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With Gerhart Stepping In, Vikings Offense Won’t Change

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 30, 2011 – 7:16 am

Following the season-ending knee injury to Adrian Peterson last week in Washington, there will be a change this week at RB for the Vikings. That’s the bad news. The good news, though, is that the change will be restricted to the identity of the starting RB rather than a change in offensive style or philosophy.

The Vikings offense is one built around a strong running game and around the NFL’s best RB. And when you build a team with that makeup, it’s important to have a backup RB who can be trusted with shouldering the load. By selecting Toby Gerhart in the 2nd round of the 2010 NFL Draft, the Vikings secured insurance.

Peterson was sidelined earlier this season with an ankle injury, and Gerhart stepped into the lineup and filled in admirably. He averaged 75.0 rushing yards per game and 3.9 yards per carry with 1 rushing TD while also hauling in 13 receptions for 80 yards and 1 TD. Then when Peterson left last week’s game in the 3rd quarter, Gerhart came in and immediately ripped off a 67-yard rush, the longest of his career, and finished the game with 11 carries for 109 yards, the first 100-yard rushing game of his NFL career.

By no means will anyone argue that Gerhart – or any other NFL RB – can replace the play-making ability of Peterson, but there’s also no question that Gerhart has shown that he can step into the lineup and be the kind of productive runner this Vikings offense needs.

“One of the things about Adrian’s absence earlier in the season, we had a chance to get Toby some extended snaps and we really haven’t altered the offense by any means,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said earlier in the week. “Toby has done a very good job in Adrian’s absence, did a great job Saturday of stepping in and performing and rushing for over 100 yards. We really haven’t had to alter things and we really don’t plan to. We look forward to eventually getting Adrian back on the field but we don’t think we have to really alter the offense.”

Another reason besides Gerhart that the Vikings offense will maintain its philosophy for the last game of the season is the offensive line’s run-blocking ability. Yes, the offensive line has been criticized much this season for their pass protection. But this group has been very good in the running game. The Vikings enter the final week of the regular season ranked 3rd in rushing TDs with 17 and 4th in rushing yards per game with 149.3

“I don’t know that it does this last week,” Vikings Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave responded when asked if Peterson’s absence would require the offense to change philosophies. “Our O-line has embraced a lot of the concepts that we have gotten good at this year so we want to keep on keeping on in that regard and Toby has proved that whether it be Adrian or Lorenzo Booker or Toby back there, we can block people and create some holes.”

The Peterson-less Vikings offense will have a good challenge this week as they go against a Chicago Bears defense that ranks 6th against the run, allowing just 97.5 rushing yards per game. The Vikings ability to establish the run will be paramount to keeping the Bears defense off-balance, which is an important part of protecting QB Christian Ponder. And protecting Ponder so he can sit in the pocket and develop as a passer is the #1 reason to watch the Vikings this weekend.


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 96 Comments »


96 Responses to “With Gerhart Stepping In, Vikings Offense Won’t Change”

  1. By DRS on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    That is the problem; the Vikings need to change their Offense and now! What have they been doing lately with this Offense? LOSEING most of the time, the coaches must me insane, trying to do the same thing all the time expecting something new every time.

    Try passing to open up the running game, oh that is right your O-Line man cannot keep the defense of our QB’s so that they can pass!!!!

    Get an O-Line, Defense, GM, and a new stadium soon or next season will be like this season. Only it may be in LA.

  2. By Spence on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Funny how the o-line always looks Good when Webb comes in, hmmm…..

  3. By DRS on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Happy New Year every one, and God bless U-All.

  4. By DRS on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Spence, I do not know if they look good because of the short amount of time he is in there playing or if it is because they like him more, they look good at times when Ponder is in as well. That even goes for when Farve was in last year. So who knows what their thing is, something new has to be done or there will not be any change in this team.

    Peace to every one and a great new year to one and all.

  5. By DRS on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Oops that should have been be, not me in the first post, sorry.

    Have a great day, bye for now.

  6. By sandiamond on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    College Players to watch today:

    Rutgers M. Sanu WR

    Iowa State
    K. Osemele G/RT
    L. Johnson CB

    Iowa
    R. Reiff LT
    M. McNutt WR
    S Prater CB

    Oklahoma
    R. Lewis LB
    T. Lewis LB
    J. Fleming CB

  7. By sandiamond on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Miss State
    J. Banks CB
    F. Cox DT

    Too many games and too many players coming up to list, just going to watch ‘em here on out

  8. By sandiamond on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    http://www.dailynorseman.com/2011/12/30/2670416/which-college-players-are-future-vikings-bowl-week-3-primer

  9. By Monnes on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Ponder have to start because the Vikes need to loose to maintain that 3rd overall pick!

