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JC2832's Pre-Season Team by Team Analysis: Minnesota Vikings
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JaguarCrazy2832


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:18 pm    Post subject: JC2832's Pre-Season Team by Team Analysis: Minnesota Vikings Reply with quote

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings: 3-13

The Vikings had a rough go at it last year, but some hard times were expected once they were starting rookie Christian Ponder at QB. Ponder is a perfect fit for the Viking offense but definitely took his lumps last year. What really hurt the Vikings last year was the defense. The secondary was either injured or just plain bad for pretty much the whole year. The Vikings did have themselves a very strong draft though so Ponder and the defense should see a lot of improvements across the board.

Offense:


Christian Ponder showed some good signs last year of being the franchise QB, but he needs more help. His OL would poor and his targets outside of Harvin were average at best. Visanthe Shiancoe is gone now and Jerome Simpson is in town and Kyle Rudolph is expected to see an increased role in the offense. Rudolph is a matchup nightmare and has the hands to make all the catches in traffic. Percy Harvin is the most explosive weapon Ponder has at WR bar-none. With 87 catches and 52 carries, itís clear that Minnesota wants the ball in his hands as much as possible. The Vikings added Arkansas WRs Jarius Wright and Greg Childs in the draft, but Childs already sustained a career-threatening injury this offseason. The Vikings OL got a whole lot better after drafting USC LT Matt Kalil 4th overall. Phil Loadholt is another youngster along the line as well. Charlie Johnson mans one of the guard positions, but has experience at tackle as well. John Sullivan and Brandon Fusco are some more young linemen the Vikings have along the interior. The Vikings OL is still very young except for Johnson, so it may take some time to get use to get in a rhythm. The Vikings canít really afford an injury along the OL though, they donít really have any strong depth. Finally the running game is what use to be the staple of this offense since Petersonís rookie year. A recent ACL tear to Adrianís knee has put his availability for Week 1 vs Jacksonville in jeopardy, but Peterson is a freak athlete and if anyone can do it, he can. Peterson has a good backup though in former Stanford runner Toby Gerhart. His 4.9 ypc was very efficient when called upon but he isnít a threat to break big plays at will. Overall this offense will continue to go as AP does, but if Rudolph emerges as the serious receiving threat he is capable of, Ponder may have himself a strong sophomore year.

Defense:

The Vikings defense starts and stops with the DL. Jared Allen is one of, if not the best 4-3 DE in the game. The Williams Wall is no more. Pat Williams is now gone and Kevin Williams is a shell of himself, but still a good DT. Letroy Guion mans the NT position while Fred Evans and Christian Ballard work their way into the lineup. Brian Robison takes the LDE spot and had himself a season much like what Ray Edwards had in Minnesota, except Robison is a much cheaper DE. The Vikings have a beast OLB in Chad Greenway who is a leader of the LB group. This doesnít mean that the other 2 starters arenít in their own right good LBs. Jasper Brinkley is now the MLB in Minny now that EJ Henderson is gone. Brinkley is inexperienced at MLB but has the tools to be good. Erin Henderson is the other OLB and another good one, but he has struggled with injuries in the past. When healthy, this front 7 is a good unit that make it difficult to run the ball, but their biggest problem has been defending the pass. The Viking secondary will look a lot different this year after adding rookies Harrison Smith and Josh Robinson. Robinson may be the most athletic CB from this draft class, but he is a little raw. I have my concerns with Smith matching up with the athletic TEs of the NFL, but he is a great leader and still a major upgrade over. Smith however, may not start out of the gate. Antoine Winnfield is one of the most physical tacklers in the NFL, but at age 35 Winnfield canít keep up with a lot of the quicker and taller WRs of the NFL. Although the Vikings secondary got younger, with youth comes inexperience and growing pains. This defense will still struggle some this year, but they shouldnít be beaten as badly as a red-headed step-child like last year

Questions:

1. Will Christian Ponder take the next step as the franchise QB Minnesota needs?
2. How will Adrian Peterson come back a short 8 months since tearing his ACL?
3. Will the Minnesota defense get back to form or will the back 4 hold them in contempt of mediocrity?
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vikingsrule


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good read overall, I think your a bit harsh on the Vikes record. They face very poor teams, from last year anyway, including: the Jags, Colts, Cards, Rams, Redskins and Bucs and some other potentially winnable games against the Lions (at home), Titans and Seahawks. I just dont see 3-13 as a realistic record for MN, barring a complete disaster like last season. I guess it could happen but I wouldnt bet on it. I still expect a bottom 10 finish for MN but I think 3 wins is selling the team a bit short.

