Biggest weakness even before the season begins
Posted 27 August 2014 - 10:39 PM
Just for perspective sake, I'm 48 and been a Viking fan and follower bleeding purple since I was 5. I have the beginnings of a man crush on Zimmer. I thought Frazier was an OK idea at the time but was very unsure. I thought then, and think now, that Childress was an awful hire. I love Mike Tice as a coach and good guy, and supported him but felt he got thrown in to the deep end of the before he was ready. I truly believe Zimmer is the best hire since Denny Green, and very possibly since Jerry Burns. Despite a reputation, probably unfair, as a bit gruff and overly spirited we'll say, I've seen nothing but a polished professional who provides organization, great attention to detail, and what appears to be a professional and calming influence.
I believe he is an outstanding choice to rebuild the Vikes overall, especially the defense, but I have to give huge applause to him and Spielman for bringing on OC and, more or less, co-head coach Norv Turner. This entire staff is exciting!
But it's still year one. Rome, and even an NFL franchise in the era of parity, were not and can not be built in a day. And I think the very nature of the battles we've seen through camp and the pre-season clearly indicate where our concerns should be placed. Of course, unfortunate injuries have played a part. But I digress.
1) Safety other than Smith. Is Blanton the guy? I sure hope so. The former CB seems to have the physical tools if he can stay healthy and get the mental part down. IMHO, Sendejo is an impressive and aggresive athlete who surprised me last season, albeit with a different staff and scheme. I think he should stick. Exume, to me, was a huge draft steal. I don't know that he's done enough to stick, but I love his skill set and possibilities, and I'm worried we'd lose him if cut. I almost think you're forced to keep him. I figure that leaves one spot left, and I don't know if we have anyone worth keeping at this point. I love Sanford for toughness and leadership and ST play, but his pass defense is a bit iffy, and he's battled injury like half the secondary thus far. Coleman has looked OK, but nothing special. Crocker is a proven vet who knows Zimmer's system, but despite that, he has shown next to nothing thus far. Barring someone to really step forward at some point during the season, S will have to be a major priority next year. Is there some potential here though? Yes.
1A) CB. Rhodes has everything going for him to be a stud, and has shown real flashes. Captain was a great sign, and while I hate to compare him, reminds me so much of Winfield that it's almost scary. But where do we go from here? Robinson has absolutely every physical quality that you could ever ask for in an NFL CB. But he has to put it together. To be fair, he came in a bit raw, and was probably played so out of position last year as a nickel as to thoroughly mess him up, and has had a hammy to deal with this year. But you just can't cut a kid with his potential this soon. Everyone wrights Prater off for some reason, but there were times last season where he played better than anyone but Rhodes. And his appearances in games this year have been solid to excellent. Price has been a surprise. He comes from a strong program in a strong conference with a big, strong frame and has tons of experience. But on paper, his physicals seemed to be very average. I hope we found a steal here. (Carl Lee anyone? We can only dare to dream) It would seem Scherels has the final spot locked down. But to be honest, despite being an impressed fan of his, I've been disappointed in his play thus far. He seems out of position on many plays, and his muffed punt was very unlike him. Without some serious improvement, and perhaps surprises, during the season, CB also has to be amongst the Vikings top priorities next offseason.
3) MLB. I think for a year we're at least OK at the position. Brinkley is what he is and I don't begrudge him that. He's a between the tackle thumper who can blitz a little. Cole is longer, more athletic, and offers more in range and pass defense. I think we're better off with him in the middle. But barring a better display of strength and toughness, being more "Studwell-DelRio" I think we have to look at improving MLB next season.
4) WR. I think Jenkins will have a great season, and will be back, but the team may have to rework his contract, which escalates to an almost unworkable number next year. Patterson is an absolute stud who will have a great year, and still not fulfill his vast potential because of the vastness of said potential. I'm not sure what is going on with J Wright. I absolutely love his ability and potential, but he seems to be quiet this preseason. Is it just bad luck? Or is he having a hard time learning the new system? I hope the former as he has shown some real ability to get downfield previously and to do something with the ball in his hands. Thielen impresses the hell out of me. And not just as a feel good story. He reminds me of a faster, more athletic Chris Walsh or bigger Wes Welker. Rodney Smith, last year and this year, impresses me as a big, long receiver with hands and good body control. Simpson is....I don't know. An incredibly late bloomer or utter waste of talent, I don't know. Good size, tremendous speed and seemingly good open field running ability who makes tough catches. But he also runs poor routes, drops easy passes, and is CONSTANTLY in trouble for another violation. There is real potential in this WR group to be sure. But there are also enough questions that a top addition could take a versatile and well rounded group up to another level.
5) OL. Assuming Kalil pulls his head out of wherever he has decided to place it, the Vikings have 4 1/2 members of a quality OL. I'm not banging on Johnson, he's an all out good effort guy. But he's better as a reserve, and definitely a weak link when compared to the rest of the line members around him. Personally, I've wondered about Fusco moving to LG with someone else taking over RG. Regardless, there is real expectation and hope for Yankey to take over a G spot. And I don't think that is a misplaced idea. But what about depth? I'm hugely disappointed in Baca. I really though in his second year he'd start to look like a quality backup, maybe even push Berger. Speaking of, I think Berger is a really nice backup to have. This team really needs a 3rd tackle. I was actually pretty upset when they didn't draft Tiny Richardson in the 6th or 7th round, (along with a couple other OL), but was ecstatic when they signed him as a rookie FA. The jury is still out, but the potential is clearly there, as is a steal factor, even as just a backup.
Again, it's a long season. We have not only the regular season to get through, watch, and develop players, but also develop PS players. And all of this before FA, which comes before the draft. But right here and now, before the 2014 season even begins, I think these are the 5 spots on the team we might pay a little closer attention to.
Posted 28 August 2014 - 05:43 AM
MLB is probably the biggest one. I'm still a bit ticked the the Vikes didn't burn a 7th rounder on Burfict a few years back. He had first round talent that slipped for a lot of reasons. That strikes me as the type of guy you throw a 7th rounder at knowing that most of them don't make the team.
Posted 28 August 2014 - 07:20 AM
Rome, and even an NFL franchise in the era of parity, were not and can not be built in a day.
In the age of parity, an NFL franchise can turn around in a day (or in one off-season.) The Vikings didn't need a total rebuild, and certainly could contend this year.
That said, the biggest weakness is still the biggest one a team can have: QB. Cassel might be good enough on a great team; he's not going to carry a team to the playoffs, but he could go along for the ride and avoid tripping the team up. Bridgewater might be great eventually (and "eventually" might be after a dozen starts), but I doubt this team could overcome the growing pains.