Hey all -- gotta love Windows updates! Let's go.
I think we're looking at this through two lenses: What has typically been a punishable offense in the NFL, and what is currently a punishable offense in a league that's desperately trying to clean up its image. Harrison Smith said something to that effect when Mark Craig talked to him about this issue after the game on Sunday. He said he's changed the way he hits, because he knows the league is calling things tighter, and he runs the risk of a fine or suspension if he doesn't adapt. Sendejo's response was, "We're playing football," which is true, but he also has to realize what the league is trying to do here: If it's deeming that hit worthy of a suspension, it doesn't really matter what anybody else says. It's their league; it's their rules. You can adapt, I guess, or run the risk of being punished as the rules change.
They've spent plenty of time looking at all the sleep science studies, and I'm sure they'll try to adhere to as much of the advice as they can to prevent jet lag. I'm sure Mike Zimmer will talk to them about the Browns' defense, too, which has actually been pretty solid. With no Joe Thomas, though, I don't see the Browns scoring enough points to win this one unless they can catch the Vikings off-guard -- kind of like they did the last time these two teams met (remember that one?). The Vikings should be on alert for go-for-broke plays from a team that has nothing to lose.
He claimed the Rodgers hit didn't have anything to do with it, but he did seem fired up on Sunday. I think a lot of it is, he had a disappointing year last year, his effort was called into question and he's in a contract year. The Vikings have a $12.3 million option for next year, and that shouldn't be discounted. Barr can make a lot of money with a big year.
Correct. The Browns gained 38 yards on one last time, I believe.
Zimmer sounded hopeful of getting Riley Reiff back this week, and he said Nick Easton should be back, too. From what I was told Sunday, Jeremiah Sirles has a sprained knee, and it isn't thought to be too serious. So things are looking pretty good -- certainly better than they on the O-line for the Vikings' next two opponents.
We were talking about this on the podcast today, so I'd recommend that if you're interested in a more thorough discussion of the issue, but I'm of the opinion that it'd be a little hard to pull Keenum if you're on a four-game winning streak with him going into the bye. I think Teddy probably gives them a better chance in the long-term, but the luxury of Keenum playing well is, they shouldn't have to rush it. Then again, if they were going to make a switch, the bye week would seem like a natural time to do it. It all depends on if they think Teddy is going to be an immediate upgrade over Keenum, after not playing for more than a year.
Me too. Nothing worse as a beat writer than having to cover the player-got-arrested story during the bye week.
I think they tolerate them, for the most part. You get some guys that are into them, and there was certainly more curiosity about it last time. Now, part of that was because it was their home game in 2013, so to speak, and part of it was the culture of things at the time -- Leslie Frazier kind of leaned into the whole experience, getting players staying out at a golf club, etc., whereas Mike ZImmer seems to be looking at it as more of a traditional road game. But the other thing is, more and more players have already done it, so there's not the same curiosity. Teams aren't staying for the whole week any more; in fact, the Browns are going a day later than the Vikings are. Players are such creatures of habit that I think they see it as more of a hassle than anything else.
Ha -- if we could get him on the phone, we'd do it in a heartbeat.
In a 40? Hard to say. I have the typical fast-twitch muscle fibers of a distance runner (which is to say, not many of them). But in a mile? I've got him every time.
He dropped in the pecking order last year because he wasn't as versatile as some of their other options, and they felt like they had a lot of what they needed without him. But some of that was based on the idea Laquon Treadwell would make an immediate impact, and that Charles Johnson could still contribute. That didn't pan out, while Wright continues to make plays every time he gets on the field. The more he does that, the more he earns additional opportunities -- remember, he's the only receiver in this group whose role in the offense predates the current coaching staff. Players always have to prove themselves again, to a certain extent, as coaching staffs change. I think he's had to do some of that, and he's been successful.
