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 Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem 
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Post Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
This is a really good article from MMQB/SI's Andy Benoit:

http://mmqb.si.com/mmqb/2016/10/24/nfl- ... m-bradford

It focuses on the Vikes OL issues but it also addresses why they probably call some of the plays they do and what they may do to compensate for their blocking problems. Unsurprisingly, there's a lot being published about the Vikes OL today but this article is a bit more informative and insightful than most of what I've seen.


Mon Oct 24, 2016 2:59 pm
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
Watching other teams like the Steelers, Raiders, Falcons, and Cowboys makes me jealous of their offensive line play. The difference is astounding - especially in pass protection.


Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:37 pm
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
Mothman wrote:
This is a really good article from MMQB/SI's Andy Benoit:

http://mmqb.si.com/mmqb/2016/10/24/nfl- ... m-bradford

It focuses on the Vikes OL issues but it also addresses why they probably call some of the plays they do and what they may do to compensate for their blocking problems. Unsurprisingly, there's a lot being published about the Vikes OL today but this article is a bit more informative and insightful than most of what I've seen.


Good read Jim and a good look at the bigger picture.

The thing is probably next year we will be looking at almost a whole new line.


Mon Oct 24, 2016 4:20 pm
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
TSonn wrote:
Watching other teams like the Steelers, Raiders, Falcons, and Cowboys makes me jealous of their offensive line play. The difference is astounding - especially in pass protection.


Why is their line play so much better? Do you think it's talent or coaching?


Mon Oct 24, 2016 4:23 pm
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
TSonn wrote:
Watching other teams like the Steelers, Raiders, Falcons, and Cowboys makes me jealous of their offensive line play. The difference is astounding - especially in pass protection.


How about the Patriots?

Brady can write a book on must pass pro's!


Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:11 pm
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
Mothman wrote:
This is a really good article from MMQB/SI's Andy Benoit:

http://mmqb.si.com/mmqb/2016/10/24/nfl- ... m-bradford

It focuses on the Vikes OL issues but it also addresses why they probably call some of the plays they do and what they may do to compensate for their blocking problems. Unsurprisingly, there's a lot being published about the Vikes OL today but this article is a bit more informative and insightful than most of what I've seen.


It's a good article, but...

:sleep: :sleep: :sleep:

Everyone knows this is the Achilles' heel of the Vikings. They've managed to compensate for it prior to yesterday, but Philly found a way to exploit it to a degree that, well, I really don't ever recall seeing in pro football to be honest. That had to have been one the highest numbers of arm-swats I've ever seen given up in a single game.

As I stated in another post, it's a long season and I think the Vikings will resume their winning ways, warts and all. I don't think they'll be able to go very far with this particular wart once they get into the playoffs, but it will still be a nice ride with a lot of impressive wins. This is still a very good team that has room to grow yet, but if they are going to be serious contenders they'll need much better blocking up front.


Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:50 pm
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
This article hits home regarding the lack of overall athleticism among the Vikings OL players. It's been a problem for years.

The OL limits what the skill players can do. They don't have the quickness to help diversify the running game and they probably can't be relied to help a quick strike pass attack either.

I understand Zimmer's frustration. Even when the starters are healthy, the OL is slow and ineffective.


Tue Oct 25, 2016 11:03 am
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
On the one hand, I understand Zimmer's frustration. But on the other, he needed to do more (along with Rick) to address what many of us clearly saw as a weakness this past offseason. They used some dubious reasoning, relying on guys with questionable health (Sully, Load, and Kalil) or of questionable quality (Andre Smith, even Boone to a certain extent). Their plan for competition / backups was similarly reliant on third rate talent: undrafted or very late round guys, essentially the top of the NFL's scrap heap. Now Zimmer is talking about not looking for someone to play off the street, but to be honest that approach isn't much different from the one that they have taken in the recent past.

Why draft Treadwell when we have glaring needs at OL? Why even draft Mac Alexander in the second round? As much as I like both of those prospects, we were extremely hard up for a talent infusion at our glaring weakness... but Zimmer and Spielman chose to address it as if it were an unimportant position for success. I really hope they can get their excrement together, otherwise I'll be losing mine if we lose to the Bears.


Tue Oct 25, 2016 12:02 pm
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
Texas Vike wrote:
On the one hand, I understand Zimmer's frustration. But on the other, he needed to do more (along with Rick) to address what many of us clearly saw as a weakness this past offseason. They used some dubious reasoning, relying on guys with questionable health (Sully, Load, and Kalil) or of questionable quality (Andre Smith, even Boone to a certain extent). Their plan for competition / backups was similarly reliant on third rate talent: undrafted or very late round guys, essentially the top of the NFL's scrap heap. Now Zimmer is talking about not looking for someone to play off the street, but to be honest that approach isn't much different from the one that they have taken in the recent past.

