If I ran the Internet (I don't), I would put a moratorium on all Vikings blogging during the month of June.
That's because there's not much going on and bloggers deserve a holiday after writing about this team all year.
Alas, some blogs - like this one and this one - keep pumping out content. Damn them.
Anyway, with the new coaching staff selected, free agency long gone, the draft over with, and no real interest in fantasy football, I feel in a reflective mood as NFL bloggers head into a dead period. How do I feel about where the Vikings are right now? Are they better off than they were when the 2013 season ended? Do you give a flying f**k what I think about all of this? (I'm about to tell you anyway, so maybe don't answer that question.) Here goes ...
I'm happy to have it. Last year around this time I had a strong gut feeling the Vikings weren't going to be as good as they were in 2012. I feel differently this June. Some of that is because of new head coach Mike Zimmer. We'll learn this fall what shortcomings - if any - he'll exhibit as a head coach. But his long track record of success as a defensive coordinator, and his "I don't take shit from anybody" on-field demeanor, make me believe he'll be good at his new job.
I also have hope because of Ted Bridgewater. Quarterbacks picked in the first round should make fans feel hopeful. They represent a new beginning at the sport's most important position. And when I read stuff like this coming out of the Vikings OTAs, I start to get really hopeful. What? A Vikings quarterback actually ripping it up during practice? It seems like this time last year we were reading about how poorly Christian Ponder was looking in practise. His supporters kept saying, "Don't worry. It's just OTAs." And then training camp came and Ponder still looked bad. Then the preseason came and Ponder still looked bad. Then ... well, you know how it turned out.
Basically, the linebackers and secondary, still.
It seems very unfortunate that the linebacker who has the potential to give this unit some real juice can't take part in OTAs because of NFL rules about academics. (I'm all for higher education, but football is Anthony Barr's profession now. It might be time to re-jig these rules.) Much of the other linebackers are made up of guys who haven't proven anything at the NFL level.
As for the secondary, we're hoping Xavier Rhodes can elevate his play after a promising second half of his rookie season. We're hoping free agent signee Captain Munnerlynn is worth the money and can be a shutdown guy in the slot. We're hoping Derek Cox can get back to the way he played in Jacksonville (he seems to think he can.) And we're hoping Josh Robinson isn't complete garbage. That's a lot of hoping. But that Harrison Smith is some player, huh?
I apologize for the inactivity the past couple of weeks. Work is starting to slow down and so I should be back to posting more regularly. By the way, if you've got any post ideas you want me to take a stab at, let me know. This is a Vikings blogger's dead zone. I can use the help.