Sunday, July 5, 2015

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This week hasn’t generated much news, other than a few Coordinator candidates dropping from the list, but I managed to drudge up some solid links for you all to check out:

 

Reports are starting to surface that the Vikings have, as expected, officially parted ways with defensive line coach Karl Dunbar.

Some may find it funny that Dunbar, a fairly longstanding and respected member of the coaching staff, is being fired after one of his key players nearly broke the single season sack record.

The problem Leslie Frazier has with Dunbar may never be made public, but there are a few things to point towards when wondering why this has happened.

First, in May, Dunbar was charged with sexual assault and he received a restraining order as a result of the woman’s complaints.  That type of thing will never sit well with an organization trying to maintain a positive public image.

Secondly, I found it interesting that Jared Allen recently came out and enthusiastically defended defensive coordinator Fred Pagac but never said a word (that I heard or read, anyways) about what a great job Dunbar, his position coach, had been doing.  Allen is seemingly willing to fight tooth and nail for Pagac, which makes his silence on Dunbar even more telling.

Dunbar is likely the first of multiple coaching changes to be made on defense.

Pagac may or may not stay in his current role and may even be bound to leave the team all together.  We already passed along the fact that the Vikings are talking to Raheem Morris about a role on the defense.

Another interesting thing to throw into all of that, Larry Fitzgerald Sr. is a fairly connected guy within the Minnesota sports community, and he is under the impression that Mike Singletary will be the next defensive coordinator of your Minnesota Vikings.

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The hit website Pro Football Focus has taken the internet by storm the last few years with their unique stat tracking and player analysis.

This rating system of theirs pegged John Sullivan as the second best center in the NFL this season and Phil Loadholt as the best run blocking right tackle in the NFL this season.  In a year that Vikings fans had trouble recognizing any positives on the football field, outside of Percy Harvin and Jared Allen, it is always interesting to see their evaluations of individual players.

The latest tidbit of interest involves Vikings outside linebacker Erin Henderson, who is due to become a free agent in March.

Henderson has been named to PFF’s second team 2011 All Pro team as a 4-3 outside linebacker.

In fact, Henderson is the only Viking other than Jared Allen to make either the first team or the second team (Allen was on the first team), which means PFF has Henderson rated ahead of Chad Greenway. 

“Henderson isn’t on the radar of many,” says the article.  “Especially as a two down linebacker, but his play was so good it’s hard not to imagine some clever team giving him more than the Vikings can and get him on the field for every snap.”

After leading the league in special teams tackles, former Vikings linebacker Heath Farwell was named to the first team as a special teamer.

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Another week, another loss.

This week is somewhat different than previous weeks, however, as it is difficult to even find a “bright spot” to point out.  Nobody’s individual performances were really much to get excited about.  Toby Gerhart, Everson Griffen, and Benny Sapp would be candidates I suppose, but this 42-20 loss to the Saints was absolutely dreadful.

Veterans like Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen continue to express frustration after this loss, Peterson desiring more carries and Allen disagreeing with the fact that he was pulled late in the game.

In a week that featured a number of upsets, with the Colts getting their first win and the Packers getting their first loss, the Vikings continued to play a version of this game that only vaguely resembles American Football.

Fans can take some solace in the fact that this loss can only strengthen the Vikings draft position, with the number one overall pick again in sight.

The Vikings, as an organization, will be keeping a close eye on Christian Ponder over these last two games and there is more and more reason with each passing week to believe that he is still auditioning to be this team’s long term starter.  Ponder himself seems to recognize this.

I don’t know where I am going with this post, I’ll be honest.  I’m just simply out of things to write about this horrible team.  So, I’ll end it on an interesting note.

The Vikings 2012 opponents are nearly set, with 14 of their 16 opponents already determined, and here they are:

HOME:  Green Bay, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Arizona, Tennessee, and Jacksonville.

AWAY:  Green Bay Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, Seattle Indianapolis, and Houston.

The last two spots will be filled by the last place teams of the NFC South and NFC East divisions.

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I have seen plenty of comments around the internet following Sunday’s game that indicate the “close” nature of many 2011 Vikings losses has led a number of fans to believe this team is better than their 2-11 record indicates.

If they are better than that, they sure have a funny way of proving it.

There is no doubt that there were a number of positive things to take away from Sunday’s loss in Detroit.  Jared Allen notched three sacks and is having the best season of his career with 17.5 sacks through 13 games.  Joe Webb performed well as a replacement for the benched Christian Ponder, running with ease and seemingly showing improvement as a passer.  Percy Harvin had 109 yards from scrimmage, a touchdown, and a 47 yard kickoff return.  Toby Gerhart ran for 90 yards and showed competence as a receiving back, especially on his two yard score.  Heck, even Benny Sapp looked good at times.

Then we must look at the bad.  And, boy, was there ever some bad stuff to look at.

Christian Ponder was benched after throwing three picks and fumbling twice, and two of those turnovers were defensive scores for the Lions.  Cedric Griffin was benched after being torched for a touchdown by rookie Titus Young.  Lorenzo Booker fumbled the ball twice, despite only touching it three times.  Rookies Mistral Raymond and Stephen Burton exited with injuries.  Left tackle Charlie Johnson gave up a few big plays, while right tackle Phil Loadholt never seemed even capable of making a play of his own.  Four sacks were given up for 43 yards.  Asher Allen and any of our various safeties were constantly out of position.  Meanwhile, both of the Henderson brothers were nearly invisible.

Oh yeah, and in case you missed it, there was a very interesting non-call on the final play of the game.

“For me to come in and blame it on a facemask — we had way, way, way worse things go wrong in that game,” Percy Harvin said after the game.

I have to agree. 

Until the Vikings show they are capable of winning games on their own merits, nobody should be claiming they are losing them because of anyone other than themselves.

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