Why draft Treadwell when we have glaring needs at OL? Why even draft Mac Alexander in the second round? As much as I like both of those prospects, we were extremely hard up for a talent infusion at our glaring weakness... but Zimmer and Spielman chose to address it as if it were an unimportant position for success. I really hope they can get their excrement together, otherwise I'll be losing mine if we lose to the Bears.


:appl:


Tue Oct 25, 2016 12:06 pm
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
Mothman wrote:
Texas Vike wrote:
On the one hand, I understand Zimmer's frustration. But on the other, he needed to do more (along with Rick) to address what many of us clearly saw as a weakness this past offseason. They used some dubious reasoning, relying on guys with questionable health (Sully, Load, and Kalil) or of questionable quality (Andre Smith, even Boone to a certain extent). Their plan for competition / backups was similarly reliant on third rate talent: undrafted or very late round guys, essentially the top of the NFL's scrap heap. Now Zimmer is talking about not looking for someone to play off the street, but to be honest that approach isn't much different from the one that they have taken in the recent past.

Why draft Treadwell when we have glaring needs at OL? Why even draft Mac Alexander in the second round? As much as I like both of those prospects, we were extremely hard up for a talent infusion at our glaring weakness... but Zimmer and Spielman chose to address it as if it were an unimportant position for success. I really hope they can get their excrement together, otherwise I'll be losing mine if we lose to the Bears.


:appl:


Where's that taking a bow emoji? :lol:

Jim, you and I were among those arguing for this during the offseason (if not before). Why don't Zimmer and Spielman read our takes? :lol:

:soap


Tue Oct 25, 2016 12:10 pm
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
Texas Vike wrote:
Where's that taking a bow emoji? :lol:

Jim, you and I were among those arguing for this during the offseason (if not before). Why don't Zimmer and Spielman read our takes? :lol:

:soap



It's hard to imagine. You would think they'd be eagerly consuming our every thought on the team! :lol:


Tue Oct 25, 2016 12:41 pm
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
Mothman wrote:
Texas Vike wrote:
Where's that taking a bow emoji? :lol:

Jim, you and I were among those arguing for this during the offseason (if not before). Why don't Zimmer and Spielman read our takes? :lol:

:soap



It's hard to imagine. You would think they'd be eagerly consuming our every thought on the team! :lol:


Hate to burst your bubbles, guys, but the OL has been a major source of need since day one of Zimmer becoming the Vikings head coach. And a bunch of us have been talking about it the past few years. :tongue:

Hard to believe the offensive line's erratic play and questionable depth somehow escaped Zimmer, Norv and the Vikings coaching staff. But it looks as if something along those lines happened.


Tue Oct 25, 2016 1:46 pm
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
Texas Vike wrote:
On the one hand, I understand Zimmer's frustration. But on the other, he needed to do more (along with Rick) to address what many of us clearly saw as a weakness this past offseason. They used some dubious reasoning, relying on guys with questionable health (Sully, Load, and Kalil) or of questionable quality (Andre Smith, even Boone to a certain extent). Their plan for competition / backups was similarly reliant on third rate talent: undrafted or very late round guys, essentially the top of the NFL's scrap heap. Now Zimmer is talking about not looking for someone to play off the street, but to be honest that approach isn't much different from the one that they have taken in the recent past.

Why draft Treadwell when we have glaring needs at OL? Why even draft Mac Alexander in the second round? As much as I like both of those prospects, we were extremely hard up for a talent infusion at our glaring weakness... but Zimmer and Spielman chose to address it as if it were an unimportant position for success. I really hope they can get their excrement together, otherwise I'll be losing mine if we lose to the Bears.


I don't consider 4th round picks "very late round" nor the top of the NFL scrap heap. Lets not forget we got guys like Everson Griffen, Brian Robison, and Stefon Diggs in these areas. Even solid contributors like Shamar Stephen, Adam Thielen and Andrew Sendejo in the late rounds/undrafted. So Clemmings and Beavers shouldn't have been throw away picks, maybe it's a scouting issue?

