Minnesota Vikings

NFC North

2014 Schedule

  • Week 1

    MIN @ STL


    1:00 pm

  • Week 2

    NE @ MIN


    1:00 pm

  • Week 3

    MIN @ NO


    1:00 pm

  • Week 4

    ATL @ MIN


    4:30 pm

  • Week 5

    MIN @ GB


    8:30 pm

  • Week 6

    DET @ MIN


    1:00 pm

  • Week 7

    MIN @ BUF


    1:00 pm

  • Week 8

    MIN @ TB


    1:00 pm

  • Week 9

    WAS @ MIN


    1:00 pm

  • Week 10


  • Week 11

    MIN @ CHI


    1:00 pm

  • Week 12

    GB @ MIN


    1:00 pm

  • Week 13

    CAR @ MIN


    1:00 pm

  • Week 14

    NYJ @ MIN


    1:00 pm

  • Week 15

    MIN @ DET


    1:00 pm

  • Week 16

    MIN @ MIA


    1:00 pm

  • Week 17

    CHI @ MIN


    1:00 pm

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.

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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Rudolph has been impressive

During the offseason, Kyle Rudolph gained some money and lost some weight.

The Vikings tight end signed a five-year, $36.5 million contract extension around the start of training camp after arriving having dropped 10 pounds. Both are coming into play in the preseason.

Rudolph, now under contract through 2019, looks so far to be worth the money. He has been Minnesota's most productive receiver in two games, catching five balls for 111 yards.

"I have noticed I feel a lot lighter on my feet,'' said Rudolph, listed at 6-foot-6, 259 pounds. "I feel much better running and I think it shows up on tape.''

Rudolph put on the highlight shows a 51-yard touchdown reception from Matt Cassel in the second quarter of Saturday's 30-28 win over Arizona at TCF Bank Stadium. He finished the night with four catches for 89 yards.

Pyro's take: Dawgmatica has been raving about Kyle Rudolph all off-season, and he is off to a good start in the preseason. Veteran Matt Cassel has leaned on him early and will continue to do so.

The biggest benefit with Rudolph is that his ADP is 10th at the position. So, if you wait for tight ends in your draft, you will be hard pressed to get a better value than Rudolph.

08/17/14, 10:37 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.twincities.com

Bridgewater needs to cut down the turnovers

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer insisted before Wednesday's training camp practice at Minnesota State Mankato that Bridgewater was fine after throwing three interceptions in a Monday night session. Then Bridgewater had two more passes picked off Wednesday.

"There could be a concern," running back Adrian Peterson said. "But that's how you find out if a guy is resilient or not."

Pyro's take: Teddy is showing the signs of being a rookie, but he needs to right the ship as soon as possible. The quarterback position is so demanding that many young signal callers crumble under the pressure. The fastest way out of the league is throwing interceptions. If he continues to turn the ball over Teddy will lose the trust of his teammates. He is young, and it is early, but I don't like what I have seen so far.

08/15/14, 05:49 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.twincities.com

McKinnon showing his potential

Billed largely as a scat back-type who could help on special teams, as well, McKinnon has demonstrated inside running ability during camp. He scored two touchdowns during the goal line period of Monday night’s practice, with both of those runs coming between the tackles. Yes, McKinnon looks to be an effective receiver and potential 3rd down back, but he may also contribute as a between the tackles runner, too.

Pyro's take: If you have listened to our podcast, then you know I am a big fan of Jerick's. He is currently battling Matt Asiata for the backup role to AP. If McKinnon continues to impress in practice, and can make some plays in the first preseason game, he will be well on his way to sealing up the position. He has an amazing skill set, and if he can prove to be effective in a pro-set, something he did not have to do in college, he will be utilized in the offense.

08/01/14, 05:37 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.vikings.com

Teddy Bridgewater named as a back-up

Matt Vensel the beat reporter for The Minneapolis Star Tribune, has tweeted that Matt Cassel will be named the starter for the Minnesota Vikings by new head coach Mike Zimmer. Reason being is that they want to bring rookie Teddy Bridgewater slowly, and has nothing to do with who has played better.

