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Tag:Minnesota Vikings
Posted on: December 11, 2011 11:52 am
 

Adrian Peterson out, Christian Ponder starting

By Will Brinson

Well here's an odd combination for the Vikings on Sunday: running back Adrian Peterson is inactive against the Lions with a high ankle sprain, but rookie quarterback Christian Ponder will start despite dealing with a hip pointer.

Via our Vikings Rapid Reporter Joe Oberle, cornerback Chris Cook, linebacker Xavier Adibi, center Brandon Fusco, tackle DeMarcus Love, tight end Allen Reisner and defensive end D'Aundre Reed are also inactive for Minnesota.

Peterson's absence -- coupled with Ponder starting -- is odd because Ponder is understandably more effective (and safer!) when Peterson is available to carry the load against opposing defenses.

Instead, Toby Gerhart will get the nod as starter for the Vikings, and is likely to see a substantial number of carries on Sunday.

Joe Webb could also see plenty of action for the Vikings; if Ponder stumbles out of the gate and/or re-aggravates his hip injury, Webb will step in to take snaps for the Vikings.


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Posted on: December 9, 2011 12:40 pm
 

Pick-Six Podcast: Week 14 NFL preview

By Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

The Steelers handled the Browns on Thursday night, but it was a bizarre game -- on today's podcast we break down Ben Roethlisberger's injury, how he managed to keep playing, whether the Steelers should be concerned, and if James Harrison is going to get fined and/or suspended.

Then we take a spin around the NFL action scheduled for Sunday, wondering if Oakland is a sleeper to take down Green Bay (no, really!), if Chris Johnson can keep running against the Saints, whether the Falcons are playoff-worthy, if Tim Tebow can take down the Bears, if Jim Schwartz can wrangle the Lions and whether we'd rather have Tony Romo or Eli Manning for the rest of their careers.

Did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?

If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.



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Posted on: December 9, 2011 11:43 am
 

Allen on living in Detroit: 'I'd drown myself'

By Will Brinson

If you can't say something nice about the city where your opponent lives, don't say anything at all, right? That's the opposite of what Vikings defensive end Jared Allen did on KFAN-FM when previewing the upcoming Lions-Vikings matchup at Ford Field on Sunday.

Allen, instead of practicing the old "if you can't say something nice, don't say it all" move, said if he had to live in "gloomy" Detroit, he would "just drown myself in the river."

"I don't like going to Detroit," Allen said, per Justin Rogers of MLive.com. "I'll be honest, it's gloomy, it sucks. Everything is brown and then there is snow on the ground. There's like Brownstones everywhere and I'm like, 'Awesome.' I don't know, I couldn't do it. If I had to live in Detroit, I think I'd just drown myself in the river that was across the way.

"I'm not trying to be mean, but it's just depressing when I go there," he continued. "There's two cities like I don't go out to eat or don't do anything. It's Detroit and New Orleans. New Orleans looks like I'm driving through a third-world country every time I get off the plane, I'm like, 'Oh, flak jacket.' I'm trying to get down. I'm like, 'Ah, crap, I can't carry my gun here. This sucks.'"

Um, ouch? And, uh, really? Detroit and New Orleans are two major American cities ravaged by circumstances out of their control (economic meltdown and a natural disaster), and even if you don't like being there, at least just say "it's not my favorite city" or something.

Of course, Allen didn't stop there. He also said that the 7-5 Lions, going against the 2-10 Vikings, are "obviously struggling" and "ripe" for an upset.


"It's Vikings/Detroit, it's always a good game," Allen said. "They've got some talent, but they're obviously struggling. One of their best defensive players will be out, so I think it's ripe for the picking and we can go up there and get things done."

Vegas says the Vikings won't, as they're 7.5 dogs in Detroit (although several of our experts believe the Vikings cover), but that doesn't mean this can't be a good game.

What'll be interesting is how Jim Schwartz' team, currently on double-secret probation when it comes to doing stupid things on the football field, responds to some of Allen's comments. After all, he might just be trying to get in their heads by riling the team up and goading them into making

Just don't expect the fans -- and residents of Detroit -- to appreciate his motivational tactics.

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Posted on: December 8, 2011 3:41 pm
 

NFL players not thrilled about losing to Tebow

By Will Brinson

In case you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks/months, Tim Tebow took over as starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos and has them squarely in the hunt for a playoff bid.