True MN has questions on offense, specifically at QB and WR opposite of Harvin. As you mentioned, Rudolph should be a huge part of the offense and be a favorite target for Ponder. If MN can get some big plays from Harvin down the field, I think the offense could be in for a pretty strong year. John Carlson is also a valuable possession receiver and gives Ponder a nice little outlet while Rudolph flexes around the formation and looks for down field mismatches.

Having a back like Peterson will help the offense get big chunks of yardage, if he can return to form. However, Gerhart is a pretty steady player himself and if he has to start, MN is in pretty good hands. I expect much better things from the Oline this year. Geoff Schwartz is a solid backup and was a solid player, who is able to fill in at either OG spot. If one of the tackles gets hurt, Johnson can slide outside and Schwartz would fill in at Guard. MN would basically be in the same position as last year, so while injuries would stink, there is actually a bit more depth than last year. DeMarcus Love is another player who has made solid progression thus far as a reserve.

The defense is still a huge question mark for MN, particularly in the secondary. I dont think its fair to judge the current group based on the play of last year's group down the stretch since they were without Chris Cook and Antoine Winfield. Those two are certainly an upgrade over the combination of Cedric Griffin, Benny Sapp and Asher Allen. Cook was actually really progressing into a reliable CB. I am a bit optimistic with the secondary since they werent a terrible unit when Cook and Winfield were playing together and with the addition of first rounder Harrison Smith, really the ideal type of Safety for the Cover 2, there is substantially more talent this year compared to last year. While you question Smith's athleticism to matchup against TEs, you have to consider that the Vikes run a Cover 2 scheme that doesnt require its Safetys to play much man coverage relative to other schemes. Therefore, Smith will be relying more on instincts and smarts, than pure athleticism.

I actually think the biggest concern defensively in MN is in the middle of the defense, specifically Jasper Brinkley, Letroy Guion and Kevin Williams. Brinkely and Guion haven not looked particularly strong at this point and Williams is getting older. Erin Henderson was the MLB in nickel packages last year and will probably assume that role this year. Lets just say I have more faith in the Vikes Secondary than I do the interior of the defense at this point.

In all, dont be shocked if the Vikings jump out to a 2-0 record to start the year given their soft schedule. From there, they should be able to build some momentum during the early to mid part of the season before the difficult stretch of divisional games to close the year. The Vikes schedule is fairly soft until Week 12 (@ Bears), Week 13 (@Packers), Week 14 (Bears), Week 16 (@ Texans), and Week 17 (Packers). Really, that is probably as difficult as a stretch as your going to get and very odd to say the least.
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nugpimpen


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vikingsrule wrote:
Good read overall, I think your a bit harsh on the Vikes record. They face very poor teams, from last year anyway, including: the Jags, Colts, Cards, Rams, Redskins and Bucs and some other potentially winnable games against the Lions (at home), Titans and Seahawks. I just dont see 3-13 as a realistic record for MN, barring a complete disaster like last season. I guess it could happen but I wouldnt bet on it. I still expect a bottom 10 finish for MN but I think 3 wins is selling the team a bit short.

True MN has questions on offense, specifically at QB and WR opposite of Harvin. As you mentioned, Rudolph should be a huge part of the offense and be a favorite target for Ponder. If MN can get some big plays from Harvin down the field, I think the offense could be in for a pretty strong year. John Carlson is also a valuable possession receiver and gives Ponder a nice little outlet while Rudolph flexes around the formation and looks for down field mismatches.

Having a back like Peterson will help the offense get big chunks of yardage, if he can return to form. However, Gerhart is a pretty steady player himself and if he has to start, MN is in pretty good hands. I expect much better things from the Oline this year. Geoff Schwartz is a solid backup and was a solid player, who is able to fill in at either OG spot. If one of the tackles gets hurt, Johnson can slide outside and Schwartz would fill in at Guard. MN would basically be in the same position as last year, so while injuries would stink, there is actually a bit more depth than last year. DeMarcus Love is another player who has made solid progression thus far as a reserve.

The defense is still a huge question mark for MN, particularly in the secondary. I dont think its fair to judge the current group based on the play of last year's group down the stretch since they were without Chris Cook and Antoine Winfield. Those two are certainly an upgrade over the combination of Cedric Griffin, Benny Sapp and Asher Allen. Cook was actually really progressing into a reliable CB. I am a bit optimistic with the secondary since they werent a terrible unit when Cook and Winfield were playing together and with the addition of first rounder Harrison Smith, really the ideal type of Safety for the Cover 2, there is substantially more talent this year compared to last year. While you question Smith's athleticism to matchup against TEs, you have to consider that the Vikes run a Cover 2 scheme that doesnt require its Safetys to play much man coverage relative to other schemes. Therefore, Smith will be relying more on instincts and smarts, than pure athleticism.