Pyro's take: This all makes sense until the Vikings are 0-4, and the fans want to see the rook come out and play. If Mike Zimmer can keep the Vikings competitive he will be able to maintain Bridgewater as a second fiddle, but the more they lose, the more pressure Zimmer will have to play Teddy Bridgewater.

This should not change much for your tiers and rankings. He is a late round selection at best, and is more fit for Dynasty or keeper leagues.

07/24/14, 03:11 PM CDT by Vaaal verde
Source: twitter.com

Jennings expects Patterson to be the focus

Greg Jennings watched Cordarrelle Patterson come on strong at the end of his rookie season, and now in year two the veteran expects the explosive Patterson to become the true focal point of the Vikings’ passing game.

"I wanted him to know that, coming in, the expectation of you is no longer “rookie.” It’s “You gotta go. We saw what you can do. We’re gonna showcase this.” For me, it was making sure that he understands that he has to be a professional. He has to be a pro’s pro when he steps foot in this building, because we’re expecting [him] to give us what we’ve seen you put out there."

Norv Turner spoke recently about his desire to “modernize” his offense. To me, that’s code for “I need to find more ways to get the ball into the hands of Cordarrelle Patterson.”

Pyro's take: This confirms what we have believed here at Pyro all off-season, that Cordarrell Patterson is going to blow up. This also singles that Greg Jennings is on board with this, and is expecting to take a secondary role to the second year receiver.

Jennings had 804 yards on 68 catches with four touchdowns last season. While Patterson will be the focus, the veteran will have a chance to improve on those numbers with Norv Turner calling the shots.

06/29/14, 07:29 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: thevikingage.com

Patterson impressing the Captain

Cordarrelle Patterson keeps impressing the onlookers, and this time its teammate Captain Munnerlyn. The Vikings cornerback who has been matched-up with him stated "The time we played them, he was nothing like he is now," Munnerlyn said. "I told him, 'The time we played you, I'm glad we caught you early.' Because if we hadn't have caught him early, he was tearing people up at the end up the year. He's really growing as a receiver, and I'm seeing it with my own two eyes." Munnerlyn was with the Carolina Panthers last season.

Patterson is enjoying the friendly rivalry now that Captain is a Viking. "I'm up 2-0 on him because I beat him one-on-one twice and he hasn't gotten me yet," Patterson said. In which, Captain Munnerlyn promptly replied: "I always remind him of the game we beat them because when it comes to real football I'm still up on him,'' Munnerlyn continued to say: "But he's been running some good routes on me. One I should have picked off, and he still got it. I really see him growing."

Pyro's take: Last season was a growing process for Coradarrelle Patterson. In his first 10 games he had only 21 receptions for 196 yards and two touchdowns. In the last six games he recorded 24 receptions for 273 yards and three touchdowns. He did stand out against the Ravens, when he had a five-catch 141 yard one touchdown game in week 13, and a eight reception game against the Packers in week 11. His speed and athleticism showed on kickoff returns as well. He led the NFL with a 32.4 average, including two touchdown returns.

Cordarrelle also showed off his skills as a running threat. He had 10 carries for 156 yards and three touchdowns in the final five games. When deciding to draft this athletic phenom, don't forget what he has at quarterback, and the Vikings are primarily a run-first "Purple Jesus" team.

06/27/14, 10:28 PM CDT by Vaaal verde
Source: www.twincities.com

Norv Turner on Greg Jennings role

Offensive coordinator Norv Turner expressed his thoughts on Greg Jennings and his role in the new offense.

Q: What’s going to be the biggest difference for a guy like Greg Jennings who has only played in a West Coast offense?
A: The first thing is the communication and I think that’s what got everyone. It’s a new language and I always tell them if you go to a foreign country you figure out you better learn this language real fast or you can’t go buy dinner. They’ve done a great job of learning this and as we’ve put the system in, we’ve started in over the last couple of weeks using some of our code words and that makes it much easier but to me you have to learn the system before you can learn the code words. I think it’s harder for a guy like Greg than it is Cordarrelle because Greg has been in the same system and it’s engrained in his mind where some of the younger guys they weren’t in it that long.

