Presented without comment:
Norv Turner started today's press conference with a 545-word statement praising Teddy Bridgewater: Here it is: pic.twitter.com/Il4idpfPVi
— Matt Vensel (@mattvensel) December 18, 2014
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)
Well, we haven’t seen all 16 games of the 2014 regular season and the Vikings still have 120 minutes of football to play, but I think we have seen enough to start up the old Irresponsible Speculation Machine (I.S.M – trademarked!) and look towards the 2015 offseason and what we might expect.
I’ve already compiled an early list of the Vikings free agents potentially headed for the open market, while Arif attempted to project Minnesota’s cap situation, so now we get down to the task of identifying the top needs across the roster moving forward. Obviously a team that has only won six of their first 14 games, none of which have come against teams with winning records, has plenty of room for improvement across the board.
Still, I’m going to attempt the dangerous task of narrowing it down to five, and in my most daring and harrowing feat to-date I will put them in order. See you in the comments section, Vikings junkies!
Vikings fans have gotten used to being the early game this season, but today we have to endure until round two. So, while you wait, we’ve rounded up some Vikings-tastic reading to quench your thirst. Here you go:
After a Week One performance that made it appear as if utility man Cordarrelle Patterson was ready to build on his impressive rookie season, something changed and he has been fading into the background of this Vikings team with haste.
Speculation has been everywhere regarding Patterson’s sudden dropoff in production and playing time. There have been theories about undisclosed injuries or personality issues or clashes with the coaches. The most popular theory, and the one that makes the most sense, is that Patterson is still the project we thought he was when he was drafted and that he needs to improve his route running before he can expect an increase in playing time.
The release of Jerome Simpson opened the door for Charles Johnson in Minnesota, but nobody can honestly tell you they expected Johnson to surpass Patterson on the depth chart at the time of his signing. But that is exactly what has happened and it is clear, despite public endorsements of Patterson from Zimmer, and offensive coordinator Norv Turner clearly prefers Johnson in the lead wide out role.
Patterson has opened up at times throughout this frustrating season, previously expressing that he is not having as much fun in his sophomore season, but he recently took his concerns straight to the man in charge of the Vikings roster.
After Teddy Bridgewater’s stellar performance against the New York Jets on Sunday, Teddy Bridgewater—a two-time winner of the Pepsi Rookie of the Week Award—is up for the award for a third time. Though last time, there were perhaps some questions about the relative merit of Bridgewater against players like Donte Moncrief and Tre Mason, he definitely played a big role in helping the team win.
This week, there should be little doubt that Teddy well deserves the consideration. From my player recap of the game:
Teddy Bridgewater is clearly progressing as a quarterback, with a very impressive game whose statistics undersell his contribution to the offense. An interception on a Hail Mary at the end of the half and a fumbled touchdown pass (that still scored points) take away from an outing that is closer to excellent than average. Though the Vikings offense struggled at times, it was rarely his fault—his biggest flaw in the game was excusable and corrected by the end of the game, which was a tendency to drop his eyes when moving away from pressure, biggest in the third down.
Still, he made some tremendous plays under pressure and made very few, if any mistakes. His decisionmaking after the snap was smart without being overly cautious. It seems like the pre-draft canard about his deep ball is fading by the wayside in these last two games, as both of his very deep attempts in this game were very good—a perfectly placed basket catch to Charles Johnson, followed by a shot under pressure and on the move that was a little underthrown but well-placed enough given the circumstances, not reeled in by Johnson.
The Vikings didn’t give Bridgewater the ability to showcase himself too much, opting to run on almost every first down with Matt Asiata instead of passing, but when he could make plays, he did. Of the eight incompletions Bridgewater is charged with, at least one was a throwaway and another was that Hail Mary interception mentioned above. A third was the deep ball to Johnson under pressure.
