Week 12
November 25, 2015

Minnesota Vikings

NFC North

2015 Schedule

PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart

The PYRO Fantasy Football Depth Chart is a rundown of where Team PYRO projects the fantasy production for each team at each position. It is NOT an attempt to inform you of the current starters for each team. For example, we are well aware that Brandon Manumaleuna is currently the starting TE for the Chicago Bears, but if you look at the Bears Team Page, we have Greg Olsen listed at TE. Why? We’re projecting that Greg Olsen will be the most Fantasy Football relevant TE for the Bears this season. Since Olsen will be the Bears leading FF point scorer at TE, it’s his name at the top of the TE column on our PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart.

Minnesota Vikings - 2014 Preseason #FF Preview

adrian peterson - minnesota vikings 2014 preview



Minnesota Vikings - 2014 Preseason #FF Preview



“Oh Zygi you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, hey Zygi…” When Toni Basil sang these lyrics (minus a consonant change here and there), she was not referring to the Vikings current owner Zygi Wilf, but the song goes on to say “you have been around all night and that’s a little too long”. These ominous words could go with Wilf’s willingness to release head coaches. Since Wilf took over as owner in 2005, the team will start this season with its 4th head coach, Mike Zimmer. He, of Hard Knocks fame, is a gifted, hard-nosed, defensive coordinator getting his first crack in the big chair. To help on the other side of the ball, Zimmer has enlisted one of the greatest offensive minds to coach the game, Norval Eugene Turner. Where will this have the most impact? It very well could be at the tight end position. Everyone knows Turner’s running backs have always been a force to be reckoned with. This goes all the way back to his first offensive coordinator job with the Cowboys and Emmitt Smith, and more recently with the likes of the Chargers and LaDainian Tomlinson.  But the tight end has always been a key figure in his offensive scheme and will continue to be in Minnesota, eh.  


Kyle Rudolph, entering the final year of his contract, comes from a long line of Notre Dame tight ends. He was an integral part in the passing game in college and is entering his fourth year in the NFL.  In the past, fantasy owners have seen his value completely tied to touchdowns. Norv Turner’s offense should help to change this. Without a doubt, he has some of the best hands on the team. With Cordarrelle Patterson’s deep strike capabilities, and AP’s presence a constant in the backfield, Rudolph will be left primarily unchecked to roam the midfield. Rudolph is Pyro’s #5 tight end going into the 2014 season. In recent mock drafts, Rudolph has an ADP of 92 according to 4for4. That puts him in the 8th round for a 12 team league. I like Rudolph better than Jason Witten and Dennis Pitta, both of whom are going before Rudolph.  The unknown is the QB.


kyle rudolph is a beast

Kyle is one fired up TE now that Norv Turner is in town


According to a $100,000 study, Teddy Bridgewater was the best quarterback in this year’s draft. I’m sure the Browns (who foot the bill) front office will receive a nice Christmas card from the Vikings this year. Bridgewater could very well be the ideal fit for Turner’s down the field offensive attack. The other two candidates are Matt Cassel, and Christian Ponder, who was under center last year for the Vikings. Ponder’s game does not seem to fit Turner’s style. Last year, Ponder’s accuracy for balls thrown 20 yards or more down field ranked 30th out of 32. If Bridgewater can become acclimated to the playbook, his style would keep defenses honest. They would have to account for a deadly Patterson streaking downfield, a massive target lurking midfield in Kyle Rudolph, and arguably the league’s best running back. These three spots could be the key to Turner’s offensive game plan. We will have to watch training camp to see how one of the true quarter back controversies in the league turns out. Cassel is a decent QB. In his four years with KC, he completed 57.4% of his passes. In the four years he spent in New England, he completed 62.9% of his passes. However, Cassel often has a high ratio of interceptions. Pyro ranks him as QB #34. His counterpart, Bridgewater, is far more appealing, especially in dynasty leagues. With Cassel, you know what you are getting, a bye week fill in, and chances are there would be better options on the waiver wire. Bridgewater is the unknown. His draft stock plummeted after a poor combine and pro day. He did not help matters as he gave several excuses including the gloves. Really? Pyro ranks him just 2 ahead of Cassel at QB #32. The difference here is the potential. We know what Cassel is. With Bridgewater, there is an upside. We know the Vikings like him as they traded up to get him. Out of the big three rookie Quarter Backs, Bridgewater is in the best position to succeed this year. The Vikings have the surrounding pieces that could make for a nice transition into the pros.