He's been criticized for not being a "normal quarterback" and received a ton of attention from fans and media alike and now the Broncos quarterback is starting to generate some backlash from other NFL players, some of whom have already lost to him.

"He's obviously doing great things because he's winning football games, and at the end of the day, that's what we're judged on: wins and losses," Vikings defensive end Jared Allen said on the NFL Network Wednesday night. "But still, it just sucks to lose to a guy who's not a throwing quarterback."

The comments aren't just limited to those Tebow has beaten, either. Up this week is Chicago, featuring a defense that is the last bastion of hope for the Bears chances of making the playoffs. And the members of Chicago's defense don't like the idea of becoming Tebow's next victim.

"No, I will be frickin' pissed," Briggs said when asked if he'd be embarrassed if Tebow beat them Sunday. "[Tebow] is one heck of an football player and we're going to have to stop that crap."

Briggs also added, via Gregg Rosenthal of Pro Football Talk, that "[Tebow is] not Michael Vick" and that "Cam Newton is a better athlete, faster."


Nothing that Allen or Briggs said is necessarily disrespectful or malicious, but it's certainly not the same sort of words you might hear from them if they lost to Aaron Rodgers.

Oh, wait, both teams have lost to Rodgers, with Green Bay mauling the Vikings 45-7 less than a month ago.

"All I know is he crushed us tonight," Allen said at the time.

Look, Tebow isn't Rodgers, and when Allen pointed out Wednesday that Tebow isn't even a Pro Bowler, he's right. But Tebow keeps on winning, and and that's hard to argue against.

If he pulls it off this weekend, don't be surprised to hear similar comments out of Chicago.

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Posted on: December 7, 2011 12:40 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 3:40 pm
 

Mystery city inquires about landing Vikings

By Will Brinson

There's nothing more intriguing than when the dreaded "mystery team" enters the race to acquire a free agent (see: the race for Nnamdi Asomugha and now Albert Pujols on the MLB side). But what about when a "mystery city" makes a run at an NFL team?

It's happening with the Vikings, according to Vikes vice president of stadium development and public affairs Lester Bagley, who told legislators on Tuesday that another city (besides Los Angeles) contacted the team about leaving Minnesota.

"We would let that city speak for themselves," said Bagley, per the Minnesota Star-Tribune.  "I don't think it's our place to say who it is."

Bagley, who was meeting with legislators to discuss a new, publicly-funded stadium for the team, said that the city contacted the Vikings within the last year.

A quick glance at the biggest markets in the United States (thanks Wikipedia!) doesn't show a whole lot of options for the Vikings, who reside in the 16th biggest market right now. Los Angeles is the second-biggest market, and the next closest is the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario market, but that's basically L.A.

Below Minnesota on the list of markets without an NFL team are Portland, Sacramento, San Jose and Las Vegas. Those cities probably wouldn't work for a variety of reasons (fan support, gambling being illegal), although Portland could potentially make sense, especially given its proximity to Nike and the presence/success of an NBA team already.

The biggest likelihood, in my mind, is that the city that contacted the Vikings about the opening either a) is a city worried about its current NFL team leaving (Jacksonville, St. Louis, San Diego, etc) or b) is a city that's very near to Los Angeles and/or Minneapolis, and one that probably doesn't count as a "second city" in the truest sense, or c) is "a city" that contacted the Vikings to inflate the perceived interest in Minnesota's franchise and crank up the pressure on the locals to get a new stadium deal done.

Edit: Not only did I neglect the wonderful city of San Antonio (25th on the largest-market list) but I also forgot add option (d): that either city is outside of America, in the case of London or Toronto.

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Posted on: December 6, 2011 9:58 am
 

Tracking Tebow, Week 13: The Tebolution continues

We're Tracking Tebow … because it's impossible not to watch. 

By Ryan Wilson

When it comes to Tim Tebow, there's really not much left to say. As head coach John Fox pointed after the latest Broncos come-from-behind win, this time against the Vikings, "The guy knows how to win."

Two months ago, such remarks wouldn't have been much different from all the other post-victory-glow cliches we're usually beaten about the head with. But now, with Tebow 6-1 as Denver's starter, and the Broncos atop the AFC West, Fox speaks the truth. There is no logical explanation for the team's sudden turnaround let alone Tebow's success but after witnessing miracle after miracle most of us now take it on faith that some way, some how, the Broncos are going to win and Tebow will do his part. Ironic, we know.

