Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Troy Aikman impressed by Minnesota’s home run plays against Arizona

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By Eric Nelson
November 22, 2016
GAMEDAY GOLD

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the home of Cheerios…

 

• Football Fireworks: The Minnesota Vikings relied on explosion plays against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday at US Bank Stadium. CB Xavier Rhodes had a 100-yard pick six in the second quarter and Cordarrelle Patterson returned the third quarter kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown. The Vikings won 30-24, snapping a four-game losing streak that had the Purple Nation in a month-long funk…

• Troy’s Take: Troy Aikman – who won three Super Bowls with Dallas and is in the HOF – broadcast the Cardinals-Vikings game for FOX. Aikman was impressed by the home run plays from Rhodes and Patterson. “In this league when you get touchdowns from your defense or special teams, the percentages that you have in winning a game go up dramatically,” Aikman said. “When you get two of them like they did, it’s almost impossible for an opposing team to overcome that…”

• Showdown in Motown: Minnesota and Detroit are currently atop the NFC North with 6-4 records. The Vikings and Lions play on Thursday in Michigan.  “A huge game for Minnesota after having lost the first meeting (to the Lions),” Aikman said. “A lot of playoff implications on tiebreakers. A really important ballgame. Hard for Minnesota having to travel. I’ve always felt that the home team on Thanksgiving should have to play on the road the Sunday before…”

• Holiday Advantage: Aikman makes a good point about Thanksgiving Day home teams, but the NFL obviously isn’t listening. There is a triple dip on Thursday with games in Detroit, Dallas and Indianapolis. For the record the Lions, Cowboys and Colts all played at home this past week…

• The Minnesota Twins: The Cards-Vikes matchup was a homecoming for Arizona wideouts Larry Fitzgerald Jr. (who grew up in Minneapolis) and Michael Floyd (who is from St. Paul). Fitzgerald – who used to be a Viking ball boy – caught six passes for 63 yards and Floyd had two receptions for 21 yards…

Arizona Cardinal wide receivers Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald, Jr getting into position

“Minnesota Twins…”….Arizona Cardinals’ wide receivers Michael Floyd (15) and Larry Fitzgerald, Jr.

• Dry Spell: The Cardinals loss in Minnesota continues their long history of losing in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The Cardinals have not won in the Twin Cities since November 6, 1977, when they defeated the Vikings 27-7 at The Met in Bloomington, MN. At that time they were the St. Louis Cardinals and their HC was Don Coryell who had plenty of success with QB Jim Hart and RB Terry Metcalf

• Imposters Part I: Arizona (4-5-1) trails Seattle (7-2-1) by three games in the NFC West and could miss the playoffs. The Cardinals do not remotely resemble the team that reached the NFC Championship game last January against Carolina…

• Imposters Part II: The Panthers (4-6) have also had a rough season. Carolina does not remotely resemble the team that played in Super Bowl 50 last January against Denver…

• Fire and Ice: The hottest team in the NFL is Dallas (9-1) which has won nine straight games. The NY Giants (7-3) and Miami (6-4) both have five game winning streaks. On the flip side Cleveland (0-11) is downright frigid and San Francisco (1-9) has lost nine in a row…

• Flashback: The Dolphins won a 14-10 slugfest in the rain against the LA Rams on Sunday. The game was played at the LA Memorial Coliseum – the same venue where Miami defeated Washington in Super Bowl VII to cap off a perfect 17-0 season…

• Border battle: The U of M football team has had a nice season and is coming off a solid win against Northwestern. But the Gophers (8-3/5-3) don’t have a signature win against a ranked team. They can change that by upsetting  5th ranked Wisconsin (9-2/6-2) Saturday in Madison. The last time Minnesota knocked off the Badgers was 2003 at the Metrodome and the Gophers have not won in Mad-town since 1994. The Paul Bunyan Axe trophy is just a rumor in Dinkytown, because most students have never seen it…

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