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The Zone Coverage Football Machine

The Zone Coverage Football Machine is a weekly, in-depth Minnesota Vikings discussion that gives you locker room insights and on-field analysis from professional beat writers. Host Sam Ekstrom has been on the Vikings beat for Zone Coverage since 2014. Arif Hasan has covered the Vikings for Zone Coverage and The Athletic and brings an analytical slant. Luke Inman is Zone Coverage's resident draft and film guru. Together, they give you the most informed Vikings speculation you'll find anywhere.
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The Zone Coverage Football Machine
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Now displaying: Page 1
Feb 4, 2021

Sam Ekstrom and Arif Hasan team up for their final Football Machine. As Sam moves on to a new opportunity, the Football Machine is appreciative for your years of loyal listenership. What a fun ride.

-Explaining the goodbye

-Stafford traded; is Cousins next?!

-Why the delay on promoting Klint Kubiak?

-Super Bowl Jeopardy w/ Giles Ferrell

-Super Bowl Party Fantasy Draft

-Super Bowl Prop Bets

Jan 27, 2021

Sam Ekstrom and Arif Hasan are joined by Zone Coverage contributor Chris Schad to discuss the conference title games and the latest with the Vikings:

-How bad was Matt LaFleur's fourth down decision?

-What is Aaron Rodgers' future?

-Bills-Chiefs takeaways

-Kyle Rudolph's controversial comments

-Minnesota's salary-cap management

-The Hall of Fame case for Jared Allen

Jan 20, 2021

Sam Ekstrom and Arif Hasan discuss the latest with the Purple and the NFL playoffs:

-What was compelling about the divisional round?

-Who will neutral fans be cheering for in Sunday's Bucs-Packers game?

-Identifying free agent targets at guard, defensive tackle, receiver and corner

-Checking in on former Vikings

-Barr vs. Wilson

-Championship round picks

Jan 14, 2021

Sam Ekstrom and Arif Hasan discuss the latest with the Minnesota Vikings and National Football League:

-George Paton takes a job with the Denver Broncos. What is the impact on the Vikings?

-Best moments of Wild Card weekend: Colts-Bills, Heinicke, Nickelodeon

-Takeaways on Devonta Smith, Justin Fields and Mac Jones from the National Championship

-Twitter questions: Vikings roster makeup, Thielen's future and next OC

Jan 7, 2021

Sam Ekstrom and Arif Hasan are joined by Luke Braun to start discussing the Minnesota Vikings offseason:

-Who were the Week 17 winners and losers?

-Are the in-house candidates good replacements for Gary Kubiak? Outside hires?

-What about replacing Marwan Maalouf?

-How inaccurate were our preseason predictions?

-Did Kirk Cousins improve his QB rank this season?

-Would a Cousins-for-Watson trade make sense?

-Wild Card picks

Jan 4, 2021

Sam Ekstrom and Tom Schreier react to the Vikings' final game, a 37-35 win in Detroit:

-It was the offensive gameplan they should've had all season: Embrace shootouts

-Justin Jefferson set the rookie yardage record, but his season still wasn't as impressive as rookie Randy Moss

-Are defensive injuries a valid excuse for the record?

-How will holes at safety, defensive end and guard be filled this offseason?

-Who Sam and Tom are cheering for in the playoffs

Dec 30, 2020

Sam Ekstrom and Arif Hasan are joined by Chris Schad to break down the latest with the Minnesota Vikings:

-What should their New Year's resolutions be?

-Does Mike Zimmer have a low ceiling as a coach?

-What is the percentage chance that certain key players return?

-What odd decisions will the Vikings make in the offseason?

Dec 27, 2020

Sam Ekstrom and Tom Schreier discuss the Vikings' 52-33 loss on Christmas Day and what happens next as the offseason nears:

-Mike Zimmer calls out his "bad defense"

-A deep dive into Ernie Nevers, the 1920s football player whose record Alvin Kamara tied

-The one area where the offense can realistically upgrade

-Has Kirk Cousins been more fiery this year?

-Why can't the Vikings run trick plays?

Dec 23, 2020

Sam Ekstrom and Arif Hasan discuss the latest with the Minnesota Vikings:

-What are their memories of the two Vikings' playoff wins over the Saints, and what made them special for fans?

-Nothing or Something: Justin Jefferson's hot mic moment? Dan Bailey's 5-for-5 day? Mitch Trubisky's Vikings dominance?

-Which contracts should the Vikings shed (or extend) next year?

-Week 16 picks

Dec 21, 2020

Sam Ekstrom and Tom Schreier dissect the latest Vikings loss that likely eliminates them from playoff contention:

-Should the offense be held to a higher standard since they have more veterans?

-The play-calling never gave the offense a chance to be explosive

-Can we expect the defense to improve next year?

-What to make of the end-of-game drives by the Vikings on Sunday

-Remaining playoff scenarios

-Remembering Tom Hanneman

Dec 16, 2020

Sam Ekstrom and Arif Hasan discuss the latest with the Minnesota Vikings:

-Was it correct to hang onto Dan Bailey after his four misses?

-Does Mitch Trubisky give the Bears a better chance to win?

-Why are the Vikings so slow-tempo on offense?

-Is Kirk Cousins more mobile?

-Could Justin Jefferson get fed up with the offense like Stefon Diggs?

-The latest playoff scenarios

-Week 15 picks

Dec 14, 2020

Sam Ekstrom and Chris Schad react to Sunday's 26-14 loss at Tampa Bay. They discuss the following:

-Dan Bailey misses four kicks. Is there any case to keep him around?

-Kirk Cousins wasn't elite, but he also wasn't the reason the Vikings lost

-Dalvin Cook's 100-yard game was wasted

-Three controversial calls. Were they correct?