Q: Does Jennings then get used differently in this system?
A: There’s so much of this league people take ideas from each other and they see something that works and they use it. There are some similarities but I do believe the way we teach it tends to be a little different, the things we emphasize are different and again when I say that it’s not necessarily that I say it’s better, it’s what we believe in and what I’ve been taught and what I’ve grown up with through my coaching career. It’s what you believe in and what you teach and the guys that have really bought in to it and learned it and played in the system, as I’ve said, have had great success.

Pyro's take: This does not sound like good news for Greg Jennings. Obviously, he has had a difficult time picking up Turner's offense. I do believe that Jennings is going to be used differently than he has in the past, but the first thing he needs to do is learn the system, it will be up to him and how much he wants to change in this point of his career. If he can grasp it, then he could have a great year, as he is the type of receiver that can explode in this offense.

06/19/14, 05:23 PM CDT by Vaaal verde
Source: www.vikings.com

Mike Zimmer on ADP

Q: What are your impressions of Adrian Peterson as a person?
A: He’s great. He’s done everything that we’ve asked him to do, he’s done, even more. One day during the OTAs he came to me and said, “I’ve gone pretty hard the last couple of days, I might need a little time off today.” I said, “Okay, do me a favor, go out on the field and stretch and then we’ll hold you out.” I told the running back coach after stretch, shut him down and so he went back to Kirby Wilson, he said, “You know, he’s feeling pretty good, can he keep going?” I said, “Sure, let’s go.” I think he likes competing, I think he likes being around the guys. He’s a good guy. I’ve had several conversations with him when I first got here and I have the utmost respect for him.

Q: Have there been any surprises or anything about Adrian Peterson that you didn’t know before you got here?
A: From watching him on tape, you know he’s fast, you know he’s powerful. Some of the cuts that I’ve seen him make out here are just outstanding. The way he catches the ball is very, very good, I didn’t know what kind of receiver he was. I guess that would be the two biggest things. Some of the cuts he made are like, wow. Like some of the great backs that you’ve been around.

Q: Adrian Peterson said that he wanted to improve on his pass catching this offseason have you seen that?
A: Yeah, I think I’ve seen him drop one ball the whole time and that was probably yesterday, I think. He catches the ball good. Obviously, when he’s got the ball in the hands he’s extremely dangerous. I think he caught one out here today on a flat route or a swing route or something. It’s good, it’s good. I think obviously, having a guy like Norv Turner, who he respects and he wants to continue to get him the ball in different ways. I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but I think he’s happy.

Q: It is important for a veteran like Adrian Peterson to have fun out here?
A: I think a lot of times when you work hard you have fun together. When guys are working hard it’s nice to have fun but it’s more important that we work smart, we work hard, we get better each and every day. We want to have fun, but fun isn’t my number one priority. If they’re having fun and they’re working hard then that’s a good thing.

Pyro's take: New head coach Mike Zimmer had a whole bunch of "coach speak" on Adrian Peterson, but a point I did notice, is that Peterson is in the game plan for more receptions. He had 29 last season, but has had two 40+ receptions in 2009 and 2012, and 36 catches in 2010. Look for Norv Turner to get Adrian the ball as much as he possibly can, and resulting to another 40+ reception season once again.

06/19/14, 04:38 PM CDT by Vaaal verde
Source: www.vikings.com

Matt Cassel decides to stay in Minnesota

After opting out of the final year of his contract with the Minnesota Vikings back in early February and leaving $3.7 million behind, the soon-to-be 32-year-old Matt Cassel re-signed with Vikes for two years, $10 million.

How much of the $10 million came in guaranteed money was undisclosed.

Pyro's take: The fact that Cassel will be 32 years old and was signed for only two years means the Vikings will almost assuredly be taking a quarterback with their first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft (8th overall).

Because he was likely retained as a teacher and bridge to whomever the Vikings select in the draft, Cassel will presumably get the starting nod come Week 1 and could have some pretty nice sleeper value in the fantasy world.

