Monday, July 6, 2015

Rick Spielman

It is extremely difficult to evaluate the Adrian Peterson situation in a vacuum where human emotions do not exist, but that is exactly what the Wilf Family and Rick Spielman will have to do in the near future.

I honestly believe that there are people within the Vikings organization that care for Adrian Peterson and regard him as much more as a football player.  I know that people I have worked with for a significant period of time often become more than just someone that uses the same letterhead as me, and I can’t imagine Peterson’s time at Winter Park has been anything different for many employees of the Minnesota Vikings.

I have speculated in the past that this very emotional human reaction played a role in the team’s initial decision to play Peterson after these allegations became public, but eventually the business side of the NFL trumped all else and the organization and the NFL did an about face.   Public outcry, coupled with sponsorships pulling their names, meant the Vikings had to send the NFL’s best running back to his couch for eight weeks.

The Wilf’s are business men, however, and never once did I expect them to release Peterson from his lucrative contract.  In the beginning of September, he was their single most valuable human resource, and you don’t get as rich as Zygi Wilf by selling stocks when they are at their lowest.  I expect the Vikings to employ this same basic principle of business in the coming weeks as they are forced to make a decision regarding Peterson’s status with the organization.

Translation:  I think Peterson will be on the field as soon as the NFL will allow it.

It is tough to pay a guy that much money without getting anything in return.  It is nearly impossible to trade a player in the offseason if you aren’t even willing to play him yourself.  It is quite difficult to recover the trade value that has been lost without letting Peterson take some handoffs and show the 31 other teams why he is still more than just a troubled running back.

Nothing makes any amount of business sense, at least from where I am sitting, other than getting Peterson back in pads as soon as possible.

I still think there are human elements at play here, but I fully expect the investment gurus within the Wilf Family to aggressively attempt to recover Peterson’s stock value, and I don’t think that will be motivated by anything other than a desire to increase the perceived value of employee number 28.

Rick Spielman says he didn’t know about the formal allegations against Adrian Peterson (notice the inclusion of the word “formal”) until Friday, which is when the rest of us found out about them.  Spielman says that the organization is still in the process of gathering facts, trying to avoid a knee-jerk reaction, and that all options are still on the table.

“Friday night was the first we heard of the formal allegations against Adrian Peterson, and we decided, as an organization, that to deactivate him this weekend was in the best interests of everybody concerned,” Spielman told Sal Paolantonio.

For all of the reasons that Arif has put forth, releasing Peterson probably makes the best business sense, and maybe even the best football sense.  There could end up being an emotional factor that weighs into the decision, a willingness to help Peterson improve as a person, but it is looking more an more like a release is the likeliest scenario.

Ian Rapoport of NFLN is reporting this morning that the Vikings are willing to keep Peterson deactivated for multiple games, if that best allows them to make an informed decision.

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Photo provided courtesy of Vikings.com

Don’t you love the NFL offseason?  If you thought the wait for the NFL draft was bad, we’re currently experiencing the worst part of the year for football fans. For those finding ways to supplement your withdraws with another type of football, I’m jealous. For myself, in hopes of filling the void, I’ve watched and re-watched the practice highlights looking for something to stand out.  I’ve also done a great deal of thinking around the current depth chart, trying to predict where the 2014 Vikings will make their greatest strides.

When looking at a defense full of holes in 2013, it isn’t difficult to identify the area in need of the largest improvement. Second to only the Philadelphia Eagles, the Vikings ranked 31st in total passing defense in 2013, surrendering an average of 287 yards through the air per game. To throw salt on the wound, the Vikings allowed 37 passing TDs and a completion percentage of 64.7%, a completion percentage so high that only 6 quarterbacks averaged a higher number for the 2013 season.

The Vikings secondary wasn’t just the weakest spot on the field, it made an opposing quarterback look like a pro bowler week in and week out.

The defensive collapses were frustrating to watch. Each week, fans watched in agony as the defense gave up more 3rd & long completions, some of which cost the Vikings wins and ultimately cost Head Coach Leslie Frazier and staff their jobs. There is no quick fix for a defensive unit as broken as the Vikings secondary. Was it the scheme or the personnel? Let’s take a closer look at how General Manager Rick Spielman has addressed the troubled secondary entering the 2014 season.

It has been a little while since we’ve gone around the web and checked in with all of our various friends.  If you think our Blogroll is missing a good quality Vikings site please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments section and I’ll get them added right away.

Now, without further delay, here is some of the best stuff out there this week:

 

 

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 Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has a great track record of getting the most out of his linebackers. After the Vikings selected Anthony Barr with 9th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, Zimmer is certainly excited to get an opportunity to mold Barr into the dynamic playmaker he thinks he can be. Zimmer has never had a linebacker with the size, speed and athleticism of the 6-5 255 pound UCLA product. Barr has extreme potential but he is very raw and still learning the linebacker position. Barr was not used as an off-the-line backer nor was he asked to drop into coverage often. 

Anthony Barr had some monster hits and big plays last season, but for the most part he didn’t show up on tape as often as expected. Part of that is because he spent a good chunk of time lined up on the line of scrimmage, sometimes in a three point stance trying to bull rush offensive tackles. Barr is not a strength power player, he is more of a finesse speed guy that will benefit when moved to a more traditional linebacker position.

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