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Stock Market Report: Vikings at Saints

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The end of one era means we begin a new one.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

This past week and some change has been, without question, one of the worst times in Vikings history. For starters, the franchise player no longer is the franchise player. Heck, there's a good chance he'll never see a Vikings uniform again when it's all said and done. They then proceeded to get rolled by the Patriots in their home opener, and a few days after that, Jerome Simpson was released because he can't quit rolling the love weed.

The fans of the Vikings didn't have much hope entering today's game against the Sa[EFF THOSE GUYS], but at least we had football. And it also felt like we started getting back to normal, which for us was getting steamrolled by a superior football team, at least most of us thought so.

And then the defense stiffened and Teddy Bridgewater came in, and we had ourselves a football game, and we now have something to look forward to moving forward. We'll talk about Bridgewater's play in a minute, but suffice it to say that we might have found a quarterback moving forward. And even though every day is a winding road with this team, we might be getting a little closer to feeling fine. Isn't that right, Ms. Crow?


jump in, let's go
lay back, enjoy the show
Everybody gets high, everybody gets low,
These are the days when anything goes

Everyday is a winding road
I get a little bit closer
Everyday is a faded sign
I get a little bit closer to feeling fine

I've been swimming in a sea of anarchy
I've been living on coffee and nicotine
I've been wondering if all the things I've seen
Were ever real, were ever really happening

Everyday is a winding road
I get a little bit closer
Everyday is a faded sign
I get a little bit closer to feeling fine

Your SMR that provides a light at the end of the tunnel follows.*

*The light might be the headlight of a train. This IS the Vikings we're talking about, after all.

Blue Chip Stocks:

Harrison Smith, S: He was solid in run support, broke up several passes, and seemed to be everywhere. With Adrian Peterson gone, Smith might actually be the best player on the Vikings roster right now. I don't say that as hyperbole, either. Run down the Vikings roster and tell me who is better. Name a guy on offense. Kyle Rudolph? Greg Jennings? No. How about defense? Anthony Barr, or Captain Munnerlyn? Again, no. Barr might be, maybe even soon. But right now no one on this team is playing better than Smith.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB: When Matt Cassel was hurt early in the game, my Twitter timeline BLEW UP. Not because everyone was happy that Cassel got hurt (and seriously, if you did, you're a terrible human being--get well soon Matt) but because it was Teddy Time, the moment we'd all been waiting for. And it was in about the most inopportune time one could ask a rookie quarterback to come in at--on the road in a very hostile environment, against a good team, down 10 points. His numbers weren't sparkling (12/20 150 yards, 0/0...6 carries for 27 yards) but for a guy getting thrown into the fire, he looked good, and played well. He looked in command, and made some very good throws, including one to Greg Jennings on a frozen rope. It was a hell of an effort for a guy pretty much thrown to the wolves, and yeah, he missed some throws, especially a couple of easy swing passes to Jerick McKinnon that looked promising. And no, he didn't engineer a touchdown, which was the first time since the Vikings didn't score a TD in a game since 2010. But there was so much to like in the debut, that you can't help but be encouraged that the Vikings maybe, finally, have stability at the quarterback position.

Solid Investments:

Cordarrelle Patterson, WR: Patterson had a couple of moments in today's game that when he got the ball he made me think 'oh, he's gone', but it didn't happen. Bridgewater got him the ball a few times, and he also got the Vikings offense jump started in the first quarter with a 28 yard catch and run from Cassel. You kind of felt that without that play, which got the Vikes into scoring position, they would have turned the ball over on downs again, and the game might have gotten out of hand.

Anthony Barr, LB: Once again Barr made his presence known, registering his first career NFL sack. As a fan, you kind of marvel at his natural ability, and I'm impressed with his coverage skills. Well, his ability to recognize plays develop still seems to be slow at times, but his natural God given ability makes up for it, for the most part. And it's entertaining to watch him use his speed to close and blow up a play for little or no gain.

Greg Jennings, WR: Jennings made a couple of really nice catches today, and once Rudolph went out, Bridgewater seemed to look for Jennings a lot. He caught a frozen rope from Bridgewater, and made a couple plays to help keep drives alive and get the Vikings into scoring position on their last scoring drive.

Junk Bonds:

Vlad Ducasse, G: When you have two penalties in the first three plays you come in on...yeah, not a good start. Ducasse was supposed to be the veteran guy that came in and helped stabilize the line in case a starter went down, not jump into a pool of gasoline with a match. He jumped into the pool, wearing a speedo and a little duckie life preserver around the waist thing, man. Terrible.

Matt Kalil, T: Matt Kalil was a top five pick in 2012 and played like it. He slumped last year, and the regression has continued to the point that at times today he looked like an undrafted free agent playing in the fourth quarter of the last pre-season game. They don't have any other options, and you hope this is just a slump of epic proportions that he can snap out of. But at what point does a 'slump' become reality?

