On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers travel to the Twin Cities to play a rare outdoor game against the Minnesota Vikings. Ted Glover of Daily Norseman was kind enough to answer some questions about the Vikings and provide insight into their strengths and weaknesses.
APC: Let's get this out of the way first. Were you surprised with the Adrian Peterson ruling and, in your estimation, will he play again for the Vikings?
Surprised? Yes and no. Taken in a vacuum, you can make an argument that the nine games missed should be enough. Look, I didn't come here to try and defend a guy that abused his son, and that's what it was in my opinion, abuse. I felt at the time and still feel the Vikings should have released him, just to avoid this entire circus we're watching unfold now.
But I digress.
It seems like the Vikings want to keep him, and if that's the case, so be it. When you break everything down, Peterson ended up pleading no contest to a misdemeanor, and his case was settled to the satisfaction of the district attorney in Texas. The NFL agreed that when his case was settled with the courts, he would be taken off the Exempt List and he could apply for reinstatement. He's now suspended until next April, at the earliest.
So, essentially, we're talking about an entire season, plus a good part of the offseason...for a misdemeanor. When you consider the arbitrary levying of penalties the NFL imposes, it seems excessive.
But like I said earlier, if taken in a vacuum it seems excessive, but this isn't in a vacuum. This, and all penalties moving forward, will be viewed through the prism of the Ray Rice case. Is it fair that because the NFL botched the Hell out of the Rice case they need to come down harder on Peterson and players that will come after him? No. In the US Court system, each case is taken on its merits and viewed independently from every other case. In today's NFL, that's not the case. Roger Goodell and the NFL will over react from now on, because they didn't handle Ray Rice appropriately.
Will he play for the Vikings again? It seems like the Vikings are going to try and ride this out, so right now I'm going to say yes. You get the feeling, watching interviews and things, that players would love to have him back, and Mike Zimmer has said very positive things about him the few times he's talked about him. But honestly, I really have no idea.
One last thing on this and I'll shut up-let's remember that even though Roger Goodell has almost made Adrian Peterson a sympathetic figure, Peterson is not the victim here. None of this happens if he doesn't, you know, abuse his four-year-old son.
APC: Seven starts into his NFL career, what are the positives and negatives you've seen from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater?
There's a lot to like, and there's the typical rookie growing pains. I think he has a very good pocket presence, and when he has time he makes good throws. I don't know that he has full confidence to make those throws consistently, though, as he seems to have a penchant to find his checkdown receiver, usually a back in the flat. If he can consistently keep pushing the ball downfield, he'll be fine. I think he will, but he's a rookie and it's going to take some time.
APC: Minnesota has opponents to 21 points or less in four of their last five games. Is that more indicative of the quality of their opponents over that span (Detroit, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Washington, and Chicago) or improvement by Mike Zimmer's defense?
It's a little bit of both, but the defense is much better than it was a year ago. They're more aggressive, and have gone from the bottom of every major statistical category to the top. It's been an impressive turnaround for this unit, and they're also a pretty young group, too. It'll be fun watching these guys grow up in this defense under this coach.
APC: Heading into the season, it seemed as though receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was due for a major breakout. Instead, he's been an afterthought in the passing game and scored only two touchdowns all year. Why hasn't Patterson made more of an impact in 2014?
It's a combination of things. He was hurt earlier in the year, which limited his effectiveness. He's not a good route runner, so I don't know if there's a timing issue between him and Bridgewater. And finally, the Vikings offensive line play has been pretty bad for a good part of the season, and that's limited Bridgewater in his ability to set up and have the time to get the ball to wide receivers.
APC: Finally, it's prediction time. Which team wins on Sunday and why?
Green Bay is playing at such a high level right now that I'm having a hard time seeing a Vikings victory. I don't think it'll be a laugher like it was at Lambeau earlier this year, but still, I don't see the Vikings getting a win. Let's call it 31-17 Packers.
Then I'll be buying shots of bleach for everyone.
We'd like to thank Ted for answering our questions. Be sure to check out our Q&A session over at Daily Norseman as well as their fantastic coverage of all things Vikings. As always, keep your internet machines tuned to Acme Packing Company this Sunday for our comprehensive game-day coverage of Vikings vs. Packers.