Monday, July 7, 2014

MInnesota Vikings 2014 - the true or false edition?

Don't faint. I've written a post for the blog.

But what is a guy supposed to write about this time of year? Well, this is the season where speculating is about all a football fan can do. Will your favourite team be better than it was a year ago? Will the quarterback situation sort itself out?  Will ....,well, you know the drill.

So let's ask some pressing questions about the Vikings with training camp about 3 weeks away and try to answer them.

True or false - Adrian Peterson will be pass a catching threat in the Vikings offense for the first time since 2009?

False. There is some hope Norv Turner will turn Peterson into Chuck Foreman. I don't see it. Peterson's never been a natural pass catcher and he's never looked to me like he has a great feel for finding open space in the flats or the middle of the field to catch dump offs and screen passes. Plus, his sketchy pass blocking means the Vikes take him out a lot on obvious passing situations on third downs. That's suddenly changing in season 8 of Peterson's career? No. We also have to remember Peterson's best year as a pass catcher came when Brett Favre was the QB - a guy who was a master at looking off defenses. The Vikings 2014 starting QB will either be Matt Cassel or Ted Bridgewater. One guy is a rookie with a lot to learn. The other guy is Matt Cassel. If Peterson ends up catching 30 passes he'll have had a helluva year.

True or false - Ted Bridgewater will be the Vikings starting QB by October? 

True. I hope it happens earlier, actually - like, say, for the opener in St. Louis. That's because it will likely mean Bridgewater has thoroughly outplayed Cassel and is a stud in the making who will quarterback the Vikings for the next 15 years and lead us to multiple Super Bowl victories. But if that doesn't happen (meaning Bridgewater is not starting week #1), the Vikes early schedule (in St. Louis; at home against New England; in New Orleans; home against Atlanta; at Green Bay) could see them at 0-5 before a home game October 12 against Detroit. By then Cassel's warts will have been on full display for 5 games and we'll all be sick as shit of watching him play. So will Mike Zimmer. And I'm thinking the only jolt Zimmer will be able to send to the team would be starting the Ted Bridgewater Era, which hopefully lasts a lot longer than the Christian Ponder Era.

True or false - Anthony Barr will be a non-factor as a rookie?

True. I hope that's not the case, but my guess is Barr will struggle making an impact at linebacker as a rookie due in part to his inexperience at that position and the fact he missed quite a bit of the spring OTAs due to school responsibilities. If all Barr was expected to do was rush the passer in year one I think he'd be alright. But we're told Zimmer expects his linebackers to do a lot in his defense and I think Barr will struggle with being asked to do a lot. That doesn't mean Barr is a bust, it just means he needs more seasoning.

True or false - Chad Greenway will rebound from a poor 2013

False. I've always considered Greenway to be a solid player, but not a great one. We now know Greenway played with a bad wrist last year that may have affected his tackling. But how do you account for his poor pass coverage? In watching Greenway over the years, he's never struck me as great in pass coverage. And Arif Hasan at Vikings Territory made his case a few months ago for why Greenway has been bad for a while now. Basically, I agree with Arif and I don't see how Zimmer's reputation as a guy who can turn careers around or a new defensive scheme will change the fact Greenway is a badly declining player who won't be a Viking in 2015.

True or false - the Vikings secondary will be an improved unit in 2014

True. It couldn't get any worse, could it? Seriously though, a healthy Harrison Smith will do wonders for this unit. He'll make whomever lines up next to him (Jamarca Sanford? Andrew Sendejo? Kurt Coleman? Robert Blanton? Antone Exum?) better. I think a lot of people will initially complain Captain Munnerlyn is too short and wasn't worth the money until they see him play in the slot in the Vikes nickel defense. I think Xavier Rhodes is about to become a star. And I think Josh Robinson (Seriously! I'm not crazy!) and Derek Cox are both going to surprise us as the team's 3rd and 4th corners. The Vikings secondary will be improved in 2014. And it needs to be considering we're facing Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers in 4 of our first 5 games this season.

11 comments:

  1. Hellooooooooo! Is anybody out there? ETR? Peter? Jianfu? Peder? Luft Krigare?

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    1. I am here! I will post my own T/F answers later today. Still excited about those Vikes!

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    2. And by "later today" I apparently meant "early the next morning"

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    3. Oh, hello. I have an idea for a post topic, if you'd like. 'Is Adrian Peterson the last HOF running back?' Discuss.

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    4. Peder:

      Hmmmm. Intriguing topic.

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  2. True or false - Adrian Peterson will be pass a catching threat in the Vikings offense for the first time since 2009?

    True. Kinda. I don't necessarily think Peterson will see significantly more time on the field during obvious passing downs, but I do think he'll catch more passes on 1st & 2nd down. He won't be a Tomlinson or Westbrook or McCoy, but I could see 40 catches this year.

    True or false - Ted Bridgewater will be the Vikings starting QB by October?

    True, so long as October means sometime during the month. Week 5 feels about right, although a road game in Green Bay would be baptism by fire for a rookie QB. How great would it be if Bridgewater just lit 'em up?

    True or false - Anthony Barr will be a non-factor as a rookie?

    False. I'm sounding more homer than you so far, but I feel that if Zimmer can get good production out of Mauti/Hodges that Barr will be able to be a bit of a downer or wild card similar to Griffen early in his time with the Vikings. I don't think Barr will be huge this year, but he'll have enough fun & memorable plays that we can say he had an impact.

    True or false - Chad Greenway will rebound from a poor 2013?

    False. I really like Greenway. He is my first and only jersey so far. I do think he will be better than last year, but "rebound" is too generous a term. His peak has past. I sincerely hope I'm wrong about that.

    True or false - the Vikings secondary will be an improved unit in 2014?

    True. Sanford had some memorably bad plays early on in his time with the team, but he was a legitimately good safety last year. Sandejo is solid depth and Exum is as exciting an addition to this team as Yankey, in my opinion. Robinson could do much better outside than in the slot (although a bowl of soup could do better than Robinson in the slot) and I'm zero worried about Rhodes. Last year's secondary had the negative mindset of not giving up plays, but with Smith and Rhodes and Captain, I think they'll have the positive mindset of *making* plays. The tests will come early and often for this group.

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    1. Concerning Barr, I meant "roamer" where you see "downer". It's hard to successfully preview a big comment from a phone. Also, sometimes the site seems to paste the entire post into the comment, which is a pain in the butt to delete. Come on, blogspot. Get your shit together. :)

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    2. Hopefully I didn't get you excited that four different people had responded. I have the bad habit of occasionally commenting a bazillion times on one post.

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    3. Don't worry, Peter. I'm not that naive to think anybody other than you would comment on a post on here this time of year. :)

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  3. "straight cash hommie"!!!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07G23zMGa4g
    Really excited about this season & ready to have my hopes Crushed!!!

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