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 offense

Instant overreaction to Vikings losing at Detroit

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: December 14, 2014 - 6:16 PM

Detroit -

The Vikings offered a complete NFL experience on Sunday. They entered a game as severe underdogs, took a commanding lead, then gave it away, finally falling after giving up a late field goal and throwing incomplete on fourth-and-five at the two-minute warning.

They lost to the Detroit Lions, 16-14. If you like moral victories, this was one of the better ones of the season.

Teddy Bridgewater played almost flawlessly. It was the ``almost’’ that cost the Vikings the game.

He threw interceptions on two consecutive passes  in the first half, turning a 14-0 lead that accurately indicated the Vikings’ dominance into a 14-10 lead at the half. He also missed a wide-open Jarius Wright on the last drive of the game, needing about 35 yards to set up a potential game-winning field goal.

With the Vikings’ defense playing well against Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford, Bridgewater again looked almost flawless in the second half. But with no running game to speak of, and kicker Blair Walsh missing one long attempt, and having a short one blocked, the Lions eventually wore down the Vikings and won it with a late field goal.

A victory for the Vikings would have been their first against a good team this season, and their first in the division. They need to beat Chicago in the last regular season game to avoid going winless in the NFC North.

Bridgewater was remarkably accurate on almost all of his throws. His bad throws cost him, and his team. That’s life as an NFL quarterback.

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We'll have complete coverage of the game later tonight on Startribune.com, and in the Monday paper. (Buy the paper - you get to see Jerry Holt's great photos.)

My latest podcasts, including those with Jarius Wright and Chad Greenway, are up at SouhanUnfiltered.com.

@Souhanstrib

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

Instant reaction to Vikings blowout loss

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: October 2, 2014 - 10:27 PM

A lot of bad ideas met up on Thursday night at Lambeau Field, their confluence producing the Vikings' 42-10 loss to the Packers.

Bad idea: Playing on the road on Thursday night. So far this season, road teams on Thursday night are 1-4, with the closest of those margins being 20 points.

Bad idea: Playing Christian Ponder in a football game. He wasn't just bad. He was unprofessional and embarrassing to the sport.

Bad idea: Playing the revitalized Packers offense without much preparation time. The Vikings' defense, impressive in three of the first four weeks, looked lost while trying to reach Aaron Rodgers, cover Jordy Nelson or tackle the previously ineffective Eddie Lacy.

The result was an unsightly addition to the annals of a usually fascinating rivalry.

It also offered evidence that the quarterback position is the most important in sports. With Teddy Bridgewater running the same offense last week, Jarius Wright played like a star, and Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon were highly effective.

With Ponder at the helm, even playing against what has been a mediocre defense, the Vikings couldn't function.

Now the Vikings have to hope that Bridgewater's ankle injury isn't a harbinger of future injury problems.

The guy suddenly seems very important.

Welcome to Jones Dome

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: September 7, 2014 - 9:34 AM

St. Louis -

Just got to the press box at the Edward Jones Dome (such an elegant name). And here's my pick for today:

I think the Rams are an ordinary team. Their strength on offense should be running the ball with Zac Stacy, and yet Stacy is being pushed for playing time by Benny Cunningham. If your lead back isn't really your lead back, how good are you at running the ball?

I think the key to the game will be the Vikings' offensive line, because the Rams' strength is its front seven. If Matt Kalil plays well, Vikings win, something like 23-16.

I'm placing my faith in Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner. I think he'll put the offense in position to win, whether that means helping Kalil or running plays that defuse the Rams' pass rush. The Vikings have enough talent on offense to score points against even a quality defense, and the Vikings' defense will face its most comfortable matchup of the early season.

So...23-16.

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Korzo is in studio and I'm in St. Louis for Sunday Sports Talk, 10-noon on 1500ESPN-AM. Vikings beat writer Matt Vensel and regular guest Tom Linnemann will join. Enjoy Group of Death.

Adrian Peterson would "give it all up..."