Offensive linemen are the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL, they get no respect. In Minnesota however, they are quietly improving. This equates to fantasy goo for running backs and quarter backs. If Matt Kalil can stay healthy and return to his rookie year performance level, he and John Sullivan, one of the league’s best centers, can help contribute to a formidable line for the Vikings. Their schedule helps out as well. The Vikings have the 5th best schedule for running backs, and the 7th for wide receivers.


Last year, we all remember the magic that Josh Gordon created in just his second year in the league. Well, part of Gordon’s success came from Norv Turner’s down the field mentality. Cordarrelle Patterson, also entering his second year, hopes to have the same type of impact. He could be primed to break out this year, especially if your league rewards for long td’s he can strike anytime, from anywhere. Pyro puts him at WR #16. The guy had 3 rushing TD’s last year, and how can anyone forget his 109 yard kickoff return for touchdown.  As stated, the Vikings have a great schedule for wide receivers. For the playoffs, they are just outside the top ten for easiest strength of schedule. Detractors look at Greg Jennings as a threat to Patterson, claiming they will cannibalize one another. Let’s look at it from the other side. With an established receiver like Jennings on the field, defenses will most likely focus on him. Pyro ranks Jennings as Wide Receiver #41. Since he came into the league in 2008, he only had one season, in which he only played 8 games, where he did not garner over 100 targets. However, Jennings did not quite average 7 fantasy points per game last year with the Vikings. Although he has not been the same threat he once was in Green Bay, defenses must contain him. Combine that with the attention that AP commands, Patterson will rarely see double coverage; that is until defenses start to catch on. Patterson is primed to be a break out candidate this year. His current ADP on 4for4 is 43, the 18th wide receiver off the board. He is also slated to be their kick returner. The cautious man will worry about the increased risk of injury. Even with the rule change, making kick offs more likely to be ruled a touchback, only 45.4% have been ruled as such from 2011 – 2013. Although there are not as many opportunities for points from kick offs, such points can win you a week here and there. This is why you have to know your league. If you get the points for return touchdowns, you need to keep your eyes peeled to draft such a player.  So, if you are a gambler, never count your money until the dealing is done, and Patterson could be a nice pick up. He could easily win you a week with the bonus of return touchdowns.


Cordarrelle Patterson is a breakout player

Can Cordarelle Patterson be Norv's 2014 version of Josh Gordon?


As far as AP is concerned, he is one of the most reliable backs to come to fantasy in a long time. No one is going to make much of a stir if you take McCoy, Forte, or Charles with the first, pick. However, if you are going by consistency, what would be more of a surprise, if those guys did not finish in the top ten for RBs, or if AP did not. Clearly, it is the later, he did not get the moniker ‘All Day’ for nothing. One change that may come with the new OC, Peterson might actually get a slight boost in PPR leagues, as he is expected to take on a slightly larger role in the passing game. Since he came into the league, AP has never rushed for less than 10 TDs and has only had one season (2011) where he did not reach 1,000 yards rushing, and that was due to injury. With Patterson coming into his own, defenses will no longer be able to stack the box against AP, opening up more room for him to run.


Defensively, there is not much to say. The Vikings are one of the worst scoring fantasy defenses out there. Against opposing quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends, they are abysmal, ranking 32nd, 31st, and 31st respectively. Even thought they will get a boost from Patterson on special teams, the horrific defensive statistics makes them undraftable.




Cincinnati Bengals - 2014 Preseason #FF Preview





By Jeremy Battaglia aka 'Mo'



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The Purple People Eaters

the purple people eaters graphic! Pyropedia


Hailing from frigid north of Minneapolis Minnesota, the Vikings, and their feared defense, tormented offenses like no other during a 10-year run from 1968-1977. The main reason for the success of the Vikings during this time was the stellar play of their outstanding front four, known as “The Purple People Eaters”.

The Purple People Eaters were Jim Marshall, Carl Eller, Gary Larsen and Alan Page. The Vikings assembled this defensive line through the draft and trades, as free agency did not exist in the NFL at this time. That allowed Minnesota to be able to keep these feared defenders together for nearly a decade. So how did the Vikings assemble this group, also known as the “Purple Gang”.

The first of these players to man the line for the Vikings was Jim Marshall. Marshall was drafted in the fourth round of the 1960 draft by the Cleveland Browns. The Browns traded Marshall, along with four other players for two draft picks in the 1961 NFL Draft. All Marshall did was play 19 years for the Vikings, manning the inside of the defensive line. Big number #70 was 6’4” tall, but was a slender 248 pounds. Jim was adept at knocking down passes, and was a major disrupter to running games. In his 19 seasons with the Vikings Marshall had 29 fumble recoveries, one that he took the wrong way for a self-score.

