We talk to the playmaker about the Patriots, their match-up vs the Vikings and the bad week for the NFL.

FOXBORO — Linebacker Jamie Collins was officially listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Vikings with a thigh injury. After appearing on the injury report on Thursday as limited, Collins did not practice at all on Friday, leading to speculation that he could have suffered the injury or re-aggravated an injury from Sunday during full pads practice on Wednesday.

Jamie Collins

Jamie Collins

FOXBORO — Linebacker Jamie Collins was officially listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Vikings with a thigh injury. After appearing on the injury report on Thursday as limited, Collins did not practice at all on Friday, leading to speculation that he could have suffered the injury or re-aggravated an injury from Sunday during full pads practice on Wednesday.

The Patriots did list Rob Gronkowski as probable, an upgrade of 25 percent from last week’s questionable designation, which carries with it a 50-50 probability of playing. This could be a sign that Gronkowski is ready for more snaps after being limited in Sunday’s game in Miami, when he played only one of 13 offensive snaps in the third quarter.

The biggest news of the day on the injury report, however, didn’t involve the Patriots but rather Minnesota superstar running back Adrian Peterson, who missed practice Thursday because of a non-injury issue. Peterson was reportedly indicted on four counts of child endangerment in Texas on Friday but was back at practice Friday and is expected to play Sunday, according to the official injury report.

Here’s the complete injury report:

Did Not Participate
LB Jamie Collins (thigh) QUESTIONABLE

Limited Participation
TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) PROBABLE
DE Michael Buchanan (ankle) QUESTIONABLE
DL Chris Jones (ankle) QUESTIONABLE
DL Sealver Siliga (hand) QUESTIONABLE
C Ryan Wendell (knee) QUESTIONABLE

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been indicted in Montgomery County, Texas, for reckless or negligent injury to a child, according to MyFoxHouston.com. Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, declined to comment to Fox Houston.

The Patriots face the Vikings in Minnesota on Sunday. Peterson did not practice on Friday and the Vikings listed the reason as “not injury related.”

More to come.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo joined Middays with MFB on Friday afternoon to preview Sunday’s game against the Vikings. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo joined Middays with MFB on Friday afternoon to preview Sunday’s game against the Vikings. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Coming off a loss to the Dolphins in the opener in which the Patriots defense struggled to contain the rush, New England now must face standout Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

“Obviously, it’s going to take more than one person. It’s going to take a group effort, all the way across the board. Defensive line, linebackers — if he breaks through those guys, the secondary. It will take 11 guys to stop him on each and every play.

“They have a lot of weapons on the offensive side of the ball, with the receivers, the tight end’s pretty good. We’re also familiar with [Matt] Cassel, he can move around in the pocket and run the ball. It will take a group effort.”

The Patriots’ opener was disappointing especially for how New England squandered a 10-point halftime lead and was dominated in the second 30 minutes.

“We just didn’t execute at the same level,” Mayo said. “We were getting the turnovers in the first half and doing a good job. We need to put four quarters together, and that’s been our focus this week.”

Added Mayo: “Obviously we didn’t finish the game, but we wanted to. We were missing something, I’m not sure [if it was lacking a more aggressive attitude]. Execution — if we execute it will be a different story. Hopefully this week we can go out and put four quarters together.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

WEEI_FantasyFootball_2014_hdr

Welcome to the Week 2 starts and sits. I hope you all did well last week, but if bad luck befell you, we’re here to help you up off the ground. There are some good sleepers this week and I’ve tried to bring a few to the surface. However, if you need more information on players not listed, you can always hit Rotobahn and check out my full Lineup Rankings, which will be updated over the weekend as always.

Jim Hackett and I will be back again on Sunday morning on 93.7 FM with another Fantasy Football Hour. We’ll be getting into some Week 1 fallout and looking forward to Week 2 by getting into some matchups and some potential value plays in both seasonal and weekly fantasy football. Join us! Our show comes on at 6:30 a.m. for all you early risers, but you can always listen to us later on as the show will be posted right here at WEEI.com. To keep up with all of our fantasy football content, follow me on Twitter. I tweet links to all our chats, articles and rankings.

QUARTERBACKS

Start

Andy Dalton, Bengals vs. Falcons

Dalton has a home matchup vs. a porous defense. This is when you use him if you have a need. He’s a better option than some guys who are typically QB1 caliber, like Robert Griffin and Jay Cutler.

Jake Locker, Titans vs. Cowboys

On paper, this is definitely the week to play Locker. He’s got the Dallas defense and he’s at home. After he stood up to KC on the road, you have to like his chances here. His weapons are all healthy and ready to go.

Brian Hoyer, Browns vs. Saints

You probably don’t need him, but he looked good last week in the second half and this is a better matchup at home. Hoyer’s a solid player and his knee looks healthy enough at this point. He can help you if you’re in a jam.

