InjuriesSpeculation

“But The Sun Came Up The Next Day”

[quote_box_center]It’s tough today, but tomorrow the sun — my wife passed away seven years ago, right, but the sun came up the next day, the world kept spinning and people kept going to work, and that’s what we’re going to do.[/quote_box_center]

Mike Zimmer’s quote above came from August 30th’s press conference regarding Teddy Bridgewater’s knee injury that derails many of the plans the Vikings had in the works for 2016.

Now, however, it is the morning of August 31st and the sun has indeed made an appearance today.

As that sun shines on a Minnesota Vikings team preparing for their final preseason game, it reveals a talented young team that is still in the process of evaluating a roster that will surely yield many tough decisions in the coming days.

The backup quarterback situation on this Rick Spielman roster will certainly be scrutinized and criticized by media analysts and fans alike, as is only fair. There will be a certain amount of hypocrisy involved, however, as many of those same individuals practically screamed “heresy!” at the mere thought of drafting another quarterback or signing a guy like Nick Foles.

I’m not here to play the blame game (yet), but I do know that the blame will be coming in hot from many angles soon enough. As someone that reads every comment this site gets, and every social media response that we generate, I would also generalize that Spielman treated the backup quarterback situation through action with about the same sense of urgency that fans displayed through words.

With real life happenings now fully overtaking everybody’s “needs lists” from March, the game has changed on the Minnesota Vikings, and there is still an entire football season ahead. In the aftermath, and with the sun still coming up, here is where I think this team stands:

UNITED BY STRONG LEADERSHIP

Mike Zimmer is in a strong position to really put an early exclamation point on his career as Minnesota’s head coach. He has a fairly well-rounded and deep roster, with very few exceptions, and now has the chance to show that he is a leader of men in the face of great adversity.

Losing his franchise quarterback to devastating injury right before the regular season opener is not going to be easy to overcome, by any means. He is going to have to rally his troops, give the home crowd something to roar about, and maintain focus on piling up the W’s. If he successfully does that, though, and navigates the obstacles with grace and proficiency it will be doubly as impressive as his handling of the Adrian Peterson abuse situation that hampered his rookie season as head coach.

Speaking of Peterson, the entire offense will now presumably need to revert back to him as the undisputed leader of the offense. Considering his many years of experience with putting teams on his back, with carrying the load via superhuman efforts, this could end up being a season that defines his Hall of Fame career more than any other.

There is a lot of pressure on both of these guys, a lot more than there was 24 hours ago, to lead this team to points and victories in Bridgewater’s absence. Whether or not the duo can find the success needed remains unseen, but I do think this is a pair of personalities that are well suited to navigate through tall weeds… and bring their team with them.

CHAMPIONSHIP CALIBER DEFENSE

If the Vikings struggle to move the ball well, if they settle for more field goals that would’ve been touchdowns, then this injury places more pressure on the defense to perform well.

There are a lot of unknowns in the sentence above, and I certainly don’t want to assume the worst, but I do think this is a defense that is as talented and deep as any in the NFL today. I think they are this year’s version of last year’s Broncos. And I mean that… I’ve been so excited to watch this defense in regular season action.

The Vikings have about a half dozen guys as backups right now that I genuinely believe would start for most teams. They’ve got youngsters Trae Waynes, Eric Kendricks and Danielle Hunter that really appear poised for a certain amount of greatness this year. They have dynamite game-changers in Harrison Smith and Anthony Barr. And I’d continue on in an effort not to leave anyone out… but you all have been reading Vikings Territory long enough to know all the names and how much talent there is.

This defense needs to feed off of the new batch of doubters, those that think they can’t succeed without Bridgewater, and go smack every team they face right in the mouth before stealing their lunch money and finding their own ways to put points on the board.

GO SEARCHING FOR SOLUTIONS

The Vikings chose not to invest draft picks (Willie Beavers selected over Dak Prescott) or additional funds (Ryan Fitzpatrick was out there forever) into the backup quarterback situation, but now they have to deal with the ramifications of that decision from both a short and long term perspective.

In the short term, the Vikings really only have Shaun Hill and Joel Stave as a healthy quarterbacks at the moment. That will change soon, I assure you, and it might even change before this post goes live. The Vikings don’t want to go into Thursday’s game with the intentions of playing Shaun Hill too extensively, as they’d be a couple injuries away from deciding between a forfeit or playing Jerick McKinnon at quarterback.

Beyond that, the Vikings are almost certainly going to consider free agent and trade options that present an upgrade to what Hill has to offer. Whether or not they find anything is another story, and it is a story we will eventually be telling right here.