The second player added to the fold was Carl Eller. The Vikings drafted Eller in the 1964 draft as the sixth overall pick. Eller was also drafted as the fifth overall draft pick by the Buffalo Bills of the AFL,but Eller decided to go with the Vikings and the NFL. The 6’6” 247 pound Eller played his college football for Minnesota, so he was very familiar with the city already, and made the choice to stay in Minneapolis and play for the Vikings. Eller was a speed rusher on the outside, but also strong enough to shut down the run. Big #81 was credited with 23 fumble recoveries in his time with the Vikings. He would play defensive end for Minnesota for 15 years, was named to six pro bowls and became of Hall of Fame Inductee in 2004. 


the purple people eaters on the bench

The third player to join the group was Gary Larsen, the Norse Nightmare. Larsen was drafted in the 10th round of the 1964 draft by the Los Angeles Rams. At that time Larsen was stuck playing behind the Fearsome Foursome: Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, Lamar Lundy and Rosie Grier. That meant that Larsen was outside looking in at becoming a starter with a great defensive line. Before the 1965 season Larsen was traded to the Vikings as a throw in to close a deal. The Vikings drafted receiver Jack Snow, who did not want to play for the Vikings, so they traded him to the Rams for a once great receiver in Jimmy “Red” Philips, but the Vikings needed more and Gary Larsen was added to the trade. That would end up being a great move by the Vikings, as the 6’5” 261 pound Norse Nightmare would play for the Vikings for 10 years, and be named to two pro bowls. He manned the inside of the line next to Jim Marshall, and helped shut down opposing running backs. 


gary larsen

The final piece to the puzzle came to the team in 1967. The Vikings drafted the 6’4” 245 pound defensive end Alan Page from Notre Dame with the 15th overall pick. Page may have been the best of the bunch. The feared rusher was named to nine pro bowls, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988. Big #88 was a member of the Vikings for 12 seasons, and during his reign of terror he amassed 19 fumble recoveries. When Page was added to the front four it only took one season before they became the best defensive line in the game.


In 1967 the Vikings finished the year with a 3-8-3 record, but Purple People Eaters began to show their strength as they helped the team improve to 8-6 in 1968. The following three seasons the Purple People Eaters became the best defense in the league and carried the Vikings to a 35-7 record during this span. From 1969-1971 the Vikings allowed the fewest points in league every season. They never gave up more than 143 points in any season, and only surrendered 415 points over the span. That is an amazing average of 9.88 points against per game over a 42 game stretch.

The Purple Gang was amazing, but their offense could not finish the job, as they only made it to one Super Bowl during that stretch, Super Bowl IV, which they lost 23-7 to the Kansas City Chiefs. I wish I could tell you about all the sacks, tackles, passes tipped, quarterback pressures, and forced fumbles all of these defenders had in their careers, but the NFL did not keep any of those stats until 1982. Although, in 1971 Carl Eller was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, while Alan Page was named NFL MVP, which was the first and only time a defensive lineman has won this honor. In addition, all four men were named to the Pro Bowl in 1968, which had never happened before.

The defense was dominant during this three year span that after completing only 8 of 22 passes in a game, quarterback Johnny Unitas of the Baltimore Colts called the Vikings the best pass rushers he had ever seen. In a 1969 game, quarterback Bart Starr was upended eight times, and the longest play of the day was only 13 yards. The Purple People Eaters also brought the pain to the Detroit Lions forcing them to commit 11 fumbles in a game. The NFL had not seen a defensive that was this strong, not even the Fearsome Foursome.

From 1968-1977 the Purple People Eaters led the Vikings to nine division titles and four Super Bowls. The Vikings amassed a record of 104-35-1 during this span, and only surrendered 13.25 points per game during that 10-year run. The Purple Gang led the league in points against three times, and finished second and third two times each. This defensive front was simply a force that imposed their will on the offenses that they faced. If the Vikings had a better offense during this time period they would have definitely won a Super Bowl, and maybe then the Purple People Eaters would get the respect they so richly deserve.

By Houdini

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chris carter legends piece - pyro character

Anthony Carter was one of the first might mites of the NFL. Carter stood only 5’11”, weighed 168 pounds, and was highly coveted coming out of Michigan. Anthony decided to join the USFL and became a member of the Michigan Panthers. After the league folded, AC would make his mark in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings. Carter was the main threats in the passing game for the majority of his nine years with the team. Carter quickly became a fan favorite, and remains one of the greatest receivers in Vikings history.

