This is the fourth installment of our Opposing View series, in which we gauge the league-wide perception of the Vikings by talking to bloggers from around the NFL. For each post, I’ll seek out a writer for a team on the 2017 Vikings schedule, and ask them a few short questions about the way they view our squad from afar.
Check out the previous installments here:
VT: Top of your head, give me the first things you think of with the Minnesota Vikings going into 2017.
Kent Platte: I jump right to the run game, just as I always have. The Vikes have moved on from Peterson and drafted one of the biggest draft day slides. Can they rekindle a run game despite the poor OL and rookie rusher?
VT: As it stands, what do you think is their biggest strength? How about weakness?
KP: With Mike Zimmer coaching the Vikes, the strength is always going to be the coaching and defense. Vikes weakness is very easily their offensive line and roster strength. Vikes had one of the worst draft classes in the NFL I’m 2016 in terms of impact and that’s not sustainable if it continues.
VT: What’s your opinion of Mike Zimmer as a head coach?
KP: Love him, hate that I’m forced to root against him. Zimmer is one of the best defensive minded coaches this decade, though I worry that his somewhat rigid mindset may hold him back as a head coach.
VT: There is a lot of disagreement about Sam Bradford in the Vikings community. What are your thoughts on him as a starting quarterback?
KP: He’s a bottom tier starter who makes his living minimizing mistakes but doesn’t strike fear in anyone. Even when the Lions were down against the Vikings in 2016 I never felt any real concern that Bradford was going to hold the lead nor risk of him regaining it if we lost it. You can win with Sam Bradford, but it isn’t often you win because of Sam Bradford and you can’t expect him to be “that guy.”
VT: How would you predict the final NFC North Standings?
KP: I think both the Vikes and Lions are due some regression. Lions over achieved what their abysmal roster should have accomplished in 2016 and while they have a better team in 2017 I don’t think they win as many games. The Vikes aren’t there yet either and I’m not sure the roster is quite where it needs to be to contend. Might seem like a cop out, but I put the division at GB then DET/MIN, then CHI.
KP: They have a chance but I am not confident in their defense enough to see it as a likelihood. The secondary is a strength with Darius Slay, Glover Quin, and the vastly underrated Nevin Lawson, but the defensive line and linebacker corps are still a mess. Jarrad Davis appears to be the real deal so far, so the LB corps being better is a significant change, but with no viable pass rushing threat outside of Ziggy Ansah it’s hard to see a real contender in 2017. This team has gotten much better very fast under new GM Bob Quinn and it’s looking up, but time is still needed.
- Kent points out the Vikings got little contribution from their 2016 draft class last year. This season will be big for Treadwell, Alexander, Morgan, and Co.; the book is far from written on this group, but a similarly quiet collective performance in year two would not bode well.
- Bradford as a “bottom-tier” starter? Come on, Kent, give us mid-tier at least! But seriously, the statement, “You can win with Sam Bradford, but it isn’t often you win because of Sam Bradford,” was applicable in all but one game Bradford started last season.
- Just reading Darius Slay’s name gives me flashbacks.
- Ziggy Ansah is a beast, but Kent is right that the Lions have no pass rush outside of him. In my opinion, that’s been their biggest problem for years. Find a way to pressure the quarterback, and this is a legitimate playoff team.
Thanks to Kent for participating. You can follow him on Twitter at @MathBomb.