Have the Vikings Improved their Depth Chart?

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Mothman
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Have the Vikings Improved their Depth Chart?

Post by Mothman » Tue May 01, 2012 9:04 am

Pelissero takes a position-by-position look at how he expected the Vikings to address the draft and what ended up happening:

Draft Another Step for Vikings Improving "Abysmal" Depth
Injuries didn't doom the Minnesota Vikings in 2011, but they did contribute to just how ugly things got on the road to 3-13.

Forty players started at least one game on offense or defense. By the end, the list included far too many guys who either weren't ready (Brandon Burton, Mistral Raymond, Christian Ballard) or simply have no business starting in the NFL (Devin Aromashodu, Kenny Onatolu, Marcus Sherels).

"We had some situations where our depth at certain positions was abysmal," coach Leslie Frazier said on Sunday. "You lose one guy and, man, you're virtually playing with guys who should only be playing special teams."

It's in that way the Vikings' activity in the second wave of free agency, coupled with the 10-man draft class they compiled last week, may make the most immediate impact.
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Re: Have the Vikings Improved their Depth Chart?

Post by mansquatch » Tue May 01, 2012 9:29 am

Yes, But…
…it really depends on how guys develop.

The fact that they did not draft LB might mean several things: Are they really high on Jasper Brinkley? Maybe they think EG can play mike? This draft class was very weak at LB, that may also have played a role. In that case you cannot fault them for not wasting a late round pick on a guy they may have felt had no shot of making the cut in the NFL?

I think the question at DT are reasonable, but is Guion that much of a drop (or even a drop) from Remi last year? Not sure on that.

Things will change before the season opener, but my guess is these will be the areas of biggest concern:
1.) OL: Does the plan for Charlie Johnson at LG and the competition for RG pan out. What happens with Phil Loadholt? The latter is, I think, the biggest question?
2.) WR: Probably the biggest question of all: Harvin and then who? Ideally Simpson can be a force post suspension and Jenkins can provide steady production, but will it happen? After those two long shots the depth chart gets ugly unless one of our draft picks can be a surprise. Childs could be that guy if his injuries are behind him, but NFL WR typically take a few seasons to emerge. I think this will continue to be a weak position group aside from Harvin. If the TE perform, that could offset to some degree… Harvin really just needs another receiving threat, it doesn’t need to be a WR.
3.) TE: We see where we are going with this position, but does it pan out? Does Carlson stay healthy and does Rudy step up as a full time receiving threat?
4.) LB: Who is in the middle? I think this is bit over blown given that the passing we face in our division will increase the time we spend in nickel and we are solid with EH and CG in that package. As I said above was it a weak class or are the coaches high on JB and/or EG?
5.) DB: Does Cook come back strong, does Smith pan out at Safety, does Winfield have another year in the tank, if not who steps up? Is Allen solid in Nickel? Does Raymond improve at S? Etc. Etc. Etc. I think this group will be improved in 2012 after being over hyped for the 1st half of thes season, assuming they stay healthy.
6.) Of course it is all moot, if Ponder can’t get better. I think he’ll be better, but the question is how much better. The rest of the above means crap if he keeps tossing picks like he did last year.
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Re: Have the Vikings Improved their Depth Chart?

Post by Mothman » Tue May 01, 2012 11:29 am

mansquatch wrote:Yes, But…
…it really depends on how guys develop.

The fact that they did not draft LB might mean several things: Are they really high on Jasper Brinkley? Maybe they think EG can play mike? This draft class was very weak at LB, that may also have played a role. In that case you cannot fault them for not wasting a late round pick on a guy they may have felt had no shot of making the cut in the NFL?

I think the question at DT are reasonable, but is Guion that much of a drop (or even a drop) from Remi last year? Not sure on that.

Things will change before the season opener, but my guess is these will be the areas of biggest concern:
1.) OL: Does the plan for Charlie Johnson at LG and the competition for RG pan out. What happens with Phil Loadholt? The latter is, I think, the biggest question?
2.) WR: Probably the biggest question of all: Harvin and then who? Ideally Simpson can be a force post suspension and Jenkins can provide steady production, but will it happen? After those two long shots the depth chart gets ugly unless one of our draft picks can be a surprise. Childs could be that guy if his injuries are behind him, but NFL WR typically take a few seasons to emerge. I think this will continue to be a weak position group aside from Harvin. If the TE perform, that could offset to some degree… Harvin really just needs another receiving threat, it doesn’t need to be a WR.
3.) TE: We see where we are going with this position, but does it pan out? Does Carlson stay healthy and does Rudy step up as a full time receiving threat?
4.) LB: Who is in the middle? I think this is bit over blown given that the passing we face in our division will increase the time we spend in nickel and we are solid with EH and CG in that package. As I said above was it a weak class or are the coaches high on JB and/or EG?
5.) DB: Does Cook come back strong, does Smith pan out at Safety, does Winfield have another year in the tank, if not who steps up? Is Allen solid in Nickel? Does Raymond improve at S? Etc. Etc. Etc. I think this group will be improved in 2012 after being over hyped for the 1st half of thes season, assuming they stay healthy.
6.) Of course it is all moot, if Ponder can’t get better. I think he’ll be better, but the question is how much better. The rest of the above means crap if he keeps tossing picks like he did last year.
Good analysis. I'm pretty much on the same page with you. Regarding Ponder, I'm sure we'll still see some growing pains in the form of mental mistakes but if the receiving (including TE) and OL play improves around him, that should help him play better. Ponder finished last season with 13 TDs to go with his 13 INTs. If the talent around him can put him in better positions, he may respond with better play and change that ratio to favor TDs. :)

