Wednesday, July 29, 2015

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The Minnesota Vikings have passed the quarter-pole and then some, but with a short week, it would be difficult to get a comprehensive statistical review of how the Vikings quarterbacks have performed. Regardless, it’s not as if there is a large enough sample size for any of the involved statistics for rigorous analysis, but enough to get an idea of where the Vikings are and what places might need to be fixed.

More than most other positions, the quarterbacks are difficult to really grab a hold of. Most good quarterback statistics become stable around 200 passing attempts, and no one on the roster is even close to that. What can increase the ability to find the “true” ability of the quarterbacks is to modify for opponent strength.

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Teddy Bridgewater has thrown against the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons, while Matt Cassel (theoretically not on the team because of his injury) has thrown against the Saints, New England Patriots and St. Louis Rams. Christian Ponder has thrown against the Green Bay Packers. Given their performances against those teams, their performances look as follows (ALL non-proprietary scores are modified for opponent, so they are not the same as the box scores found after the games):

Opponent-Adjusted Quarterback Statistics
QB CMP% TD% INT% NYA ANYA Rate Efficiency PFF WPA/G EPA/P SR DVOA
Teddy Bridgewater 61.6 1.2 1.2 7.5 7.1 85.2 95.6 1.5 0.31 0.32 50.0 14.2
Matt Cassel 56.6 3.6 5.1 5.1 3.5 68.1 88.0 -7.5 -0.01 -0.04 39.8 -40.6
Christian Ponder 59.6 -0.4 1.8 5.4 4.5 71.5 87.2 -4.4 -0.06 -0.29 34.1 N/A

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Defensive tackle Tom Johnson was arrested last night for trespassing and disorderly conduct, according to James Monical. The Vikings have released a statement saying they are looking into the matter.

Brian Hall meant that he was released from custody at 10:00, not from the Vikings.

The arrest is not a significant one—he didn’t hurt anyone—but it comes at a time when the Vikings are dealing with a bevy of issues on their own without Johnson’s help (though releasing Jerome Simpson certainly eased the pain of dealing with that headache).

It’s not a big enough issue to warrant his release, and at any rate, Johnson has been playing better than any other defensive tackle on the team. It’s not just clear from watching on game day, the statistics and third-party grades back it up. He officially has two sacks, a forced fumble and six tackles, and Pro Football Focus agrees with those stats.

Though Sharrif Floyd and Linval Joseph have more tackles (seven and ten, respectively), they did it on twice as many snaps. Further, they have fewer sacks, hits and hurries. Johnson’s tackles were also all defensive successes, stopping the offense from getting what they wanted. He leads the DTs in PFF grade (+2.9), and ranks 20th overall of all DTs who qualify, according to PFF.

Again, not a big deal. Just annoying.

 

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In order to make room last night for quarterback Chandler Harnish, the Vikings waived Rodney Smith, who was subject to the waiver process and could be claimed by any team. The Browns submitted a waiver claim and were awarded Rodney Smith, meaning that the Vikings will have to look elsewhere to fill their final two practice squad spots (or one, assuming Harnish is signed to the practice squad).

The Browns waived receiver Laron Byrd to make room for Smith.

This means that the Vikings functionally swapped tall receivers with the Browns, because the Vikings recently signed Charles Johnson off of Cleveland’s practice squad.

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The Vikings have announced that they have waived Chandler Harnish and signed Zach Line to the active roster from the practice squad. Their statement:

On Friday the Vikings announced that the club has waived QB Chandler Harnish, who was signed to the active roster from the practice squad yesterday, and signed FB Zach Line to the active roster from the practice squad.

There are now two practice squad spots, presumably to sign Harnish and maybe Rodney Smith, depending on whether or not he cleared waivers. No word on that yet.

This likely means that Teddy Bridgewater is fine (which we expected). Now the Vikings are back to two fullbacks.

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NAME POSITION INJURY WED. THU. FRI. STATUS GAMEDAY
Mauti, Michael LB Foot FP FP FP Probable Active
Munnerlyn, Captain CB Illness DNP LP FP Probable Active
Robinson, Josh CB Hamstring LP LP FP Probable Active
Felton, Jerome FB Knee FP FP FP Probable Active
Bridgewater, Teddy QB Ankle DNP DNP LP Questionable Inactive
Greenway, Chad LB Hand/Rib DNP DNP DNP Out Inactive
Rudolph, Kyle TE Abdomen DNP DNP DNP Out Inactive
Smith, Rodney WR Hamstring FP FP FP Probable Inactive
Watts, Brandon LB Knee FP FP FP Probable Inactive
Wentworth, Austin OL None - - - - Inactive
Yankey, David OG None - - - - Inactive
Crichton, Scott DE None - - - - Inactive

There have been multiple reports that Teddy Bridgewater would have played if it happened on Sunday. It sounds like the Vikings worked nearly all week assuming that Christian Ponder would start, according to Ian Rapaport. The game plan shouldn’t change, however (again, according to him live on NFL Network). Interestingly, Brandon Watts—who had drawn the praise of coaches in the preseason playing time, along with the snaps—is inactive despite the injuries at linebacker and being cleared for full practice for the entire week the first time.

This also marks the first game that receiver Charles Johnson has been active, though don’t expect him to see more than ten snaps, barring injury.

NAME POSITION INJURY WED. THU. FRI. STATUS GAMEDAY
Barrington, Sam LB Hamstring DNP DNP DNP Doubtful Inactive
Boyd, Josh DT Knee DNP DNP DNP Doubtful Inactive
Boykin, Jarrett WR Groin DNP DNP DNP Out Inactive
Jones, Brad LB Quadricep LP LP LP Probable Active
Lang, T.J. OG None - - DNP Probable Active
Matthews, Clay LB Groin LP FP FP Probable Active
Neal, Mike LB Hip - - DNP Probable Active
Gerhart, Garth C None - - - Inactive
Tolzien, Scott QB None - - - Inactive
Goodson, Demetri CB None - - - Inactive
Bradford, Sam LB None - - - Inactive

Nothing very interesting about this. Jarrett Boykin is still nominally on the depth chart above Davante Adams, but Adams seems to be the better player. This does mean that Jeff Janis will likely see playing time. The Packers defense seems entirely healthy (aside from IR with BJ Raji and Khyri Thornton out for the season). Most eye-catching is that the player they just promoted from the practice squad, Luther Robinson, is active. Given the Packers’ general DT depth he might get some time.

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