January 20-25 - Senior Bowl
January 26 - Pro Bowl
February 17 - First day of franchise / transition player designation
February 19-25 - Scouting Combine
March 11 - Free Agency begins
March 23 - Owner's Meeting
April 7 - Off-season workouts begin for teams with new HC
April 17 - 2014 Schedule Released
April 21 - Off-season workouts begin for teams with returning HC
May 2 - Deadline for RFAs to sign offers
May 8-10 - NFL Draft
A half game out of first place. An intense battle with Larry Fitzgerald and Patrick Peterson coming up. A need to rebound following a disappointing loss to Washington. A team in need of some serious progression this season.
The work week must be intense at Winter Park this week, right? Well, probably, but there is also an abundance of TMZ-type stories going on with these Vikings and I thought we’d better just get them out there in the open here at VT, even though I would rather just avoid them.
What is that you say? There wasn’t enough coverage of the Vikings here on VT alone? Well, we have just the thing for everyone out there who just can’t get enough purple – our favorite links of the week:
The Vikings hit a bump in the road last week, as RGIII and the Redskins delivered them their second loss of 2012, but they head home this week to take on a very troubled Arizona Cardinals team (also 4-2). Percy Harvin and company are looking to rebound in a big way, so lets take a look at what we can expect from this matchup.
That’s right ya’ll, a Wizard Of Oz reference in the title. Oh, snap! Hey Judy Garland was from Minnesota, so it fits, stop scoffing!
Anyways, as I am sure you all have seen by now (sorry, computer bugs struck this week) Jerome Simpson has made it clear that he was not happy about Leslie Frazier’s decision to keep him out of last Sunday’s game against the Redskins.
I expected to read quotes about Simpson wishing he could have helped lift his team to victory, how he could have helped stretch the field and open up the run game.
“You lose $60,000 you’d be mad, too,” is instead the Simpson quote making the rounds, referencing the fact that he lost his weekly roster bonus by not being active.
While Simpson said more than just that and said he and Frazier are now on the same page, Simpson’s quote bothered me more from a philosophical standpoint. Simpson didn’t lose anything at all, in reality, and his words hint that maybe he hasn’t learned the lessons he claimed he has.
Simpson didn’t earn his weekly roster bonus because the head coach, who can deactivate him any week for any reason, chose to sit him. That weekly roster bonus is a result of the way his contract was written. The contract was written that way because Simpson was sitting on the free agent shelf long after the free agency period opened, largely due to concerns about how long his suspension would be. His suspension was the result of Simpson’s trouble with the law after a large amount of drugs was delivered to his home.
Simpson’s quote is a far cry from the “I’m just grateful to have another opportunity” type of quotes we were getting after he signed with the Vikings, and that is really disappointing to me.
So, now that I have done the second-best thing I do – harp on players like a mother hen – let me do what I actually do best… provide irresponsibly wild speculation.
For a rebuilding year, the 4-2 Vikings are surprisingly close to first place in the NFC North and, by all appearances, are capable of beating any team on any given Sunday if the stars align properly.
One of those stars that could possibly be in line? How does Dwayne Bowe sound?
The Chiefs star receiver reportedly wants out of Kansas City and there are even some rumors already that he could be part of a pre-deadline deal to Miami, a logical landing spot. If, however, the Vikings win their next two games (which I fully expect them to) and they are ever-so-close to a playoff spot then they may also become a logical spot for the 28 year old receiver.
Bowe is a big, physical receiver that is capable of stretching the field… just not in the traditional speed-based sort of way. He is durable, as he has played in all but five games over five and a half seasons, and always seems to contribute at a high level no matter how poorly his team, and quarterbacks, are playing.
Bowe has had maturity issues of his own in the not-so-distant past, but I just can’t imagine him being anything but the perfect complement to Percy Harvin and Kyle Rudolph. It just seems logical.
What might not seem so logical, once known, is Kansas City’s asking price and Bowe’s contract desires. That could be a major hiccup in any deal, with any team they try and deal with, but for now I just can’t help but think I am not way off base here… and in a week or two we might be hearing from major media outlets about Minnesota as a potential landing spot for Bowe.
After all, the last time we swung a blockbuster deal with the Chiefs for a troubled talent in his prime, it worked out pretty well.
Monday’s are never quite as fun after a loss like the one the Vikings suffered yesterday. Your boss being a Packer fan and informing you that the football universe is now back in alignment after their hearty win over the Texans (and the Vikings loss) makes it all the more worse.
But it’s okay – today is a new day separate from the angst and irrationality of last night. I’m not quite ready to start sipping the purple kool-aid again but Adam has some notes from yesterday’s game that I promise are more level-headed than mine.
For whatever reason, he wasn’t able to post them himself. So, on his behalf, here are some of our favorite Vikings blogger’s opinions on last night’s travesty.