Anthony Carter was a total stud while playing for the University of Michigan Wolverines.  He attended Michigan from 1979-1982, and all he did during that time was break records and thrash defenses. In his freshman season AC only had 17 receptions, although he averaged 27.2 yards a catch with seven of those going for scores. It was clear that this little dude was a scoring machine. He would prove that in during his sophomore season as he posted 14 scores in 1980. In fact, Carter never had less than 7 touchdowns in a season.

The numbers that AC put up during his college career were staggering, especially considering the era in which he played. Carter finished his career in Michigan with 161 catches for 3,076 yards with 37 touchdowns. Anthony also added another 213 yards on 36 carries with another score. Those are great numbers, but then you need to realize that he was also fantastic in the return game. He had 63 kick returns for 1,606 yards, and 79 punt returns for 907 yards with two scores. That is a crazy 5,802 all-purpose yards with 40 touchdowns. With those numbers, Carter became one of the most coveted receivers in the 1983 Draft, but which draft? Carter opted to sign with USFL over the NFL and became a member of the Michigan Panthers.

Carter was the Panthers main weapon in the passing game, and helped lead them to become the first ever USFL champions. In his first professional season AC had 60 catches for 1,181 yards and nine scores. In the USFL’s final season of 1985, Carter would have his best season ever as a professional with 70 catches for 1,323 yards and 14 touchdowns. The USFL folded after the 1985 season, and Carter joined the Vikings for their 1985 season, due to the USFL season being played during the spring and summer months. It would not take long for AC to make his impact felt in Minneapolis.

In his first season with the Vikings, Anthony showed his big play ability. He only had 43 catches on the season, but averaged 19.1 yards per catch and scored an impressive eight touchdowns. So for the calendar year of 1985 AC had 113 catches for 2,144 yards and 22 scores, not too shabby. Carter would continue to evolve in the Vikings offense and had his best years with the club from 1987-1990.

Carter was quite possibly the most explosive player during the strike/scab season of 1987.  AC played in 12 games, and only had 38 catches on the season, although he had 922 yards and seven scores. That is an astounding 24.3 YPC!!! The highlight of the regular season came during his back-to-back performances in weeks 11 and 12. First he lit up the Dallas Cowboys in Big D with eight catches for 184 yards, with touchdown catches of 37 and 11 yards. The following week the Bears came to the Metrodome and Carter had three catches for 106 yards, with touchdown grabs of 60 and 35 yards both coming in the third quarter. Carter was named to the Pro Bowl, but it was during the playoffs that AC became a household name.

The Vikings were coming off an upset win over the New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card Round, and had advanced to face the San Francisco 49ers, which were in the midst of their dynasty. The 49ers were big favorites in this game, but the Vikings jumped on them early and never looked back during a 36-24 upset, but it was Anthony Carter that made all the headlines. Carter torched the 49ers defense with 10 catches for 227 yards on the day. Every time the Vikes needed a big play, there was AC. I still have visions in my head of #81 streaking down the sideline; ball in hand, his road white jersey stained with grass and dirt. Carter finished the post-season with 642 all-purpose yards, which was an NFL post-season record.

In 1988 Carter became the focal point in Minnesota’s passing attack. Carter was a consistent player in 1988, but did not have the huge impact games that he did the previous season. AC did have three 100-yard receiving games, and had five or more catches seven times. He finished the season with 72 catches for 1,225 yards and six touchdowns. Those numbers were good enough for #81 to be named to his second consecutive Pro Bowl. While he did not have the dynamic games in 1988, it was his first 1,000-yard receiving season in the NFL. Unfortunately, Carter and the Vikings met the 49ers in the playoffs again, but he had a much different result in a loss, with only 3 catches for 45 yards.

In 1989 Carter got the season off to a nice start with seven catches for 123 yards and a score in the season opener against the Houston Oilers. AC was once again his consistent self, as he would have three 100-yard receiving games and seven game with five or more catches on the season, just like he did the year earlier. Just like the prior season, Carter was named to the Pro Bowl, which made three straight appearances for AC. He had 65 catches for 1,066 yards and four touchdowns on the year. The Vikings would once again face the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs, and Carter was once again unable to muster up the magic he had against them in 87’. Carter would be held to 44 yards on four catches, as the Vikings were blown out 41-13.

