo (as seen above) shows Adrian with a gold chain hanging out of his jersey. At the end of his gold chain are praying hands. I love this shot because it confirms why we love Adrian. He’s a great player but he’s also someone we can root for because of his work ethic and high character.
We know Adrian is a devout Christian. Obviously, his faith is very important to Adrian and he chooses to wear his chain even while playing football. He probably wears this chain or something similar around his neck 24/7. It’s one more reason for his famous nickname. When it comes to football and God, Adrian is indeed “All Day”.
Skol, yo!

VIKINGS OTA DAY 1: ADRIAN PETERSON AND HIS PRAYING HANDS CHAIN

The Vikings hit the field for the beginning of Organized Team Activities (OTA). As a fan it’s great to see our favorite team back in action. The Vikings website does a great job of bringing us the highlights in the form of videos and photos. Check out the photo set from today’s workout here.

Most of the photos are what you’d expect, but there was one that particularly stood out because it wasn’t the typical action shot.

The photo (as seen above) shows Adrian with a gold chain hanging out of his jersey. At the end of his gold chain are praying hands. I love this shot because it confirms why we love Adrian. He’s a great player but he’s also someone we can root for because of his work ethic and high character.

We know Adrian is a devout Christian. Obviously, his faith is very important to Adrian and he chooses to wear his chain even while playing football. He probably wears this chain or something similar around his neck 24/7. It’s one more reason for his famous nickname. When it comes to football and God, Adrian is indeed “All Day”.

Skol, yo!

BREAKING DOWN TEDDY BRIDGEWATER AND THE CONDEMNATION OF CHRISTIAN PONDER
If you haven’t read Darren Page’s breakdown of Teddy Bridgewater at Vikings Territory, you should do it immediately. One of the best in-depth analysis of Bridgewater’s game and how he fits into Vikings OC Norv Turner’s scheme.
At one point, Page contrasts Bridgewater to Christian Ponder. Bridgewater has the uncanny ability to anticipate where receivers will get open and hang in the pocket long enough to throw a strike. 
The GIF below shows clearly how Ponder lacks anticipation and pocket presence.

Greg Jenning goes in motion and crosses the field to an open zone, but for some reason Ponder does not throw Jennings the ball. Jennings is wide open as you can see in the yellow square below.

Ponder has a clean pocket and has enough time to deliver the ball. More baffling is when he feels slight pressure and runs to his right. All his receivers have run routes to the left. Who was Ponder going to throw to when all the receivers are on the opposite side of the field?
I really like Ponder as a person. I was rooting for him. But this play serves as the final condemnation of his abilities for me. As the saying goes, film don’t lie.
The film on Bridgewater and Page’s breakdown clearly speaks volumes as to why Teddy is an NFL-ready quarterback.
Skol, yo!

BREAKING DOWN TEDDY BRIDGEWATER AND THE CONDEMNATION OF CHRISTIAN PONDER

If you haven’t read Darren Page’s breakdown of Teddy Bridgewater at Vikings Territory, you should do it immediately. One of the best in-depth analysis of Bridgewater’s game and how he fits into Vikings OC Norv Turner’s scheme.

At one point, Page contrasts Bridgewater to Christian Ponder. Bridgewater has the uncanny ability to anticipate where receivers will get open and hang in the pocket long enough to throw a strike.

The GIF below shows clearly how Ponder lacks anticipation and pocket presence.

Christian Ponder Terrible

Greg Jenning goes in motion and crosses the field to an open zone, but for some reason Ponder does not throw Jennings the ball. Jennings is wide open as you can see in the yellow square below.

Greg Jennings Wide Open

Ponder has a clean pocket and has enough time to deliver the ball. More baffling is when he feels slight pressure and runs to his right. All his receivers have run routes to the left. Who was Ponder going to throw to when all the receivers are on the opposite side of the field?

I really like Ponder as a person. I was rooting for him. But this play serves as the final condemnation of his abilities for me. As the saying goes, film don’t lie.

The film on Bridgewater and Page’s breakdown clearly speaks volumes as to why Teddy is an NFL-ready quarterback.

Skol, yo!

