The Vikings enter Week 15 two games behind the Detroit Lions in the NFC North

Kevin Shattenkirk Kids Jersey Who is Adam Matthew Vinatieri, kicker, husband and father of three? Farrand might be the coach with an answer that Belichick, Parcells, Dungy, Carroll and Chuck Pagano won’t find in their playbooks. She says children with learning disabilities often grow into achievers and conquerors.

“When people who have had everything come easy to them hit a roadblock,” Farrand says, “sometimes they don’t know how to deal with it. But when young kids struggle and overcome it, that builds natural confidence. Kids see that when they stuck with something they could figure it out and do it. Adam learned that early on. I think that served him well in everything he tackled.”

The Vikings enter Week 15 two games behind the Detroit Lions in the NFC North and one game back of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the second wild-card spot.

Mark Recchi Kids Jersey If the Vikings do activate Peterson, he will have to reacquaint himself with an offense that has changed since Pat Shurmur replaced Norv Turner as offensive coordinator in November.

“There certainly are some new things we’re doing that he’s not as familiar with,” Shurmur said. “He’s been in meetings. He’s been around. He’s somewhat familiar with what we’re doing. But knowing it and actually executing it are two different things.”

Said Peterson on the radio: “I’ve been having my head in the playbook this week, just anticipating going out there as well. I’ve got some things I need to clean up a little bit, but I’ll be out there on Sunday.”

According to a Billboard story from August 2014, Peterson was one of the founding investors in Dash Radio, a free streaming music service founded by DJ Skee, aka Scott Kearney, a Twin Cities native.

2016 NFL Draft order: Titans will have a top 2 pick regardless of Week 17 results

The Tennessee Titans will lock up the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft if the Indianapolis Colts deal them a 13th loss of the season, but even if the Titans win, they could Limited Mens Roberto Aguayo Jersey still end up picking first.

UPDATE: The Titans wound up with the first pick in the draft.

If both the Titans and Cleveland Browns win in Week 17, it will be Tennessee picking first. While a win for the Browns could mean falling as far as fourth in the draft order, a Limited Kids Noah Spence Jersey win for the Titans wouldn’t be enough to knock Tennessee out of the top two.

Nearly every team in the AFC playoff picture has had to overcome some sort of injury to a primary player. The Patriots have had to deal with injuries to every offensive position except quarterback. The Broncos are marching along with Brock Osweiler, a quarterback in his fourth year who essentially had the experience of a rookie. The Cincinnati Bengals lost Andy Dalton until at least the first round of the playoffs, while backup AJ McCarron is now banged up too. The Kansas City Chiefs are winning but no longer have Jamaal Charles lining up in the backfield, while the Houston Texans have nearly clinched the AFC South with Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer taking snaps.

And then there’s the healthy Jets, the only team in the conference that is approaching the playoffs with its starting quarterback and all his primary weapons still on the field. If the Jets beat the Bills this week and make the playoffs, Fitzpatrick might actually be the second-best quarterback among the six lining up under center for the AFC’s playoff teams.

Injury luck plays a role every season, and this year, the Jets are the ones benefiting from it. Being healthy doesn’t guarantee anything, but being the most well-rounded team of all the playoff contenders is a great place to start. That is, assuming they can take care of business in what promises to be a tough and emotional game against Ryan and the Bills.

Inside Bryce Harper’s ‘Wow…’ heard ’round the world

The Washington Nationals have officially joined the party at the winter meetings, but the cover charge was pretty steep. Just how steep?
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That was Bryce Harper’s reaction, just four minutes after the Nats announced the deal. Of course, you could take Harper¡¯s comment a couple of different ways.

On the one hand, maybe MLB¡¯s CFO (Chief Fun Officer) meant wow in a good way: ¡°Wow … I can¡¯t believe we just snagged Adam Eaton from the White Sox and get to plug him into center field next to me, which would be really great because he¡¯s crazy good in the field and saved more runs last season than anyone not named Mookie and led the majors in assists.

And at the plate, he¡¯s a gritty, gutty, on-base guy with wheels who will help make our offense go. And oh by the way, this means Trea Turner doesn¡¯t have to play center anymore and can go back to short, which means that Danny Espinosa — love him like a brother and all, but his leather is way better than his lumber — can go back to being a utility guy.
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It makes sense, even if the Cubs don¡¯t get a contribution from such a player until the second half. That¡¯s when Maddon is more likely to employ six starters because the addition of Ross, for example, would feel like the Cubs made a midseason trade. They¡¯ll explore, unless the bidding gets out of hand.

