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What can we expect from Crichton & Yankey in 2015?
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Will Scott Crichton & David Yankey be starters for the Vikings next year?
Both will
4%
 4%  [ 1 ]
Crichton will, but not Yankey
8%
 8%  [ 2 ]
Yankey will, but not Crichton
20%
 20%  [ 5 ]
Neither will
66%
 66%  [ 16 ]
Total Votes : 24

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Krauser


Joined: 20 Apr 2013
Posts: 2392
PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 11:52 pm    Post subject: What can we expect from Crichton & Yankey in 2015? Reply with quote



Scott Crichton and David Yankey have quite a bit in common, even beyond being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 2014.
    They're almost the same age: Crichton turned 23 at the end of Oct, Yankey turns 23 in a couple of weeks.
    They have family ties to the South Pacific -- Crichton's parents are from Western Samoa, Yankey was born and raised in Sydney, Australia.
    They were both 3-year starters for PAC-12 schools after missing the 2010 season (Crichton redshirted, Yankey had a season-ending injury).
    They both played multiple positions in college: Crichton played DE as well as DT and even some NT; Yankey played a full season at LT, and another at LG, while also appearing as a RG, RT, and even a (blocking) TE.
    They were both projected to be starters in the NFL, though Crichton was known to be a developmental prospect (left school a year early to provide for his family) and Yankey was known to have limited physical tools.
    They both fell in the draft: Crichton was often discussed as an early 2nd rounder, but the Vikings landed him in the 3rd at #72; Yankey was often projected as a 2nd-3rd rounder but the Vikings landed him in the 5th at #145.
    They both missed OTAs because of the quarters system used at PAC-12 schools.

Crichton and Yankey both play positions where the Vikings depth chart was topped by declining veterans (Brian Robison at DE, Charlie Johnson at LG), backed up by budget FA journeymen (Corey Wootton at DE, Vlad Ducasse at LG). Robison and Johnson had the worst years of their careers, Wootton and Ducasse did little or nothing to impress filling in.

They were both kept on the 53 man roster all year (and so not exposed to waiver claims from the practice squad).

And yet they hardly played, if at all:
    -- Crichton saw the field for 16 snaps in the first half of the year, 8 each against the Rams and Bills, recording one QB hit, one hurry and one tackle. He also played on special teams in the 5 games he dressed for. But as the year went on, he was always inactive, and eventually Justin Trattou moved above him as the 4th DE (but he was hardly used either).
    -- Yankey didn't play at all. He was active for only one game toward the end of the year, in Miami, but never saw the field. Even after injuries sent Fusco to IR and took Johnson out of the lineup for several weeks, the Vikings opted to play Ducasse and Berger, and even dressed UDFA OT Austin Wentworth (used as a goalline 3rd OT) over Yankey.

Reports suggested changes going on behind the scenes:
    A Star-Tribune report from December reported that Crichton had been asked to switch positions:
    Quote:
    The Vikings thought Crichton would be capable of playing multiple positions on their defensive line. But after trying to develop him as a backup to right defensive end Everson Griffen, the team determined that he didn’t have enough pass-rushing prowess right now, so they moved him back to left end, where strength and power are typically coveted over speed.

    “These defensive linemen sometimes take a little bit longer,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “We’re not disappointed in him. He’s close, but he’s not quite there yet.”

    Zimmer was asked midseason why Yankey wasn't playing:
    Quote:
    He's got to get stronger," Zimmer said of the 6-foot-6, 315-pound lineman. "He's doing OK with the technique and understanding. He's got to get stronger; he's got to be more stout in the areas where he needs to be."
...

I can't remember a similar example of the Vikings effectively red-shirting a rookie prospect who projected to a position where they had a potential need for them from year one.

Everson Griffen, Brandon Fusco, Josh Robinson, Robert Blanton and Mike Mauti all saw the field at least occasionally as rookies from 2010-13, at least to step up the depth chart when injuries permitted. We saw a similar pattern of usage with Antone Exum, Brandon Watts, and Jabari Price this year -- they didn't play much, but they held their positions on the depth chart, and if they got the chance, they played.

But Crichton and Yankey were unable to overtake the existing starters and backups at their positions, despite them playing poorly and/or getting hurt, and in fact the rookies were bypassed in favor of other options (playing Berger at OG, promoting Wentworth and Trattou from the practice squad).

About the only similar recent example I can think of is Gerald Hodges, who failed to dislodge Marvin Mitchell and Desmond Bishop at OLB as a rookie in 2013 -- but even then he dressed for most games and played regularly on special teams.