1990 would cap off the best four-year run in AC’s career. The consistent receiver was, once again, back to his old tricks. Carter had three 100-yard receiving games, which marked the fourth season in a row with the same number. Anthony also had at least five or more catches eight times, and once again had mad back-to-back games during the year. In weeks seven and eight Carter was dominant with 14 catches for 287 yards and two touchdowns. The season finished with very familiar numbers: 70 catches, 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns. Carter had his third straight 1,000-yard season, but it was also the final 1,000-yard season of his career.

During this outstanding four-year stretch with Vikings Carter played in 59 games and had a stat line of 245-4,221-25. AC was known for making big plays, and quickly became a fan favorite in Minnesota. Carter proved that size does not matter, as he was just a steady playmaker. AC helped open the door for the modern day slot receiver. A thank you can be heard from DeSean Jackson, Randall Cobb, T.Y. Hilton, Tavon Austin, Wes Welker and many more. When Carter left the Vikings after nine years he was their all-time leading receiver. As it stands today, Anthony Carter is the third all-time leading receiver in Vikings history behind Hall of Famer Cris Carter and Randy Moss. Carter was an amazing talent, and when Vikings fans see #81 they remember AC.


Anthony Carter career stats



By Houdini

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robert smith - vikings

Robert Smith was an outstanding running back for the Minnesota Vikings from 1993-2000. Smith played a high-energy style of game, and was a dynamic dual threat running back. The most memorable thing about the Ohio State product is that he left the game in his prime, at 28 years of age, coming off the best season of his career. His reason for leaving football was to preserve his health going forward, and he had no regrets. While this was the public identity of Robert Smith, he was also struggling with another sinister identity of being an alcoholic. 

Smith came to the Vikings in 1993, as the 21st overall pick in the draft, from The Ohio State University. Upon his arrival he had success, averaging 4.9 yards per carry, but he also blew out his knee 10 games into the season. That was the beginning of an injury trend for Smith. In 1995 he was only able to play in nine games due to a severely sprained ankle, which was followed up by him blowing out his knee again in 1996. Needless to say, the first round draft pick had not lived up to his expectations through his first four seasons, but he did show the potential that made him a high pick.

During the 1995-1996 seasons Smith played in a total of 17 games and rushed for 1,324 yards and eight touchdowns. Robert averaged 4.4 yards per carry and 82.2 yards per game. Despite the injuries there was good news for Smith. The Vikings did not have a better option at running back at the time with Scottie Graham and Leroy Hoard as the other possibilities. The Vikings showed their commitment to Smith and they were rewarded over the next four seasons.

From 1997-2000 Robert Smith was one of the best running backs in the NFL. He would still have some minor injuries, but only missed seven games during this four-year span. In 57 games played, #26 ran for 4,984 yards with a 5.0 YPC average, while adding another 1,002 receiving yards with 27 total touchdowns. Smith averaged 105.1 yards from scrimmage per game over this period. Robert saved the best for last, as his final season in 2000 was the best in his short career.

Smith led the NFC in rushing in 2000, with 1,521 yards, and added another 348 yards on 36 receptions. His 1,869 yards, 116.8 YPG average, was the fourth best total in the league that year, and he added 10 scores. This season marked the first and only season in his career when Smith would play all 16 games. It seemed like Robert had finally hit his stride, and was ready to be one of the best running backs in the league for next 3-4 years, when he abruptly retired. 

The announcement of his retirement came out of left field, and left many people stunned.

"Shocked," is how Smith's high school coach Tom Banc felt when he heard the news on Feb. 7, 2001, but he understood.

"Robert was coming off the rushing title, and just had a fantastic season," said Banc. "But I also knew football wasn't his entire life. He would tell me he was concerned about his health, and didn't want to walk with a limp for the rest of his life."

While his retirement was a complete surprise to everyone else, Smith was thinking about his future.     

"I had been thinking about retirement for a while," said Smith. "Football is such a tough sport on a player's body. I kept thinking, 'What's my body going to be like years from now?' "

Over a decade after his retirement, Smith spoke about his decision to end his career early.

"I couldn't be happier (with my health) considering what I went through for eight years," Smith said in a phone interview with The News-Herald. "My right knee gets sore for a while when the weather turns and my right foot is sore every once in a while, but that's about it. I feel lucky."

While he was feeling lucky, he was also bearing another burden. For the second time in his life Robert Smith shocked the public when he revealed that he was an alcoholic. The revelation came after listening to fellow teammate and ESPN colleague, Cris Carter, speak during his induction into the Hall of Fame in August of 2013. Carter gave Smith the strength to come forward with something that he has struggled with for most of his life.  

Robert smith career stats

The following is from an article by Chris Tomasson.

