Friday, January 19, 2018

Question of the Week

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Adrian Peterson. Randy Moss. Two of the biggest offensive names for the Minnesota Vikings in the last decade. Just for fun, we decided to make the VT writers choose. We saw an interesting question posed on Reddit: If the two were in the same NFL Draft class and you could choose only one to be a part of the Vikings roster, which do you take? Check out our answers, take the poll and leave us some comments!

AndyRandy Moss
A couple parameters: 1) I’m drafting for a blank team with no existing players, coaches, philosophy, etc and 2) I’m looking only at college production and not factoring in any NFL history. That being said, I’m taking the PRIDE of Rand, West Virginia Randy Moss. Adrian Peterson was a phenomenal college player at Oklahoma and was frankly robbed of the Heisman Trophy in 2004 (Matt Leinhart won as Oklahoma quarterback and 2003 winner Jason White stole votes from Adrian), but he was also injury prone, fumble prone and had diminishing stats each of his three years in Norman after his 1925-rushing-yard and 15-touchdown apex as a freshman.

Yes, Moss had a checkered past washing out of Florida State and Notre Dame due to off-field issues. Yes, Marshall did not play elite competition in 1997 in the MAC one year after transitioning from I-AA. But I have never seen dominance on display like redshirt sophomore Randy Moss and I might never see it again in my lifetime in college football. No. 88 was a man playing among toddlers putting up 96 receptions for 1820 yards and 26 touchdowns, the latter setting an NCAA single season record and still remains the second most in history (La Tech’s Troy Edwards broke it the following season hauling in 27 scores).

Moss was a potential once-in-a-generation type talent with baggage, but I’d still roll the dice with him over a very talented yet injury prone running back. Also, this.

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Adam: Linval Joseph, DT
This one is easy, to me. It doesn’t matter if you are his teammate or his opponent. There are no excuses about injuries to the guy next to him. There is no matchup too tough. Analytical types are every bit as high on him as a casual observer. He is disruptive, impacting both the run and the pass, and his impact has been as consistent as anybody on this defense… and there are plenty of consistent producers on this defense. Mid-season? I say Joseph is the clearest Pro Bowler on this team, without a doubt.

Brent: Anthony Barr, LB
Trying to stray from the pack here a little bit as the obvious answer is Harrison Smith, and rightfully so. Smith has been dominant in 2015, and I believe should be in consideration as the best safety in the league. That said, Barr plays a massive role in the Vikings defense and goes into Sunday’s game as the 3rd-highest-rated linebacker by PFF standards. Looking at Barr statistically, you note that he is second on the team in tackles, has a fumble recovery, 1.5 sacks and an INT. Not bad for a second-year linebacker some feared would be slow to adapt to the NFL level. What isn’t noted in Barr’s stats is his role he plays bringing pressure on the ‘A’ gap that has become so popular in Mike Zimmer’s defense. He might not always blitz, but his presence is enough for quarterbacks to be ever aware of where No. 55 is.

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Adam: Chad Greenway’s 91-yard interception return
It isn’t like other plays didn’t spring to mind, especially Stefon Diggs’ recent awesomeness in Detroit, but I have to go with Chad Greenway’s 91-yard interception return for a touchdown, which sparked a victory against San Diego. Not only was I happy to see Greenway get one more Grade-A highlight reel addition before his career in Minnesota ends, but I loved the team effort and excitement that helped him get there. It wasn’t as flashy as a number of other plays we’ve seen this year, but so far it is certainly my favorite.

Carl: Stefon Diggs’ TD reception in Detroit
The rookie receiver dazzled again on Sunday against the Lions with his lightning-quick breaks and sharp route running. The Vikings wideouts have only caught two touchdowns through six games, making Diggs’ scoring effort all the more appealing. Diggs completely froze 13-year veteran cornerback Rashean Mathis on a strikingly handsome double move and topped it off by laying out over the goal line to secure a ridiculous 36-yard diving reception.

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Adam: Zack Martin, G
Obviously, a number of quarterbacks have to be in consideration here, including one in particular that would hurt our worst enemy as much as it would help this team. But I know that isn’t in the spirit of this question, and I really do have faith that Teddy Bridgewater is a guy capable of leading us to the promised land. I’m also tempted to add a dominant game-changer like DeAndre Hopkins, Devonta Freeman or Rob Gronkowski… but will refrain.

Instead, I’m going to add a bullying young guard to help this offensive line get things rolling in the right direction. 24-year-old Zack Martin, upon being drafted by Dallas 16th in 2014, has played a huge part in transforming the Cowboys offense in a hugely positive way (until all the injuries, anyways). He’s playing as good of football as any guard in the league right now and certainly appears to be a guy capable of playing at a Pro Bowl level for a decade or so. Mike Zimmer’s defense is only getting better, but our offense can’t consistently put full drives together unless it experiences some major growth and improvement along the offensive line… Martin would instantly make them better by a lot.

Brent: Zack Martin, G
Martin is young and very, very good and would be an immediate upgrade on the offensive line. I am fairly happy with the rest of the Vikings team, but the offensive line needs some major retooling in order to help the offense and Martin would fit the bill. Equally good in run and pass blocking, Martin would serve as the anchor in the middle of the Vikings offensive line and provide some confidence in blitz pick ups, while also helping to create additional space in the running game.

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Lindsey: YES
I suppose this question is more complex than it looks on the surface, for two reasons: (1) we’re only four games into the season, and (2) there is Wallace’s contract to consider. However, I see no reason why the Vikings will be ready to part ways with him after a year. Against the Broncos, we caught glimpses of what could be a great connection between Teddy Bridgewater and Wallace—I’m hoping to see that continue over the next several weeks. Wallace was brought in as a deep threat, and we haven’t seen him utilized that way yet; that being said, we haven’t really seen Bridgwater throw deep to anyone yet. I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t completely thrilled about the move to bring Wallace to Minnesota, mostly because of the buzz we’d all heard about his attitude issues. However, the receiver has appeared to be a great personality to media, fans and teammates alike since joining the Vikings, and I think (at least for now) he’s happy with being here. The only thing I could really see happening for 2016 is a restructured contract if Wallace doesn’t end up with higher production by the end of the 2015 season. But, as I’m sure my fellow writers will also say, it’s still a big early to predict.

Carl: YES
I think he’ll be back. I realize it was four games into the season before Mike Wallace caught his first touchdown pass from Teddy Bridgewater, but his eight receptions for 83 yards and a TD against the Broncos is good sign of what might be to come. I like the fact that he is trying to develop into something more that just a deep threat. If I’m not mistaken, Wallace is under contract through the 2017 season, and the Vikings don’t have anyone lined up at the moment to take his job. He has had five consecutive season of 60 or more receptions, and I think he extends that streak again this season.