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Vikings win fifth straight

Los Angeles next!

Adam Thielen is balling! Photo Steve Floyd

This is getting better every week. We are less than 100 days from Super Bowl Sunday and the opportunity of a lifetime to host the Super Bowl and actually play in it.

Quarterback Case Keenum threw for 304 yards and four touchdown passes in the Vikings’ 38-30 win Sunday over Washington. Receiver Adam Thielen had eight catches for 166 yards. Thielen is peaking and has 793 yards this year, including two games over 150 yards.

Just like that, the Vikings have reeled off five wins in a row. Remember, I must caution you, the cliché is “It’s not how you start but how you finish.” The Vikings had to play Sunday without Everson Griffin, NFC defensive player of the year in the first half of the season with 10 sacks. He has a foot injury.

Case Keenum leads the way.

The Vikings have never won the big one — no championship banners since arriving in Bloomington, Minnesota in 1961. Four Super Bowl appearances became four painful reminders. That’s why, since I started covering this team in 1978, it’s been a goal of mine, not to mention a goal of you fans, to cover a Super Bowl from which the Vikings emerge as champions.

Philadelphia is 8-1; they are in the catbird seat with the best record in the NFL. Then comes New Orleans, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, and the Vikings all at 7-2.

Now we have a long way to go with seven games left, but remember, the Vikings have not been in this position since 1998. They were 15-1 with Dennis Green, and in 2009 Brad Childress and the Vikings were 12-4. Both lost the NFC Championship games both years in overtime. OUCH!

Los Angeles is here Sunday, and they are rolling along also at 7-2. They are the highest scoring team in the NFL, averaging 32 points a game, and their points-a-game margin scoring and allowing is number one in the league at +134. So the Vikings can’t blink now, because they will be tested big-time Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

This is no time to blink. These Rams are rugged. Four of the next six games are on the road, including three in a row at Detroit on Thanksgiving, at Atlanta, and at Carolina.

Congratulations

Bill Belichick wins number 270-Photo Lou Lampson

Congrats to Bill Belichick, head coach of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. Sunday’s 41-16 win at Denver was his career win number 270, and he ties with Hall of Famer Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys for number three on the all-time NFL coaches win list.

And congrats to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady who, since serving his four-game suspension at the beginning of last season, has thrown 47 touchdown passes and just two interceptions.

Congrats as well to Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald, Jr. He grabbed 10 passes for 113 yards in Thursday’s 22-16 loss to Seattle. Fitzgerald, 34, became the second-youngest ever and only the sixth player in NFL history with over 15,000 career yards.

Fitzgerald has 15,066 career yards. Jerry Rice is number one with 22,825, Terrell Owens number two with15,934, Randy Moss number three with 15,292, Isaac Bruce number four with15,208, and Tony Gonzalez number five with 15,127.

Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to info@larry-fitzgerald.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.

Is it time for Teddy?

Photo by Steve Floyd

Let me start a quarterback controversy. After all, does it really matter what I think anyway?

Sam Bradford is hurt. His left knee apparently has bothered him to the point that you feel like a fool asking questions of Mike Zimmer about his knee.

Since playing like the best quarterback in the NFL Monday night on opening weekend vs. the New Orleans Saints (29-19 Vikings), Bradford has been a mystery, throwing for 346 yards, three TDs, and completing 27-32. He’s started one game since that Monday night, played the first half against the Chicago Bears on October 9, again on Monday night, and did not play well. He looked stiff but helped the Vikings lead 3-2 at half.

Backup QB Case Keenum has guided this offense since taking over as Bradford’s replacement. The Vikings are 6-2, the second-best record in the NFL. They just had a week off with no game after traveling to London and beating the Cleveland Browns 36-16.

Teddy Bridgewater last played in January 2015 in the playoffs, lost to Seattle, and after nearly14 months came off the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list this week. The Vikings have until November 8 to use a roster spot and activate Bridgewater.

It’s not an easy decision for Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman, because the team is winning with Keenum and he’s playing so well. Team chemistry and all that goes with it is why the quarterback position is the hardest position to play in the NFL.