I actually think the biggest concern defensively in MN is in the middle of the defense, specifically Jasper Brinkley, Letroy Guion and Kevin Williams. Brinkely and Guion haven not looked particularly strong at this point and Williams is getting older. Erin Henderson was the MLB in nickel packages last year and will probably assume that role this year. Lets just say I have more faith in the Vikes Secondary than I do the interior of the defense at this point.

In all, dont be shocked if the Vikings jump out to a 2-0 record to start the year given their soft schedule. From there, they should be able to build some momentum during the early to mid part of the season before the difficult stretch of divisional games to close the year. The Vikes schedule is fairly soft until Week 12 (@ Bears), Week 13 (@Packers), Week 14 (Bears), Week 16 (@ Texans), and Week 17 (Packers). Really, that is probably as difficult as a stretch as your going to get and very odd to say the least.


Got to admit, i'm confused as to whether or not the records at the top are last seasons, or this seasons predictions. After looking at a few of the other write ups, it looks like last season's record. I'm not sure he is actually predicting this years W-L for this season.

Could be wrong though.
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vikingsrule


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ that would appear to be the case then. never mind.
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big_palooka


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Give me the over on the Vikings 3 wins.

I believe in Ponder. And if AP returns healthy, his job get a lot easier.

On defense, they can rush the passer and stop the run.

They are better than 3 wins IMO. AP and Jared Allen will see to that.
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vikingsrule


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

big_palooka wrote:
Give me the over on the Vikings 3 wins.

I believe in Ponder. And if AP returns healthy, his job get a lot easier.

On defense, they can rush the passer and stop the run.

They are better than 3 wins IMO. AP and Jared Allen will see to that.


Pretty much how i feel. Last year was the perfect storm for a perfectly miserable season. Unless Ponder and the secondary play completely miserable football, I expect a more competitive team. It certainly helps that MN gets to face several young, inexperienced and some down right terrible QBs, outside of the division of course. MN wont be very competitive in divisional play just yet, but there are teams out there on the Vikes schedule who are potentially in worse shape than MN.
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JaguarCrazy2832


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All records posted are the 2011 records, I'm not going to get into the schedule right now. Plenty of teams get better but the record gets worse. I'd rather keep it to the team and not the schedule. You arent the first one to assume I thought their team would suck this year.
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milanb


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:15 pm    Post subject: Re: JC2832's Pre-Season Team by Team Analysis: Minnesota Vik Reply with quote

JaguarCrazy2832 wrote:

1. Will Christian Ponder take the next step as the franchise QB Minnesota needs?


Ponder will almost certainly look better than last year, but right now he looks like he has way too many holes in his game to ever be anything more than a bottom-tier starter or (more likely) a career backup. The arm and the durability issues may be deal-breakers by themselves.

JaguarCrazy2832 wrote:

2. How will Adrian Peterson come back a short 8 months since tearing his ACL?


I am a little worried on this issue. I hope they're not rushing him back just because Leslie Frazier needs to win football games and Rick Spielman needs someone to make first-rounders Christian Ponder and Ryan Kalil look good.

I strongly suspect that Adrian will have trouble cutting on that knee and will be more of a North-South runner than he was prior to the injury.

JaguarCrazy2832 wrote:

3. Will the Minnesota defense get back to form or will the back 4 hold them in contempt of mediocrity?


I think the secondary will be much improved and that was the defence's biggest weakness last year by a huge margin. However, they still haven't come close to finding adequate replacements for MLB EJ Henderson or DT Pat Williams and that's a huge concern. Teams were able to run the ball up the gut on them at times last year, and the Vikings have done nothing to address the issue.

The defence should be better overall simply because Leslie Frazier is going to take personal control over that unit, something he didn't do last year.
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joru1000


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Ponder will take another positive step towards becoming a franchise QB and will be better than Favre was for us when we went 6-10 in 2010. Unfortunately the division is the hardest in the NFL, so we probably won't even win a divisional game, unless it's maybe against the Bears with their offensive line vs. Jared Allen and our home crowd.

The secondary is far and away the biggest problem with this team, especially when we have to face Rodgers, Stafford, and Cutler. There probably isn't a worse secondary in the league. It's now full of rookies, sophomores, and Chris Cook, so I expect growing pains, but at least its nice to have the element of the 'unknown' with the younger guys, then having veterans you know who suck. The defensive line is still good, and it's going to be extremely interesting to watch the physical specimen Everson Griffen convert to linebacker.

I'm actually rather confident in this offense, so in the very least the games we lose will probably be high scoring for both teams. I expect Rudolph to be a top 5-10 tight end, as I feel he possess all the physical attributes and abilities, as well as opportunities that Gronkowski has minus the Hall of Fame quarterback throwing to him. Having John Carlson opposite of him is also a big plus.

PS milanb has hated Ponder irrationally since the day we drafted him so his opinion is moot.
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vikingsrule


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

joru1000 wrote:
I think Ponder will take another positive step towards becoming a franchise QB and will be better than Favre was for us when we went 6-10 in 2010. Unfortunately the division is the hardest in the NFL, so we probably won't even win a divisional game, unless it's maybe against the Bears with their offensive line vs. Jared Allen and our home crowd.

The secondary is far and away the biggest problem with this team, especially when we have to face Rodgers, Stafford, and Cutler. There probably isn't a worse secondary in the league. It's now full of rookies, sophomores, and Chris Cook, so I expect growing pains, but at least its nice to have the element of the 'unknown' with the younger guys, then having veterans you know who suck. The defensive line is still good, and it's going to be extremely interesting to watch the physical specimen Everson Griffen convert to linebacker.

I'm actually rather confident in this offense, so in the very least the games we lose will probably be high scoring for both teams. I expect Rudolph to be a top 5-10 tight end, as I feel he possess all the physical attributes and abilities, as well as opportunities that Gronkowski has minus the Hall of Fame quarterback throwing to him. Having John Carlson opposite of him is also a big plus.

PS milanb has hated Ponder irrationally since the day we drafted him so his opinion is moot.


MN should have beat the Lions last year at the dome, I dont think Detroit is all that special outside of Stafford and Megatron. There Oline isnt all that great, they have no run game, and potentially an even worse secondary than Minnesota. I think MN splits with Detroit this year, it would have been that way last year if not for an inept McNabb not being able to move the ball and convert third downs in the 2nd half of the first game.

milanb is entitled to his opinion regarding Ponder. nothing wrong with not having faith in the guy at this point, hopefully Ponder can prove those doubters wrong.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the Vikings can score, and I think the Vikings will be scored on.

The DT/MLB positions in the middle is very weak (weak and known).

The Secondary positions is unproven (young and unknown)

Teams are gonna run the ball right down the middle, and we'll lose many of the time of possession categories in the 4th quarters,
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vikingsrule


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CriminalMind wrote:
I think the Vikings can score, and I think the Vikings will be scored on.

The DT/MLB positions in the middle is very weak (weak and known).

The Secondary positions is unproven (young and unknown)

Teams are gonna run the ball right down the middle, and we'll lose many of the time of possession categories in the 4th quarters,


I too expect the middle of the defense to be weak, but maybe we are overreacting based on the SF game. We didnt have Winfield, Allen or Williams in the lineup, perhaps those three will help close those gaping lanes the 49ers had. I really dont know what other solutions there are this point, I have more faith in Guion and Williams than I do Brinkley in the middle. Maybe Erin Henderson should be moved inside if Griffen can show enough at OLB? Maybe Audie Cole or Elimimian needs to start? I am not sure, but I expect more answers to come after the Bills game.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know this was posted over a week ago, but very nice write up.

I fully expect Minnesota to surprise pretty much every NFL fan out there. Everyone wrote us off as 2-14, assuming Ponder made no progression, AD a shell of his former self, Jared Allen having a down year, no one really steps up etc.

I think we are going 8-8, and will atleast be in the playoff picture for a little while.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I missed this one.

It's funny, but I'd bet the Vikings fans have some different concerns now than they did a few weeks ago. That's what preseason football does to us. The front seven looked spectacular last game, and Chris Carr was the weak link (with Chris Cook sitting out).
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vikingsrule


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yfz01 wrote:
I missed this one.

It's funny, but I'd bet the Vikings fans have some different concerns now than they did a few weeks ago. That's what preseason football does to us. The front seven looked spectacular last game, and Chris Carr was the weak link (with Chris Cook sitting out).


I wouldnt put much stock in the Vikes front seven looking spectacular against the Chargers since the Chargers only had two starting Olineman in the game, Charlie Whitehurst was the starting QB and they had a backup RB. Not too mention Gates missed the game as well.
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