Saturday, September 17, 2016

I Had Questions, Vikings Territory Had Answers

I had a busy Friday night of dusting and rearranging my 'Star Wars: Rogue One' homemade action figures, so I almost forgot to post this. As has become a semi-annual tradition, I had a little Q & A session with Adam Warwas over at Vikings Territory. I feel we both remained calm and mostly rational during the exchange, and you should all follow our shining example of civil behavior Sunday Night. 

You can read my answers to his questions here. My questions and his responses follow below.

1) Seems like a risky strategy to not score on offense and hold out until your defense can score. How do the Vikings plan to replicate scoring their only touchdowns on defense?

There are a lot of things that are less than ideal about the way the last few weeks have gone, no doubt. But as was collectively noted by those that follow closely when Bridgewater went down, our team has a championship caliber defense that can win us games, and you are correct in that we saw that in action in Tennessee. Mike Zimmer's aggressive calls on defense, the talent and speed and all through the defensive depth chart, and their ability to turn in some points on their own should continue to help the team overcome some adversity.
With Bridgewater missing, it is an easy offense to poke some fun at, for sure. Regardless of which quarterback plays on Sunday, the Vikings need to put something on tape that actually scares opposing defenses. That didn't happen on Sunday (although Shaun Hill had better efficiency numbers than Aaron Rodgers on Sunday) and the offseason question of whether or not our red zone offense has improved has changed to "can we make it to the red zone?" 
With that being said, there were some positives displayed that the Vikings can build off of. Most notably, the Titans blitzed consistently which was effective against the run, but our improved pass protection was able to keep Hill upright and clean. No touchdowns, true. But drive killing sacks and turnovers, also true, and can go a long ways towards winning a football game.

2) What goes through your mind as a Vikings fan when Blair Walsh trots out on the field? Subquestion: can you actually hear the yips in his head when you’re at the game, or is it just the flop sweat on his forehead that indicates his internal terror?

I'll give you an assist and throw punter/holder Jeff Locke in there, too. Both need to get their act together as that Minnesota Nice is quickly turning to ice. No excuses, they are a liability until they prove otherwise... or until they are replaced. For now, however, I'd expect the Vikings to try and wait it out with Walsh much like Green Bay did with Crosby during his struggles.

3) 19 carries for 31 yards for Adrian Peterson against the Titans. Cause for concern about his play or just the way the game played out with Tennessee (and everyone else) not respecting Shaun Hill?

There was nothing that went right for the Vikings in the running game on Sunday. Peterson looked rusty like he did in Week One last year. The offensive line looked overwhelmed. The Titans talented defense stacked the box. Norv Turner stubbornly kept trying the same things over and over again. And, of course, Shaun Hill is a quarterback that will be able to make such a defense pay on a very limited basis.
The running game will continue to struggle until Minnesota can effectively set up the run with a legitimate passing attack. Will that happen? Can Sam Bradford make that happen? Does Norv Turner have some tricks up his sleeve to force that to happen? My guess is that those are questions that will take multiple weeks, not just seven days, to fully answer. Regardless of what happens this week, the hope is that you guys will be facing off against a much more potent and cohesive team come Christmas. 
In the end, I don't think Peterson has regressed beyond the level that most of us already admit to, and I'm betting he gains some serious momentum as the season wears on.

4) On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being a Gary Anderson missed field goal and 10 being a Randy Moss touchdown and subsequent moon celebration), how excited are you to see a game at the new stadium? Was it really necessary to make it louder than the Metrodome?

Oh yeah, that's a 10, for sure. I'm not one that hated the Metrodome to the same level as many, as I'd enjoy watching Vikings football anywhere, but it sure is nice to have a stadium that brings even more pride to the organization and fan base. Most importantly, it means the team isn't going anywhere, which was something that loomed over the franchise like a dark cloud for far too long. With a new era comes new traditions and I am excited to see what the Viking chant looks like on Sunday, how loud the place actually gets, and just a general improvement of the overall experience. The hope is our home-field advantage will be that much more effective.

5) It was terrible what happened to Bridgewater. The response to it, trading for Bradford, is so foreign to me having Ted Thompson as a GM that I’m curious to hear your thoughts on it. Agree with the move? Agree with reservations? Disagree? Is it a 'win now' move or is it hedging against a long recovery for Bridgewater?

My feelings are pretty simple: I agree with Rick Spielman's decision to be aggressive in finding a solution, but think he ignored the backup quarterback situation since drafting Bridgewater and got caught without an adequate Plan B. So it cost us. A lot. The best case scenario is that Bradford lights it up and is able to help keep an otherwise talented and deep roster in contention. The worst case scenario is that we end up with two "franchise" quarterbacks on injured reserve. History will judge this trade by what happens over the next 5 to 17 months, so I'm trying my hardest to just be patient and see how it all plays out.