With Adrian Peterson forcing defenses to crowd the line of scrimmage and players like Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson and Kyle Rudolph to throw to, it wouldn't shock me to see Cassel ranked somewhere in the top 15 or so fantasy QBs... at least for a little while.

03/12/14, 06:10 PM CDT by Dawgmaticå
Source: www.vikings.com

Rudolph should benefit from the arrival of Norv Turner

A Field-Stretching Tight End

An element of Turner’s passing plan is a big, physical, field-stretching tight end who can present match-up nightmares for the opposing defense. These long, fast and strong pass catchers are too big for cornerbacks and too fast for linebackers, forcing a defense to either concede production or put a safety in coverage. This is a scenario Turner presented to defenses while in San Diego, using Antonio Gates to exploit the mismatch. In Turner’s six years as Chargers Head Coach, Gates went to five Pro Bowls and averaged 62.8 receptions, 990 receiving yards and 8.2 touchdowns per season. In Minnesota, Turner will look to Kyle Rudolph to fill this role. Rudolph is a Pro Bowler himself and is coming off a season in which he missed eight games with a foot injury. You can be sure Rudolph is eager to get back on the field, and that Turner is as eager to employ Rudolph against opposing defenses.

Pyro's take: Rudolph has an impressive second season in 2012 with 53 catches and nine touchdowns. Before fracturing his foot last season Rudolph was on pace for an improvement, but not by much. The biggest hindrance for Rudolph was the lack of a solid quarterback to throw him the ball. The Vikings are going to make a change at the position this season, and with Turner running the offense they should improve.

Look for his yards per catch to increase in 2014, and he should also have a chance to get to double-digit touchdowns. He will not be drafted as a starter, but will have a chance to top 10 by seasons' end.

02/25/14, 07:42 PM CST by Houdini
Source: www.vikings.com

AP does NOT have a Lisfranc...phew

Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier didn't have an update on the status of running back Adrian Peterson, who suffered a sprained right foot in Sunday's 29-26 loss to the Ravens.

Peterson will see a foot specialist on Monday as further evaluation along with more X-rays and a CT scan.

"Well, it’s a little painful," Peterson said. "Obviously it kept me out of the game. The MRI came back great so that’s good. Just got to get a CT scan to make sure the bone is OK."

Peterson said a Lisfranc injury has been ruled out. The foot was still sore in the locker room, but Peterson said it didn't swell up too much.

"Initially you don’t know exactly what’s going on when you’re feeling it," Peterson said. "That initial contact definitely didn’t feel good. I was kind of worried. But kind of cleared up a little bit after getting the MRI. I’ll see how things play out after the CT scan."

Peterson wants to play, but Frazier said the team’s record, 3-9-1, will factor into whether the running back returns this season.

“Depending on what we find out, it’ll factor in,” Frazier said. “We’ll find out more this afternoon and make a decision from there, but you can’t ignore that fact.”

Pyro's take: Every Peterson owner cringed yesterday when they saw him go down in agonizing pain, and then carted off the field. The news is better today with the injury being a sprained right foot, but there are still more tests to go through.

I would be shocked if the Vikings let AP play this week. This is the worst possible time for an injury like this, and will be the cause of many a fantasy playoff early exit.

12/09/13, 05:18 PM CST by Houdini
Source: www.startribune.com

Coming off season high game, AP licking his chops for the Bears

Adrian Peterson was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Packers because of a nagging groin injury.

The injury, however, didn’t seem to affect the 2012 NFL MVP, who rushed for a season-high 146 yards and scored a touchdown in the Vikings’ 26-26 tie with Green Bay at Lambeau Field.

Peterson’s 32 carries also were a season high and two short of his career high. He has 997 rushing yards this season.

Pyro's take: AP should have a monster game this week when his Vikings host the Bears. The Bears have no answers to stop anyone from rushing the ball against them. The Bears just gave up 258 rushing yards to the Rams and Benny Cunningham.

This epic fail of a rushing defense has been on full display since week 7 at Washington. In the five games since then Chicago has surrendered 985 yards on the ground, which is 197 yards per game. Now it is Adrian Peterson's turn to take a spin on the wheel of running back glory.

