Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.

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Posts about Vikings injury report

Vikings' defense flops in loss

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: December 21, 2014 - 3:34 PM

By Jim Souhan

Miami Gardens, Fla.

In an attempt to make sure Teddy Bridgewater experiences all there is to experience in an NFL season, the Vikings on Sunday attempted an onside kick from their own 20 yard line.

It was that kind of day for the Vikings. Bridgewater often played brilliantly, but failures on defense and special teams led to a 37-35 loss at Sun Life Stadium, meaning the Vikings will finish under .500 for the second straight season.

Without much time to throw Bridgewater completed 19-of-26 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns. His only interception came on a ball that Matt Asiata bobbled into the air. But he’ll get credit for a ``quarterback loss’’ because the Dolphins shredded the Vikings’ defense, scoring touchdowns on five consecutive possessions.

The Vikings’ remaining goal: To avoid going winless in the NFC North on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium against the Bears.

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Head to SouhanUnfiltered.com to hear my podcasts, including chats with Chad Greenway and Jarius Wright.

Rhodes rates Calvin No.1, Jordy No.2

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: December 10, 2014 - 2:11 PM

Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes calls Lions star Calvin Johnson the toughest receiver he has to face.

``He broke Jerry Rice's record, didn't he?'' Rhodes said. ``Anybody else do that?''

Rhodes pick for his second-toughest receiver to face might surprise you. Or not, if you pay attention to the NFC North.

``Jordy Nelson is the next-toughest guy I've faced,'' Rhodes said. ``The way he reacts to the ball, the way he runs his routes, the way you can tell that he's studied so much film, looking for an edge. That makes him very tough.''

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After reading Mark Craig's cool piece on Adam Thielen and Cordarrelle Patterson in today's Strib, and hearing Vikings coach Mike Zimmer continue to hope aloud that Patterson will become a great receiver, it's pretty evident that Patterson hasn't or doesn't know how to apply himself.

With his size, speed and talent, Patterson doesn't have to become a latter-day Jerry Rice in terms of route running, or a latter-day Cris Carter in terms of competing for the ball. He just has to become a reliable and competitive route-runner.

You wonder whether he has that nasty compettive streak that other great receivers have.

Rice once told Bill Walsh to run a sweep on the first play of a playoff game, so Rice could start the game by flattening the corner assigned to him. Carter became one of the most dedicated athletes I've ever met.

Patterson seems like a nice guy who doesn't understand what it takes to be great.

It's interesting that Zimmer has taken a positive approach with him, while pushing harder with other young players. It's almost an admission that pushing Patterson might not do much good.

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Did a short video with Michael Rand, speaking about Zimmer's work this year. Should be up on startribune.com shortly.

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Today's podcast at SouhanUnfiltered.com is with Strib hockey writer Michael Russo. Tonight's will stream live on that website at 5 p.m. from Kieran's Irish Pub in downtown Minneapolis. My guest is Jayhawks frontman Gary Louris, who is playing Thursday night at the Cedar Avenue Cultural Center with Haley Bonar. We'll do an hour of music and conversation, mixing in a little sports talk. Please stop by and say hello.

Previous podcasts on the site feature Chad Greenway, Mike Grant, Mark Craig, Glen Perkins, Craig Leipold, Russo, Paul Molitor and Ross Bernstein.

@Souhanstrib

Amazing loss

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: December 8, 2013 - 3:32 PM

I'm not sure I've ever seen a finishing flurry quite like the one in the Vikings' 29-25 loss to the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.

It's remarkable how hard the Vikings hsve played in the weeks since it seemed their season was doomed. What I'll explore in my Monday column is why it took so long for this coaching staff to put its best players on the field. With Matt Cassel at quarterback, Cordarrelle Patterson starting at receiver and Xavier Rhodes starting at corner, this is a competent team, a team that could be at or near .500 and theoretically in the playoff race if those players had started earlier this season.

This was a Vikings team that made all those dramatic plays with its backup quarterback, backup running back, and a lot of backup defenders on the field.

We'll have extensive coverage in the Monday paper and on startribune.com, complete with videos.

We'll also update Adrian Peterson's health as soon as possible after the game, Indications now are that he has a sprained ankle and nothing more. It will be interesting to see whether Leslie Frazier plays him next week, or lets Toby Gerhart have a start.

My Twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.

Vikings lose, Harvin debuts

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: November 17, 2013 - 9:20 PM

Devoted my column to Percy Harvin, so here I'll state the obvious: Christian Ponder should be done as a Viking.

Josh Freeman's horrific performance against the Giants gave everyone pause. It made sense to back off the Vikings' original plans of testing him for the rest of the season. It made sense to allow him to recover from the concussion the team says he had, and to give him time to work on the mechanics that failed him.