In the long term, like it or not, Rick Spielman and company are back to searching for potential franchise quarterbacks. There is no reason not to believe Bridgewater will make a full recovery, as Eric Sugarman expects him to, but there is also no particular reason to believe that knee will ever be fully trusted again. Keeping an eye out for, and starting files on, potential starting quarterbacks for the future simply must be a part of the process now.

The Vikings quarterback situation is back to the state of turmoil it was in prior to Bridgewater’s selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, but miracles appear in the most unexpected of places, and getting our hopes up (and shattered) is all a part of the experience as Minnesota Vikings fans.

At the absolute very least, it will be interesting to monitor where things go from here. After all, the world is still spinning and it is time for the front office to go to work.

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Adam Warwas

Adam Warwas (Founder) has been writing about the Vikings for a total of eight years. Five of those years have been here at Vikings Territory where he continues to surround himself with enough talented individuals that people keep coming back. As proud as he is of what Vikings Territory has become, his real treasures are in his home... a beautiful wife and three amazing children (and a dog named Percy).

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25 Comments

  1. I’d be in favor of trading for Kaepernick or Glennon.

    Otherwise, my thoughts and best wishes are with Teddy and Sully.

    1. Kaepernick lost 40 pounds of muscle. He had 3 offseason surgeries. He has no strength left. He sucks. He is a disgrace. No NO NO!!!

    2. Let’s stop the talk and make a bold move and trade next years 1,3,5 and go get Philip rivers.

  2. If Heinicke had shown a little more judgement in the Spring, I’d still be pretty confident going into the season with him, Hill and Stave. Sigh!

    1. Hill will be fine. Norv will change the offense to run around him. The offense might actually be better, we don’t know. I just wish the Vikes had a better backup option to Stave.

  3. Just reported at 9:50am eastern, the private plane for Zygi Wilf has landed in Hattiesburg with three Vikings on board.

      1. 3 weeks before practicing. Another 3 weeks to get game ready. Mr. Door kicker is still a long ways out.

  4. I just heard a rumor that we’re “strongly considering” Mark Sanchez if Denver cuts him. I’d be fine with that but Hill will have to play the first few games no matter who they sign. If he looks good for the first 4-5 games, I’d be happy with Hill, Heinicke, and Stave heading into the second half of the year. If Hill starts to struggle midway through the season, Heinicke is as good or better than anyone that we could sign as of now. They’ll have to bring in a short term backup right now though. I’d hate to see Stave get rushed into a starting role if something happened to Hill

    1. No way I want Sanchez. I read somewhere he’s thrown more picks than TD’s…that’s the last thing we need. That would, in fact, be the exact opposite of what this team needs.

  5. Philip rivers folks. Chargers bad. Give 1,3,5 next year. Teddy needs 1-2 years to be back to 100%. Teddy will only be 25 in two years. We are built to win now. Let’s go for it We have two # 3 and two #4 next year. So we are not giving up are future draft

    1. I like your thinking but no way does any franchise give up their franchise quarterback. If you really wanted Rivers (a franchise quarterback), you would have to offer something like 3 1st rounders and 3 2nd rounders. Regardless what the number, it would be bank robbery expensive.

  6. Yep, sure enough the sun came up this morning. I’m still thankful I’m up here at Tangle Lakes, all by myself though, as I’m still not fit to be around other human beings. This too, shall pass, as after being a Viking fan since 1961, I’m used to these gut-wrenching aspects of being a Vikings fan.

  7. I don’t understand why they didn’t keep Sully around as at least some trade bait! Someone will definitely want him. Unless he’s just physically unable but he looked fine in the first two preseason games. Teddy you hang in there buddy! We are sending the good vibes your way to heal quickly!

    1. The Vikes tried to trade Sully. There were no takers. Why would they trade for somebody that is going to get cut. Sully didn’t play the last game. The Vikes like Easton better.

  8. Things that can help in addition to getting a back up to Hill until Heinicke is ready.

    1. Special Teams
    Punter yes punter we will be doing a lot of it. Either our current punter needs to be better at nailing the opposition inside the 10 or we need to find one who can.
    Kick Return really need to take them out and try real hard to score, not just advance.
    Oh and of course cannot give up scores.

    2. The D
    Zimmer has focused on more turnovers. Now he needs to continue that focus but emphasize getting TD’s after the pick or fumble. (Don’t rely on the offense to score.

    3. The O
    WE are going to run more and everyone knows it so mix it up with AP and Jet split in the backfield. At least make them guess which side is getting it.
    Involve CP more yes gadget plays but he is another breaker.
    YELL IN TO HILL’S EAR EVERY TIME HE PASSES —- DO NOT GET SACKED THROW IT AWAY.. Behind him is Stave.

    In baseball 1-0 win can be a beautiful thing. In Minnesota Viking football 2016 version 3-0 Victory is also a wonderful thing.

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