Unlike previous weeks, Tebow matriculated the ball down the field with his arm, not his legs. He had just four rushes for 13 yards, something you might expect from a prototypical NFL quarterback, not a guy whose legend was built on his ability to tuck and run. Not against the Vikings, who seemed intent on keeping Tebow in the pocket and forcing him to put the ball in the air.


He did just that 15 times, completing 10 throws for 202 yards. Adjusted for conventional NFL QBs, that works out to about a 500-yard passing day. Tebow also threw two touchdowns and it was his fifth straight game without an interception.

We can chuckle all we want about Tim Tebow, glorified H-back, but the Chiefs and Bears would love to have him right now. Nothing he does on the football field is pretty but there's no denying that he's efficient. No one -- not even Tom Brady, former 199th pick who cries when he's reminded of his draft-day free fall -- gets more out of their abilities. Because, realistically, Tebow should be a blocking back. He should be playing on the coverage and return units. He should be on the roster bubble every preseason. And yet here he is, doing what he's done since high school: winning.

He's converted an entire country of doubters, and more importantly, he's convinced John Fox and John Elway. Now, with a month left in the regular season there's no reason to think that the Broncos won't win their division. That, folks, is the Power of Tebow (and the benefits of having an easy schedule relative to the Raiders).


                                                   Play by Play



(Note: Below are the plays -- both running and passing -- involving Tebow. You can view the entire play-by-play breakdown here)




                                                        Quotes



"I know that everyone wants to know, but our future is right now. When you look at where we are, the future is the Chicago Bears. We've got three out of four at home, and we're coming off five out of six wins, so we're excited to come home. - Broncos president John Elway, on his weekly radio show, answering a question about whether Tebow's performance means he's the team's long-term quarterback.

“Walking out of the tunnel yesterday (in Minnesota), somebody had farted. We’re walking down, this is right before the game starts, and [head coach John Fox] is like, ‘Man, somebody’s nervous.” - Broncos punter Dustin Colquitt offering an example of why Fox is a players' coach and always knows exactly what to say.

"There were a lot of questions on the outside (about Tebow). Sometimes it gets built up like they were on the inside, but the one thing I will say is the guy wins. He does it with his feet, he does it with his arm. He's young, he's just going to get better." - Head coach John Fox

"I've definitely seen that a couple times from No. 15. When I hear all those ESPN commentators say, 'He can't do this,' I laugh. After the game, I whispered in his ear, 'Let 'em keep hating. Keep 'em hating on you.'" - Vikings wide receiver and Tebow's former teammate at Florida, Percy Harvin


                                                   Audio-Visual




Tebow used to struggle with deep throws, even the wide open ones. That was a non-issue against the Vikings.


At this point, nothing surprises us with Tebow. He does it so often everybody expects it. Put differently: we're believers now!


Yes, Tebow is a beneficiary of a good defense, but he also plays better as the game progresses. 


                                                   Eye on Tebow




Tim Tebow at terminal velocity rips the helmets off unsuspecting opponents. 

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Posted on: December 5, 2011 2:20 am
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile: Week 13

Posted by Will Brinson


Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action and figures out the most important storylines for you to digest. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter. Make sure and listen to our Week 13 podcast review below as well and feel free to subscribe via iTunes.

 

1. Tebowtainment

Before diving into another Tim Tebow victory -- this time a 35-32 squeaker on the road in Minnesota -- let's go ahead and get you ready for the upcoming week of screaming talking head mania by offering up the Official Tebow Haters Stat Du Jour: opponent's victories!

As people will tell you over the next seven days, Denver's last five victories came against five teams five teams with a combined 25 victories. (Don't think I'm defending that, just know that I'm preparing you for it.)

You know why people are going to focus on that, as well as the Vikings two-win season and a miserable Minnesota secondary?

Because Tebow just won a game by being a -- gasp! -- traditional passer. Tebow went 10 of 15 for 202 yards and two touchdowns and only rushed the ball four times, one of which was was a lateral kneel to set up the game-winning field goal.