Robert Blanton, S: There are two things required of a man if he is to be a safety or defensive back in the NFL. You have to be able to cover people and prevent passes from being completed, and if you do allow said pass to be completed, you need to tackle so the damage can be minimized. Robert Blanton might have a lot of skills that can take him a long way in life. But he displayed none of the prerequisites that would make anyone think he's a starting caliber safety in the NFL. He got fooled badly on New Orleans' second TD, let more than one guy get wide open, and Jimmy Graham used him as a weight vest in a training session on a couple of pass plays. He also got stiff armed into the Mississippi, too. Yeah, bad game, man. Baaaaaaaaad game.

Buy/Sell:

Buy: Matt Asiata can do some damage catching the ball. For the second week in a row, Matt Asiata took a dump off and got some big yardage with the ball. He doesn't have a lot of moves, so when he gets in the open field he just runs north-south, and he gets yards. It's a weapon that the Vikings can use, and are going to need, moving forward.

Sell: The Vikings have a running game. Finding that weapon is nice, don't get me wrong, but right now this is as one dimensional as I have seen this offense. Seriously, even in the years when this offense ran through Adrian Peterson, the passing game, while anemic, could at least make a play or two. The current set of running backs have no vision or cutback ability, and the only one with breakaway speed, Jerick McKinnon, is kind of being Musgrave'd right now. Look, his speed is his biggest asset, yet the Vikings keep running him between the tackles. Spread the field with him, and have McKinnon attack the perimeter. If he can get into some open space, he'll do some damage. Let Asiata get the two and three yards between the tackles; he's actually decent at that. Give the ball to McKinnon on the edge, and let's see what he can do. They tried that a couple of times with short swing passes and Bridgewater missed him, so they're not completely ignoring the concept. Just, you know, in the running game.

Buy: Thinking the Vikings were going to get steamrolled by the Saints. My dad and I talked about this game earlier in the week, and every year there's always one game the Vikings seem to win that they should have no business winning. We talked ourselves into thinking this was that game, and after the S[EFF THOSE EFFERS MAN] went up 14-0, we just looked at each other and started laughing. But something happened on the way to the gallows--this team fought back, and Fearless Leader articulated how I felt about that much better than I ever could right here.

Sell: That this is your 'same old Vikings'. And this effort makes me think that this might not be the same old Vikings we're watching. Maybe it's because I have so much hope in Bridgewater's potential, maybe it's because this staff was able to adjust and the players picked themselves up and played some good football, maybe it's because if it hadn't been for that BS roughing the passer call on Captain Munnerlyn, the Vikes would've had a real shot to win that game. Maybe it's a combination of all three, maybe it's something else completely, but for all the crap this team has endured, they went down to New Orleans and played a lot better than most of us thought they would. And maybe that's the starting point we need.

Buy: The Vikings aggressive defensive approach after the first two scores. It looked like the defense was getting ready to get run off the field, but the Vikings became a lot more aggressive, and for most of the rest of the game, held the Saints in check. Drew Brees was harried and forced some bad throws, and the Vikings should've had at least two interceptions. If they're going to become a good team, they need to take advantage of those opportunities, but to hold one of the most high scoring offenses in the NFL to 20 points at home wasn't bad at all. Especially when you consider almost all of the damage came on the first two drives.

Sell: That Captain Munnerlyn committed a penalty on Drew Brees. That was the turning point of the game, and the Vikings got screwed, plain and simple. It was a tackle and a sack, and the referee hadn't blown the whistle dead. But okay, if you're going to call a penalty, how about you throw on one Drew Brees for coming up swinging, too. I'm sure the Vikings will get a letter from the NFL on Tuesday or Wednesday saying the refs got that call wrong. They get a lot of those damn letters, don't they?

Don Glover Quote of the Week:

So the Vikes had weathered the 13-0 start, and Matt Cassel lead them to a field goal and then got hurt. We watched the first drive of Teddy Bridgewater, and he took the Vikings down the field, looking calm and composed. Whenever I go back to Minnesota, I bring back a case of Grain Belt for my father, and he drinks them sparingly, much like Ebeneezer Scrooge would spend money. After that first drive, my Dad and I had this exchange:

Dad: Son, do I have any Grain Belt left?
Me: You've got one left. You said you wanted to save it or something special, remember?
Dad: I think this number five is gonna be special. Would you mind getting me that beer?

So the Vikings drop to 1-2, but...it's an encouraging 1-2, if that's even possible. The Falcons game is going to be tough, but when you look at the schedule after that--@Green Bay, Detroit, @Buffalo, @Tampa Bay--that's not bad. Green Bay doesn't seem nearly as invincible as they were made out to be, Detroit is at home, and even though Buffalo and the Bucs are on the road, those are very winnable games. There's a decent chance this team can get to the mid point at 4-4, I think, and the NFC North isn't anything to write home about this year. If they can do that, anything's possible.

Keep the faith, Vikings fans. We seem to have weathered the worst storm to hit these parts in awhile, and we're still standing. We'll be okay.