Monday, April 02, 2012

The Comeback

If, for whatever reason, you still check this site (maybe you're still subscribed to the RSS reader), I've been talked out of my self-imposed retirement and will be leaving my hunting grounds in Mississippi, hopping on the private jet and heading to go sling some words around at the Kick Ass Blog (when it's executed properly).

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

That Looked Good

All in all, a solid preseason effort. The Vikings improved to 3-0 (right, it doesn't matter, but I remember the 1998 Vikings going 4-0 in the preseason, so I'm going to pretend it's a good sign), the starters scored 17 points in a half, a vintage Purple Jesus run out of the gates (and to the right side!) and the defense looked pretty solid against what is likely to be one of the best offenses in the NFL. A few more thoughts:
  • The Vikings have racked up 36 penalties for 251 yards so far in the preseason. Now, obviously not all of those were from the starters, but considering they were called for 8 penalties for 60 yards in the first half (one of which was an offsetting unnecessary roughness penalty on Ray Edwards) it's not a good sign. Then again, the Vikings were only 17th overall in penalty yards and 16th in penalties, so it might not be that big of a deal.
  • Am I excited about having a competent right tackle? You bet. Purple Jesus probably doesn't go 75 yards to start the game with Ryan Cook there. With Phil Loadholt opening up the cutback lane? 75 yards to the House. (Though, it probably doesn't hurt that Peterson hit 23 miles per hour to leave the Texans in his dust. And yes, that's a ridiculous speed, especially when you consider he didn't even look like he was trying.)
  • I wasn't particularly impressed by the Wildcat plays. Now, I understand the Vikings aren't going to debut the entire package in the 3rd preseason game, but is it really necessary to line up Harvin in the shotgun so he can either hand the ball off to Peterson for a relatively nondescript 5 yard gain or fake the hand off and run off tackle where his 40 year old quarterback is going to fling himself (sometimes illegally!) into defenders and get hurt?
  • On QB#4's block: In theory, I like the fact that he's willing to block for his teammates (IN THEORY--Communism works IN THEORY). In reality, however, I don't like the fact that our brittle, about to be 40 year old quarterback is throwing himself into defenders, especially considering that he was telling the press about his self diagnosed cracked ribs earlier today. And I especially don't like the fact that he's flinging himself into defenders knees. And no, QB#4, it's not ok because ""... [you]'ll be 40 years old in October and was weeding 13 days ago." Please never, ever, ever use the fact that you skipped training camp as an excuse again. That was your decision.
  • The Purple ran a lot of screens last night. I like the idea of Adrian Peterson in space with lead blockers, and Chester Taylor has clearly shown that he can make things happen after he catches a pass (Something, I think, Eugene Wilson can attest to). I also like the fact that Childress is showing the screens in the preseason. If the Purple can establish themselves as a team that runs the screen well, it's going to really help QB#4 and the offensive line out, by forcing opponents' pass rush to slow down in order to account for the screen.
  • And, I hate to admit it, but QB#4 played well yesterday, aside from the illegal crack back and taking a bad sack on 3rd and 2. The Texans defense isn't the Steelers' (or Ravens' or Vikings'), but it was good to know that the fact he skipped training camp hasn't held him back that much. He averaged 6.5 yards per attempt without Bernard Berrian (and including the fact that Percy Harvin should have caught Favre's throw in the corner of the end zone). That's a full half yard more than the Vikings' 5.97 yards per pass attempt last year and would have placed the Vikings 12th in the NFL instead of 18th. It was just one game, but I think we all know that the thing keeping the Vikings from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender has been their passing game. I'm not going to get excited just yet (and remember, QB#4 doesn't do the Vikings' any good if he collapses in the final weeks of the season), but it's a good sign.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The "Schism" Is No Reason to Be Concerned...Yet

As you have probably heard, there seems to be a schism in the Vikings' locker room. And you know how much that matters at the moment? Not at all.

QB#4 is the starting quarterback. Are there some hard feelings about the way he joined the team? Most likely. Does most of the locker room want either Sage Rosenfels or the Tarvaris Revolution to be the starting quarterback right now? Probably.

But, as Matt Bowen at the National Football Post points out, that's what happens when special circumstances happen. And there will likely be some hard feelings about those special circumstances, but as the great football mind Brad Childress (heh) said, "Business is business". And football is a business. If the Vikings, and QB#4 are successful, none of this is going to matter. Honestly, if QB#4 comes out and plays well against the Texans, the controversy probably goes away--having a long track record of success tends to get you the benefit of the doubt that preseason success will lead to regular season success.

And even if he doesn't play all that well, he has some built in excuses that'll buy time until the regular season (you know, the whole "less than two weeks of practice time" excuse that he created for himself). Of course, if the Vikings and / or QB#4 stumble in the first four games of the regular season, well, then things could get ugly. Special treatment isn't a big deal if the team is successful, but if it isn't, it can lead to a whole lot of problems, many of which can lead to even more problems. But there's no chance of that ever happening, right?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More on the Uncapped Year

Football Outsiders has an article going into a little more detail on the implications of 2010 being an uncapped year, as Luft mentioned in the comments of my post on the Vikings quarterback roster issues. I assume the Vikings have a good idea of whether 2010 will be an uncapped year. If it's going to be (which seems to be likely), then it would be a huge mistake for them to cut or trade Tarvaris Jackson (unless, of course, someone blows them away with a trade offer).