Sit

Alex Smith, Chiefs at Broncos

I just don’t trust his line, and though Dwayne Bowe returns, he’ll be shadowed by Aqib Talib all day. I’m staying away from Smith until the Chiefs get their offense sorted out.

Philip Rivers, Chargers vs. Seahawks

He’s got injured receivers and he’s facing an imposing defense. He’s playable if you need him, because he’s a fine player. However, if you have another option like Andy Dalton or Jake Locker, this is the week to consider using them.

RUNNING BACKS

Start

Frank Gore, 49ers vs. Bears

Gore actually looked great last week though he lost an easy score to rookie Carlos Hyde. That could be a pattern, but Gore still is an RB2 when he’s at home in a plus matchup, and that’s what we have this week.

Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell, Browns vs. Saints

I’ve been tooting West’s horn for months, and now you can use him as an RB2 with some upside at home vs. a shaky Saints run defense. West will lose some carries to fellow rookie Crowell, whom we like just as much from a talent perspective. This team will not miss Ben Tate at all, and we’ll have a logjam when he returns in 2-4 weeks. For now, start the Browns backs. West is an RB2 while Crowell is a flex in 12-team leagues and above. If you aren’t yet familiar with these two rookies, you should check out their scouting reports. You can see West’s here, and Crowell’s here. These are backs you need to know about.

Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson, Jets at Packers

After what we saw from Green Bay in Week 1, you have to like the Jets’ chances of running the ball this week, and that’s what they want to do with Aaron Rodgers running the Green Bay offense. Look for a heavy dose of Chris Ivory early on and Chris Johnson once the Jets have fallen behind, which they almost assuredly will. Both Jets backs will make strong flex plays in larger leagues.

Shonn Greene, Titans vs. Cowboys

He’s on some waiver wires right now, and he could have multiple scores this week if things break well for him. If you are hurting for a running back, Greene can help you, especially in standard scoring. Dallas is ripe for the taking.

Sit

Joique Bell, Lions at Panthers

You never know, and Bell’s a good back, but this matchup is a long way from good. Rushing scores are very hard to get against the Panthers, as are rushing yards in general. Bell is playable, but this is a week to consider other options.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Start

Brandin Cooks, Saints at Browns

I’ve had a few questions on him this week, so I’m including him. Cooks is a very tough matchup for teams are already burdened with the complexities of matching up with Jimmy Graham. The Saints have freaks at both ends of the size/speed spectrum. Cooks is going to get his. He’s already a weekly WR3 with plenty of upside to do more.

Eric Decker, Jets at Packers

I expect the Jets to be in chase mode against Green Bay, so Decker’s targets will be there and WR3 production is expected. He’s a viable play in all formats big and small. His young quarterback was actually decent last week, which is heartening.

Justin Hunter, Titans vs. Cowboys

He was a little bit of a letdown last week, though he did make some plays. I expect more in Week 2 against one of the league’s weakest defenses. The Cowboys don’t have the manpower to handle Hunter, who is an athletic freak. He should give you WR3 production in all formats and he has big-game potential.

DeAndre Hopkins, Texans at Raiders

He came through for us last week via the big play and the Raiders are an even better matchup than Washington was in Week 1. Keep Hopkins active in 12-team leagues and he can help you in all formats if you need him.

Jarrett Boykin, Packers vs. Jets

Boykin is going to see a lot of the Jets’ weaker corners. Even if Dee Milliner does play, he’ll be draped all over Jordy Nelson. Boykin is a strong flex option or WR3 in deeper formats. Don’t overreact to his down Week 1. Seattle is in the Packers‘ rearview mirror for now.

Sit

Victor Cruz, Giants vs. Cardinals

He’s looked mediocre to bad for a while now. I trust him as a WR3 on most weeks in standard scoring, but he could get Patrick Peterson all day long, and Peterson is a better athlete than Victor. Manning might avoid him much of the game. If you have other options, this is the week to consider them.

Malcom Floyd, Chargers vs. Seahawks

Based on how each team normally lines up, Floyd should get a heavy dose of Richard Sherman. That’s bad. Don’t chase Floyd’s Week 1 production. The numbers scream “sit” in Week 2.

TIGHT ENDS

Start

Dwayne Allen, Colts vs. Eagles

I’m a big fan of Allen and I think Andrew Luck is becoming more and more aware that his tight end is a must-use option. If you need a tight end this week, you could do a lot worse than Allen. I think he scores again.

Jermaine Gresham, Bengals vs. Saints

With both Tyler Eifert and Marvin Jones out, the Bengals will need Gresham, particularly in the red zone, where he’s an excellent big-bodied target. He can help you in 12-team leagues if you need an option.