The result of Sunday's win is the most improbable of improbable situations: Denver being the favorite to land the No. 4 seed in the AFC playoffs. With "just" the Bears, Patriots, Bills and Chiefs remaining on the schedule, Denver's in a better position than Oakland (losers Sunday, with the Packers, Lions, Chiefs and Chargers remaining) to make the postseason.

And if you're a Tebow hater, you better get your block button on Twitter ready, because things are about to get hairy when they get there. On the other hand, if you're a Tebow hater, what's your beef with a team that utilizes an opportunistic defense, a run-based offense that doesn't make mistakes and a quarterback who may or may not have mystical powers to win games?

I understand that people have to argue about something during the week, but are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?

2. You Just Iced Yourself, Bro

On Sunday, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett took clock mismanagement to an entirely new level in Dallas' 19-13 loss to Arizona in overtime.

First off, Garrett iced his own kicker. Icing an opponent's kicker is a foolhardy move, because it really doesn't work all that well in the first place. But icing your own kicker? That's the stuff that Jim Mora rants -- and knee-jerk firings -- are made of.

Somehow, though, Garrett's ridiculous decision wasn't his worst move of the Cowboys loss. With over a minute remaining, Dallas facing a second and 20 and holding two timeouts, Tony Romo took the snap and completed a pass to Dez Bryant for nine yards. 30 seconds later, Romo took another snap and hit Bryant for 15 yards and a first down, then spiked the ball with eight seconds remaining on the clock.

No timeouts used, 53 seconds burnt and the Cowboys still needing Dan Bailey to kick a 49-yard field goal. Cue up icing of Bailey, and cue up a Kevin Kolb-led game-winning drive for the Cardinals in their first possession in overtime.

There's no need to dive into the hyperbole-filled world of "worst clock management ever," but suffice to say Wade Phillips is laughing his jolly ass off somewhere right now.

3. Yes We Cam ... But Maybe We Shouldn't

Sunday -- a 38-19 win for Carolina over Tampa Bay -- was a big day for Cam Newton. The Panthers won. (It's the most important thing, haven't you heard?) Newton won his first division game. Newton picked up his first winning "streak." And the rookie phenom had, arguably, his best game as a professional quarterback.

Newton went 12 of 21 for and only threw for 204 yards, but he had one touchdown through the air, no turnovers and managed 54 rushing yards on 13 carries and three rushing touchdowns.

That total, by the by, means Newton now holds the single-season rookie record for rushing touchdowns in a season with 13, leaving poor Steve Grogan with no other real historical notation to his name.

Here's the crazy thing though: Newton's just five touchdowns short of Eric Dickerson's record for rushing touchdowns in a season by any rookie. With four games to go, 18 or 19 is well within his sights.

Should it be, though? I say no, and that's coming from someone who's a conductor on the CamWagon and a Newton fantasy owner. Here's why: Newton hasn't learned how to avoid contact yet. He's getting a little better about avoiding shots, but watching him go into a headfirst horizontal spin has to make Jerry Richardson's heart skip a couple of beats.

On a day when you win by 19 points against a terrible rushing defense like Tampa's, especially when they don't have their starting quarterback, there's no reason why Newton has three more carries than DeAngelo Williams, who got $43 million this offseason.

Watching Cam break Dickerson's record would be fun, but not as fun as watching Cam stay healthy over the next decade.

4. Defining Swagger

For the first few weeks of the season, I'm pretty confident I pumped a lot of words in this space in the direction of the Detroit Lions because of their new-found attitude under coach Jim Schwartz.

A "swagger," if you will. Well, it's backfiring, and backfiring badly. Sunday was a perfect example, as the Lions piled up well over 100 yards in penalties -- most of them incredibly stupid and chippy -- during their 31-17 loss to New Orleans.

Schwartz and Gunther Cunningham preach a hard-nose brand of football, and that's great for a Lions team that's been pushed around and publicly mocked for more than a decade because of futility in every aspect.

But you can't give away games by trying to be tough. The Lions, for the first time in a looooong time, are in the middle of a playoff race, and other contenders (the Giants, the Bears, the Falcons, the Cowboys) are imploding all around them.

Did they learn nothing from Ndamukong Suh getting suspended for ridiculously dumb and violent on-field actions? Just go out and be tough without being dumb.

Having swagger doesn't mean having to be stupid.


5. Hibernation Time

Say what you will about Caleb Hanie, but the Bears had a shot at the playoffs even with Jay Cutler out. But after Matt Forte sprained his MCL in Sunday's 10-3 loss to Kansas City, that pipedream just went down the tube.