So far, the front office has taken one big step in its offseason plan: acquiring Davis on Wednesday. Now the Cubs will take the baby steps necessary to deliver a complete and deep team. Epstein said that winning or losing the last game of 2016 wasn¡¯t going to change the team’s goals for this winter: They¡¯re going for it while maintaining fiscal flexibility for the coming years.

¡°The Wade Davis move is an aggressive move,¡± Epstein said. ¡°I see that as an aggressive move, a move of an organization that¡¯s aggressive to win another World Series.¡±

The Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs are pretty safe bets to make the playoffs

Limited Youth Peter Holland Jersey With four weeks remaining in the regular season, the playoff races are as tight as ever with 18 different teams holding at least a 25 percent chance to make the postseason, according to ESPN¡¯s Football Power Index (FPI). Which team¡¯s playoff chances will be impacted most this week?

With the help of FPI¡¯s playoff leverage calculations, we will break down which teams have the most to gain and lose this week in terms of making the postseason. There may be bigger games in terms of seeding and division winners, but the teams and games highlighted below are the ones that have the biggest impact on each team¡¯s inclusion in the playoffs.

Do you expect Malcolm Butler to shadow Mike Wallace or Steve Smith Sr. this week?

The last time the Patriots used Butler to shadow an opposing receiver was Oct. 23 against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Antonio Brown. So while it’s in the team’s playbook, it doesn’t happen often, and thus the odds are longer that we’ll see that type of scenario on Monday night.

¡°We¡¯re just looking forward to getting back out there,¡¯¡¯ McCoy said. ¡°The kids haven¡¯t been out there in a long time. They¡¯re really looking forward to seeing some of the old neighbors and just go out there and see us play a game in Carolina. That¡¯s where our kids grew up so it¡¯s a special place. It means a lot to us.¡¯

Youth Jared Spurgeon Jersey To see a full table showing schedule-independent matchup ratings to help you make Week 14 lineup decisions at QB, RB, WR and TE, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Robert Griffin III took part in practice Wednesday. ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported through a source that, barring any setbacks, Griffin will start Sunday against Cincinnati. Coach Hue Jackson has not made that official, but Griffin should be on the field for the first time since the season opener in Philadelphia.

Marshawn Lynch is out, but Christine Michael is ready

Seattle joins three other teams leaning on their backup running backs for the Wild Card weekend. They’re still 4-point favorites over the Vikings on Sunday, but the news that Lynch won’t play this weekend changes things for the offense.

Seattle’s been dealing with injured running backs all season. Lynch missed time earlier in the season, and he hasn’t played since Week 10. After seeing Thomas Rawls emerge as a potential superstar in their system when Lynch went down, the Seahawks had to scramble to replace their rookie breakout player after he broke his ankle in Week 14.

Game Kids Travis Wood Jersey They went to a familiar name: Christine Michael, who, at that point, had been on the street as a free agent after bouncing around to Dallas and Washington. After appearing in three games, there’s some cautious optimism starting to emerge again that Michael will live up to his insane hype over the past few years.

If there is any team in the league that can slow down the Steelers’ potent passing attack and red-hot offense, it might be the Bengals. They gave up the second-fewest points in the league and have one of the best secondaries in the NFL. During the regular season, the Bengals ranked fourth in interception rate, sixth in passing yards per play allowed and fifth in opponent passer rating.

The Packers began the 2015 season with a 6-0 record, while Washington was just 2-4 after the first six weeks. In the latter half of the schedule, things swapped and it was Washington that finished the year with four straight wins, while Green Bay enters the playoffs after back-to-back losses.

Al Jefferson Authentic Jersey Still, the Packers have two-time MVP Aaron Rodgers under center and even in a down year by his standards, he still finished with 31 touchdowns and eight interceptions. But Washington has had some good quarterback play of their own, with Kirk Cousins finishing the year with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in the last three games. The No. 6 pass defense of the Packers faces the challenge of slowing Cousins down and keeping Washington’s offense in check.

Jackson has been tasked with developing quarterbacks for many teams

The Browns need plenty of work on the offensive side of the ball, finishing 25th in the league in yardage and 30th in points scored with just 17.4 points per game. But Authentic Womens Larry Andersen Jersey there’s a big question mark at the quarterback position after Cleveland started free agent pickup Josh McCown for much of this season.