Smith managed to keep things mostly under control during his time at Euclid High School, where he twice was named Ohio's Mr. Football. But he said "all hell broke loose" midway through his freshman year at Ohio State in 1990-91.

"I started drinking and carrying on," he said. "I really stopped focusing on school the way that I should. The drinking was out of control. I was a blackout drinker. Too much is never enough when you're an alcoholic. I drank whatever people put in front of me.

"Being a high-profile athlete, people want to buy you drinks all the time. You never say no. I would get sick and wake up and recover and go right back at it. There were whispers about what I was doing, but the consequences weren't there. I never crashed a car or I never got arrested or anything like that, so it wasn't to the point where red flags were really raised."

Smith doesn't believe his alcoholism ever affected his play. He was very careful about when he drank while with Minnesota.

"I always knew that I needed to control my drinking around the football schedule," he said. "So I would go out after games (on Sunday), go out on Monday night because we had Tuesdays off. And my last year in the league, I would go out on Thursday nights quite a bit. Those were really my three drinking days. I got plenty of it in in those three days."

Smith said he would go out with teammates, none of whom he named, and women he knew in the Twin Cities. He said there were days he would show up at Winter Park, the team's practice facility, "stinking like alcohol."

"I would definitely go into the weight room and sweat it out," Smith said. "I can remember once or twice Cris Carter said something like, 'You guys must have gotten after it pretty good.' He was just joking around, but it wasn't out of place. You're around guys who are doing the same thing."
Smith said Carter, who starred for the Vikings from 1990 to 2001, never said anything to him in a nonjoking manner about his drinking. But Smith said Carter, because of his own experience, might have "thought something" was up.

Carter didn't want to elaborate on any suspicions he might have had, but he did say it was normal behavior on those Minnesota teams for players to go out drinking.

"(Smith) and a number of guys," Carter said. "That's the way (of) a group of 22-to-35-year-olds."
Smith doesn't know if anybody on the Vikings fully believed he had an alcohol problem when he played. After he revealed his struggle last November, he heard from a number of individuals from his Minnesota days, many expressing surprise.

"I never saw any indications that Robert had those issues in terms of his work ethic or his ability," said Brian Billick, a Vikings assistant coach during Smith's first six seasons, including five as offensive coordinator. "I have been around a number of players that have had those problems, and that's a little surprising to me because I don't recall any sense of that for Robert."
Smith said part of that is because he was able to keep his name off the police blotter.
"Cemeteries are filled with people that continue to think that they can handle the drinking problem or died because of an accident or some sort of incident with somebody who was in that category," Smith said. "So I count myself very fortunate.

"There's no question I was behind the wheel when I had too much to drink, but I would stay downtown a lot of times. I would sometimes take a taxi. But I know I got behind the wheel sometimes when I shouldn't have."

But after being sober from 2007 to 2011, Smith relapsed. His said his wife again was about to leave him when the family was in the process of moving to Spring, Texas.

"I made the decision to go back and start drinking," Smith said. "And my wife was pregnant again (with Grayson). I went through a real bad period, probably about three weeks of drinking, and stayed away from the house, and my wife moved out. We were going to be moving down to Texas, so she moved out early. This is where she's from.

"And my son was about to be born. So at that point I was thinking about the way I grew up and the way that my father was never around, and when he was around he was drunk or using some drug. I was thinking about what I had become. And it was devastating to see myself in that way and to think of myself in that way."

Smith said his father, who lives in Mississippi, no longer does hard drugs but still drinks and uses marijuana. Smith is not close to his father but is close to his mother, who now lives not far from his Texas home. With her encouragement, he had his last drink on May 21, 2012, six days before Grayson was born. He couldn't be a man, Smith said, if he continued to drink after his son was born.

Smith takes his sobriety "one day a time" and wants to spread his message in the hope of helping others battling addiction.

"So many people have reached out to me," he said. "People have reached out to me on Twitter, and a lot of people that I work with have either gone through the issues themselves or have family members who have. My first priority is to stay sober myself and to take care of my family, but I certainly want to help as many people as I can as much as time will allow."

Carter is glad his Hall of Fame speech inspired Smith and said he will be monitoring his former teammate.

"Robert's a great guy," Carter said. "You have to have a plan (as a recovering alcoholic). Part of Robert's plan was going public with the information. His overall maintenance and what he's going to do on a daily basis to make sure that he maintains his overall wellness, his sobriety, that's going to be up to him. But going public was a huge step because it doesn't let him off the hook. And the people around him, it makes them aware. And then it becomes he has less leeway because of what he said publicly."