-Why won't the Vikings show more offensive urgency?

-Playoff picture update

Dec 9, 2020

Sam Ekstrom and Arif Hasan are joined by Purple Insider's Matthew Coller to discuss the latest with the Minnesota Vikings:

-What are the lasting takeaways from the Jaguars game?

-Is this still an upper echelon offense despite some of the mistakes?

-Letter grades for Gary Kubiak, Mike Zimmer and Marwan Maalouf

-What happened to Holton Hill?

-The tight ends are decimated

-Which D-linemen will be gone next year?

-Week 14 picks

Dec 7, 2020

Sam Ekstrom and Tom Schreier react to the Vikings' 27-24 overtime win against Jacksonville:

-Tom missed overtime because his TV switched to the Packers

-The last-minute defensive meltdown makes the game look far worse

-Why isn't Dalvin Cook getting any relief?

-The defense still deserves a hat tip for the takeaways

-Special teams was dismal again, and what was up with that Dan Bailey kick?

-Updated playoff picture

Dec 3, 2020

Sam Ekstrom and Arif Hasan are joined by guest Luke Braun to discuss the latest with the Minnesota Vikings:

-Praise and malaise from the win over the Panthers

-Debate over the Vikings' clock management strategies

-Is Dalvin Cook going to get worn down?

-What do the Jaguars do well?

-Who is in control of the NFC?

-Week 13 picks against the spread

Nov 30, 2020

Sam Ekstrom and Tom Schreier discuss the Vikings' dramatic 28-27 win over Carolina:

-Do you like zany football?

-Chad Beebe and Bisi Johnson emerge

-Kirk Cousins proves he can carry a team to victory

-The Vikings have yet to play a good 60-minute game

-The defensive line needs a playmaker to emerge

-Playoff scenarios

Nov 25, 2020

Sam Ekstrom and Arif Hasan are joined by Chris Schad to discuss the latest with the Vikings:

-Does Kirk Cousins deserve any heat for the Vikings' latest loss?

-What former Vikings defensive player would be most useful on this year's defense?

-What will happen if Adam Thielen misses the Panthers game?

-Would you want the 2020 version of Teddy Bridgewater on the Vikings?

-The best Vikings to hunt with

-Week 12 picks

-Thanksgiving Food Draft 2020

Nov 23, 2020

Sam Ekstrom and Tom Schreier react to Sunday's 31-28 Vikings loss:

-The offense deserves some heat, too

-Dalvin Cook is taking some serious punishment

-CeeDee Lamb and Justin Jefferson are going to be fun to watch for years to come

-What happened to the defense?

-Special teams was negative again

-Do the Vikings still have a chance at the playoffs?

Nov 19, 2020

Sam Ekstrom and Arif Hasan are joined by guest Eric Thompson to discuss the latest with the Vikings.

-"Woos and Boos" from Monday's win against the Bears

-Could the Vikings make a change at special teams coordinator? And how will special teams screw up the end of their season?

-How do the Ngakoue and Diggs trades look in retrospect?

-Where will Cam Dantzler fit when he returns?

-What are the biggest threats on the Dallas offense and defense?

-Could the 2020 draft class exceed the 2015 class?

-Week 11 picks

Nov 17, 2020

Sam Ekstrom and Tom Schreier react to the Vikings' 19-13 win over Chicago:

-It was ugly for the Vikings, but imagine being a Bears fan

-Minnesota hung tough to overcome obstacles

-Justin Jefferson is legit

-Mike Zimmer dialed up well-timed blitzes against a hapless Nick Foles

-Could the Vikings make a change at special teams?

-What's up next for the Vikings?

-Nervous to face Andy Dalton in the slightest?

Nov 12, 2020

Sam Ekstrom and Arif Hasan are joined by guest Luke Braun to discuss the latest with the Minnesota Vikings:

-What has led to Dalvin Cook's unreal surge?

-What defensive adjustments have been made to right the defense?

-Halfway superlatives: Biggest surprise, biggest disappointment, worst coaching move, Cousins' best throw

-Would you prefer the Vikings' active roster defense or the all-IR defense?

-Week 10 picks against-the-spread

Nov 9, 2020

Sam Ekstrom and Tom Schreier react to Minnesota's 34-20 over Detroit.

-Dalvin Cook rushes for over 200 yards

-There are some serious 2012 vibes to the current offense

-Mike Zimmer has kept things steady throughout the rocky season

-The Vikings could easily jump to the 8-seed soon

-What awaits in Chicago on Monday?

Nov 4, 2020

Sam Ekstrom and Arif Hasan are joined by Zone Coverage contributor Chris Schad to discuss the latest with the Vikings:

-Which backup quarterback will torch the Vikings if Matthew Stafford misses Sunday's game?

-Was the Vikings' winning formula on Sunday sustainable?

-What more can Dalvin do?

-How tough it will be for Dalvin to reach Adrian Peterson's legacy

-Favorite Everson Griffen moments in purple

-Where to put the Vikings young guards

-Week 9 picks against the spread

Nov 2, 2020

Sam Ekstrom and Tom Schreier discuss the Vikings' 28-22 win over the Packers.

-Are the Vikings truly bad enough to tank for a top quarterback?

-What will happen at the trade deadline?

-What was the most surprising part of Sunday's victory?

-Tom plays Monday Morning Quarterback on two big coaching moves

-Dalvin Cook v. Adrian Peterson?

Oct 28, 2020

Sam Ekstrom and Arif Hasan give their latest takes on the state of the Minnesota Vikings:

-Did the Vikings get fair return for the Yannick Ngakoue trade?

-Does Danielle Hunter deserve a raise?

-What is the value of the Vikings' top assets?

-What teams intrigued you during the bye week?

-Week 8 picks against the spread

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