  10. By sandiamond on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    ignore the writer’s mock draft. Idiotic to think we would trade Ponder and Allen and move up for Luck. plus waiting to the 3rd round for an OT. If we don’t find a LT to pass block for Ponder then we are up chit creek
    Good reference there for the college players and also some clues to compensatory picks

  11. By saddy on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    If we stay at 3 and kallil is gone, I want an offer for trade with Cleveland for their 2 1st round pick, we pick claiborne and Jonathan Martin or we pick up RGiii to puss Cleveland off – RGiii is a beast and will be successful like cam newton

  12. By Puckertrucker on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    To The Vikinngs:
    I have finally figured out the problem with the lack of fire in the players bellies, and its the coaches.
    After watching both Pagac,and Musgrave it’s easy to see, If the coaches don’t have fire in their Bellies how can they instill that in their players their weekly talks with the media, shows both coaches have a milktoast attitude and couldn’t fire up a gorilla much less a team the players need to get fired up before a game not listen to some slow mouth drivel from mealy,mouthed coaches. Look at all the great coaches, Ara Parsigian, Lombardi, The Tuna, even Jim Harbaugh. they have instilled fire in their Players and even more so, a lets go out and getem attitude.
    Now look at the Vikings they don’t play with fire because of the bad coaching over the season. They Need coaches with fire in their own bellies to instill rough and ready attitudes in their players get new blood in the coaching staff the ones you have have not proven they have that winning attitude that is needed to win, get the fire back now or your team is destine to be wannabe winners the rest of their careers.

    The One and Only PuckerTrucker!!!!!!!Skol and Happy New year to the Fans.

  13. By The Brain on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    What Offense? Frazier save a little of whatever your smoking for Ponder after Sundays game. Your imagined O line may get him killed this time.

  14. By Regfan on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Ponder won’t be 100%…so Mr.Webb will be sent in

  15. By Derrick.G on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Im excited for the off season, Remember how much Frasier cleaned house after last season? He has the b a l l s to do it again.

  16. By Immureglass on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    - I think Webb makes the Oline look way better than they really are. Because he’s more athletic than Ponder is. But IMO Ponders the better QB.
    – Toby has really stepped up this year but I’m curious if we’ll see King get any reps on Sunday or If its just gonna be Gerhart and Booker.

    Pucker- I have to agree with you on the Coaches not showing any Fire in there bellies, I think this off season they need to promote Singletary to DC and maybe hire Haley as an OC if he’s available. Those two will get after a player if he makes a dumb mistake.

  17. By Carl K on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Sandiamond – Thanks for the link.
    So far my two thumbs up goes to RB Doug Martin. The Maaco Bowl MVP to the opening kickoff last night for a 100 yrd TD. He also rushed for 151 yards as help helped Boise State beat Arizona State.

    I think the Vikings could get a good RB like Doug Martin, Isaiah Pead or Montee Ball with one of our 4th round picks.

  18. By Carl K on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    My typing stinks… to should be took. And help should be he.
    Anyway I can’t type and watch Mohamed Sanu at the same time.

  19. By gubber on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Toby has taken his chance and certainly made the most of it. No one is going to mistake him for AP, but who else would either. He’s been absolutely reliable and has kept other defences honest with his hard running style. Next year god willing with both Adrian and Toby healthy they’re going to form a real duo threat for Viking fans to enjoy for quite awhile. Good to have someone like Toby to ease AP’s workload.

  20. By sandiamond on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Ok Carl I will check out Martin. Not sure what plans the vikings have for Todman. He is only 5-9 190 pounds. Going to check out Sanu 2nd half. McNutt a tall reciever 6′ 4 looking forward to seeing him in action

  21. By gubber on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Been thinking and that’s dangerous. Possibly move down to Miami at #8 and take OT Jonathan Martin or OG David DeCastro of Stanford. At # 35 CB Chase Minniefield or Janoris Jenkins (like Minniefield … Jenkins apparently a head case). And at # 40 from the Fins WR Reuben Randle from LSU. In the third, if everything shakes out another OT in Nate Potter from Boise State.