I spun the wheel for him and it said he is going to rush for 343 yards with 3 touchdowns. That may be a reach, but it is going to be a monster game this week.

11/25/13, 06:16 PM CST by Houdini
Source: www.startribune.com

AP back to form

Adrian Peterson vowed that the Vikings would recommit to establishing their running game Sunday after he was limited to only 36 carries in the previous three games.

Peterson finally looked like his normal self again in a 27-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Peterson ran for 140 yards and one touchdown on 25 carries. His rushing total tied his season high, and he demonstrated no signs that a nagging hamstring injury still bothers him.

“That’s one thing we wanted to focus on coming into the game — establishing the run, keep pounding, keep pounding, put us in better positions for third down,” Peterson said.

Peterson gave the Vikings the lead late in the game with an 11-yard touchdown run that was set up by his 52-yard gain.

His touchdown run came on fourth-and-1 with 5 minutes, 49 seconds left and the Vikings down 20-17. Peterson finished the run by dragging Dallas defenders the final yards into the end zone.

Pyro's take: We have been talking about this in our podcast over the past 3 weeks, wondering when the Vikings are going to give the ball to Peterson. Leslie Frazier finally listened to the nation and gave the damn ball to AP. The Vikings are a team that is built around All Day, and if you don't give him the ball you are doing your team a disservice. Fantasy owners should feel a lot better going forward, as Peterson has a nice remaining schedule.

11/04/13, 04:34 PM CST by Houdini
Source: www.startribune.com

Rudolph fractures foot

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said tight end Kyle Rudolph has a fractured left foot and could be out for a month. He suffered the injury after scoring a 31-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Rudolph told reporters after Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys that X-rays on his foot were negative.

“I think the guy just fell on his foot when he was tackling him,” Frazier said. “It's a very significant injury for him and for our team. That gives some other guys a chance to step up. Chase Ford, who played in the ballgame and did a good job for us, he'll play. John Carlson will get more reps now.”

Pyro's take: It was an amazing touchdown catch that Rudolph made breaking through 2 tacklers and running over another to score the touchdown. Unfortunately, it will sideline him for a month.

Rudolph had actually started to put a few nice games together, but don't expect that from his replacements. Christian Ponder had a great game, but it was against a Cowboys defense that has been allowing a ton of points. Adrian Peterson remains the only strong fantasy play in Minnesota.

11/04/13, 04:25 PM CST by Houdini
Source: www.startribune.com

Cassel will start, but for how long?

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier finally said publicly what everyone has been expecting him to say since Matt Cassel led the Vikings to a turnover-free 34-27 victory over the Steelers in London back on Sept. 29:

“Matt Cassel is going to be our starting quarterback on Sunday.”

As for the future beyond Sunday, well, stay tuned.

“I think we need to sit back on Monday after the game and evaluate things and see where we are,” Frazier said. “See how it goes.”

“I think it’s always tough when you make a change at quarterback,” Frazier said. “You have to take a lot of factors into it when you’re doing that. You don’t make those decisions lightly, and we didn’t. We’ll see how it plays out. But this is the start of this ballgame. We’ll see how Matt does. But we’ll see how it plays out over time.”

Pyro's take: Cassel starting is good news for Greg Jennings and Jerome Simpson, both of whom performed much better with Cassel under center. There is still a lot of pressure for the quarterbacks to perform in Minnesota with the added competition of Josh Freeman and Christian Ponder cleared to play again. There is a chance that Cassel can win another start if he performs well on Sunday, but if not then it could be a quarterback carousel in the coming weeks.

10/12/13, 04:02 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.startribune.com

More plays in store for Cordarrelle Patterson


Q: Was there stuff that you had in the game plan for Cordarrelle Patterson that you didn’t have a chance to get into to?
Vikings offensive coordinator Mike Musgrave press conference:

A: Most definitely, not only for Cordarrelle, but for Greg Jennings, for Kyle, for everybody. Everybody knows their role and they’re all going to be a big time contributor for us. We want to be on the field so we can do it. It’s tough to do it from the sideline.

Q: Is Patterson pretty much only going to be on the field when you have three receivers or is he going to play in two receiver sets?