Hanie was 11 of 24 for 133 yards and three picks, Marion Barber carried the rock 14 times for 44 yards and anyone watching the game knew that it was going to take a Bears defensive touchdown to win that game.

The Bears got burnt because Kansas City hit a Hail Mary to Dexter McCluster at the end of the half, and as pointed out last week, Romeo Crennel really does deserve some love for the defensive schemes he's cooking up these days, but this is a Chicago team that looked like a legit Super Bowl contender just three weeks ago.

Since then, they've been absolutely snakebit with injuries to stars, and even if they're still technically "in" the NFC playoffs as of today, is that defense really going to shut out three of the next four opponents?

Or, put more a little succinctly: Chicago just lost to Tyler Palko. Goodnight, sweet Bears.

6. Next Man Up

Speaking of injuries to key players, can we go ahead and get love for the work Gary Kubiak and Wade Phillips are doing in Houston?

Because as soft as the Texans schedule is, Kubes somehow managed to shock the world (well, some of us) by beating Atlanta 17-10 despite having T.J. Yates under center.

But what's new, right? The Texans, as Clark Judge noted on Sunday from Houston, have won without every single one of their stars and it's not just because this team gets to beat up on the cupcakes of the AFC South.

It's because they've got established a quality of depth on this team that allows them to succeed despite potentially debilitating injuries to critical players.

"Because we have a defense that's playing well," Arian Foster said after the game. "We have receivers that can make plays. [We have] a solid offensive line. We have running backs who can make plays. We have weapons around him to help [Yates]."

This steady diet of consistency and quality of depth is precisely why Houston hasn't -- and won't -- collapse under the weight of a run to the playoffs this year.


7. Rookie Wall

The BCS laid a couple of stinkbombs on Sunday that would actually make Jim Caldwell cringe, but the most important thing for us NFL types is that the college season is now over. Not because we want it to end, but now's a good measuring stick of the rookie wall.

The last time Andy Dalton, leading a surprising Bengals playoff run, played a game after the first weekend of December, it was probably on a month's worth of rest, because of the bowl system.

This year, Dalton gets four games in that stretch, with about six days in between each one.

And though the Red Rifle wasn't awful during Sunday's 35-7 loss to Pittsburgh, he was banged up and beat down enough that Bruce Gradkowski came in for mop-up duty.

As noted above, I'm all for keeping rookies safe. But there's got to be some concern that Dalton's entering an unknown area in terms of wear and tear on his body and mind.

It probably won't help that he gets a pair of elite defenses -- Baltimore and Houston -- over the next few weeks either.

8. Please Don't Punch the Zebras

Twice on Sunday we saw players -- Da'Quan Bowers of the Buccaneers and Brandon Pettigrew of the Lions -- make what could at best be called "incidental" contact with referees on the field.

Both Bowers and Pettigrew were involved in scuffles on the field and neither was going after the official, but when they were being pulled away from whatever mini-ruckus was taking place, both struck the official.

That's a 15-yard penalty and it should be an ejection. Only Pettigrew was flagged and neither was ejected. (Oddly, when Bowers lashed out, Brian Price was booted to the locker room by coach Raheem Morris.)

It's not an epidemic running around, but with some of the non-calls we've seen on violent plays this year, it's a little disappointing that the guys in stripes aren't making more of a concerted effort to look out for their own safety.

Expect fines for both guys, particularly if the league wants to ensure players aren't taking aggressive contact with the officials on the field of play.

9. Save Our Sparanos

My man Pete Prisco already broke down the odiferous nature of Oakland's 34-14 stinkbomb in Miami on Sunday, but there's something else at play here: is Tony Sparano saving his job?

Because the Dolphins are suddenly riding a hot streak (they've won four of their last five) that seemed impossible after an 0-7 start to the season. Not only are they no longer the worst team in the NFL, they might not even be the worst team in their division, what with the 5-7 Bills racing them back to the bottom.

Matt Moore looks like Matt Moore looked when Matt Moore was helping the Panthers win meaningless games late in 2009, and Reggie Bush looks like Reggie Bush looked when ... well, Reggie Bush hasn't ever looked like this. But he looks good.