6) Where is Adrian Peterson next year? On the Vikings? On the Vikings with a renegotiated deal? On the Cowboys, or some other team? (but let’s be honest, the Cowboys) Which would you prefer?


I actually think Peterson's ship has sailed when it comes to Dallas. They drafted some kid that I hear they're plenty happy with. Peterson has an $18 million cap hit in 2017, but would cost them nothing in dead cap if they decided to part ways with him. That puts the Vikings at an advantage if renegotiation occurs, especially if Peterson is truthful when he says he wants to retire as a Viking, but I do think something will have to happen. I'm not sure that he gets the Jared Allen treatment (plays out his contract despite the cost) unless he really tears it up again in 2016. I've always thought that the NFL has it backwards when it comes to compensatory picks, and that teams should be rewarded for loyalty, not encouraged to let free agents walk. Peterson won't be an unrestricted free agent next offseason, but it would be nice if some sort of loyalty between the team and player actually did allow him to retire as a career-long Viking. The bottom line is that Peterson is just like any NFL running back in 2017 - he isn't worth $18 million in cap space - so we'll have to see how that plays out.

Thanks you for a glimpse into the mind of Vikings fan, Adam.

Go, Pack.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Unique Packers Items Available As We Speak (2)

As the world of man caves and flair will likely never go away, competition among diehards will remain fierce. To save you time browsing the classifieds, I now bring you this virtual Packers garage sale in order that you may stay ahead of the game (pun definitely intended). Here are some of the most interesting and unique Packers items available via eBay or Craigslist as we speak.

"Clay Matthews in a one of a kind custom poise."
Wow. This beauty caught my attention right off the bat. The description of a “one of a kind poise” and “nothing like it” absolutely seemed true to me, except for the spelling. As instructed, I did “look at the details” as well as the various angles shown here.

But at a Buy It Now price of $299, I knew this wasn’t the value pick I was looking for. And as I lingered one last time at the effort that went into this figurine, I found myself locked into its gazing eyes. Clay’s blank yet contemplative stare off into the distance belied the aggressive pose – as if suddenly caught in an existential doll dilemma. I know I couldn't handle that stare sitting on my bookshelf but maybe you can.


Next, comes a unique Packers item in its own right but alas, one that is sadly oversold. On the surface, these appear to be a somewhat vintage bottles of shampoo and shower gel. “Rare finds” indeed. But the description notes that only the gel is in the original packaging, clearly indicating the shampoo was used. 

If 15 images won't sell these things, nothing will.

And how old is this stuff? Would its cleansing and sanitizing properties still be effective? Can I meet the person who used the shampoo to get an impression of their overall cleanliness with the understanding they were the consumer of this product? So many questions…

Investigating further, this person uses several sales tactics I find annoying and questionable starting with the classic L@@K!! in the headline – a sure-fire internet-tested way to gain views. Not surprisingly, this is followed by unnecessary usage of CAPITAL LETTERS, a lengthy description and gratuitous glowing adjectives such as “RARE,” “AMAZING” and “Authentic.” If that shampoo bottle is so amazing, you’d think they’d want it all to themselves. Then we’re told “First $35 gets it,” as if expected demand is so high the seller has no choice but to stand firm on the price while apologizing to all those who couldn’t get there in time. Finally, we get a full 15 images of these two bottles – I guess to reassure buyers this is not a stock image? I don’t know. With so many red flags, I say stay away from this one … far, far away.

What won’t they put a logo on?
In addition to finding the Clay figurine and RARE bottles, it became very evident in my searching the NFL and the Packers will either put a logo on or NFLify just about any product known to man - I mean ANY. Here is a gentle smattering of what I found in just under two minutes. 
#MERCHANDISING


Two more to go, including this Starting Lineup Brett Favre from 1997, his third and final MVP year. 

You’ll immediately notice the hiked-up shorts and Spandex® combination accented by the trademark 90's white tennies and ripped shirt. I assure you, this look was a thing. For $10, it’s worth it alone for a piece of fashion history, which would make a great conversation piece as well.

Finally, I bring you the following:

Look familiar?
I suppose it's not that absurd of a product considering what we've already experienced. HOWEVER, this piece in particular caught my attention for a very specific reason. That is because I found the EXACT same product listed 4 short years ago for $25! Seriously, here's the blog post. This person does NOT give up, this time offering eight glorious angles upon which to marvel. Like a fine wine, this crock pot seemingly only gets more expensive over time. This is the one product I recommend purchasing now as who knows what the price will be in another four years...
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