  22. By Viking Joe on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    sandiamond, thanks for all the pro prospects to look for durng the bowl games.

  23. By Carl K on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Sanu looks like he has good hands but I think he lines up in the slot a lot more than what I was expecting. I think I like McNutt as a better fit for the Vikings.
    My hope is Alshon Jeffery will fall to the Vikings at the top of the 2nd round… If not keep an eye on WR Tommy Streeter from Miami also.

  24. By Viking Joe on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    I am interested to see how good Iowa’s Reiff will do tonight.

  25. By sandiamond on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    I like that too gubber. Jon Martin and Chase Minnifield would take care of two needs early. J. Jenkins is a risk( left -handed cigs ) that i think the vikings would pass on due to the Cook debacle

  26. By sandiamond on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    We may very well wind up taking one of these Iowa players, Reiff, McNutt or Prater imo

  27. By Carl K on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Todman and C King are good young backs but the ACL injury to AP and the fact L Booker is a free agent (probabily not coming back) is why I think the Vikings will draft a late round RB. AP and Gerhart will not be used much in preseason and camp so we will need a couple more backs to carry the load.

    The RB class is deep and we may have as many as 4 compensatory picks to use late in the draft.

  28. By sandiamond on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Yep King and Todman may just be short-term insurance polices due to not knowing the status of AP and Booker right now

  29. By gubber on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Personally I don’t think we’re looking for quantity as much as quality. If it were up to me our draft would be over no later than the fourth round getting 5 or 6 “quality prospects” to build around. I’m also a real big fan of safety Markelle Martin of Oklahoma State. If you could package together all your late round picks to get Martin you could fill-in the other holes through free agency.

  30. By sandiamond on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    I got a feeling abdullah and johnson may be the starters again. There is only a few quailty safeties out there in free agency and the draft. Plus all these other teams are looking for safety help

  31. By Carl K on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    We have 17 players that will be free agents…. I think most will not be resigned.
    I think quality and quantity will both be a factor.
    Here are our free agents –
    Husain Abdullah
    EJ Henderson
    Erin Henderson
    V Shancoe
    D Aromashudo
    L Booker
    B Sapp
    Tyrell Johnson
    Xavier Adibi
    G Camarillo
    F Evans
    L Guion
    S Kooistra
    M Katula
    J Page
    S Rosenfels
    K l e I n s a s s e r

  32. By Carl K on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    The Vikings could have as many as 10 draft picks. We will need them.

  33. By sandiamond on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    hmmmm…with the bottom half of that list gone, there’s no reason to lose any sleep over except Jimmy

  34. By sandiamond on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Aaron Rodgers little brother Jordan is the QB for Vanderbilt playing tomorrow. Just thought i would mention that

  35. By SpenceBelievesInWebb on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    The only guys I would sign are
    -Abduallah, and Erin Henderson.

  36. By sandiamond on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    We may need Sapp, Armashudo and Shianco, hurting bad for receivers

  37. By VikesFan on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    we need to win so we are 3rd overall pick not 1 or 2 because we dont need luck or RG3 we need SECONDARY help and o-line we got 2 young qb’s we dont need another ponder will get better and joe webb is already better rams and colts need to lose

  38. By VikesFan on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    we need to re sign shank

  39. By sandiamond on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    all that has changed Vikesfan. It’s probably either 3 or 6 pending Sunday

  40. By sandiamond on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Keep an eye on J. Banks CB Miss State. every year in the draft teams snag cornerbacks before we can get a good one

  41. By Carl K on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Shancoe can be replaced with Rudolph.
    EJ Henderson is not playing at the same level he once was, and is not worth the big dollars the Vikings have been giving him. I would like to have him back but I am not sure if wants to stay a Viking for less money.
    We need a veteran QB so I think the Vikings will resign Sage.
    I would also like to resign Aromashodu… But I think he will be a hot free agent and I think the Vikings will be looking to draft a WR in the first 4 rounds anyway.

    I will not lose sleep over most of our free agents, because they are no more than solid backups with starting experience.