Robert Smith was a very visible football player during his career, and that continued in retirement as an analyst for ESPN. What also continued was his ability to keep his two identities separate, until now. Smith was a fantastic football player, very intelligent, and still in the public eye, which made the revelation of his struggle with alcoholism all the more shocking. Robert Smith has finally dropped the second life, and I can only hope that he makes the best of the rest of this life.



By Houdini

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Randy Moss was a BEAST!!!

Randy Moss career stats

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Hilarious Randy Moss photo

hilarious randy moss picture


This must have been for a football card company. So cheesy. Love the geriatric shoes he's wearing too. Randy, one of my favorite players - but definitely a guy that could be Rice like if he had that Rice like work ethic. Randy should have never douched himself out of New England. //d-Rx®

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Calvin Johnson caught 5-of-9 targets for 88 yards


Pyro's take: Calvin Johnson did relatively poorly against the Oakland Raiders 31st pass rank defense. He has now had back-to-back 5-80 games. He will give it another shot against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thanksgiving.

11/22/15, 05:36 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.pyromaniac.com

Adrian Peterson should continue to have success against the Packers


Pyro's take: Adrian Peterson has had more success against the Packers than any team in his career, rushing for 1,648 yards and 11 touchdowns in 14 games. So facing the league’s 24th-ranked run defense Sunday should set up nicely for Peterson and an offense built around a power running game with multiple tight end sets. The running back said he’s excited to face the Packers for the first time since he ran for 146 yards against them in 2013, and he should get the ball plenty Sunday as the Vikings try to establish the run with temperatures in the 30s at TCF Bank Stadium. -- Ben Goessling

11/22/15, 03:30 AM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: espn.go.com

Adrian Peterson rushed 26 times for 203 yards and a touchdown


Pyro's take: Adrian Peterson was an all day player against the Oakland Raiders. Rushing for 203-yards and a touchdown. He had 154 of those yards in the first half, and scored on a 80-yard run with just two minutes left to go in the game.

The Vikings are now 7-2 and Adrian Peterson leads the NFL in rushing by far and wide margin.

11/16/15, 03:09 AM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.pyromaniac.com

Stefon Diggs caught both of his targets for 46 yards


Pyro's take: A slow day for Stefon Diggs as he only caught two passes for 46-yards. In his last two games he hasnt shown much promise, but the Vikings are a run team, and as long as ADP is behind center, not many passes will go up in the air.

11/16/15, 03:01 AM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.pyromaniac.com

Teddy Bridgewater (concussion) was cleared to practice Wednesday


Pyro's take: Mark Craig has announced via Twitter "Teddy B cleared and practicing. Barr not practicing. Floyd, Newman, Kendricks all in pads"

Good news for those starting Bridgewater

11/12/15, 02:45 AM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

Vikings expect Teddy Bridgewater (concussion) to be cleared for Sunday's game


Pyro's take: Chris Tomasson has reported via Twitter "Mike Zimmer said he thinks Teddy Bridgewater should be "good to go.'' Sunday at Oakland. Has passed first test"

Looks good especially since he already passed the first test.

11/09/15, 04:21 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

Diggs to Play but Tough Week9 Matchup


Pyro's take: HE was on the injury report all week, but he is going to play with a tweaked hammy. More concerning, he faces Jenoris JEnkins, it could be a touhg day for Diggs.

11/08/15, 11:50 AM CST by M O

.Stefon Diggs is expected to start Sunday


Pyro's take: Ben Goessling via twitter stated "Stefon Diggs will get the start at receiver tomorrow for the #Vikings"

If you dont have him clock is ticking, Charles Johnson owners, hang tight for a couple weeks unless you need room, or grab Diggs for hand-cuff purposes.

10/25/15, 02:41 AM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

Adrian Peterson (illness) will be "good to go" Sunday


Pyro's take: Mike Florio reported "source with knowledge of the situation." has informed him that Peterson will play.

Peterson has a great match up against the Detroit Lions, who he torched for close 200-yards in week 2.

10/25/15, 02:05 AM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

Charles Johnson (ribs) is practicing in full


Pyro's take: Charles Johnson looks ready for week seven, but that just be the best it gets for him. Stefon Diggs is speculated to be the new starter for Minnesota pushing Johnson to the bench.

Johnson will most likely see playing time when the Vikings go three-wide, but that is very limited considering the Vikings are a running offense.

If Diggs gets the start you can officially drop Johnson in all leagues except for Dynasty formats.

This may be your last chance to act on Diggs as he is surely will be grabbed if he gets the starting nod.