Overall, as you said, improved depth is really going to depend on how a lot of players develop. At this point, I don't think we can say with any certainty that the team's depth is significantly better but it should be and hopefully, the opportunity for the coaching staff to actually work with the players for a full offseason will help everybody's development.
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Re: Have the Vikings Improved their Depth Chart?

Post by losperros » Tue May 01, 2012 12:27 pm

I'll go along with what you two are saying. It's a "wait and see" dynamic. I don't want to guarantee anything at this point.

That said, I believe the Vikings depth has improved...for the future. Yeah, some of the rookies are going to need a year, but the Vikings acquired some decent picks this year, meaning there's raw talent there that I think can translate to pro ball within a year.

No, I'm not looking through purple glasses, but rather I'm just thinking about what I saw from some of these picks in college ball. For example, both Wright and Childs played in the SEC against some of the best and most aggressive Ds in the nation. They understand both the pro offense and spread styles. Will there be bumps in the road? Yes. I think there will also be pedal to metal moments from these guys during their rookie season, too.
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Re: Have the Vikings Improved their Depth Chart?

Post by mansquatch » Tue May 01, 2012 1:37 pm

losperros wrote:I'll go along with what you two are saying. It's a "wait and see" dynamic. I don't want to guarantee anything at this point.

That said, I believe the Vikings depth has improved...for the future. Yeah, some of the rookies are going to need a year, but the Vikings acquired some decent picks this year, meaning there's raw talent there that I think can translate to pro ball within a year.

No, I'm not looking through purple glasses, but rather I'm just thinking about what I saw from some of these picks in college ball. For example, both Wright and Childs played in the SEC against some of the best and most aggressive Ds in the nation. They understand both the pro offense and spread styles. Will there be bumps in the road? Yes. I think there will also be pedal to metal moments from these guys during their rookie season, too.

I agree with your assessment. I was writing more to this upcoming season as most folks seem to focus on the present.

You can't complain about a draft where the GM doesn't reach much and also addresses many areas of need. LB got neglected, but I'm giving him a pass on that since even before the draft they were talking about how lean this year was at LB, especially MLB. With some luck one of the guys will step up or maybe we'll be able to draft for it in 2013.
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Re: Have the Vikings Improved their Depth Chart?

Post by jackal » Tue May 01, 2012 3:55 pm

I think we did pretty well for the little time our GM has had to turn things around.

We got rid of some older under performing guys and didn't over spend and still brought
in some talent AKA Jerome Simpson.. Can he stay our of trouble ? time will tell..

Chris Carter had some drug issues when the eagles dropped him and it woke him up
and he became a great player for us.

I agree LB seemed didn't seem to get a lot attention.. maybe the wavier wire might help
us with this..
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Re: Have the Vikings Improved their Depth Chart?

Post by Eli » Tue May 01, 2012 4:34 pm

It's definitely better than it was the day before the draft began.

Debatable about whether or not depth is better than last season, though. The Vikings released or didn't resign a lot of veterans. Of course, that's what rebuilding teams do.

Depth by position:
  • Defensive secondary. The secondary will be better, albeit with some growing pains with a few rookies. But I'm not sure it's really much deeper. Lose Cook, Winfield and Harrison Smith and they're no better off than last year.
  • Linebacker. Definitely not as deep right now as last year. With EJ probably not returning, the signing of nobody of note during the offseason, and having drafted just a single LB in the 7th round as an afterthought.
  • Defensive line. Largely unchanged.
  • Offensive line. Hard to say. Released two veteran starters, added one rookie starter. It will be as much (maybe more) of a factor of the younger players maturing as it will be about drafting a starting left tackle.
  • Wire receiver. Definitely should be deeper. Hopefully better, as well. We'll see about those 4th rounders from Arkansas.
  • Running back. Less deep. Not knowing if Peterson will start the season, not having an obvious 3rd down back, both negatives. Remains to be seen who/what will shake out of the bunch of journeyman fullbacks that they've brought in.
  • Tight end. Scratch. There's the signing of John Carlson to essentially replace Visante Shiancoe, but Rhett Ellison can only hope to match even an old Jim Kleinsasser if the strategy is to turn him into a blocking TE. Shuler and Reisner may vie for a backup TE position and each will have another year of experience, so maybe that's where the difference could be found.
  • Quarterback. Same. I don't see Joe Webb, who will likely be the first backup, getting much better. The Vikings have zero depth at QB.
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Re: Have the Vikings Improved their Depth Chart?