It seems like this was more or less a deliberate plan, or at least it became one -- once the coaches decided that Crichton and Yankey were better off not seeing the field, they decided to hold them out and make do with other options at those positions.

...

This might be a good sign -- giving rookies a year to develop is the kind of thing that organizations that have built up good depth through the draft (Packers, Niners, etc) like to do.

But it might be a bad sign -- there've been other recent draft picks who hardly made an impact in their rookie year who found themselves cut a year or two later (Jeff Baca, Stephen Burton, etc).

...

Going forward, LDE and LG are 2 of the biggest holes in the organization. There are definite opportunities:

LDE: Brian Robison is 32 and under contract for 2 more years. A solid player but never a star, now he seems to be slowing down. Behind him, Corey Wootton is unlikely to return, and Justin Trattou seems more likely to be a practice squad candidate than a long-term rotational player.
Arrow They need someone to split snaps with Robison next year, and replace him as a starter no later than 2016. As Robison ages, they'll need at least 2 more DEs to rotate in along with Everson Griffen.

LG: Charlie Johnson is 30 and coming off his worst season as a pro. He's under contract for next year but seems likely to be a cap casualty. Joe Berger is also 30+, a FA who may return on another budget one year deal. Vlad Ducasse is unlikely to return.
Arrow They need a starter at LG next year. They also need someone who can backup at least both OG positions since Berger is unlikely to play more than one more year.

...

What do you think?
    1. Will Crichton replace Robison as the starting LDE in the base defense, either next year or by 2016?
    2. Will Yankey beat out whoever they draft or bring in in free agency and become the starter at LG?
    3. What can we expect from Crichton and Yankey in the years ahead?


Last edited by Krauser on Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:27 am; edited 1 time in total
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rpmwr19


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To directly answer the poll question, I don't believe that either of them will start at the beginning of the season. Now, and injury or sub-standard play could vault them into that position at some point in the year.

Scott Crichton: He was admittedly one of my favorite draft picks from this year. He's got the strength, violent hands, and athleticism to be successful as a base end in this league. He's a little stiff to be a premier rusher from the right side of the line though. I didn't even realize that's what they were trying to do with him. With this staff, I trust that they will work with him on pass rushing moves that take advantage of his power.

For next year, I expect that he will be part of the rotation on the left side/interior in pass rushing situations, and frankly I'm surprised that he ceded so many reps to Corey Wootton who proved very ineffective in his rotational role. I would have liked to see Crichton get some reps at the end of the year when the playoffs were out of reach.

As Zimmer said, defensive lineman can take a while to develop and Crichton was an underclassmen who missed early team activities.

David Yankey: It's strange that strength would be an issue for a guy of his size, but looking at his combine numbers for bench, vertical, and broad jump it's pretty evident that was the case. He worked solely on the left side of the line through camp/practice so it appears that's where the team envisions him in the short term. What he has going for him is that the team will likely be looking to upgrade the left guard spot and he has a leg up on knowing the system.

For next year, I fully expect the team to invest in the left guard position with a free agent or a rookie. Depending on the depth of that investment Yankey might get a chance to contribute if he's worked on the strength and balance issues.

Summary: Both these guys have talent, but it's going to come down to how hard they want to work because the issues that have been cited by the team are fixable. I expect both to provide good depth at the very least and Crichton to contribute as a rotational pass rusher/run stuffer.
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Klomp


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think either could be the starter, but I wouldn't pass on talent at those positions just because we have these two.
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Krauser


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rpmwr19 wrote:
He's a little stiff to be a premier rusher from the right side of the line though. I didn't even realize that's what they were trying to do with him.


I was pretty surprised they tried to make him into Griffen's backup. He seems very well suited to being a base RDE, maybe rush from DT in nickel like Robison and Griffen used to.

I think he's got a very good chance of being the base RDE at some point next year. Robison might be fading fast. I don't think they'll bring in a premium FA (JPP or whoever might hit the market). There don't seem to be any obvious immediate starters in the draft.

Quite a bit more hopeful for Crichton as a starter than Yankey, at this point.
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rpmwr19


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe you mean LDE? Griffen is the RDE.
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Krauser


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ugh, you're right, my mistake. Edited the original post accordingly.

Was trying to say Crichton seems better suited to take over from Robison than to play Griffen's position.
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Krauser


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Klomp wrote:
I think either could be the starter, but I wouldn't pass on talent at those positions just because we have these two.


Yeah, that's a good point. They really need 2 more DEs to go along with Robison and Griffen anyway, and even if Yankey might be starter caliber, he's no sure thing yet.