Now that Ponder has written a coda to his Minnesota career with a scattershot performance in the Vikings' 41-20 loss at Seattle, it's time for Freeman to give it another try.

The way the Vikings hve handled backup Matt Cassel is proof that they think of him the same way the rest of the NFL does - as a nice backup and nothing more.

Freeman hasn't offered much evidence this year, in Tampa or Minnesota, that he can regain the form that made him a solid NFL starter. But he's still more promising than Ponder and Cassel. Even if there is a one percent chance that Freeman can use the rest of this season to reestablish himself as a quality starter, that puts him ahead of Ponder and Cassel.

And now the Vikings have the perfect opportunity to break Freeman back in: Against a Packers team without Aaron Rodgers.

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I get into this a little bit in the column, but the feeling in the Seahawks' lockerroom was that Harvin will make a very good team great.

Russell Wilson has moved himself into consideration as the best of the league's young quarterbacks. Andrew Luck gets the nod from most experts, but Wilson may be closer to Luck than most are willing to admit.

He's accurate, athletic, smart, tough. He's a great leader. With Harvin, he'll have a downfield threat that will torture safeties who want to creep toward the line of scrimmage to stop Marshawn Lynch. He can return kickoffs, take handoffs and catch short passes, but it's his speed that will make the Seahawks a markedly better offense.

``The thing about him is, he draws attention,'' Wilson said. ``It's hard to stop him because he's so fast, he's so electric, he loves the game, he's so physical. He's the type of guy who's so fast - he runs a 4.3 40, easy - he can make guys miss, but he also wants to be physical with you. It's tough for defensive players to know how to cover him.''

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I think Adrian Peterson is hurting. Either that, or his offensive line has made him gun-shy.

He just doesn't hit the hole the way he did last year. That's either because he's dealing with injuries (including the groin problem that bothered him this week) or because he doesn't expect to get through the first wave of defenders cleanly.

He averaged 3.1 yards per carry on Sunday, and while he didn't have many openings, he also didn't attack the way usually does.

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If Ponder does get benched, John Carlson and Kyle Rudolph should go on strike. Ponder's strength as a quarterback was getting the ball to the tight end. Cassel and Freeman are both more likely to look to their wide receivers.

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Is everyone still excited about turning Joe Webb into a receiver? Sunday, in his most extensive playing time, he caught two passes for nine yards. Every time a talented athlete fails at his initial position in the NFL, everyone says, ``Turn him into a receiver!''

It's not that easy. Webb is still a spectacular athlete and a wonderful runner, but he hasn't built up a lifetime of repetitions at receiver - running patterns, accelerating out of breaks, reading coverages, catching the ball under duress, building up a rapport with a quarterback. It may take years, and guys who are on their second position don't have years.

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The Vikings had little chance to win on Sunday, and Ponder made a bunch of mistakes, but I thought the key moment in the game might have come late in the first quarter. It was 3-3. The Vikings faced third-and-9 from their 37.

Peterson snuck out of the backfield on a screen pass. He was wide open. He had blockers in front of him. He may have scored. He certainly would have gotten the first down and more. And Ponder misfired on a simple throw.

Let's say Peterson scores there. At the very least the game remains competitive for a longer period of time.

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I'll be on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:15 a.m. (5:15 Seattle time!) and on 1500ESPN during the Judd&Dubay Show. My Twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.

Greenway on defensive woes

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: October 27, 2013 - 11:30 PM

Against Detroit, the Vikings' defense didn't seem prepared to handle the multiple ways the Lions used Reggie Bush.

Against Chicago, the defensive players intimated they were out of position on the Bears' game-winning drive.

Against Carolina, Jared Allen left some doubt in his postgame interview as to how much confidence he invested in the defensive coaching staff.

Against Green Bay, the Vikings got shredded for 182 rushing and 285 passing yards.

``The Green Bay Packers rushed for about 200 yards on us,'' said defensive end Jared Allen. ``When does that ever happen? When do the Green Bay Packers rush for 200 yards? We've got to stop the run. That was awful. I didn't see that coming whatsoever.''

So I asked linebacker Chad Greenway on Sunday night whether the defensive players were being put in position to succeed.

Read his answer and interpret it any way you like:

``You know what?'' he said. ``The reality is, the call comes into the huddle, we’ve got to make the play. I don’t want to get into a finger-pointing situation. It's not about that.

``When you go through some things, you see there’s more to life than football. This is what we do. At the end of the day, you don’t want to be known as someone who pointed the finger and tried to put it on somebody else. I want to be known as someone who has integrity and want to put the onus on getting better and finding a way. That’s reality. We are where we are.''

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I'll be on 1500ESPN from 9-1 tomorrow with Judd Zulgad.

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