The biggest moment of the game seems like a touchdown that had little to do with Teddy, but Bridgewater checked out of the first play in response to a blitz look by the Jets and threw a screen with man advantage to his right—allowing Wright to run 87 yards for a touchdown.
If one were to wash away the Hail Mary interception and grant Teddy the touchdown that Charles Johnson fumbled at the goal line, his adjusted net yards per attempt rises from 9.7 adjusted net yards per attempt (higher than any other quarterback’s average this year) to 11.7, higher than all but 17 individual performances this year so far. His passer rating (117.7) rises to 145.6 in those circumstances, the ninth-highest individual performance this year.
Teddy was accurate, concise in his decisions, clean in the pocket and extraordinarily aware in the Vikings win. He looks like who the Vikings were developing him to be and the quarterback that the draft community fell in love with.
The other players Teddy will have to compete with are:
Be sure to vote for Teddy for both that award and the GMC Never Say Never award, which rewards players for heroic comebacks and gritty performances from behind to beat the odds. As a reminder, Teddy is eligible for the award for checking into the winning play against the zero-blitz the Jets were going to send, an 87-yard screen pass to Jarius Wright. He’s up against Andrew Luck, who led an insane comeback against the Cleveland Browns and Drew Stanton, who took the lead back from the Chiefs with four minutes left in their game.
As a reminder, Luck had to rally back after throwing two interceptions, and held off the lead because Brian Hoyer threw an interception to end the game—which otherwise would have resulted in a tie because Luck failed to convert the two-point conversion—while Stanton received the ball from an Alex Smith interception and led a drive from a short field (the Chiefs’ 42) in order to win. Alex Smith got the ball back with a minute to go in his own territory and threw four consecutive screens from his own 31.
Not that I’m biased. Vote for Teddy!
Percy Harvin and the J-E-T-S are coming to town and the Vikings are trying to remain at least statistically relevant in the playoff hunt. A late-season run, with a little will-they-won’t-they drama, could be just what this organization needs heading into Mike Zimmer’s second season as head coach.
Here are some great links to keep you busy leading up to kickoff:
Wide receiver Charles Johnson is set to start for the Vikings against New York on Sunday.
According to the Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson, offensive coordinator Norv Turner confirmed that Johnson will retain the starting split end position after getting the opportunity last week.
Cordarrelle Patterson generally holds the starting position, but his production has been much lower than anticipated this season. The sophomore WR seems to still struggle with route running, and Johnson has been given more reps recently. Last week, the official roster swap took place. After Patterson missed practices due to a personal matter, head coach Mike Zimmer reduced Patterson’s playing time.
Minnesota utilized Johnson on all 50 snaps in the win against Carolina, while Patterson played on just three overall—and not until the second half. Sunday was the first time in Patterson’s NFL career that he did not catch a single pass. While Vikings fans are surprised—and disappointed—with Patterson’s less-than-mediocre performance, Johnson is certainly earning his keep.
“C.J. is playing at a high level,” Turner said. “C.J. is the starter at X, that’s the position Cordarrelle plays. We’re going to do what we can to get him some opportunities to play there, but C.J. is playing at a real high level right now.”
Over the Vikings’ last three games, the 25-year-old has played 141 snaps and made 11 receptions for 180 yards.
Originally drafted by the Packers in 2013, Johnson suffered a knee injury early on and is just now getting his chance to prove himself in the NFL. He caught his first pass with the Vikings in Week 5, and Johnson is proving that he could play a significant role on this team.
And as for Patterson? No. 84 has been vocal about his disappointment with last week’s situation, and he told reporters that he will approach the coaching staff if he doesn’t play a larger role against the Jets. Patterson said the following:
“I’ll have to see how this week goes first and see how my reps and how my playing goes this week. Then next week if I my reps [aren't] what I need them to be and I’m not feeling good about it, I have to sit down and talk with them.”
Regardless of what happens with Patterson, one thing is clear: Charles Johnson was handed a chance, and he isn’t looking back.