I don’t know what the answer is. Maybe Erin Henderson should have replaced Jasper Brinkley on nickel downs. Maybe Jared Allen needed to ease up on his pass rush and focus more on containment. Maybe Everson Griffen needed to take more snaps. Whatever the issue, this Vikings defense struggles with mobile quarterbacks, and that could prove to be an issue down the stretch. Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler are both on the schedule, twice each, between now and the end of the season.
I have said it a few times that the week two performance against Indianapolis was one of the worst games the Vikings have played in recent memory. A huge part of that reasoning is the disdain I have for penalties and this most recent game against Washington had that same feel. Too many penalties, too undisciplined.
The Vikings performed better against Washington than they did against Indy earlier this season, and had some better individual performances, but once again Percy Harvin is the biggest silver lining following the “L.” I want to make a fresh point about Harvin, however. After watching Matt Stafford flip the football, Victor Cruz salsa dance, Jared Allen rope a cow when his team is losing, and RGIII act like he is auditioning for Glee, I love how professional and sensible Harvin is during his moments of dominance. After a big play, it seems to take him about a nanosecond before he is focused on making the next big play. Chris Kluwe called Harvin the hardest working player in football following Sunday’s loss, and I believe him, because he is all business for 60 straight minutes.
I keep hearing that Jerome Simpson is the Vikings only deep threat. If that is truly the case, then the Vikings front office and coaching staff have pinned themselves into a corner that is inexcusable. If your only way to stretch the field is a street free agent beginning the year on suspension, then you have screwed up.
I don’t think that is the case, however, so it frustrates me to see Bill Musgrave act like the Sunday morning pre-game shows know what they are talking about in the way he calls plays. The Vikings begin the game by finding great success in the run game, Washington adjusts to stop the run, and then the Vikings fail to adjust their own plan and take advantage of them stacking the box. That is not a good blueprint to have on tape.
Luckily, however, the Vikings do have deep threats besides Simpson and soon they will have to realize it. I have seen Percy Harvin be successful downfield with Brett Favre throwing him the ball. I know John Carlson and Kyle Rudolph can be dangerous running streaks down the seam. Heck, even Devin Aromashodu has made plays deep every year since joining the Vikings. If Michael Jenkins can’t get there, then how about giving Stephen Burton a chance to show us what he can do? The options are there but Musgrave has to acknowledge them and Ponder has to take advantage of them.
No matter what, though, put receiver at the top of your offseason priority list for the Vikings in 2013.
I have always thought that mid-season contract extension should be used as a way to reward excellent play and motivate others on the roster. Last week, news broke that the Vikings had begun negotiating with starting right tackle Phil Loadholt whose contract expires after this season. I didn’t get a chance to give my opinion on the matter, so I’ll take the opportunity now.
Does Phil Loadholt deserve a reward for his play this season? Is he easily enough replaced or upgraded via the Draft or free agency? Will cheaper options be available?
I like Loadholt okay. He is serviceable. I just don’t see him, as he gets older, somehow becoming more athletic and quicker on his feet, however. I’m just not convinced he is worth a larger, long-term investment at this point. If I had a vote (which I won’t and never will) I would say to leave it be until January and then see where things stand.
The Vikings fell to second place in the NFC North with their loss on Sunday, but they came out of it largely unscathed and have a chance to get their confidence back against a pair of lesser teams. Leslie Frazier indicated that the team suffered no major injuries on Sunday, so that is great news moving forward. The Vikings had back to the Metrodome to host the atrocious-looking Cardinals and then get to play the lackluster Bucs. It is possible, if not somewhat likely, that this Vikings team will soon be 6-2.
Adam tells me I’m dramatic. I’m sure he’s got a point… I like to think I’m just passionate. Needless to say, I was in a foul mood today through the Vikings game. I had a feeling this was going to be a difficult team for the Vikings to beat. The primary indicator that we were in for a rough game was this stat: “The Redskins have lost 8 straight games at home.” If you’re a seasoned Vikings fan, you know what that means… Time for the Vikings to be the team allows the Redskins to break that streak. Isn’t that how it always goes? Doesn’t every team that sets some sort of record or breaks some sort of negative streak do so with the aid of Minnesota? You ever notice those old vintage videos on NFL network of some football great having their career game against…? The Vikings. Anyone else notice this? Surely I can’t be the only one…
I predicted the Vikings would win by a field goal this afternoon. But really, that was just because I’m too much of a Vikings homer to predict my team will lose.
Anyway, the Vikings fall to 4-2 today after losing pretty handily to the Washington Redskins. I’m going to dive into some of the details and annoyances of the game… But here’s a warning: don’t expect too much positivity here today. Maybe that will come later in the week… I’ll be able to be more objective – more rational. Right now, though? Now is the time for irrational, angry venting. So join me please as I further ruin your evening.