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: August 27, 2014 - 8:07 AM

You never know what you’re going to get when you sit down to interview a star.

You might catch them on a good day, or a bad day. They might have something else on their minds. They might like, or not like, something you’ve written about them in the past. They might not have anything to say, or go into the interview with the intent of getting through it without saying anything notable.

I visited Bud Selig in his office after he threatened the Twins with contraction. He gave me an hour. For an hour, I tried to get him to admit some culpability in the situation, to offer some details about the Pohlads’ willingness to have their team contracted. He deflected every question.

Yesterday, I sat down with Adrian Peterson after practice. I prepared questions on five different topics, hoping he would be interesting on at least one of them. I started him with questions about being around other celebrities at the celebrity softball game at the All-Star game at Target Field.

Then I started asking football questions, and he offered up all of the interesting stuff that is in today’s column: That he wants to break Emmitt Smith’s record, that he considers Barry Sanders the greatest back of all time, that he wants to be the greatest player who ever lived, that he wants to retire as a Viking, and that he thinks Norv Turner’s offense will be the best he’s played in.

I’d like to take credit for masterfully dragging all of that out of him, but I can’t. Peterson was ready and willing to open up, and I was lucky enough to be there.

I’ve always found him to be a remarkably engaging and approachable superstar. Here are a few of the things he said that didn’t make the column:

On…

-The importance of winning a Super Bowl: ``One thing people will be shocked to hear me say is, I’d give it all away for a Super Bowl. I’m not a selfish player. I’ve never been a selfish player. It’s not about me. I set my goals, but if we win and I’m rushing for 75 yards and helping us win, I’m happy. This is a team game and the ultimate goal is a championship.

``Any way I can help, in the passing game or a running game, I’ll help. It might take 200 yards rushing. It might take catching the ball. Whatever it takes, I’m all in. I want to hold the ultimate trophy up, and look at all the guys I played with, and know they can’t take that away from us. That’s what I’m all about.’’

-His willingness to set dramatic goals for himself, like rushing for 2,500 yards this season: ``You only live once. Why limit yourself?’’

-What it was like playing in the All-Star game celebrity softball game at Target Field, and having Jenny Finch throw a couple of fastballs by him: ``That was fun. It was a great experience to be around some different people. That was my first time experiencing the celebrity all-star game. Hopefully I’ll be invited back. It was cool to be around some of the legends who play baseball, and Nelly, and the celebrities out there.

``And Jenny Finch? I knew she looked athletic and a lot of people were talking about her, but you thought, `A woman? Shouldn’t be too bad.’ She proved me wrong. It was fun. It was for the fans, and I enjoyed it.

``She threw that fastball, and was like, `Whoa, this just got serious.’ I thought maybe I should have just had her stick to underhand pitching. But I love challenges, so I was like, bring it. I tipped one of them, at least.’’

-Being a low-profile superstar, who had other stars bowing to him: ``I know! I noticed that, too. I thought, man, I guess I have some pull. My friends tell me this all the time – the way you react, you don’t realize the type of star ability you have. It definitely stood out in that setting. Being around them and still getting recognized, it was cool. I just enjoyed blending in.’’

-Being a star who doesn’t seek every endorsement or photo op: ``That’s definitely by design. It’s just my mentality. That’s my vibe. I’ve always been that kind of low-key, solo-type guy. I really don’t like too much attention. That’s the way I’ve always been. I’ve been dealing with it since Little League, and then I had that little blank area of my life where I got off-track, but then in high school, my junior and senior year I was the No. 1 player in the nation. There was a lot of recognition that came with that. I’ve always shied away from attention since that.’’

=On entering a season as a 29-year old at a position where being 30 is dangerous: ``It just means that time flies. But, to be honest, I feel like I’m a different breed than 99 percent of the running backs in the league.’’

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I'll be on 1500ESPN at a different time today, 11:15 instead of 12:15. Back to regular programming after that.

We'll run Sunday Sports Talk 10-noon on Sunday at the 1500ESPN stage at the State Fair.

                           

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