However, I don’t trust Bradford at this point. He was brought in to replace Bridgewater last year when he went down and has played well, but this year his knee injury tells me you can’t assume he will be back healthy playing this season.

On the other hand, Bridgewater is your guy. He’s healthy again. He can do all that needs to be done. He can throw, his mobility is good, he’s fresh, and he believes he can play now.

I love what Keenum is doing, and he should just keep playing. But if you believe Bridgewater is the best player for this team, I would play him now, because he gives the Vikings the best chance to continue what he started in 2015.

Sunday the Vikings travel to Washington. They beat Seattle 17-14. Blair Walsh — remember him? He missed three field goals in that loss.

The schedule is rugged with high-scoring 6-2 physical Los Angeles and playoff-tested teams like Carolina, Atlanta, Green Bay and Detroit ahead. I would roll the dice now. If Bridgewater is ready physically, he should play. I believe he is and should get his job back.

Stay tuned. We’ll soon see.

Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to info@larry-fitzgerald.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.

NFL protest should hit home!

The last year and a half, the NFL and the players who have chosen to protest have angered millions across the United States who have ignored the purpose and cause for the players’ issues on social injustice. Players are looked at as pawns by fans and some media who say, “Just play the damn game. You make millions for a living. How dare you protest against my flag? Get your butts out there and get my fantasy numbers so I can win my league.”

It all started with ex-San Francisco 49ers’ Collin Kaepernick, the 30-year-old now-unemployed quarterback who has been unable to sign in 2017 with any of the 32 NFL teams. Has he been blackballed? Are the 32 owners colluding against him?

They clearly want no part of his right to protest when it affects their bottom line. Anger from fans and sponsors may not be right, but it’s understandable. It’s the price of doing business. When you decide to take a stand, be pre paired for the consequences.

The NFL owners and players are at least talking now. However, the owners can’t change all of society by themselves, like making the police stop shooting innocent young Black men or racial profiling or hiring practices in America.

Kaepernick has hired an attorney and is pursuing a lawsuit against the NFL. When Black people protest it angers the majority of people, mostly Whites because, they insert their own personal bias into the situation.

A case in point is the playing of the national anthem and the displaying of the American flag. So many people talk about disrespecting the flag and the national anthem. Sports teams have long used revenue from the armed forces to buy and promote nationalism (before kickoff or tip off) and the pride of America the beautiful. Have you noticed it’s only at sporting events that bring in big revenue for the teams — NHL, NFL, MLB, NBA?

What the players do does not bother me at all. I don’t take it personally like so many who talk about their dad, brother, sister, uncle, husband and how they all served this country in the military.

They forget that Black people serve this country also and have sacrificed to protect our liberties. It’s a joke to say that taking a knee or standing with your arms folded during the playing of the national anthem on Sunday, Monday and Thursday is disrespectful.

No player has stopped the anthem from being played or tried to damage the flag from sailing or flowing. Those who argue against the players and their protest won’t talk about racism or discrimination or murder or about police brutality and shootings, because they don’t care. It’s a non-issue, they say — get over it. The police were doing their jobs.

We have gotten over it, but we will never forget it, the millions of innocent people hung and killed in this country, the beatings, bombings, Whites-only bathrooms and water fountains. If we did not fight nonviolently by protesting, marching for voters’ rights, and to go to school to be viewed as equal under God in this nation, we would still be living under Jim Crow segregation.

President Donald Trump lit a fire under the players with his divisiveness. “Fire the sons of bi***es, he told the NFL owners. Dallas owner Jerry Jones says any of his players kneeling during the playing of the anthem will not play that day.

On October 18 Houston owner Bob McNair said, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison” in a meeting with other owners related to player protest and the national anthem. His statement has again sparked the flames; the level is high with his team. Almost his entire team kneeled on Sunday in Seattle, unified arm in arm in protest.

Because McNair is an owner and the players are represented by the NFL Players Association, this is an EEOC issue also. McNair may be forced to resign — it’s happened before. This issue is not going away.

People like Trump and McNair, being who they are and showing their horns, are making the issues clearer by the day for all to see. What we are seeing is that we have major problems in America.

Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to info@larry-fitzgerald.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.