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What If You Don’t Have A Smartphone For Digital Tickets?

By Vikings – WCCO | CBS Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Saturday, longtime Vikings fan Kirk VJ Neuman used his son’s digital season tickets to get into the preseason game at U.S. Bank Stadium.

“There were no lines,” he said. “Easy, peasy.”

This is the first season the Minnesota Vikings have required tickets to enter the stadium be scanned via smartphone. The team is one of six in the NFL to move to the new system. On Monday, a team spokesman said the Vikings were pleased with how the new digital ticketing system worked for 57,000 people on Saturday.

“We had no issues and I think that’s a big credit to our fans,” said Jeff Anderson, vice president of corporate communications for the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings say the change not only reduces the likelihood of counterfeit tickets, but it also gives the team a way to communicate directly with ticket holders.

“In the past, half our tickets are transferred or sold on the secondary market — we had no ability to reach those fans,” Anderson said. “Now, we have an email address associated with every ticket. We can go directly to every user, tell them about a gate closure or gate backup or road closure.”

According to Pew Research Center, 77 percent of Americans have a smartphone. That’s up from 35 percent in 2011. When the numbers are broken down by age, the percentages are more stark — 95 percent of Americans between ages 18 and 29 have a smartphone versus 46 percent of Americans over 65.

But what if you don’t have a smartphone? Good question.

On Facebook, users without smartphones gave varying reasons for not having the device. Chad wrote he didn’t need the functions, Nick said smartphones were too pricey and John wrote that he didn’t want to have to keep showing his dad how to make a smartphone call.

Anderson said a couple hundred fans came to U.S. Bank Stadium on Saturday with paper tickets and were allowed into the game. Most of them were Jaguar fans who weren’t familiar with the policy change.

Vikings ticket holders without smartphones are asked to call the Vikings Ticket Office at 612-33VIKES before the game to coordinate how to get inside.

“We’ll walk through a number of solutions. At the end of the day — bottom line — we want fans in the stadium, so if it comes down to it, we’ll have you arrive early on game day, come to will call and we’ll get you in that,” Anderson said.

Source:: CBS Minnesota

Which offensive line combination will the Vikings land on?

By Matthew Coller

As we analyze the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive line troubles during the preseason, it’s worth remembering they started a line combination in Week 1 last year that had never played together in the preseason. And for most of the 2017 season, the Vikings’ line was somewhere between good and average until late-season injuries finally caught up with them.

So there isn’t yet reason to be mashing the panic button, but following Saturday’s rough first-team performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars, head coach Mike ZImmer acknowledged that the line needs to get its issues resolved within the next few weeks.

“We’ve got to get on the stick here pretty quick,” Zimmer said. “I think Remmers will be back next week, which will be good. I think [Pat] Elflein has a chance to get back here pretty soon, that will help. I don’t know about Rashod yet, so we’ll see. But, yeah, it’s tough. We’re not the only ones in the league to be having these issues, I’m sure. We just have a few more than we should have at this point in time. It’s life.”

Following Saturday’s game, the Vikings’ QB praised the players who have been able to step in during the preseason and talked about his approach to handling changes up front.

“It’s not ideal but I’ve never gone into a season expecting ideal circumstances or ideal outcomes,” Cousins said. “You learn to just roll with the punches in this league. You can’t start to say, ‘Well that’s not how you drew it up so now we are not going to plan on doing great things.’”

On Monday, Remmers and Hill did not participate in 11-on-11s, though they were both in pads. There is still no sign yet of Pat Elflein, who was outstanding as a rookie last season. When the former Ohio State star returns, the O-line should see instant improvement.

“I think the quickness that he has in there will be really important for some of the plays that we’re trying to run,” Zimmer said of Elflein. “He can reach a guy that’s shaded to the side that he’s trying to get to with his quickness. Obviously he has very, very few mental errors.”

When Elflein, Remmers and injured right tackle Rashod Hill come back, the Vikings will have plenty of options to mix and match. Rookie Brian O’Neill has not allowed a QB pressure in two preseason games, though he matched up against second-teamers in both contests. O’Neill was splitting reps in Monday’s practice with Aviante Collins, who started Saturday’s game at right tackle and then moved to guard.

With Nick Easton out for the year, Tom Compton has played nearly all of the snaps with the first team at left guard while Danny Isidora has played on the right side. Isidora has not allowed a pressure in two games against opponents’ first teams, which gives him a chance to be part of the conversation.