Post by BGM » Tue May 01, 2012 6:27 pm

Mothman wrote:Pelissero takes a position-by-position look at how he expected the Vikings to address the draft and what ended up happening:

Draft Another Step for Vikings Improving "Abysmal" Depth
I generally agree with this, but I am not sure Christian Ballard was not ready. He actually did quite well in reserve duty, IIRC. Did not seem to be lost or overmatched, unless my memory is faulty. In fact, I was hoping to see more of him!
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Re: Have the Vikings Improved their Depth Chart?

Post by Demi » Tue May 01, 2012 6:37 pm

"We had some situations where our depth at certain positions was abysmal," coach Leslie Frazier said on Sunday. "You lose one guy and, man, you're virtually playing with guys who should only be playing special teams."
Well maybe if they signed more players based on their actual skills at the position, and not because they're good special teamers, this wouldn't be the case...

(I'll just go ahead and believe it was a veiled shot at Spielman. :twisted: )
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Re: Have the Vikings Improved their Depth Chart?

Post by Eli » Tue May 01, 2012 7:12 pm

mansquatch wrote:1.) OL: Does the plan for Charlie Johnson at LG and the competition for RG pan out.
Charlie Johnson is a giant question mark. One thing that everybody appears afraid to consider is that Charlie Johnson may not be a very good guard. From what I understand, he only really started guard at Indianapolis in 2008, and didn't exactly impress anyone. He moved to left tackle the following year.

Taking a lineman that plays tackle poorly and moving him to guard is no guarantee that he'll be a decent guard. I hope it works out, but I don't expect a miracle.
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Re: Have the Vikings Improved their Depth Chart?

Post by Demi » Tue May 01, 2012 8:24 pm

Eli wrote: Charlie Johnson is a giant question mark. One thing that everybody appears afraid to consider is that Charlie Johnson may not be a very good guard. From what I understand, he only really started guard at Indianapolis in 2008, and didn't exactly impress anyone. He moved to left tackle the following year.

Taking a lineman that plays tackle poorly and moving him to guard is no guarantee that he'll be a decent guard. I hope it works out, but I don't expect a miracle.
They must have seen something though. Doesn't seem like very often guys are moved from guard to tackle. (in 2008 despite starting every game, he was credited with giving up zero sacks and only two penalties. I'm sure plenty of that is Manning, but still pretty good for a guy in his first entire season as the starter)
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Re: Have the Vikings Improved their Depth Chart?

Post by mefford76 » Tue May 01, 2012 9:23 pm

We got a lot younger. I am not sure if that classifies as better. This team is going to stink this season, but it will be fun to watch all the young guys and see how they do. We should play from behind quiet a bit so it should be fun to watch them air it out. At least we're not starting McNabb this season.
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Re: Have the Vikings Improved their Depth Chart?

Post by HardcoreVikesFan » Wed May 02, 2012 12:14 am

The Vikings easily improved their depth chart in the draft. I am very excited to see what Josh Robinson, Robert Blanton, Harrison Smith can bring to the secondary in particular.
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Re: Have the Vikings Improved their Depth Chart?

Post by mansquatch » Wed May 02, 2012 8:13 am

I actually think the secondary will be much better than 2011. Towards the horrible end of last year we also lost our 2nd stringers to injuvry. They only starter who played the majority of the season back there was Cedric Griffen, and we all saw how well that panned out.

Depth here is still an issue. Safety is still a massive question mark, albeit a better one than it was last year. If Smith can be a year one contributor that will be huge. However, past him things get dicey. Sanford has experience, but has shown to be just not that good. Raymond has shown potential, but is he fully developed? Past those two, we have guys that for the most part just are not ready.

IMO the short term difference between the 2012 draft being average and good to great will be how Harrison Smith pans out. Time will tell.

CB isn't as bad. Winfield and Cook are both solid. Allen is a respectable backup/nickel guy. Sapp is capable of playing coverage. Past that it gets uglier, but by then you are to the 5th guy on the depth chart. That isn't awful depth IMO.

I think the story in 2012 is going to be defined more by the offense than the defense anyways. If the seconardy can stay healthy and our DL can continue to be as great as it has been, then our defense will be decent. The question is if the Offense can score some points, keep them off the field, and not commit costly turnovers. Of course, that all points to Ponder.
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Re: Have the Vikings Improved their Depth Chart?

Post by dead_poet » Wed May 02, 2012 8:41 am

mansquatch wrote:CB isn't as bad. Winfield and Cook are both solid. Allen is a respectable backup/nickel guy. Sapp is capable of playing coverage. Past that it gets uglier, but by then you are to the 5th guy on the depth chart. That isn't awful depth IMO.
Sapp is an UFA. He won't be back.
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