When McCown wasn’t starting, it was Johnny Manziel picking up the slack and after repeated off-the-field incidents, it’s unclear if Manziel has any future with the Browns Elite Cassius Marsh Jersey organization. But both Ian Rapoport and Mike Garaofolo reported that Jackson wants to “move on” from Manziel.

Jackson has been tasked with developing quarterbacks for many teams, and did a great job with Andy Dalton. That’s one of the biggest reasons why Jackson was one of the hot coaches on the market this offseason.

The Falcons struggled in 2013 and 2014, winning just ten games over those two seasons, and the team fired Smith after a Week 17 loss to the Carolina Panthers cost Atlanta the opportunity to win the division and make a playoff appearance in 2014 despite what would have been a 7-9 record with a victory. The Falcons lost 34-3 and finished 6-10.

Koetter, Tampa Bay’s head coach, was the offensive coordinator under Smith from 2012 through 2014 with the Falcons.

Smith came into a challenging defensive situation in Atlanta, taking over the reins of a team that was 29th in the league in 2007, having allowed 355.5 yards per game. The Falcons improved in Smith’s first season as head coach, finishing the 2008 season ranked 24th. Atlanta continued to improve incrementally over Smith’s first four seasons, finishing 21st in offensive yards allowed in 2009, 16th in 2010 and 12th in 2011.

Fitzgerald also pounded the table for Russell Martin, and his pitch framing, in the 2012-13 winter

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Speaking of rating on a per-inning basis, there¡¯s another important thing to note: Mathis rates very well in pitch-framing in that context. That the Diamondbacks went for an elite pitch-framer to fill one of their two catching spots isn¡¯t surprising for two reasons. First off, six of the top eight teams in the stat that measures pitch-framing (which we’ll get too shortly) made the 2016 postseason, and success begets impersonation. Second, the announcement of Mathis¡¯ signing came not long after the announcement of the hiring of Pirates quantitative analyst Mike Fitzgerald as the team¡¯s director of research and development.

Fitzgerald also pounded the table for Russell Martin, and his pitch framing, in the 2012-13 winter. That signing was not popular…at first
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The Pirates’ success the last few seasons can partly be traced to their prioritizing those catchers who rated highly at pitch-framing: Russell Martin, Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart (as Sawchik documents).

It only took him this long to get elected because he had to wait until turning 70 to be eligible since he’s still active. Mark Armour and Dan Levitt wrote a terrific book, “In Pursuit of Pennants,” on the history of baseball front offices and ranked Schuerholz as the No. 6 GM of all time.

Only truly excellent hurlers — and hitters — tend to record better than league-average line-drive rates consistently. Average authority (or exit speed) allowed, both overall and by specific BIP type, correlates a bit from year to year, but not nearly to as significant an extent as frequency. ERA and even FIP (which doesn’t go much further than docking a pitcher for allowing homers) both miss pitchers’ relative contact management skill.

But in the age of StatCast, there really isn’t an excuse for that. The data is at our fingertips, so we might as well put it to use in the evaluation of pitchers. There are two major aspects to pitching: What happens when the hitter does not make contact — strikeouts and walks — and what happens when the hitter does. Pitchers should be evaluated based on both the frequency of each type of ball in play allowed, i.e., their BIP mix, and on the authority with which those batted balls were hit.

Los Angeles is now 12th in offensive rating

Exit Kobe. Exit Roy Hibbert. Enter Brandon Ingram, Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov. Exit Byron Scott. Enter Luke Walton.
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The still-young season features multiple still-young teams that have increased both their pace and fantasy prospects. (Brooklyn, Phoenix, Denver).

But none have leapt so far, so fast as the Lakers.

Los Angeles is now 12th in offensive rating, 10th in effective field goal percentage, ninth in true shooting percentage, fourth in pace, seventh in assists, 10th in 3-pointers and fifth in steals. (But just 25th in blocks. Nobody’s perfect).

And one of the impressive aspects of the individual Lakers’ fantasy improvement is how they’re doing with essentially a series of timeshares. Ten Lakers are currently averaging over 20 minutes a night. No Lakers average 30 MPG. On most teams, this distribution of minutes would spell roto regression. But these Lakers are statistically better for it.

So which individual players have benefited from the Lakers’ new look? All of them.

Lou Williams, PG/SG 2015-16 Player Rater: 3.12 2016-17 Player Rater: 7.01 (leads Lakers)

Lou Williams is averaging 23.5 minutes per game. That puts him on pace for his lowest amount of playing time in five seasons. Yet, somehow, he’s registering career highs in points per game (16.6), 3-pointers (1.9) and steals (1.3).

