Sun, Sep 7 - @ Rams (12:00 PM)
Sun, Sep 14 - Patriots (12:00 PM)
Sun, Sep 21 - @ Saints (12:00 PM)
Sun, Sep 28 - Falcons (3:25 PM)
Thu, Oct 2 - @ Packers (7:25 PM)
Sun, Oct 12 Lions (12:00 PM)
Sun, Oct 19 @ Bills (12:00 PM)
Sun, Oct 26 @ Buccaneers (12:00 PM)
Sun, Nov 2 Redskins (12:00 PM)
Sun, Nov 16 @ Bears (12:00 PM)
Sun, Nov 23 Packers (12:00 PM)
Sun, Nov 30 Panthers (12:00 PM)
Sun, Dec 7 Jets (12:00 PM)
Sun, Dec 14 @ Lions (12:00 PM)
Sun, Dec 21 @ Dolphins (12:00 PM)
Sun, Dec 28 Bears (12:00 PM)
So, the Warwas family (dog and all) is finally settling into a new life in Ohio after a very chaotic couple of months. It was heartbreaking to leave Alaska, but here we are. I found us some new digs, a set of wheels, and am settling into my new job.
The most significant development for you all, however, is that I finally have internet! I never would have guessed that in the year 2012 it would have taken three weeks to get internet installed at my home, but that was indeed the case. A huge thanks from me to Brett for keeping the site going in my absence, but I am thrilled to be back!
To celebrate, I am aiming to have a live chat right here at VT during Sunday’s game in Detroit. Please, join me, and I will catch up with you all.
See you soon!
Football season is nearly here which means I am once again allowed to write about things that are, you know… interesting. My old pal Darren Campbell from Kick Ass Blog asked me to do a little Q&A session with him and, of course, I was thrilled to do so.
We did six total jottings about various subjects. There are three in this post and the other three can be found at his blog by clicking here.
4. Jerome Simpson – what will his stats be at the end of the season?
Adam: Should his stats be measured in yards or ounces?
All kidding aside, it is hard to get overly excited about a guy that will play no more than 13 games during the regular season. Heck, if this season turns out anything like last year, the franchise could be in complete shambles by the time he is even allowed to play.
He certainly has an ability to stretch the field and adds in some jaw dropping athleticism, but consistency has always been his issue. The drops need to stop. I’m going to be optimistic here, however, and say that he tops 800 yards on the season and throws in two or three touchdowns.
Darren: Oh, Adam, way to pick the low hanging fruit. I’m penciling Simpson in for 49 catches, 680 yards and five touchdowns. Not fantastic numbers, but enough to earn him a long-term contract in 2013 (whether that will be with the Vikings is another question). Like Adam said, consistency is an issue with Simpson. And is he physically strong enough to beat jams off the line and get open to make those big plays down the field for the Vikings? This team really needs a wide receiver (other than Percy Harvin, who is a completely different kind of player) they can pencil in for five-to-seven catches for 80-100 receiving yards every game. I see Simpson as the kind of player who will have some big games, but in other games will disappear.
5. What rookie has been the most impressive during training camp and the preseason?
Adam: It is hard to argue with Audie Cole at this point. A Vikings defender that takes advantage of bad throws? Then has the presence of mind to return it for a score? Twice? In back-to-back plays? Again, a Vikings defender?
That is just unheard of in recent years and I have to say those two plays alone have made him stand out more than any other rookie, including Kalil and Smith, and I hope he gets a chance to move up the depth chart to see if he can hang with the elite talent or not.
Darren: I like Cole, but kicker Blair Walsh has been the Vikings rookie who has looked the best to me. I did not like this pick at all in April. It’s hard for me to diss it now. He’s made, what, eight of nine field goals and he’s consistently booting kickoffs five-to-10 yards into the end zone – a nice change after watching Ryan Longwell’s kickoffs barely make it to the opposing team’s 20-yard line for six years. Walsh has been better than advertised. I do wonder, though, how he will react if he has a stretch where he misses three or four makeable field goals over a short period. Will he get the yips? That’s my concern with Walsh right now.