Part of the reason I'm asking this question is that I'm trying to imagine the Vikings starting line-up, post-free agency and pre-draft, to see if the baseline will be good enough that they can make the first pick mostly based on BPA instead of targeting the biggest need (#1 WR or 2nd CB or potential LT or whatever).

I think Crichton's likely more important to that baseline than Yankey (in other words: they're more likely to sign a LG in free agency this year who'd slot in above Yankey on the depth chart than a DE who'd be ahead of Crichton). And he seems more likely to reach his potential (maybe because he had more potential in the first place?), at this point.
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rpmwr19


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heck, the team could re-sign Joe Berger and he would slot in above Yankey; he wouldn't be a terrible veteran stop-gap either.
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Krauser


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rpmwr19 wrote:
Heck, the team could re-sign Joe Berger and he would slot in above Yankey; he wouldn't be a terrible veteran stop-gap either.


I wasn't too impressed with Berger overall, and he's almost 33, there are very few OL who maintain their performance at that age.

I think they'll target a free agent coming off his rookie deal: Boling, Franklin, Wisniewski if he isn't set on staying at OC -- someone cheaper than Iupati but still worth paying as a clear-cut starter.

Sullivan and Loadholt are getting up there and Kalil has one more year to prove he wasn't a flash in the pan as a rookie, it'd be good to nail down another OL spot beyond Fusco for the long-term.

...

To me it seems like Yankey will be a Baca-style bust (at best a backup) and Crichton will be a developmental guy who takes over as a starter around year 3 -- similar timeline to Robison and Griffen before him.
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PurpleNation22


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Krauser wrote:
rpmwr19 wrote:
Heck, the team could re-sign Joe Berger and he would slot in above Yankey; he wouldn't be a terrible veteran stop-gap either.


I wasn't too impressed with Berger overall, and he's almost 33, there are very few OL who maintain their performance at that age.

I think they'll target a free agent coming off his rookie deal: Boling, Franklin, Wisniewski if he isn't set on staying at OC -- someone cheaper than Iupati but still worth paying as a clear-cut starter.

Sullivan and Loadholt are getting up there and Kalil has one more year to prove he wasn't a flash in the pan as a rookie, it'd be good to nail down another OL spot beyond Fusco for the long-term.

...

To me it seems like Yankey will be a Baca-style bust (at best a backup) and Crichton will be a developmental guy who takes over as a starter around year 3 -- similar timeline to Robison and Griffen before him.


Was going to come here to post just that. That's what I see. But I see Crichton having success late in year 2 and set up for a good 3rd year campaign with Robison on the way out.
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CriminalMind


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm actually happy then didnt bring either player into the mix this year.
The players who took over like Corey Wootton, Vlad Ducasse, etc .., dont have long term roles on this team, and by default both Crichton / Yankey could fill primary backup roles right now.

I like that they were redshirted, told what they had to work on, and left it at that. I am suprised that tried Crichton at RDE, cuz he seems more like the LDE from his skillset.

For my projection in 2015:
-Crichton starts the year as the primary backup to Robison at LDE (good chance at replacing Robison 2015/2016)
-Yankey starts the year as OL backup, and does not take over a starting OL position. We draft a OL that becomes the starter.
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vikingsrule


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't be surprised if Yankey doesn't make the team if the vikings truly invest in the line this offseason. I'm guessing that Charlie Johnson, Joe Berger and Mike Harris return as backups. That leaves one spot at starting LG and a potential spot for an OT to groom behind Loadholt and Kalil. Yankey may be the odd man out.

I like Crichton, at worst he returns as the 4th De and Griffens backup. His lack of versatility at LE and Dt is troubling, hopefully Zimmer works with him in year two. The potential is there in Crichton.
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Heimdallr


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think Crichton will start, but I could see him getting more playing time as they try to work him in at LDE. I think they slowly replace Robison with Crichton over the course of the next year or two.

I don't think Yankee has an impact next year. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't make the team. He is just a 5th round pick, and those late round picks usually don't pan out. When you have a OG who is a late round pick and is having strength issues, it might be best to just cut your losses.
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battle2heaven


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe Crichton has a better chance to become a starter than Yankey. Crichton has potential at LDE withi his violent hands usage, stoutness at the point of attack, and relentless motor.

I think Yankey is going to develop as a rotational OL for the Vikings, a backup who can fill in at LT, LG, RG, RT in a pinch during games. I believe that is he ceiling, as he's had experience at all those positions in college.

That said, I agree with other posters that neither player should stop the Vikings in upgrading at those positions. If there is a chance to acquire a vastly superior player, do it. It'll only help the team.
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vikingsrule


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How did Kareem Martin do as a rookie? I was a big fan of his and definitely preferred him over Crichton.
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