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Tarvaris Conundrum

Filling the third quarterback position rarely seems all that important. Most of the time, whichever quarterback a team has drafted in the mid to late rounds that year or the year before gets the slot. Usually, any debate about which QB should get the roster spot is largely academic, only mattering to the hard core fans, the players involved in the competition, the coaches, the dreamers and me.

This year, however, things are a little different. In a repeat of 2001, when third stringer Spergon Wynn started two games and played in three, there's a distinct possibility that the Vikings will need to call on their third string quarterback. When you consider that QB#4 is turning 40 years old this year and is playing with a partially torn rotator cuff (which, I'm glad to see, the Vikings are being very careful with) and that Sage Rosenfels has never started more than five games in a season (and thus has never shown the ability to handle more games without getting hurt), it's not unreasonable to want a quarterback that can step in and win games for the Vikings. This isn't 2001--the Vikings expect to make the playoffs this year and they should plan accordingly.

Of course, that would mean keeping Tarvaris around as the 3rd quarterback. While Tarvaris had some of the same issues on Friday as he did last year, he looked very good against the Chiefs second stringers and, apparently, he's starting to recognize the blitz and react accordingly. Is that enough to win him the starting job? Not even close, nor is it enough to win him the back up job, but the Vikings can win games with Tarvaris under center (maybe not playoff games, but regular season games, at least). The problem with keeping Tarvaris around, though, is twofold: first, he's still got supporters in the locker room and secondly, that he's an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The first problem probably isn't that much of a problem, assuming, of course, that QB#4 starts to play well. Winning solves a lot of problems, including quarterback controversies (even if they're only minor ones in the locker room).

The second problem is a little more troubling for the Vikings' long term. Tarvaris isn't going to be in Purple next year, whether or not you keep him on the roster this season. One assumes he'll try and get on a roster where he feels he has a chance to start (and let's be honest--there are franchises willing to give him a shot at the starting job), which he doesn't so long as Sage Rosenfels is in Purple. And with QB #4 being a one year solution (please) and Rosenfels only signed through next year (and the Vikings should not be offering him an extension unless he gets a significant amount of time starting this year), cutting Booty would leave the Vikings with one quarterback going into 2010 and no quarterbacks under contract in 2011. Booty is currently signed through 2012, but if you cut him, that really doesn't matter, does it?

And so the Vikings are left with a dilemma: do they make their roster decisions based on their needs this year or long term? Keeping Tarvaris and cutting Booty is the right decision for this year, but for 2010 and 2011, keeping Booty and cutting Tarvaris (or trading him) is the right choice.

Monday, August 24, 2009

20 Days Till The Season

Since the Vikings are taking the day off (because, you know, they've all had more then enough time to practice), I thought everyone would appreciate the latest Viking related Youtube sensation:


I hate this season already.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Thoughts on QB #4's Debut (and the Vikings)

I watched the NFL Network replay of the first half of the DEBUT OF QB #4 (I've decided, for my own sanity, to only refer to him as QB #4, kind of like how NCAA video games work, or how NBA video games never had Michael Jordan, but always had #23 on the Bulls). I do have to say, it got me excited for the season. And not because QB #4 looked like a guy whose first NFL workout (and practice) was on Tuesday. Luckily, he has lots of time before the season starts (Oh wait). A few other thoughts:

  • The pass rush looked dominant today. Which is especially amazing because neither Pat Williams or Jared Allen suited up. Fred Evans had a couple of plays where he just pushed the Chiefs center into Cassel, and Robison and Edwards both did a good job on the edge. Defensive line depth is a huge part of a successful defense, and it looks like the Vikings are deep in the front four. Sweet.
  • E.J. Henderson looks like the stud I remember and Chad Greenway matched him play for play. They paired up to force a field goal in the first quarter with two great plays in the first quarter. On 1st Down, the Chiefs handed off to Larry Johnson going off tackle. E.J. shed a block in the middle of the field and closed (and when I say "closed", I mean he he beat LJ to the spot he was going) to meet Johnson at the line of scrimmage for no gain. After a 9 yard gain on a pass play, Greenway slipped through the line (and I rewound the play three times and still didn't see the line in the hole he got through) and stuffed LJ for no gain on 3rd and 1, forcing the Chiefs to kick a field goal. Let's see here. Stud defensive linemen. Quality depth behind the studs. And Stud Linebackers? The Vikings are going to be fun to watch on defensive this year.
  • Percy Harvin looks like he's going to be dangerous. I'm not sure if he's going to be, but he really looks like he can be. Harvin is Purple Jesus fast. And he had a nice catch with two Chiefs draped all over him for QB #4's only completion. If Harvin turns out to be as dangerous as he looks, the offense could be one of the best in the NFL, assuming the quarterback play is up to par.
  • Tarvaris Jackson had good stats, but most of them came after the Chiefs' first teamers came out. He threw off his back foot under pressure, made a horrible decision to throw a pass 4 yards past the line of scrimmage despite having lots of room to run and generally looked a lot like the Tarvaris Jackson from last year--good enough to allow the Vikings to win games, but not in the playoffs.
  • Naufahu Tahi is awful. He can't block (he missed a block on the Chief that tackled Peterson on 4th and 1 on the Vikings' first drive), he can't run routes (it was as much his fault as QB #4's that the Vikings' first pass play was an incompletion) and even if he does catch the ball, he's not going to get any yards after the catch. I can't believe the Vikings can't find a better fullback then him, because he's not an NFL caliber player.