6. What unheralded Viking player has stood out the most so far?
Adam: I have only ever known two Dolphins fans in my life, but they both happen to be my best friends. So, as a result, I have seen a Fins game or two over the years. That is why I was somewhat excited to hear that the Vikings had signed Lex Hilliard.
Hilliard had always struck me as an underrated back with some deceiving moves and nifty hands that was underutilized in Miami because of their addiction to the Wild Cat. To me, he appears to be the exact sort of Mr. Dependable that the Vikings need in their backfield as an insurance policy and a nice change up from time to time. His versatility is something Spielman surely considered when signing him, and I consider him a lock to make the roster at this point, which makes me feel pretty comfortable with the run game even with Peterson still on the mend.
Darren: I’m surprised to read that Adam thinks Hilliard’s stood out because I think he’s looked like garbage. There’s no burst there. No wiggle. No anything. I understand he’s a solid special teams player, but even giving him that, at this point I wouldn’t want to see him make the team. Matt Asiata looks much better to me as an option as the Vikings third running back.
But rather than continuing to rag on Adam’s selection, I should write about my own. Defensive end Nick Reed is a guy who has surprised me in the two preseason games. He’s tipped a couple of passes and against the Bills he consistently generated pressure from the outside. He’s bounced around the league a bit, and at 6’2 and 250, he’s pretty small even for a pass rushing DE. I don’t expect him to make the team; all I know is I’m noticing him every time he’s on the field. He might be a guy worth stashing on the practice squad. You can never have too many DEs who can get after the quarterback.
I just finished up writing some paragraphs for a soon-to-come collaborative post we’ll be putting up with some of our blogosphere friends, and (spoiler alert) at one point I talk about how I would be nervous about Joe Webb as my number two quarterback if I were the Vikings. In the post, I say I would be really wanting to upgrade my backup quarterback and slide Webb down to number three, as a situation change-of-pace type of player.
So, I finish typing that, and then I see a report that left me in a slight state of disbelief.
Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports stated on Twitter if Seattle’s other two top quarterbacks come out of Friday’s preseason game unscathed then we can expect to see the Seahawks trade Tarvaris Jackson on Saturday. Okay, that isn’t too weird, right?
Then, Cole goes on to say that “many teams” have interest in Jackson. Three of those teams are Green Bay, Miami, and San Diego. Okay, so still not overly weird, but the level of interest is kind of surprising, right?
Alright, here’s where things get weird.
The fourth team listed as having interest in obtaining Jackson?
Yup, you guessed it… the Minnesota Vikings.
Have at it VT folks, what do you all think about this one?
I was downright infuriated at the thought of Adrian Peterson, who knows not how to play football half-assed, being thrown into a meaningless game of preseason football. The burden of being cautious with Peterson and his knee became less troublesome when Toby Gerhart and Lex Hilliard confirmed what I already thought I knew… they are pretty darn competent running backs in their own right.
So, while some may not be too thrilled, I am happy to pass along the news that Adrian Peterson is not expected to make a preseason appearance. While Peterson was removed from the PUP list this last week, an NFL source has told 1500 ESPN that the team plans to keep him on the sideline at least until the regular season begins.
I think this is a smart move by the Vikings coaching and training staff, and they should heavily consider keeping him off the field into the regular season if there is even the slightest worry about a reoccurring injury.
Peterson isn’t the only player being controlled by the coaching staff in an effort to improve durability. Christian Ponder took some heat for his head first slide during the last preseason game, but offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave confirmed that he has coached Ponder to do exactly that.
“It’s a personal preference, and what’s really important when a quarterback runs is getting down in time … as those defenders converge,” Musgrave recently said. “You can maximize or squeeze out the last possible yard, but at the same time, maintain your health so you can line up for the next play.”
“Coach Musgrave made this cut-up about sliding head first versus sliding feet first and we’ve never seen someone get hurt sliding head first,” Ponder said. “So, it’s on purpose. When you slide feet first, you’re exposing your body to get hit and like we saw at Washington (with) me last year, I got pretty jacked up that game.”
Beyond the vicious hit Ponder took last season, Musgrave pointed to hits taken by quarterbacks Steve Pelluer and Trent Green as examples of feet first slides resulting in devastating consequences. Conversly, Musgrave points out the players such as John Elway and Drew Brees have had great success getting to the ground quicker by diving head first as defenders converge.
