By Jason Winter
About that offense...
Yeah, being 2-5 sucks. Yeah, the offense has usually looked bad. Yeah, Teddy Bridgewater doesn't look like a whole lot better than, say, Christian Ponder.
I'm not here to make excuses, but I am here to provide a little context. I present to you the following stats, with little to no explanation. Draw your own conclusions.
Last year, Vikings running backs averaged 107 rushing yards per game. Adrian Peterson started 14 games.
This year, Vikings running backs are averaging 94 rushing yards per game. Adrian Peterson started one game.
If this holds, it means that Adrian Peterson was worth about 13 extra rushing yards per game, and we were paying him about $14 million per season to provide those yards. Is that really worth it? Should any running back be paid $14 million in today's NFL? Should the Vikings trade him if they can get any value whatsoever?
Here are the Vikings' opponents' defenses by points scored/game rank, and the points the Vikings scored against them:
St. Louis: 31st, 34
New England: 12th, 7
New Orleans: 28th, 9
* Atlanta: 30th, 41
Green Bay: 9th, 10
* Detroit: 2nd, 3
* Buffalo: 8th, 16
Obviously, some of a team's defensive rank has to do with how the Vikings did against them, but after six or seven games played per team, the effects of one team are minimal.
Games marked with a * are the ones Teddy Bridgewater started. In other words, he and the offense looked great against a bad defense and lousy against two good defenses. Overall the team has faced three top-10 defenses in its last three games and looked bad against all three. In fact, the New Orleans game aside, every game has played to type considering the defense being faced.
Here's the rest of the Vikings' schedule and their opponents' points allowed ranks:
Tampa Bay: 32nd
Green Bay: 9th
NY Jets: 26th
Don't be surprised if the offense suddenly “figures it out” the rest of the season.
That said... Teddy Bridgewater's TD pass to Cordarrelle Patterson on Sunday was the Vikings' first TD pass since the Matt Cassel-Matt Asiata connection in the first quarter of the New England game. The Vikings went 21 quarters, or more than five full games, without a TD pass.
The Vikings have 4 TD passes on the season, through seven games. There have been 10 instances of a quarterback throwing 4 TDs or more in a single game this season.
And, just for fun, in the wake of the Percy Harvin trade ...
If we treat the “former Vikings going to the Seahawks” trend as starting with Steve Hutchinson's “poison pill” contract, here's the Approximate Value (a Pro-Football-Reference metric that lets you compare players of all positions) of Hutchinson as a Viking and every other significant Viking who since went to Seattle:
Nate Burleson: 17
Sidney Rice: 15
Heath Farwell: 4
Tarvaris Jackson: 10*
Percy Harvin: 0*
Kevin Williams: 0*
Ryan Longwell: 0
Antoine Winfield: 0
* PFR hasn't computed AVs for players in 2014. That said, it would be hard to imagine Harvin/Williams/Jackson being worth more than a couple points total this season.
Also, counting the playoffs, Harvin played in 8 games for the Seahawks in 2013-14 and accumulated 860 total all-purpose yards, 107.5 per game. Over that same time frame, Cordarrelle Patterson played in 23 games for the Vikings and managed 2,724 AP yards, 118.4 per game.
Yeah, yeah, Seattle has a ring and all. But let's not get jealous the next time Seattle signs one of our “stars.”