Friday, August 28, 2015

Monthly Archives: June 2014

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Our weekly look throughout the NFC North at what is the hottest topic for each of our foes:

GREEN BAY PACKERS

This is the time of year when overreactions to OTA’s are a dime a dozen.  Out of Green Bay, however, one rookie is making clear strides towards an unlikely landing spot on the starting roster.  With Jermichael Finley still looking like a giant question mark, and Andrew Quarless reeling from an injury, third round selection Richard Rodgers is turning heads in Green Bay.  We all hope that Mike Zimmer can fix a lot of things on this Vikings defense, but in the recent past they have struggled to match the size and athleticism presented by opposing tight ends, and Rodgers seems like the type of guy that could feast against a Leslie Frazier defense.  If you are looking for a late-round fantasy sleeper, however, being a potential starter in Green Bay’s offense can’t possibly be a bad thing.

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By now, you’ve probably seen the news that Christian Ponder isn’t taking too many snaps at quarterback compared to Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater. In most reports, Ponder takes a back seat to Cassel and Bridgewater. Bridgewater has passed the ball a few more times, but it seems clear that Cassel is the presumed starter heading into camp.

All quarterbacks have been given impressive control at the line of scrimmage, which is nice but perhaps irrelevant to the battle at hand given the fact that the system is new for everybody.

In talking with Dusty on my podcast at the Daily Norseman, he stumbled upon an idea that I didn’t think too critically about until I listed to the podcast again: the process by which coaches assign reps for quarterbacks.

 

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According to a June 18 article by the Pioneer Press‘ Chris Tommasson, former Minnesota Vikings guard Steve Hutchinson hopes to return to his old stomping grounds. This time, as a scout.

The 36-year-old currently lives in Wayzata with his family, but he says they will move to Nashville next week to be near relatives. Hutchinson would like to serve as another pair of eyes for promising athletes in the southern region of the States.

Hutchinson said the following:

“I’ve been talking a little bit with the Vikings about potentially scouting a little bit […] I’ve got to get settled in down there first and see what the lay of the land is. If they need a presence down South or something, depending on what they might need my skill set for [we might make a deal]. But it’s nothing that’s set in stone right now; it’s kind of just talk right now.”

The guard told Tommasson that he has spoken with Vikings general manager Rick Spielman and assistant general manager George Paton, and the possibility is there.

Hutchinson played in Minnesota from 2006-2011, the Vikings acquiring him as a free agent from the Seahawks. During his time with the Vikings, Hutchinson joined four Pro Bowl squads—he is a seven-time Pro Bowler overall.  2009 proved one of the guard’s strongest seasons in Minny.  He started every game, blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher for the ninth time in his career and was part of a 475-yard offensive output against Dallas that was the second-highest total in Vikings playoff history.

In 2010, Hutchinson suffered a broken thumb. The injury sidelined him, snapping his 123-game starting record. Hutchinson played only 11 games that season before moving on to Tennessee for one year before retiring.

According to Tommasson, Hutchinson visited the Vikings minicamp Wednesday to say goodbye to some in the organization. He said “it’d be cool” if he rejoined the team in some capacity.

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Photo provided courtesy of Vikings.com

Don’t you love the NFL offseason?  If you thought the wait for the NFL draft was bad, we’re currently experiencing the worst part of the year for football fans. For those finding ways to supplement your withdraws with another type of football, I’m jealous. For myself, in hopes of filling the void, I’ve watched and re-watched the practice highlights looking for something to stand out.  I’ve also done a great deal of thinking around the current depth chart, trying to predict where the 2014 Vikings will make their greatest strides.

When looking at a defense full of holes in 2013, it isn’t difficult to identify the area in need of the largest improvement. Second to only the Philadelphia Eagles, the Vikings ranked 31st in total passing defense in 2013, surrendering an average of 287 yards through the air per game. To throw salt on the wound, the Vikings allowed 37 passing TDs and a completion percentage of 64.7%, a completion percentage so high that only 6 quarterbacks averaged a higher number for the 2013 season.

The Vikings secondary wasn’t just the weakest spot on the field, it made an opposing quarterback look like a pro bowler week in and week out.

The defensive collapses were frustrating to watch. Each week, fans watched in agony as the defense gave up more 3rd & long completions, some of which cost the Vikings wins and ultimately cost Head Coach Leslie Frazier and staff their jobs. There is no quick fix for a defensive unit as broken as the Vikings secondary. Was it the scheme or the personnel? Let’s take a closer look at how General Manager Rick Spielman has addressed the troubled secondary entering the 2014 season.

With the Vikings hosting their mandatory minicamp this week, and media access for a portion of the event, there seems to be plenty of fresh content to pass along.  Also, there are a few new Vikings sites popping up, which is always great to see.

Go there.  Read it.  And tell them who sent ya.

 

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