A: Both, he’ll be in there with two, three, one wide, all of the above.

Q: Is there something he needs to do to earn more playing time?

A: No.

Pyro's take: This is a nice vote of confidence from his offensive coordinator, but Patterson will draw a tough match-up in week 2 at Chicago. Patterson is going to need to prove that he can have a good game before you even think about putting him into your starting lineup.

Patterson is a rookie with a lot of talent, but he has the same problem all the other Vikings receivers have, Christian Ponder.

09/12/13, 07:38 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.vikings.com

Jerome Simpson looking to continue hot streak

Vikings offensive coordinator Mike Musgrave press conference:

Q: Is Jerome Simpson one thing to be encouraged about, being able to show that speed?

A: Jerome made some terrific plays for us. We definitely had our moments as an offense, they were just too few and far between, but Jerome was a part of our moments that we want to build upon.

Q: Did you go into the game thinking Jerome could emerge as your top target given the matchups?

A: We were going to put him in position to do so. We didn’t get through a lot of our game plan when you run less than 20 plays in the first half and end up with maybe the low 40s before we got into two-minute mode. We didn’t get through very much of our game plan. We weren’t on the field enough so it’s definitely a feeling of unfullfilment throughout the whole offense. Jerome did have his moments and that was a bright spot.

Pyro's take: Jerome Simpson has been a player quickly added in fantasy leagues this week, and this is encouraging that he was part of the game-plan going in, and not just a result of how the game played out. Simpson should continue to see targets, but by no means is going putting up the numbers he put up in week 1, 7-140.

The biggest problem that Simpson has is Christian Ponder. Ponder has been unable to stretch the field throughout his career. In fact, Ponder has a career 6.3 yards per attempt average. To put that into perspective, Jay Cutler has a career 7.2 YPA average and Aaron Rodgers is 8.1. There is not going to be consistency of any kind here.

09/12/13, 07:26 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.vikings.com

Cordarrelle Patterson has a good first showing

Cordarrelle Patterson had a good first preseason game with 4 catches for 54 yards.

Pyro's take: Patterson is looking to step in as a starter for the Vikings and showed some good hands in his first NFL experience. Patterson still does not have outstanding play from the quarterback position and will be inconsistent, but he is looking like one of the stronger rookie receivers at this point.

08/10/13, 08:15 PM CDT by Houdini

Mike Martz hired as Bears offensive coordinator

The Chicago Bears announced today that they have signed Mike Martz to be their offensive coordinator for the 2010 season. Terms of the contract have yet to be disclosed.

Pyro's take: Finally the Bears have "their guy". After going through a lengthy search composed mainly of candidates who pulled out of the running before an offer was even made, Chicago ended up settling for someone who had no problem ripping Jay Cutler to shreds early on in 2009. In order to mend possible broken bridges between the two, Martz immediately flew down to Tennessee to speak with Cutler after his interview.
Animosity aside, Cutler stands to gain the most fantasy-wise from the hiring, while TE Greg Olsen stands to lose the most. Martz has never been one to integrate the tight end into his offensive schemes, but wide receivers Devin Hester, Devin Aromashodu, Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett could be in for a nice uptick in value, as should RB Matt Forte.

02/01/10, 03:00 PM CST by Dawgmaticå
Source: sports.espn.go.com

McNabb maintains that he's staying in Philly

Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb continues to tell the media and anyone else who asks that he's staying in Philly. Coach Andy Reid has also said on a couple of different occasions that McNabb will be the Eagles QB in 2010.

"That's all that matters," McNabb said during a one-on-one interview with The Inquirer. "I heard it when he said it to you guys, but I heard it before anyway. I think a lot of people look too far into things with all the assumptions and this could happen. He told everybody I'm going to be there, and I'm his guy. I don't see anything that anybody should look into."

Pyro's take: Backup QB Kevin Kolb could probably step into the Eagles offense and do just fine, as he showed for a couple of games last year, but McNabb is still the better option for the team. Whatever happens, it should be an interesting off-season for the fans out there in Philly.

01/30/10, 10:00 AM CST by Dawgmaticå
Source: www.philly.com


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