Here are some potential combinations:

Reiff — Compton — Elflein — Remmers — Hill

Reiff — Remmers — Elflein — Isidora — Hill

Reiff — Compton — Elflein — Isidora — Remmers

Reiff — Isidora — Elflein — Remmers — O’Neill

Reiff — Collins — Elflein — Remmers — Hill

Mathematicians could probably tell us exactly how many permutations are possible — it’s a lot. But we should get some hints on Friday when the Vikings play the all-important third preseason game. Last year the third game helped the coaches determine they would move on from Alex Boone and keep Easton at guard.

The most likely combo appears to be simply sticking Compton in for Easton and going forward, but we won’t have any feel for the final product until everyone is healthy.

With the impact of right tackles nearly as much as left tackles these days, it might make sense to move Remmers back to tackle. Last season Remmers allowed 20 pressures in 674 total snaps per Pro Football Focus. During the regular season Hill gave up 19 hurries in 591 snaps. In two playoff games, Hill allowed 14 more hurries.

Remmers may improve the Vikings’ run game by playing at guard, but the biggest impact from an O-line comes with how they pass protect.

“If you look league wide during the Pro Football Focus era, which is 2006 to now, going from a bottom-fourth offensive line in pass protection to top fourth — so we’re not even talking about elite, we’re just saying are you in the lower quartile or the upper quartile — that’s worth a win and a half,” Pro Football Focus analyst Eric Eager said on the Purple Podcast. “So it’s not as big as quarterback play where it’s like four-and-a-half wins…it’s not trivial either.”

Quarterback Kirk Cousins is part of the equation. He doesn’t avoid the rush as well as Case Keenum did in 2017, so a higher percentage of hurries turn into sacks.

Cousins’ offensive line struggled last year and he lost more sack yards than any other QB in the NFL, which strengthens the argument to start the best pass blocker at right tackle. It’s plausible the Vikings believe that’s Hill.

The possibility still remains that Minnesota’s front office could be on the phones during the final stretch of the preseason. Each year teams trade veterans when they are beaten out for starting jobs. Last year the Vikings picked up corner Tramaine Brock after final cuts.

So we may very well see another new combination in Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers that we didn’t see all preseason.

The post Which offensive line combination will the Vikings land on? appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

Preseason flags have Vikings on uneasy ground with rules

By Matthew Coller

With Hard Knocks in Cleveland, rookie quarterbacks battling for jobs across the league and numerous teams dealing with Super Bowl expectations, you would think storylines would be pouring out of the NFL left and right. Instead water-cooler football conversations have been drown out by talk about the NFL rule book.

When Minnesota Vikings linebacker Antwione Williams was flagged for roughing quarterback Cody Kessler late in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game, the internet exploded with bewildered fans, players and analysts.

And that might not have even been the strangest flag of the day. The Vikings were more bamboozled by a penalty called on their opponent.

“The one that they [Jacksonville] had called on them, and [CJ] Ham, the guy is tackling him around his legs and he had his head to the side for the most part. I actually sent that in, to ask them, ‘Why was this called?’” head coach Mike Zimmer said.

The NFL announced before the preseason they were going to focus on players’ use of their helmet while tackling. This came from NFL Operations:

During Monday’s press conference, the Vikings’ head coach brought up examples of areas of potential confusion about the helmet rules.

“We had a cut block the other day and the guy goes and cuts, is that a penalty?” Zimmer said. “There’s a lot of things, a lineman runs out on a screen, I brought this up when they were talking about this whole thing. A lineman runs out on a screen and he goes and cuts the linebacker or the safety, is that a penalty? Because I don’t know how you can dive like that.”

The fear from coaches and players alike is that questionable 15-yard penalties are going to alter the results of games and that they won’t know how to avoid said penalties.

“It’s going to cost some people some jobs,” Zimmer said. “Playoffs, jobs, the whole bit, I’m guessing. We haven’t had any called on us so far. It’s just hard to figure out.”

History would suggest that the NFL tosses flags on “points of emphasis” during the preseason more than when the regular season comes around, but Zimmer said he’s received no assurances that things will be adapted by September 9 when the Vikings kick off against the San Francisco 49ers.

“No one has ever said to me, ‘hey don’t worry we’re going to call less or we’re going to straighten out in the regular season or we’re going to come up with a revised rule,’” Zimmer said. “No one has ever said that.”

Safety Harrison Smith said there is more frustration is preseason than in the past, even as the NFL is ever-adapting its rulebook.

“There are always points of emphasis coming off the previous year,” Smith said. “You want to adapt to those things, play within those rules to the best of our abilities. That is how our coaches coach. That is how our players play. But at the same time, think this year, league wide, it seems to be a consensus that it is a little over the top right now.”

Smith and wide receiver Adam Thielen were both in line with Zimmer’s concern that the new focus of the rules is going to impact outcomes.