Depends who you ask. I was pretty excited about the last one; my wife came with me, we went over on Tuesday and stayed for a few days during the bye week after the game. This one is a Wednesday-Monday trip, and since our oldest daughter is in kindergarten now, we don't have quite as much flexibility to bring the family along. I'm still looking forward to it, but probably a little less than last time.
The games sell out every year, though it's hard to know how many of those ticket-buyers are ex-pats or people traveling from the U.S. There certainly wasn't a ton of buzz about it over there last time. It might be similar to what the International Champions Cup is when it's here, if I had to try to put a finger on it.
The problem with Bradford's injury is, I'm not sure there's much the Vikings can do to make it heal any faster, other than rest and time. Bradford is down the road from two torn ACLs, and anybody who's had that kind of stress on their knee is going to be more susceptible to additional issues. I think that's certainly going to play into whether the Vikings keep him after this year, and I'd agree it's possible we've seen the last of him. The fact he's been seeing specialists just about every week tells you he's still searching for solutions. That's not a great sign, especially given how he looked when he did get back on the field.
I don't know that Murray will be here. He had a solid day last week, but the price tag is awfully high for a guy you don't expect to be your main back (and make no mistake -- if Dalvin Cook is healthy, he'll be the main back).
Well, Calais Campbell has 10 sacks already, and Demarcus Lawrence has 9 1/2. But I'd make a pretty strong case for Griffen. He's been incredible in the first seven games, and not just as a pass rusher. The work he's done in the offseason has really made a difference in his overall game. Look at the play he made on Sunday, when the Ravens tried to run Alex Collins on a toss away from Griffen after setting up a play to bait him into crashing the other way. He didn't take the bait, got off his block and chased Collins down. The work he's done with Andre Patterson and his movement coach (Shawn Myszka) have really gone hand-in-hand to make him smoother and smarter on the field. He doesn't have to guess on the field, because he's so much faster than everybody else that he can just read and react. That's a great place for a player to be, and over the course of the season, it should bring him in a fair number of accolades if he keeps this up.
That's an excellent question, and I wish I had a better answer to it off the top of my head. It'd be pretty rare for a player to have an injury that prevented them from flying for an extended period of time, but you're right, the protocol would have to change for something like that. I'll check into this during the week -- great question!
Zimmer said yesterday he thought there was a chance of getting Diggs back, but I'm not sure it's worth pushing him back out there unless his injury is completely healed. You don't want to assume anything just because it's the Browns, but the prospect of getting a week to let some of these nagging injuries heal up is enticing, too. Given the second-half schedule, the Vikings might need Diggs more in a couple weeks than they will on Sunday.
I guess I don't -- and I'm not sure they've had a lot of that happen in the Zimmer era. The 49ers game in 2015 sticks out, but I chalk that one up to them being too amped up for a Week 1 opener more than them looking past that team. There are certainly times where they start slow, but I think over the course of 60 or 65 plays on Sunday, their defense will overwhelm the Browns' offense to the point where even a slow start wouldn't keep them from winning.
I think people see them as a physical defense, and you've heard teams grumble about the way they tackle in the past (Golden Tate and the Lions come to mind). But I don't know that they have a reputation for being dirty -- and I don't think they play that way. Sendejo hits hard; sometimes, by my lights, he does so when he could tackle. But as a whole, I don't think their defense is doing anything out-of-bounds.
I'll answer the last part first: No, I don't foresee them both being on the roster next year. I guess I'm having a hard time seeing Bradford back at this point; I think the knee issues are concerning enough that it's hard to bet on him long-term. And while there's plenty of optimism surrounding Bridgewater, we still need to see him do quite a few things before assuming he can be the guy long-term. At this point, I'd bet on Bridgewater returning on a modest deal, Keenum possibly being back as a backup (unless he gets more money from a team that thinks he can compete to be a short-term starter) and Sloter returning as a developmental backup. I would not, under any circumstances, advise taking that bet to Vegas, though.