THE SEASON OF OPTIMISM
The period right after the NFL draft is an exciting time for NFL fans. Your team has just landed a group of top draft picks and most fans can’t wait to see them workout at rookie mini-camp and OTAs. Vikings fans are no different. We can’t get enough information, photos and videos of the newest team members.
It’s the season of optimism. It’s the preseason before the preseason. That’s why we have to remember to check yourself before you wreck yourself as they say. We have to temper our enthusiasm because there are no pads, no hitting and no veterans like Adrian Peterson to go up against. 
A rookie can look great in shorts doing positional drills and non-contact scrimmages, but it doesn’t mean a thing until training camp starts. Making a one-handed grab against another rookie is cool but without the threat of getting your head knocked off by Harrison Smith, it’s not that spectacular.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement, but let’s not think a single catch signals the coming of the next Randy Moss. Most receivers can catch the ball with one hand. Not many can do it with the game on the line. That’s when the men are separated from the boys. Or when it comes to the Vikings, the Chris Carters from the Troy Williamsons.
Hearing a player “flash” or make a great play during rookie mini-camp is definitely a good sign. The more times he flashes, the more likely that player will make the cut. Obviously, making more splash plays during training camp carries more weight. Training camp is when it counts. That’s when it’s the whole team in full pads going full bore and full contact. 
Don’t get me wrong. Optimism is great. But not one coach from any NFL team has said anything close to negative during rookie mini-camp or OTAs. A coach praising a player by saying things like “I liked what I’ve seen” doesn’t mean that player is going to be great. In fact, that player could be cut when it’s all said and done. 
As a Vikings fan, I’m generally more optimistic than most. We’ve had our highs (Brett Favre in 2009) and lows (1998 NFC Championship) but I believe things are looking up. We’ve got Teddy Bridgewater, the other rookies and the free agent pickups along with head coach Mike Zimmer, who I believe is shaping the Vikings into the kind of team any football fan would love.
The odds are against us, but with the announcement that Minneapolis is hosting Super Bowl LII, maybe Bridgewater will be a Pro Bowl caliber player by 2018 and the Super Bowl will be a home game for the Vikings.
Yes, I know, maybe I’m being overly optimistic. The regular season can’t come soon enough.
Skol, yo!

THE SEASON OF OPTIMISM

The period right after the NFL draft is an exciting time for NFL fans. Your team has just landed a group of top draft picks and most fans can’t wait to see them workout at rookie mini-camp and OTAs. Vikings fans are no different. We can’t get enough information, photos and videos of the newest team members.

It’s the season of optimism. It’s the preseason before the preseason. That’s why we have to remember to check yourself before you wreck yourself as they say. We have to temper our enthusiasm because there are no pads, no hitting and no veterans like Adrian Peterson to go up against. 

A rookie can look great in shorts doing positional drills and non-contact scrimmages, but it doesn’t mean a thing until training camp starts. Making a one-handed grab against another rookie is cool but without the threat of getting your head knocked off by Harrison Smith, it’s not that spectacular.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement, but let’s not think a single catch signals the coming of the next Randy Moss. Most receivers can catch the ball with one hand. Not many can do it with the game on the line. That’s when the men are separated from the boys. Or when it comes to the Vikings, the Chris Carters from the Troy Williamsons.

Hearing a player “flash” or make a great play during rookie mini-camp is definitely a good sign. The more times he flashes, the more likely that player will make the cut. Obviously, making more splash plays during training camp carries more weight. Training camp is when it counts. That’s when it’s the whole team in full pads going full bore and full contact. 

Don’t get me wrong. Optimism is great. But not one coach from any NFL team has said anything close to negative during rookie mini-camp or OTAs. A coach praising a player by saying things like “I liked what I’ve seen” doesn’t mean that player is going to be great. In fact, that player could be cut when it’s all said and done. 

As a Vikings fan, I’m generally more optimistic than most. We’ve had our highs (Brett Favre in 2009) and lows (1998 NFC Championship) but I believe things are looking up. We’ve got Teddy Bridgewater, the other rookies and the free agent pickups along with head coach Mike Zimmer, who I believe is shaping the Vikings into the kind of team any football fan would love.

The odds are against us, but with the announcement that Minneapolis is hosting Super Bowl LII, maybe Bridgewater will be a Pro Bowl caliber player by 2018 and the Super Bowl will be a home game for the Vikings.

Yes, I know, maybe I’m being overly optimistic. The regular season can’t come soon enough.

Skol, yo!

ZIMMER AND GRANT POWER LUNCH: OLD GUARD MEETS NEW GUARD WHICH IN THE END IS THE SAME GUARD
I love this photo of current Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer and legendary Head Coach Bud Grant. If you don’t follow the Vikings Instagram account, you should. That’s where you’ll find more awesome photos like this one.
I’d love to be a fly on the wall and listen to their conversation. I believe Zimmer is cut from the same cloth as Grant. Both are no-nonsense guys that eat and breathe football.
I’ve said it before and I’ll stick by it until proven wrong, but I believe Mike Zimmer can take the Vikings back to its glory days of the Bud Grant era. Except this time, when we reach the Super Bowl, Vikings will win it.
Skol, yo!

ZIMMER AND GRANT POWER LUNCH: OLD GUARD MEETS NEW GUARD WHICH IN THE END IS THE SAME GUARD

I love this photo of current Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer and legendary Head Coach Bud Grant. If you don’t follow the Vikings Instagram account, you should. That’s where you’ll find more awesome photos like this one.

I’d love to be a fly on the wall and listen to their conversation. I believe Zimmer is cut from the same cloth as Grant. Both are no-nonsense guys that eat and breathe football.

I’ve said it before and I’ll stick by it until proven wrong, but I believe Mike Zimmer can take the Vikings back to its glory days of the Bud Grant era. Except this time, when we reach the Super Bowl, Vikings will win it.

Skol, yo!

THE TEDDY BRIDGEWATER STORY

This is a great ESPN Game Day feature on Vikings quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater. I think we got a winner on and off the field. 

Skol, yo!