10/23/15, 04:03 AM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.pyromaniac.com

Mike Wallace compared rookie WR Stefon Diggs' skill set to a young Antonio Brown.


Pyro's take: Mike Wallace stated comparing Diggs to Antonio Brown

"When you look at a guy, you can tell from day one who can play football. I always felt like he could," Wallace said. "Just the skill set, the way he runs his routes, the energy that he has. It reminds me of him.”

High praise for the rookie who just wants to be himself. It may not take too long for the media to make him a star, especially if he continues his performing ways.

Diggs has caught 13 passes for 216 yards in the Vikings' last two games, he might have the starting spot for good.

10/21/15, 01:28 AM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: espn.go.com

Mike Zimmer said he has not decided if Stefon Diggs will remain a starter.


Pyro's take: Chris Tomasson has reported via twitter that "Mike Zimmer said he has not decided if Stefon Diggs will remain a starter."

Diggs has only 40 fewer yards than Wallace despite being active for just 2-of-5 games. He makes an excellent waiver wire addition, especially in PPR and Dynasty leagues.

10/19/15, 09:58 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

Charles Johnson (ribs) says he was "close" to suiting up for Sunday's game against the Chiefs.


Pyro's take: Chris Tomasson has reported via twitter "Charles Johnson said was close Sunday (ribs) “I just wasn’t feeling the way I would be to be up to where I want to be so I decided not to go

It will be interesting to see the time split between Charles Johnson and Steffon Diggs. The rookie wide receiver has outplayed Johnson, but it may be too early to tell if he has outright stole the position.

Diggs could make a nice pickup if he has indeed made the jump to starter.

10/19/15, 09:53 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

Charles Johnson (ribs) is listed as questionable for Week 6.


Pyro's take: Ben Goessling has reported via twitter that "According to the injury report the Chiefs sent their writers, Charles Johnson... is questionable"

Johnson has practiced all week, but the Vikings say he is 50/50...maybe they want to see how Stefon Diggs does in the lineup?

10/16/15, 11:51 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

C Pat in line for big game


Pyro's take: With Charles Johnson and Jarious Wright dealing with injuries this may be a good time to see if Cordarrelle Patterson has learned anything. He is uber talented but just cant seem to grasp the pro game.

10/04/15, 02:37 AM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.1500espn.com

Mike Wallace believes long-distance call-ups are on their way


Pyro's take: Wallace's longest reception of the season is 22 yards and he has been targeted more than 20-yards downfield just three times.

I am not sure that Mike Wallace is a good fit for this offense. Teddy B does not have a shotgun for an arm and to target Wallace deep is counter productive. They stay with the run until they need to pass.

With that said, both Charles Johnson and Jarious Wright are dealing with injuries. Johnson has already been ruled out.

10/04/15, 02:28 AM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.twincities.com

Charles Johnson and his ribs hopeful for week 4


Pyro's take: According to Vikings beat reporter Matt Vensel "Mike Zimmer is hopeful that Charles Johnson, who hurt his ribs yesterday, will be fine by Sunday."

Charles Johnson has not been the PPR guy that many would hope he would be, but the season is still young, and his eight total targets over three games should improve.

09/28/15, 04:37 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

Adrian Peterson


Pyro's take: Adrian Peterson said he felt "a little hesitant" taking handoffs out of the shotgun Monday night.

Adrian Peterson stated: "I felt a little hesitant a couple of times, [taking handoffs] out of the shotgun,” said Peterson, who had only 10 carries for 31 yards and three catches for 21 yards as the Vikings were mauled 20-3 at San Francisco’s Levi’s Stadium. “But outside of that, I felt pretty good, picking up guys in protection. A couple of the runs I had, it felt like I could have done a little better and a couple of them were pretty decent.”

09/17/15, 01:26 AM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.startribune.com

Jarius Wright gets four-year contract extension


Pyro's take: Ian Rapopport tweeted "The #Vikings have signed WR Jarius Wright to a 4-year extension worth $14.8M, source said. He gets $7M guaranteed."

This now will give Teddy Bridgewater three options in the mid to low passing tree range. Charles Johnson, Kyle Rudolph, and Wright for the long term.

09/10/15, 01:33 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

No Practice

Matt Asiata missed practice, according to Ben Goessling via twitter "Matt Asiata, Sharrif Floyd and Matt Kalil missing practice. Greg Jennings was back."

Pyro's take: It does not look good for Asiata, but with Ben Tate in the fold, I wouldnt assume that Asiata would get anything worth while anyways.

11/21/14, 11:47 AM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com


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