It is unconventional, yes… but I have to say, the Vikings need some outside-the-box thinking, and I like this particular tactic.
I was feeling a bit negative about the Vikings coaching staff last week, but these two items have me feeling a little better. It is amazing what a win can do… even in the preseason.
On Tuesday, news broke that Vikings wide out Michael Jenkins agreed to take a significant cut in his pay under a renegotiated two year deal.
This year, Jenkins salary goes from $2.5 million to $1 million. In 2013, his salary goes from $2.5 million to $825,000. A roster bonus worth up to $2.425 million makes it unlikely that Jenkins is in the team’s plan beyond this season, but the restructured numbers make it likely that he sticks with the team through roster cuts following preseason.
Last summer the Vikings got both Greg Camarillo and Bernard Berrian to agree to salary reductions and both made the week one roster. Neither, however, remains on the team nearly a year later. Actually, neither is currently employed at all.
Asking Jenkins to take a pay reduction could have been a risky move for the Vikings. Had he refused, using the Greg Childs injury and Jerome Simpson suspension as leverage, the team could have very easily found themselves cutting the veteran without a viable backup plan in place.
Despite the pay cut, Jenkins still has the highest base salary of all receivers on the Vikings roster, which proves that Percy Harvin will need a pay raise soon enough and also that the Vikings are content taking the discount approach when it comes to the position. There were a number of talented, albeit expensive, options available in free agency this year that the Vikings simply passed on.
Right now, the quarterback and the wide receiver positions take up a very small amount of the team’s salary cap. That figure is even smaller now with the Jenkins reduction. One can’t help but wonder if the production from the passing offense will match the investment, or lack thereof, the front office has made from a dollar standpoint.
Now, the only remaining question for this season is if they will find a way to spend their newly found cap space. And, if so, whether or not they will spend it on something that helps their aerial attack.
Some of us think that Rick Spielman has put together a roster that potentially has the ability to surprise NFL observers as soon as this coming season. Heck, if you look into the darkest corners and the deepest abyss, you might even find a Vikings fan that thinks the Vikings could soon be in contention for a Super Bowl.
From what I have seen out of the Vikings coaching staff this offseason, however, I think that they are having trouble believing in themselves and instead want to pull every trick out of the hat possible in an effort to simply do well enough to not get fired.
First, as Brett passed along in the post below this one, the team is allowing Adrian Peterson to rush himself back into action. Sure, they are parading Peterson out in front of the press allowing him to talk about his “vision” and make himself out to be some sort of Superman capable of making this comeback in short order.
If Peterson were actually Superman, his knee never would have been shredded in the first place.
Allowing him to push himself during the rehab process is one thing. Allowing him to run with the reckless abandon we all know and love during a meaningless preseason game, or even early in the regular season, is quite another. Make no mistake about it, this is shaping up to be the biggest gamble this team has taken since they swung a certain trade with a certain Texas franchise to obtain a certain high profile running back.
And it could backfire.
Another sign that the coaching staff is in self preservation mode is the handling of Everson Griffen. Griffen was shaping up to be an above-average defensive end that could push Brian Robison for playing time, and also made an impact as the NFL’s biggest special teams gunner. So, they switched him to linebacker for a spell in an effort to give him more snaps.
Now, I have no problem with experimenting and trying to play to the strengths of your roster, but this particular experiment went too far. They have already canned the idea of Griffen playing at linebacker, but not after he shed a significant amount of weight to try and win a job there. Making that type of change to your body in an effort to win a position you clearly weren’t meant to play is just ridiculous.
I am even more perplexed that they would move Griffen away from the end spot while at the same time make a big deal out of putting Jared Allen on a pitch count. Griffen, by all appearances, was at least the third best pass rusher on this roster last season and should be an obvious choice to spell Allen if that truly is the plan. Now, I am concerned that Griffen’s weight loss will at least temporarily hinder his ability to be productive at that spot, let alone as a part of the defensive tackle rotation.
The handling of these two very different situations follow a troubling pattern that cause me to flash back to my objections to the handling of Joe Webb, Donovan McNabb, and Chris Cook.
Troubling patterns are the worst kind, and the fact that I am starting to notice them is giving me an uneasy feeling.