  42. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    I am not a fan of free agent signing…But if the Vikes could sign just one guy that would help out a lot…WR..R Wayne from Indy for a fair price…Just think what Ponder could do throwing the ball to Wayne,Harvin and Rudolf and a good WR draft pick signing this spring…If Ponder had time to throw the ball…Vikings have to protect Ponder….Fusco and Love might help at guard and center next season…But an OT should be top priority in this springs draft…Look for an early pick going to the LB position also…If Singletary takes over as defensive coordinator…Play makers are needed from the LB position…The blitz packages up the middle never hit home from the Vikes…I expect that to change big time next season if Singletary takes over…The secondary needs so much work…It will be hard to figure out where to start ??…If the Vikes nab 9 or 10 picks in this springs draft…They will need them all…lol

  43. By Carl K on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Keep your eye on DT Fletcher Cox. He just blocked a kick!
    Johnathon Banks is one of the top 3 corners on my wish list.

  44. By sandiamond on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Kalil you are right the college ranks are loaded with primo linebackers. We need to pick up a couple in the draft or else we’ll be behind the curve in a few years

  45. By Spence on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    TOBY IS THE FREAKIN TRUTH! 91,90, AND OVER 100 YARDS IN HIS LAST 3 STARTS!

  46. By Spence on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    somebody please buy me the idiots guide to pro football i don’t know a lot about the game but i’m still learning.

  47. By Spence on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Smh. Really, cloning me? You think Toby is a scrub?

  48. By Spence on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    You clowns are pathetic.

  49. By Spence on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    somebody buy me the idiots guide to pro football i dont know much about the game but im learning

  50. By Spence on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Play Webb he is the better QB though he was drafted in round 6 with the 199 pick overall in the 2010 draft,i think he was drafted as a project but he’s grate

  51. By Spence on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Well since guys are cloning me now im gonna change my name. Im going to disappear into obscurity

  52. By Spence on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    And hey Clone, uh….some guy named was drafted in the 6th round as well. Tom Brady, maybe you heard of him.

  53. By Spence on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    you’re the clone

  54. By Spence on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Tom is terrific webb is a wonder hes in the league

  55. By Spence on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Its all good clone. Take care.

  56. By Spence on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    you too clone

  57. By Vikingsfool on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Very childish on the boards today.

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  63. By Puckertrucker on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    @Immureglass:

    Thanks for the response I was beginning to think that I’m the only person to notice that to have players with fire in their bellies you have to have coaches that coach with fire in their bellies and get the most out of our Players Singletary might just be the one or maybe bring back Denny Green, or hire Jon Gruden or talk Tony Dungy into comming back to the Vikes.

    The One and Only PuckerTrucker!!!!!!!

  64. By Viking-ology on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Puckertrucker and Immureglass I agree with alot that you have posted except one…I don’t believe Singletary is an answer to defensive coordinator. Yes, I agree, he has fire, but it did nothing for the 49ers-look at them now. My point is, you need fire AND a game plan, I don’t think he has a plan. We need a proven defensive mind coach. My example is Wade Phillips-he was a terrible head coach, but has the #1 D in Houston. My pick would be Romeo Crenell or Rex Ryan if they become available.

  65. By gubber on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    @Carl K.
    I’d resign both Hendersons. Not great, but good linebackers. Shiancoe is resign and trade if possible, and Aromashodu is resigned in a backup receiver role. The rest ??????????

  66. By gubber on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    VikesFan.
    With Luck going 1 to Indy and the Rams having Bradford why would either team go after RG3 ??? My guess is it’s Luck, either Kalil or Blackmon to the Rams and if it’s Kalil, Martin hopefully to the Vikes. Or if the the Vikes don’t think there’s going to be a serious CB in the second, Claiborne. Mike Adams of Ohio State should still be available in the second and is a very good OT. Still like my first idea if it can be swung with Miami since they would defintitely have an interest in Griffin and would want to beat Washington to get Griffin. See above and give me your imput.

  67. By Trav on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

  68. By gubber on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    Trav. Watched your YouTube suggestion and wondered why ??? AP’s highligt reel skills are emblazoned on all Vikings fans memories. Is this to suggest what would happen if AP and Toby had a good o-line to run behind.

  69. By sandiamond on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    Everybody just relax until the draft order is determined by tomorrow night!

    Right now this is all we know: ( most anticipated scenario )
    # 1 Andrew Luck / Colts
    # 2 Matt Kalil / Rams
    # 3 RG3 / ?

    Griffin still hasn’t declared to enter the draft

    note: excellent LT from ALA Barrett Jones is returning to college

  70. By Carl K on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    @gubber- Aromashodu is having the best year of his career. Devin has good size at 6’2 201 and has great speed to be a deep threat. He is averaging 18yrd per catch.
    Nfldraftscout.com had Devin projected as a top 100 prospect in the 2006 draft.
    He fell to the Dolphins in the 7th round.
    The big question for the Vikings to figure out is will they try to develop Aromashodu into that true#1 type WR.

