MINNESOTA SPORTS FAN DAILY: Sunday, October 1, 2017

MSF Daily: 10/1/17

Gopher Football Sucks vs Maryland:

It was an ugly game Saturday. Maryland ran things from the very beginning. PJ Fleck was worried about his offensive line at the beginning of the year. It was warranted. The Gophers wrangled up a whopping 80 yards rushing on Saturday and 6 of those were from Conor Rhoda. The Gophers have two of the best running backs in the Big Ten and they ran for 80 F**KING YARDS.

And Conor Rhoda? He was trash too. He finished the game with 229 yards on 13/26 for 1 TD and 2 INT’s. Look at this throw. I don’t know if I could throw the ball 40-50 yards, but if you can, you can make this throw:

And the defense? That defense that was supposed to be one of the best in the Big Ten? It wasn’t yesterday. Antoine Winfield Jr. was pulled from the game with a leg injury early, and the Gophers had other injuries on defense, but so does everyone. They were dropping interceptions and missing plays. Maryland ran it, threw it, drove it, bused it, flew it, floated it…. you get my point. Alright, Maryland didn’t go for 800 yards but they made the plays when they counted, and ran the ball much better than I thought they would, against what was supposed to be an ELITE defensive front. Maryland finished with 262 yards on the ground and 409 yards total. The defensive line got embarrassed. They might need some counseling.

FINAL: 31-24 Maryland WINS

Game Day: Vikings Looking for Revenge on Detroit:

Teams: Minnesota Vikings (2-1) vs. Detroit Lions (2-1)
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium – Minneapolis
When: Sunday, October 1, Noon CT
Vikings in Vegas (ESPN): S: -2.5 L: -135 O/U: 42.5

The Vikings will play the most important game of the year on Sunday, vs a team that ruined their season and my deer-hunting Sunday, last year. Case Keenum will be the quarterback. Here is what I will be watching for.

Case Keenum: He shocked Minnesota last week when we thought the Vikings would come out against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a very run-heavy, conservative play-calling scheme. They did not. Keenum launched the ball all over U.S. Bank Stadium. He connected on 25 of 33 passes for 369 yards and 3 touchdowns. He made every Viking fan rethink exactly what we thought Case Keenum was.

So now the Vikings will take on the division-rival Detroit Lions. I don’t expect Case Keenum to come close to the performance from last week. I think the Bucs aren’t the improved team the country thought. The Lions aren’t the Lions of old. Case will be playing a much better secondary than what the Bucs put on the field last week. I expect the Vikings to feature Dalvin Cook HEAVILY while looking to receivers on play action and timing plays. If Keenum can limit turnovers and have half the game, stat-wise, as he did last week; the Vikings will be in this game.

The Vikings’ Secondary: Last week the Vikings’ secondary was good almost everywhere. Jameis Winston’s stat line doesn’t look bad but he got a lot of it in garbage time and on Trae Waynes, who needs to be better. Xavier Rhodes locked down Mike Evans and Mackensie Alexander played well. Stafford is a top NFL QB, no-matter how many people underrate him. The Vikings have played some good QB’s already this season in Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger. Sunday will be another test. I am not sure that Xavier Rhodes will shadow anyone like he has for the first three games. I will be watching to see if Xavier sticks to one guy or one side of the field.

Dalvin Cook and the O-Line: So much for the timeshare at the running back position for the Vikings. That lasted all of 0 games. Why? Dalvin Cook is special. Really special. His success will likely dictate the success of the Vikings’ season, not just this game. But, while Sam Bradford is hurt, Cook is even more important. And it doesn’t have to be in the run game. Obviously, he will get his carries. But, getting him involved in the pass game is what can set him apart. He is a dynamic player. The Vikings need to continue to use him that way.

If Dalvin Cook is going to have the year we hope, the O-line is going to have to continue to improve. After last year’s disaster, the Vikings’ offensive line has held up pleasantly well. Reiff has been much better than the guy he took over for…. who is still struggling.

Anyone could have been better than the guys the Vikings cycled through at right tackle last year. Elflein has been better than expected, most of the time, and Berger has been reliable. Nick Easton needs to be better.

Prediction: Vikings WIN 27-24

Twins vs Detroit in Game 161:

I was at this game yesterday. I only half paid attention. I had a bachelor party in one of the suites so we were having a good time. Here is what I took from the game:

I expect Miguel Sano to be in the starting lineup on Tuesday, in the one-game playoff vs the Yankees. He was the DH last night and had one hit in 4 at-bats. He did strikeout twice but that’s what Sano does. He hits BOMBS and strikes out. Grossman has been good and will be used but I just don’t know how you keep Sano out of a lineup if he is healthy.

And that is really all that matters about this game… The Twins would go on to lose 3-2.

Oh, and I met Meatsauce from KFAN and the Power Trip Morning Show at Fulton Brewery. He’s a very nice human being. He is not very good at hitting softballs. But, I will trade him my softball hitting skills (which are slightly above average) for his Twitter followers (70,000+).

Timberwolves Preseason Opener:

I went to the Twins game last night and didn’t get to watch the preseason opener. Yes, I definitely would have. I am a Timberwolves snob and would watch this team play a pickup game against nobody, if I was invited. From the social media and articles I have read this morning, it looks like they played well and it was Shabazz Muhammad who stole the show. I had to read the recap and articles myself to believe some of the things I was seeing on social media.

MSF Daily by Eric Strack @RealMNSportsFan

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