Limited Dennis Rodman Jersey Lou Williams is what happens when you start parsing out a departed superstar’s touches in a higher-paced, more efficient system. In a career stuffed with super-compacted superb stats, Williams is averaging a career high 28.2 percent usage rate. He’s destroying his previous career high in PER (23.00 vs. 20.22 back in 2011-12).

Williams has also taken over as Lakers closer. He’s third in the NBA in fourth quarter scoring. On a young team still learning how to win — yet has already won half as many games as last year’s Lakers did in a full season — Walton’s given Williams an incandescent late-game green light.

The news comes with the Rams facing the potential of a lame duck season in St. Louis

He went back to the same playbook to address the assertion about Gase and the defensive coordinator situation.

“The job was offered to one person and one person only … Jim Tomsula.”

He covered himself with that response, which is technically true.

Baalke saying 49ers offered HC job only to Tomsula skips over the Jack Youngblood Youth Jersey point that Gase was told he could have the job if he made Tomsula his DC.

“I know there are a lot of people in the organization who want me back, but then again, I know the ones who don’t. It’s a difficult transition, and it’s not just about me. I have a wife who was able to sit back and see how people in Minnesota said this and said that, how media in Minnesota took the head of the situation with my child, and were digging into things that weren’t even relevant.”

Baalke may be technically correct, but his responses don’t inspire much confidence for the team’s immediate future and a healthy, functional front office.

Both Bowles and Maccagnan at Wednesday’s media session also skirted around questions about Percy Harvin, telling reporters that “it’s a process” and that they are still evaluating the situation. Maccagnan did indicate that the team might ask Harvin to restructure his contract, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN, and plans to meet with Harvin’s agent this week in Indianapolis.

Yoga Blitz, the Voice of the Fan Luncheon, and a breakfast event for personal seat license holders were also on the list of canceled events.

Brian Killingsworth, the Rams vice president for marketing and brand strategy, resigned last month Jacob McQuaide Youth Jersey after three seasons with the team. During his time in that role, the Rams ramped up their efforts to connect directly with the team’s fans. He took a similar role with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The news comes with the Rams facing the potential of a lame duck season in St. Louis. In January, it was revealed that owner Stan Kroenke is planning to build an NFL stadium along with the Stockbridge Capital Group in the Los Angeles market, on 300 acres of land in Inglewood owned by the two partners. Efforts are also underway to build a new NFL stadium in St. Louis, but the project still has a number of hurdles to clear, including details about how the project would be financed.

Dez Bryant saved his words for after his actions had paid off

After the game, Dez Bryant couldn’t stop talking about Josh Norman. With a crowd of reporters around Ezekiel Elliott, he wanted to make sure he had the full attention of the cameras and Ricardo Louis Womens Jersey microphones, so he waited for the rookie running back to finish.

First Bryant said the Washington Redskins need to get their money back from Norman, who was signed to a $75 million contract in the offseason. Then he called Norman “soft.” Then he said Norman wasn’t a lockdown corner because he “can’t even play man-to-man,” Bryant said. “Bail technique. That’s not man-to-man. It’s like you scared.” Then he said Norman was lucky.

“Yes, I am being extremely disrespectful to him because he disrespected me first, talking about how he was going to throw up the X,” Bryant said. “OK. OK. Go look at the film, man.”

Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan said he expects WR Sammy Watkins to play Sunday. “He won’t have a full workload, but we’re definitely going to get him in there,” Ryan said, according to ESPN Bills reporter Mike Rodak. Ryan also said RB LeSean McCoy’s thumb is “fine” and he is expected to get the majority of Buffalo’s carries.

Thomas Rawls just returned from a broken fibula last Robert Griffin III Womens Jersey week, but he declared himself ready to carry the load for the Seattle Seahawks after fellow RB C.J. Prosise suffered a scapula injury. “I train myself not like an average person, but I train myself to take on these loads for situations like this,” Rawls said. ESPN Seahawks reporter Sheil Kapadia wrote, “It’s obvious that the plan going forward will be for Rawls to carry the ground game. There’s really no other option.”

Former Seahawks RB Christine Michael should start working his way into the mix with the Green Bay Packers this week after a film-study cram session this week. The Packers are even more enthused by TE Jared Cook’s breakout performance following his return from an ankle injury. ESPN Packers reporter Rob Demovsky wrote that Cook’s return is “about the closest thing the Packers have to something they can pin their hopes on to turn things around.”