“It is going to happen,” Smith said. “Without a doubt that is going to happen. If you get a big sack, that changes field position, that changes maybe getting a guy out of field goal range, get them on third and long or something like that, or get off the field at third down. Then it’s a whole new set of downs. It is going to change games.”

“I think the biggest thing about it that worries me is in critical game situations,” Thielen said. “Your defense makes a big stop and all of a sudden boom, there’s a flag thrown for something that shouldn’t be a flag. That’s the stuff that really worries me. You’re hoping that it’s just because it’s the preseason that there are all these flags thrown and that they’re trying to make a point, and in the regular season they’ll try to not throw as many, but you just don’t really know.”

Smith wanted to make clear that players aren’t against changes or improvements in safety, rather they feel the changes need to be realistic.

“I want to drive home the point that, especially as defensive players and as ball carriers, we want to make the game as safe as you can make it,” Smith said. “No matter what, it is football and we are out there hitting. It’s not always going to be possible. We’re not resistant to these changes, they just need to be physically possible, I guess.”

LISTEN: ESPN’s Kevin Seifert talks about the players’ issues with NFL rules this preseason:

The post Preseason flags have Vikings on uneasy ground with rules appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

How much gas does Adrian Peterson have left in the tank?

By Mike Florio It’s never wise to doubt Adrian Peterson, but it’s fair to ask whether and to what extent any 33-year-old tailback still has any gas left in the tank. He once seemed to be destined to make a run at the all-time rushing record, but largely lost seasons in 2014 and 2016 have kept him stuck [more]

Source:: ProFootballTalk

Mike Zimmer: Helmet rule is “going to cost some people some jobs”

By Charean Williams Cowboys owner Jerry Jones hopes “common sense” prevails with the helmet rule once the regular season opens. But the league could do something before then to fix the new rule against lowering the helmet, including using replay on such penalties. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer knows something needs to be done — and soon — predicting [more]

Source:: ProFootballTalk

Zulgad: Vikings’ willingness to gamble on rookie kicker a surprise given the stakes

By Judd Zulgad

Any thought the Vikings actually had a training-camp kicking competition came to an end on Saturday afternoon when Kai Forbath hit the right upright with his 41-yard field-goal attempt in the second quarter against Jacksonville.

The only question after Forbath’s miss was how much longer this charade would continue?

We got the answer on Monday morning when the Vikings announced that Forbath had been released. That leaves Daniel Carlson as the only kicker on the roster, something that comes as no surprise considering the Vikings traded up in order to take him in the fifth round of last April’s draft.

Carlson got the field-goal and extra-point chances ahead of Forbath in the Vikings’ preseason opener in Denver and hit on attempts of 39 and 57 yards in the rarefied air. Carlson was given the opportunity to attempt the Vikings’ only extra-point on Saturday and made it after Mike Boone’s 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

Forbath likely was sending out resumes by that point, if he hadn’t already started to do so.

The Vikings are moving on from Forbath after he missed six of his 38 field-goal attempts and five of his 39 extra-point attempts in 2017. He was signed to a one-year, $790,000 contract in March but the contract wasn’t guaranteed, meaning there was no real job security.

There are at least two things I consider to be confusing about the Vikings’ approach to the 2018 season. Coming off a 13-3 finish and an appearance in the NFC title game, it remains a mystery why the Vikings did not trade up in the second round to grab a much-needed guard for an offensive line that is in even worse shape than expected because of injuries.

The theory has been that coach Mike Zimmer wanted to take cornerback Mike Hughes late in the first round — thus passing on a guard — but there was nothing stopping the Vikings from paying the price to move up in Round 2. Instead, general manager Rick Spielman stayed put and took project offensive tackle Brian O’Neill with the 62nd pick.

I have no problem with grabbing a cornerback in the opening round, but it’s perplexing why a team expected to make a run at the Super Bowl wouldn’t be more proactive to address its issues at guard. Especially when Kirk Cousins, the quarterback you signed to an $84 million contract, isn’t exactly known for his mobility.

The second thing that surprises is the decision to go with a rookie kicker who has a huge leg but is coming off statistically the worst season of his collegiate career. Carlson made 28-of-32 field-goal attempts during his junior season at Auburn but last season made only 23-of-31 attempts.

If the Vikings electing to take an SEC kicker coming off a down season sounds familiar it should. Blair Walsh, the Vikings’ sixth-round pick in 2012 had his struggles in his final year at Georgia (he made 21-of-35 field-goal attempts), but special teams coordinator Mike Priefer was convinced he could fix Walsh.

Walsh did have a fantastic rookie season with the Vikings, making 35-of-38 field-goal attempts, including an NFL record 10-of-10 from 50 or more yards, as he was elected to the Pro Bowl. But whatever fix Priefer had found for Walsh did not last and he began to ride the kicking roller-coaster as the Vikings hoped he would get through his struggles.