The defense is stifling teams (I don't care how many starters the Raiders were missing), and Miami's got three winnable games on their schedule remaining, as they play the Eagles and Jets at home and the Bills on the road.

If Sparano gets this team to 7-9 by winning seven of their last nine, it really seems inconceivable that Stephen Ross could can him.

10. Utah, Gimme Two

If you're listening to the podcast -- and why aren't you listening and/or subscribing -- you probably heard us rant on the ridiculous nature of two-point conversion usage in football.

And if you're not listening, here's a synopsis: people are doing it wrong. A great example occurred during the Packers-Giants game on Sunday (eventually won by Green Bay 38-35). With 3:35 remaining, the Packers held a one-point lead when Aaron Rodgers hit Donald Driver for a ridiculous touchdown grab.

Up seven points, the Packers had two choices. One, kick the extra point (and go up eight). Or two, go for two and have roughly a 50-percent chance (the conversion rate for two-point conversions) of going up nine points.

An unsuccessful conversion would simply mean the Giants needed to go down and score a touchdown, same as before, except without having to score a two-point conversion afterward. (Same odds apply here for the Giants getting theirs, obviously.)

A successful two-point conversion, however, would put the Packers up nine points, which means the Giants would need to go down, score a touchdown, kick an extra point, recover an onsides kick and then get in range to kick a long field goal. The odds of this happening are a) much worse than the Giants scoring and getting a two-point conversion; or b) much, much, much lower than a coin flip.

For whatever reason, coaches -- and most fans -- don't understand the tremendous advantage being up two possessions present, as opposed to simply being up eight points. The reward (basically ending the game) substantially outweighs the risk (a tie ballgame), however.

Muffed Punts

Leftovers from Sunday's Action ...
... The Packers tied the second-longest winning streak in NFL history, and are just three shy of the 03-04 Patriots, who won 21 straight.
... Frank Gore passed Joe Perry as the 49ers all-time leading rusher, on a day when San Francisco clinched the division.
... Drew Brees became the first player in NFL history to record 4,000 passing yards in his team's first 12 games.
... Jimmy Graham became the first Saints tight end in history to top 1,000 yards receiving in a season.
... Hines Ward became the 19th player in NFL history with 12,000 receiving yards in his career Sunday.

Worth 1,000 Words


GIF O' THE WEEK

A combo GIF this week! Via SBNation, first we have Hakeem Nicks showing the world how to do the not-so-sissy strut:



And then Nicks following that dance up by doing ... this:


Hot Seat Tracker

  • Steve Spagnuolo -- On the bright side, there might be an opening for a defensive coordinator in Philly ...
  • Jim Caldwell -- You can't not fire your coach if he goes 0-16, right?
  • Andy Reid --  I still don't buy that Philly dumps him, but his seat is warm for sure.
  • Raheem Morris -- Losing to the Panthers, even without Josh Freeman, isn't helping Morris.
  • Norv Turner -- He can get off this list with a playoff berth. So, yeah, um, yeah.

MVP Watch

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers continued their pursuit of perfection, but for the first time all season, Rodgers didn't look totally ridiculously amazing. He was still really good, though. And no one was that much better -- Tom Brady's got a case building, I suppose, but Rodgers is winning in a walkaway, barring something silly happening over the next four weeks.
Posted on: December 4, 2011 11:56 am
 

Harvin in, Von out, AP to miss extra week?

Posted by Will Brinson

No surprise in the Minnesota-Denver tilt set for 1:00 pm Sunday, as Adrian Peterson is inactive -- but there's also some good news/bad news for the teams involved as well, and the possibility that Peterson could mis additional time.

Percy Harvin is active for the Vikings, which is critical for Minnesota, because without AP, they're already limited enough on offense.

The Vikings offense will also be helped by a loss to the Broncos defense, as Von Miller, the leading candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year, won't play for Denver on Sunday.

Peterson's continued absence is obviously the biggest deal, and there's a possibility that he could miss additional time. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that Peterson's high ankle sprain could keep him sidelined through Week 14 against the Lions as well.

Originally when Peterson was carted off, the injury looked potentially season-ending; Peterson expressed hope that he could play as soon as this week but that's obviously not happening.

Perhaps the Vikings are simply being cautious with their franchise player, and that's a good thing. But with word that Leslie Frazier's seat might be heating up in Minnesota, perhaps we'll see Peterson sooner than expected.


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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com