Larry Donnell, Giants vs. Cardinals

He looked very composed and ready to contribute in Week 1, and the Giants will need him this week as the Cardinals corners will be all over the Giants‘ outside weapons. If you need a flier in a deep format, you could do worse.

Sit

Antonio Gates, Chargers vs. Seahawks

He was limping visibly last week and he’s been missing practice this week. Now consider how awful the matchup is and this looks like a week to consider other options if you can.

Blog Author: 
Peter Davidson
Jerod Mayo joins MFB to talk about the Pats preparation this week for the Vikings.
Adam Schefter joins the program to talk about the future of Roger Goodell and the NFL's new drug testing policy.
Bud Grant (jacket) coached one of the best defensive fronts in NFL history. (Getty Images)

Bud Grant (jacket) coached one of the best defensive fronts in NFL history. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Back in the day, Bill Belichick remembers when the Minnesota Vikings would line up and dare you to beat their defense.

That’s pretty easy to do, Belichick recalled Friday, when you have Jim Marshall and Carl Eller as defensive ends and Alan Page and Gary Larsen as defensive tackles, otherwise known as the “Purple People Eaters” of the Bud Grant Minnesota Vikings.

While Mike Zimmer‘s Vikings might be bringing all different types of pressures from different areas on the field, Belichick says Grant’s Vikings were different.

“When I was at Detroit [1976-77], Bud was the coach there,” Belichick reminisced. “They probably played as basic a defense as anybody had every played two coverages€“ but they had a great front four and some very instinctive players on defense. They played the same thing, pretty much the same defensively, pretty much the same thing all the time. But again, they had really good recognition and anticipation.

“They knew how to, because they were always in the same thing, they knew what to look for and how to react to it. They were very good and they had a great pass rush so their defensive backs played aggressively and they would jump routes and get interceptions. [Paul] Krause had 50-some interception but a lot of that was due to the pass rush and how little time the quarterback had to hold onto the ball. he’€™d recognize routes and anticipate them and jump on them. They had some really good linebackers there ‘€“ [Matt] Blair and [Wally] Hilgenburg, those guys. You knew they were mentally and physically tough. You were definitely going to get that from them. That was a trademark of [Bud] and those teams.”

Consider:

  • Though they were 0-4 in Super Bowls, the “Purple People Eaters” were considered among the best and certainly most famous front fours in NFL history, right up there with the “Fearsome Foursome” of the Rams, the “Steel Curtain” of Pittsburgh and the Jets’ “New York Sack Exchange.”
  • Eller and Page are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame while many experts think Marshall should be right there with them.
  • Defensive tackle Alan Page, 9 Pro Bowl Selections (1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976), NFL MVP (1971).
  • Defensive end Carl Eller, 6 Pro Bowl Selections (1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974).
  • Defensive end Jim Marshall, 2 Pro Bowl Selections (1968, 1969).
  • Defensive tackle Gary Larsen, 2 Pro Bowl Selections (1969, 1970).
  • Here are some other Friday highlights from Belichick:”Well, we’€™re doing the same; it’€™s rolling along here. We have a lot to get ready for with Minnesota ‘€“ new team, new staff, players we’€™re not familiar with. [We] need to spend a lot of extra time to get familiar with them. Of course we know [Offensive Coordinator] Norv [Turner] and [Head Coach] Mike [Zimmer] and [Special Teams Consultant] Joe Marciano and those guys but they’€™re doing a lot of new things. You see them add new things every week; certainly added a lot of wrinkles last week against St. Louis. A lot of things for us to prepare for and get ready for. I think our team has done a good job of trying to get on it all but they do a good job. They’€™re well coached and they have a good team.”

    Q: In terms of Anthony Barr, is it tougher to get a good read on him since he’€™s less known?

    BB: No, he’€™s played in every game. He’€™s out there. He’€™s playing a new position. I think he’€™s learning a lot too. It’€™s not like going to ‘€“ I think a lot of the experienced players, the [Adrian] Petersons, the [Matt] Cassels, the [Kyle] Rudolphs, the [Linval] Josephs, [Chad] Greenway, Harrison Smith, guys like that, those guys are some pretty good and crafty players; know a lot of tricks. Real good at disguise, setting up things, doing complementary things to offset it. I’€™d say for the most part, I’€™m not specifically talking about anybody, but for the most part, most rookies are just trying to do their job. They’€™re not trying to think of all the creative things and all the things that go beyond it. They’€™re just trying to get their job right. That’€™s been my experience.

    Q: From what you’€™ve seen from Matt Cassel since he’€™s left, what aspect of his game do you think he’€™s improved the most?