Walsh’s 27-yard miss wide to the right cost the Vikings a chance to beat Seattle in a first-round playoff game during the 2015 season and his continued struggles into the following season finally cost him his job in November 2016. The Vikings turned to Forbath, who entered the NFL in 2012 with Washington and also had kicked for New Orleans.

Clearly, the Vikings are hoping that Carlson can have the type of impact Walsh did as a rookie but there might be some flawed thinking here. Walsh was drafted with the Vikings coming off a 3-13 finish in 2011, meaning he joined team that had few expectations and was thrilled to rebound and finish 10-6 to grab a wild card playoff berth in 2012 under Leslie Frazier.

Carlson is stepping into a situation where the pressure will be intense from day one and, if things go as planned for the Vikings, will only grow as the season progresses.

An argument can be made that turning away from Forbath is the right call, given his struggles in making extra points. That kick was moved from a 20-yard attempt to 33 yards in 2015. In 25 games with the Vikings, including playoffs, Forbath made 48-of-56 (85.7 percent) extra-point attempts.

But Forbath also made a career-high seven field goals from 50 or more yards last season and he hit on 3-of-4 attempts in the NFC divisional playoffs against New Orleans. That included field goals of 49 and 53 yards in the fourth quarter of the Vikings’ miraculous last-second win over the Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Nonetheless, if the Vikings felt it was best to bring in a different kicker why wouldn’t it have been a veteran? Someone who had made key field goals and extra points with the playoff pressure on them.

This isn’t to say that Carlson is certain to fail. It just seems odd that given the expectations facing the Vikings they are willing to take a chance on such an important position.

The post Zulgad: Vikings’ willingness to gamble on rookie kicker a surprise given the stakes appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

Vikings add a pair of players

By Darin Gantt The Vikings began the process of restocking the roster after suffering a load of injuries in their last preseason game. The team announced they signed a pair of players — fullback Kobe McCrary and guard Kareem Are. McCrary is an undrafted rookie who went to minicamp with the Vikings on a tryout basis (which means [more]

Source:: ProFootballTalk

Report: Adrian Peterson set to sign with Washington

By Judd Zulgad

Adrian Peterson has landed a job in the NFL.

The former Vikings running back worked out for Washington on Monday and, according to NFL Media, will sign with the team.

It’s a 1-year deal. A chance to prove he still has it at age 33. https://t.co/W22D9XFH2A

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 20, 2018

Washington has been dealing with injuries at the running back position and was looking to add depth. Rookie Derrius Guice was lost for the season because of an ACL injury. Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall suffered ankle injuries in Washington’s second preseason game.

Running backs Jamaal Charles, 31, and Orleans Darkwa, 26, also visited with Washington over the weekend.

Peterson, who was the seventh pick in the 2007 draft by the Vikings and played for Minnesota through 2016, spent last season with New Orleans and Arizona. The Cardinals released the 33-year-old in March and he was cleared from a neck injury in the spring. That injury brought an early end to Peterson’s 2017 season.

Peterson is the Vikings’ all-time leading rusher with 11,747 yards, putting him 4,929 yards ahead of Robert Smith. Peterson has 12,276 rushing yards and is 12th all-time in the NFL. He is only 3 yards behind Marshall Faulk and is 36 yards from 10th-place holder Jim Brown.

Peterson averaged only 3.4 yards per carry last season, but he ran for more than 130 yards twice in six games with the Cardinals.

The post Report: Adrian Peterson set to sign with Washington appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

Will coaches tell players to absorb helmet blows?

By Mike Florio In baseball, it’s taking a plunking. In basketball, it’s taking a charge. In soccer, it’s taking a dive. In football, will it become taking a helmet? As NFL coaches begin to process the realities of the new helmet rule, some may be tempted to instruct players who could be in a position to absorb a [more]

Source:: ProFootballTalk

Vikings Release Forbath, Give Job To Daniel Carlson

By Vikings – WCCO | CBS Minnesota

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings have released kicker Kai Forbath, completing their plan to turn over the job to rookie Daniel Carlson.

Forbath was let go on Monday after one of his two field goal attempts in Minnesota’s exhibition game on Saturday missed by hitting the right upright. Since the Vikings drafted Carlson in the fifth round out of Auburn, Forbath’s time with the team was bound to be limited.

In 25 games with the Vikings, including the playoffs, Forbath made 50 of 57 field goals and 48 of 56 extra points. He replaced Blair Walsh midway through the 2016 season. The 30-year-old Forbath has kicked for three NFL teams.

Carlson ended his college career as the SEC’s all-time scoring leader.

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Source:: CBS Minnesota