    I don’t think he is a true #1 type WR… But that is what the Vikings need.
    So that means if he stay with the Vikings he will be #4 behind Harvin, Jenkins and whoever we draft or sign to be our #1 WR.

    My guess is Aromashodu will be a hot free agent as a #2 or #3 type WR for some NFL team. I hope we can keep him as our #4 WR.

    I look for him to have a big game against the Bears.

  71. By Carl K on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    In weeks 11-13 with with Ponder playing well, Jenkins had 9 catches for 75 yards.
    In weeks 14-16 with ponder struggling and Jenkins hurt and AP limited Aromashodu has 8 catches for 112 yards.

  72. By Vikings1 on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    @ Immureglass
    I like your thinking especially about hiring Singletary as DC, and I would also fire the secondary coach and hire?, anyone know a good secondary coach.

  73. By Spence on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    The secondary coach isnt the problem. You guys do realize that only ONE starter from week 1 has been playing……Cedric Griffin. Once everybodys healthy they wont be THAT bad

  74. By Derrick.G on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

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  75. By Derrick.G on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    Spence, the secondary is bad. Dont sugarcoat it, they are horrid.

  76. By Spence on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    ——Abdullah———————————————————-Winfield———

    Chris Cook——————————————-Sapp—————–Brandon Burton

    If this is how the lineup was then they wouldnt be giving up 400yards in the air per game.

  77. By Spence on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    Ther are good, just injured, win with webb he’s grate

  78. By Spence on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    Why troll my name? Like forreal. Thats some real childish s— man.

  79. By Derrick.G on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    That does look good, but im not sold on abdullah, id rather see mistral raymond in his spot, maybe even ced griffen there.

  80. By Derrick.G on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    ——?———————————————————-Winfield———
    Chris Cook——————————————-Sapp—————–Brandon Burton

  81. By Spence on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    Husain Abdullah is a pretty descent free safety in my opinion. And I think Raymond should back him up. Griffin would of been cut/traded if I was running the show.

  82. By ozzinator on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    Griffin is coming off two acl tears, his days as a CB are limited,he has a lot of heart maybe be a nickel cb

  83. By ozzinator on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    If Cook and Winfield are healthy or in Cook’s case not in trouble with the law our CB’s are alright, Griffin can then me moved to a nickel or dime CB or even a S

  84. By Spence on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    His days as a pure cover corner are over. He cant guard anybody and he was a reason why we lost to the Lions, and Chiefs.

  85. By ozzinator on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    I still think the Vikes should draft both CB and a S in the 3rd to 4th round range, because the offensive line should be top priority whether it is to protect Ponder or Webb

  86. By Spence on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    Does anybody notice have good the o-line looks when Webb comes in or is that just me?

  87. By ozzinator on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    For some reason the line does, maybe because he is the better athlete they feel he can get away from the rush.

  88. By Spence on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    Or maybe its because they actually WANT to block for Webb.

  89. By ozzinator on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    That’s possible, maybe we can say QB controversy? I like both QB’s, they both bring something different to the table, but don’t forget that Ponder was drafted 12th overall last year, much to high,but he has upside, but Webb has the better arm and is much faster.

  90. By Carl K on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    Chase Minnefield is not playing in the bowl game tonight. Rumor is he will have knee surgery next week.

  91. By Mike R. on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    Neiko Thorpe FS from Auburn had a nice pass coverage break up. I’m not used to seeing that during a Vikings game :-D

  92. By sandiamond on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    Jef Fuller WR! awesome game today 6’4 and still growing. Staff can work on his techs and quickness. WEeeeeeeeeeeee Sidney replacement!

  93. By Mike R. on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    Yeah, Fuller had his best game of the year today.
    Other WRs: BJ Cunningham Mich St.
    Gerrell Robinson Arizona

  94. By Mike R. on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    Sorry Arizona State….

  95. By Old School on Jan 1, 2012 | Reply

    FIRE EVERYONE FOR THAT SEASON!

    FIND A QB THAT WILL HOLD UP!

    A COACH!

    A GM!

    OH……remember when I said that they would be 4-12 this season….I WAS WRONG!

    SORRY!

  96. By Spencer on Dec 22, 2012 | Reply

    >:P

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