    BB: Since he was here it’€™s obviously experience. He hadn’€™t started a game since high school when we had him until he started in that ‘€™08 season. He’€™s got a lot of playing time under his belt now. You could just see his experience and confidence and decision making; all a lot higher level than they were in ‘€™08 and they were good in ‘€™08, I’€™m not saying that. I thought he did a great job for us in that season. He played really well and helped us win 11 games. But I think it’€™s definitely improved with more time and more opportunity.

    Q: You mentioned Harrison Smith. It seems like they used him in a few different ways last week. What kind of challenges does he present?

    BB: I’€™d say they do that with all their players. [Captain] Munnerlyn, Smith ‘€“ they’€™re safeties, they’€™re inside guys, they blitz, they cover, they play man, they play zone. They disguise well; including the linebackers, whether that’€™s Barr and Greenway or when they put Barr down, Greenway and [Gerald] Hodges and all those guys do a good job of blitzing and covering and faking and man, zone. That’€™s really the scheme that Coach Zimmer runs. They do a good job with it. They’€™re all part of it.

    Q: How concerned are you about your offensive line after they struggled last week and Minnesota had such success putting pressure on the St. Louis quarterbacks?

    BB: I said after the game in Miami, I think we all have to do a better job on offense, defense and special teams ‘€“ players, coaches, all of us. We all have to do a better job. I put everybody in that category. We’€™re all working to get better and we all need to do better.

    Q: Do you think some of those line problems have been fixed and they’€™ll be much better moving forward?

    BB: I think we’€™ve worked hard this week to try to correct problems in all the areas that I just spoke about. We’€™ll see on Sunday.

    Q: Have you settled on a more permanent offensive line or will we see more of the rotation?

    BB: Each week we’€™ll do what we feel is best for the football team in every area at every position.

    Q: For a college center coming to the NFL, in your experience, is there one thing that is the biggest adjustment for that position?

    BB: I’€™d say probably the biggest adjustment for any player from college to NFL is the passing game. So, whatever part of the passing game that player is involved in, that’€™s probably the biggest adjustment. For a center, pass protection, the number of protections relative to probably what he ran in college, the number of different defensive looks and fronts and potential adjustments would all be multiplied, probably exponentially. I’€™m not saying the running game is the same but it’€™s more the same than the passing game ‘€“ the type of players that they’€™re blocking and the schemes that they’€™re facing and the amount of variables in an offensive system plus the amount of systems in a defensive system, that adds up in a hurry. If you’€™re only doing one or two things, even if they do five things, it’€™s 10. If you’€™re doing 10 things and they’€™re doing 10 things, now it’€™s 100 but it’€™s really a lot more than that. It adds up pretty quickly. I think that’€™s ‘€“ the center has to control some of that. He has to make decisions, calls, to some degree, adjustments, and there’€™s a lot of gray area. Is the linebacker up in the line? Is he not in the line? Did he start in the line and move out? Did he start back and move up? What is the line of demarcation in some adjustments or designations? That’€™s a lot of experience and recognition and communication so it’€™s hard.

    Q: How do you feel like Bryan Stork has handled it so far?

    BB: Good. Unfortunately the time he missed in camp is time he could have used, like any young player. But he had a lot of time in the spring to do that so certainly there’€™s some recall. He’€™s a smart kid and he’€™s worked hard at that. But I’€™d say those are still challenging and he didn’€™t do it there for a period of three or four weeks, whatever it was. He makes progress. He gets better every day but there’€™s still some catching up to do.

    Q: Is Cordarrelle Patterson a big enough threat you’€™d consider putting a spy on him?

    BB: What’€™s a spy?

    Q: Someone who is focused on him.

    BB: You have to cover every receiver on every play. I don’€™t know how you could not cover a receiver. Somebody has to cover him.

    Q: Would you assign a specific person to him for the majority of the game?

    BB: It depends on what you’€™re playing. You could. That would be an option. You could do that; you could not do that. Again, there’€™s always, like we’€™ve talked about, there’€™s pluses and minuses to doing that.

    Q: What’€™s changed with Adrian Peterson since the last time you guys faced him back in 2010?

    BB: I would say not a whole lot. For his size, he can really make sharp cuts. He’€™s obviously got a lot of power, a lot of speed. He’€™s got good vision. He sees the holes. You don’€™t see him running into the back of blockers or running into piles or that kind of thing. He’€™s got really good vision. For his size and power, he’€™s got good quickness and very explosive change of direction. He can stop and cut quickly and be moving fast in a hurry. He’€™s got great skills. Hard to tackle, he’€™s got really good lower body strength. Pulls through with his legs, just pulls through a lot of tackles. He’€™s got good bend, can dip his shoulder and get his pads down. [He] doesn’€™t run erect. You have to do a good job of tackling him. He gets a lot of yards on his own. He’€™s a good player.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia