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Holes in the Longboat
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thestonedkoala


Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Posts: 4051
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:58 pm    Post subject: Holes in the Longboat Reply with quote

Now that preseason has finished and Minnesota has pretty much finalized their roster for now, what do you perceive as immediate holes that the team is showing? Holes that might show up near the end of the season and we prepare for the offseason? What units looked better as training camp and preseason wore on? What units looked worse?

Immediate Holes:
1) Wide Receiver - Even with Simpson on the roster, there is still no true number one receiver. Childs injury left them without a big, physical receiver. This won't probably be fixed until next season.

2) Offensive line depth - If one of our guys goes down with an injury, this could become a major problem for Minnesota. The second unit looked terrible and didn't look like they could fill in for the first unit (who look like a second unit some games) for a stretch.

Long Term Holes:

1) Defensive line - Williams is getting older and we still haven't found a solid replacement for Phat Pat. Allen should continue to be steady but we could use another rotational defensive end.

2) Linebacker - They were better than expected but could use a better starter in the middle and in backup.

What unit was better than expected?

1) Running back - It's hard to replace an All-Pro talent but Minnesota shouldn't miss a beat with Gerhart.

2) Linebacker - Thin depth but not as bad as offensive line. Cole was impressive in the middle and they have a little wiggle room.

What unit was worse?

1) Offensive line - With all their bodies there, this unit looked bad. And with a tough defensive group in the North, this could become very problematic.

2) Quarterback - Ponder made a bit of strides but he still looks pretty green. He'll need to make a significant improvement as the season moves along but right now, he looks shaky. His backups look even worse if anything happens to Ponder.
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[UMN]


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't see WR as one of the bigger needs. Sure there could be improvements made, but there are more pressing issues. Harvin, Rudolph, Simpson, Carlson, Aromashodu and Wright are more than adequate for the time being.

I would say the two biggest holes are S next to Harrison Smith, and MLB. I just don't see Brinkley or Raymond as suitable NFL starters.
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PrplChilPill


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linebacker will be the worst unit this year. Defensive tackle will be the next hole, then cornerback. I really wanted them to deal for a linebacker. Oh well.
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vikingsrule


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Holes in the Longboat Reply with quote

Immediate Holes:

MLB - I still see an EJ Henderson clone at MLB. As long as MN has that type in base sets, they will continue to get killed down the alley in between the Safetys. MN needs a different type of MLB for this scheme to truly be as effective as it could be.

Erin will play the nickel, but he still has struggled to get deep in his drops.

Long Term Holes:

DT - Kevin Williams is older and Guion just seems like a stop gap, or a high end rotational player. MN needs to add 2 DTs over the next few drafts.

What unit was better than expected?

Secondary - I like what I saw from Harrison Smith and Mistral Raymond. Both players seem very instinctive and have good awareness. I also like the CBs. I have faith in Cook, Robinson, Winfield and Jefferson at the CB spots.

What unit was worse?

Interior defense - It seems like teams havent had much issue running up the gut on MN, im concerned if this unit will get run over or provide little push outside of Kevin Williams.
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disaacs


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have no idea what any holes will be. Based upon what I watched in the preseason, it's hard to gauge anything at this point.

It did not seem that the 1st-team played against each other very often, so I don't think we'll know a whole lot until the first quarter of the season is played.

I guess if you are going straight off depth, I think the main issue will continue to be LB and secondary depth. There's lots of LBs and DBs, but I don't know exactly how good any of them will be.

I think the OL and WR positions will be okay. I think the OL will get stronger as the year goes on, and the WR position can get by, but will need to be upgraded next year (it's not something that's going to get fixed this year).

As far as the interior D-Line, we just have to hope that someone can step it up, like Robison did for the DE position. Whether that's Guion or not remains to be seen.

The reality is that we have no idea at this point whether there are going to be holes or not because we haven't seen enough of many of these players to know whether they'll actually be players or not. To make a judgment at this point is a little early, in my opinion.
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Freakout


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LG - Just not sold on Charlie Johnson. Hoping Schwartz works his way into that spot.

Interior of the DL - We struggled at stopping teams on 3rd and 1 situations last year. I saw the same during the preseason.
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vikingsrule


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Freakout wrote:
LG - Just not sold on Charlie Johnson. Hoping Schwartz works his way into that spot.

Interior of the DL - We struggled at stopping teams on 3rd and 1 situations last year. I saw the same during the preseason.


I agree with LG, Johnson is just a stop gap. It should be a priority position to fill in the next draft or two.
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disaacs


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vikingsrule wrote:
I agree with LG, Johnson is just a stop gap. It should be a priority position to fill in the next draft or two.


It's not out of the question that Asper or Holmes could potentially fill that position. You're not going to find a Steve Hutchinson come along all that frequently.

I just looked at Holmes' Tulsa profile, and he grew up a Vikings fan. He's alright by me. Laughing
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Klomp


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are the guys I feel 100% comfortable in saying they will definitely have a 2013 starting spot, or prominent backup role.

Toby Gerhart
Kyle Rudolph
Rhett Ellison
Matt Kalil
John Sullivan
Chad Greenway
Josh Robinson
Harrison Smith
Blair Walsh
Chris Kluwe


Here are guys I am confident will be here, but not willing to go 100% on them, for various reasons

Christian Ponder
Adrian Peterson
Jerome Simpson
Percy Harvin
Jarius Wright
Jared Allen
Kevin Williams
Erin Henderson
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vikingsrule


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see the following positions occupied by a player who most will probably view as a stop gap; major need going forward:

WR Michael Jenkins
TE John Carlson (his injury history, salary and possible emergence of Ellison could make him be viewed as an expensive stop-gap player)
LG Charlie Johnson (average guard at best, kind of expensive)
UT Kevin Williams
MLB Jasper Brinkley (doesnt have a long term contract; complete unknown)
NCB Antoine Winfield

I see the following unknown positions as one's filled by young players who may have more considerable upside based on draft selection, glimpses of success and contract. These positions may not be considered needs next year but they could if they play poorly, too soon to know:

QB Christian Ponder
WR Jerome Simpson (contract year, big year from him could reward him with a new deal)
TE 1 Kyle Rudolph
TE 2 Rhett Ellison
LT Matt Kalil
RG Brandon Fusco
RT Phil Loadholt (contract year, big year from him could reward him with a new deal)
NT Letroy Guion
WLB Erin Henderson (contract year, big year from him could reward him with a new deal)
LCB Chris Cook
RCB Josh Robinson
S Mistral Raymond
S Harrison Smith

The following positions are occupied by vets who are proven and likely wont be going anywhere in the immediate time frame (1-2 years) not a need in any way:

RB Adrian Peterson
WR Percy Harvin
C John Sullivan
LE Brian Robison
RE Jared Allen
SLB Chad Greenway

As you can see, there are a lot of unknowns, there arent a lot of proven "good" starters on the team since the team has been rebuilding, this shouldnt be alarming. However, a large chunk of the roster is filled with players who are young and are expected to have a role as a starter in the future, these players are already on the team. There is a handful of positions filled by stop gap players, including WR, LG, possibly TE 2, UT, MLB, and NCB.
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HighHopes


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really dont think WR is that big of a hole imo, and if I were to say that the WR is a problem, I would say its the depth. Not many teams have a Calvin Johnson, Fitzgerald, etc. Simpson and Harvin imo are pretty good 1-2 punches and of course our TE and RB depth are excellent. But its when we need the speed and bring in another guy. I dont like our 2nd outside guy all that much at all.

I pretty much agree with the middle of the defense being weak. DT, MLB and Im not sold on any of our safeties. Harrison is new and still has to prove either way, but I wouldnt be surprised if both safeties spots are still a question. Not sure why I dont feel confident in Harrison lol.

And of course, Im not impatient and will always consider QB a hole until its absolutely sure we fill it. And I dont mean "ponder is improving" I mean "Ponder is a top 10 QB" lol.
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[UMN]


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you can add guys like Kalil, Rudolph, Robinson and Smith to the "proven" list not because they are proven, but because unless they completely implode they will still be in place next year. They aren't going anywhere.
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vikingsrule


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[UMN] wrote:
I think you can add guys like Kalil, Rudolph, Robinson and Smith to the "proven" list not because they are proven, but because unless they completely implode they will still be in place next year. They aren't going anywhere.


I was considering that with Kalil, Cook, Smith and Rudolph since they were 1st and 2nd round picks. However, Robinson was a 3rd rd pick and probably wouldnt have as much job security over some of the earlier picks.
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Victor Cruz Pun


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I opened this thread expecting something about loveboat-gate Confused

Do you guys know how much Joe Webb get's used for gadget plays he's always been a player that's interested me coming out of college. Also can't wait to see Blair Walsh kick, I know no one cares about my fantasy teams but I always take this guy near the end of my drafts as my kicker, really could see him being one of the better kicks in the league in the near future.
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milanb


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Victor Cruz Pun wrote:
I opened this thread expecting something about loveboat-gate Confused

Do you guys know how much Joe Webb get's used for gadget plays he's always been a player that's interested me coming out of college. Also can't wait to see Blair Walsh kick, I know no one cares about my fantasy teams but I always take this guy near the end of my drafts as my kicker, really could see him being one of the better kicks in the league in the near future.


My understanding of the situation is that there will be fewer gadget plays featuring Joe Webb this year. For a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that none of the trick plays they tried worked last year. They mostly resulted in a wasted down and put Christian Ponder in a more difficult down and distance situation.

While there seem to be a lot of fans who are not persuaded by the near comeback win against the Lions last year, or the 23 points Webb put up in the 2nd half in a win against Washington last December (obviously the preseason is a much better gauge of a player's ability), the team's current plan is to develop Webb as a QB and not as a gadget play guy.
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