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Around the North with Andrew Dannehy: Minnesota

| January 28th, 2016

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The following is part two of a three part wrap-up of the division from DBB contributor Andrew Dannehy.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

The common theme with the Vikings is they’re an up-and-coming team but that could be more perception than reality.

The Vikings remind me a lot of the team they had almost a decade ago when they won the NFC North with a 10-6 record. Adrian Peterson was great and their defense was really good, but they didn’t have a quarterback and without a quarterback it’s hard to see them staying on top for long.

The 2008 team upgraded with Brett Favre, which was enough to win them the NFC North again and make them Super Bowl contenders, but I don’t see such an upgrade available to them this time around and they don’t seem to know they have a problem.

Teddy Bridgewater doesn’t make a lot of crippling mistakes. But he also can’t consistently make plays down the field. Will he improve? It’s certainly not a guarantee. Coming out of the draft, he was billed as a “finished product” and didn’t make a noticeable improvement from his rookie season to his second year. If he’s Alex Smith, that’s fine. But quarterbacks like Alex Smith don’t win championships.  Moving indoors next year should help hide his arm limitations.

Bridgewater is not their only issue.

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Bears Lose to Vikings & Playoff Visions Fade: Rapid Fire

| November 2nd, 2015

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Predictably boring. And for the fourth straight game the Bears were essentially dead even with their opponent, got a wonderful performance from their quarterback and the game was decided at the death. Rapid fire…

  • Feel bad for Jeremy Langford. If he catches the ball, Bears can do no worse than overtime and knowing Cutler’s season, they probably win in regulation. Other than that moment Langford looks like a real back with a great burst through the hole.
  • Tom Brady aside, Jay Cutler is the best fourth quarter QB in the sport right now. (Brady is the best everything.)
  • If the Bears faced a better quarterback yesterday Mike Wallace might have had a career game. How wide open does Teddy Bridgewater need him to be?
  • So how is Pernell McPhee’s sack on Bridgewater NOT a penalty? Isn’t that 100% always called now? He could have broken his leg.
  • Fact that McPhee continues to produce with no help is astounding. How good is this guy gonna be when the opponent has to block someone else too?
  • I think Alshon Jeffery is going to get his money.

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FrontRowTickets.com Game Preview: Vikings Make First Visit to the City of Chicago

| October 30th, 2015

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The Game Poem

“I don’t know what to expect from the Bears on Sunday, but I wouldn’t be surprised if something crazy happened. Something ridiculous that you just can’t believe. And, if it does, I’ll know why.

Goodbye Dad. I love you. Go Bears.”

-From Andrew Dannehy’s farewell to his father. Better than anything I could invent.

Three Actual Quick Thoughts

  • What the hell is Teddy Bridgewater? He doesn’t do anything particular well. He doesn’t do anything particularly poorly. He completes a high percentage of his passes but not for a particularly high amount of yards. Is he getting better? I have no idea. Because oddly enough, tape study doesn’t teach you much about Bridgewater. He’s just there.
  • Stefon Diggs is emerging as a star in the Vikings offense and his speed should frighten the Bears. He’s averaging more than 18 yards per catch the last two weeks. I’d expect Norv Turner to dial up a lot of play action and take shots against this Bears secondary down the field. (If he does, it will work.)
  • Adrian Peterson is averaging 4.4 yards per carry but he has a 75 yarder already. If you remove that run he’s averaging only 3.8 yards per carry on 119 carries. His return season is being exaggerated. Bears don’t need to shut him down. They need to limit the big runs.

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NFC North Preview: Minnesota Vikings

| September 2nd, 2015

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There are many around the league who are quietly optimistic about the Vikings this year. OK, so they’re not quiet at all. They’re actually quite annoyingly loud. It’s kind of weird considering that, in terms of DVOA, they were better than just Jacksonville, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Washington, New York Jets and, of course, the Bears. But they went 7-9 last year with a young roster and the expectation is that they will improve in their second year under Mike Zimmer.

Why They’ll Win The North:

There’s no question that Zimmer immediately changed the culture in Minnesota. Leslie Frazier seems like a nice guy, but there was no personality to him or any of his teams and he has a girls name. The players liked Frazier, but they accepted losing rather easily. Zimmer doesn’t put up with any bull shit. He’s a psychotic competitor and the Vikings seemed to take on that personality at times last season.

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Cutler Dominant, Bears Finally Win a Game: Recap in the Way of the Rapid Fire

| November 17th, 2014

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Those who are saying the Bears should be tanking the remainder of the season are the types of fans I’ll never understand. Win games. Win as many as you can. Draft where you’re slotted. This was a nice, convincing win from the Bears. But it doesn’t mean anything if they don’t string a few together. It’s step one in a reclamation project for the coach, quarterback…etc. Here are my thoughts:

  • Yes, I’m leading off with the drive at the end of the first half. You are the Chicago Bears. You have been embarrassed on national television in consecutive games. You only have a four-point lead. You take possession at your own twenty-six with more than minute to go and a timeout and you sit on the football? If the Bears had lost this game this sequence would have made the covers of both dailies and been a talking point across the football landscape. How does Marc Trestman not understand his offense is playing at their finest level in months? How does a coach choose not to ride the hot hand and trust his quarterback? I would have loved comments from Cutler and Marshall at the half.
  • The interception thrown by Cutler at the end of that sequence was a necessary act of defiance.
  • Maybe Marquess Wilson being on the field DOES make a difference. Jeffery and Marshall played their best game as a pair by far.
  • When the Bears commit to the vertical passing game, they win. All four wins this season featured Jay Cutler throwing the ball down the field.

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