I don't recall anyone really upset with the Treadwell pick (except me because I wanted Fuller :) but I digress). You could make a case for the Alexander pick, that seemed more like a value than need pick. However, I recall a lot of people wanting a DT like Billings in the 2nd. I know a few wanted a C in what looked like a good class for that position. But a G/C drafted doesn't fix the fact that both our tackles are injured. You make valid points but I think there's a degree of hindsight involved as well. I could be wrong as I'm going off memory but that is the overall vibe I got from the forum during the draft.


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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
S197 wrote:
Texas Vike wrote:
On the one hand, I understand Zimmer's frustration. But on the other, he needed to do more (along with Rick) to address what many of us clearly saw as a weakness this past offseason. They used some dubious reasoning, relying on guys with questionable health (Sully, Load, and Kalil) or of questionable quality (Andre Smith, even Boone to a certain extent). Their plan for competition / backups was similarly reliant on third rate talent: undrafted or very late round guys, essentially the top of the NFL's scrap heap. Now Zimmer is talking about not looking for someone to play off the street, but to be honest that approach isn't much different from the one that they have taken in the recent past.

Why draft Treadwell when we have glaring needs at OL? Why even draft Mac Alexander in the second round? As much as I like both of those prospects, we were extremely hard up for a talent infusion at our glaring weakness... but Zimmer and Spielman chose to address it as if it were an unimportant position for success. I really hope they can get their excrement together, otherwise I'll be losing mine if we lose to the Bears.


I don't consider 4th round picks "very late round" nor the top of the NFL scrap heap. Lets not forget we got guys like Everson Griffen, Brian Robison, and Stefon Diggs in these areas. Even solid contributors like Shamar Stephen, Adam Thielen and Andrew Sendejo in the late rounds/undrafted. So Clemmings and Beavers shouldn't have been throw away picks, maybe it's a scouting issue?

I don't recall anyone really upset with the Treadwell pick (except me because I wanted Fuller :) but I digress). You could make a case for the Alexander pick, that seemed more like a value than need pick. However, I recall a lot of people wanting a DT like Billings in the 2nd. I know a few wanted a C in what looked like a good class for that position. But a G/C drafted doesn't fix the fact that both our tackles are injured. You make valid points but I think there's a degree of hindsight involved as well. I could be wrong as I'm going off memory but that is the overall vibe I got from the forum during the draft.


On draft day we thought we still had Sullivan at Center, Loadholt was supposed to come back at RT, and Kalil wasn't on IR. The need for linemen was still obvious ... but not quite so glaring.

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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
Cliff wrote:
S197 wrote:
Texas Vike wrote:
On the one hand, I understand Zimmer's frustration. But on the other, he needed to do more (along with Rick) to address what many of us clearly saw as a weakness this past offseason. They used some dubious reasoning, relying on guys with questionable health (Sully, Load, and Kalil) or of questionable quality (Andre Smith, even Boone to a certain extent). Their plan for competition / backups was similarly reliant on third rate talent: undrafted or very late round guys, essentially the top of the NFL's scrap heap. Now Zimmer is talking about not looking for someone to play off the street, but to be honest that approach isn't much different from the one that they have taken in the recent past.

Why draft Treadwell when we have glaring needs at OL? Why even draft Mac Alexander in the second round? As much as I like both of those prospects, we were extremely hard up for a talent infusion at our glaring weakness... but Zimmer and Spielman chose to address it as if it were an unimportant position for success. I really hope they can get their excrement together, otherwise I'll be losing mine if we lose to the Bears.


I don't consider 4th round picks "very late round" nor the top of the NFL scrap heap. Lets not forget we got guys like Everson Griffen, Brian Robison, and Stefon Diggs in these areas. Even solid contributors like Shamar Stephen, Adam Thielen and Andrew Sendejo in the late rounds/undrafted. So Clemmings and Beavers shouldn't have been throw away picks, maybe it's a scouting issue?

I don't recall anyone really upset with the Treadwell pick (except me because I wanted Fuller :) but I digress). You could make a case for the Alexander pick, that seemed more like a value than need pick. However, I recall a lot of people wanting a DT like Billings in the 2nd. I know a few wanted a C in what looked like a good class for that position. But a G/C drafted doesn't fix the fact that both our tackles are injured. You make valid points but I think there's a degree of hindsight involved as well. I could be wrong as I'm going off memory but that is the overall vibe I got from the forum during the draft.


On draft day we thought we still had Sullivan at Center, Loadholt was supposed to come back at RT, and Kalil wasn't on IR. The need for linemen was still obvious ... but not quite so glaring.


Exactly. Losing Harris was also a huge blow. If he were here, perhaps they could kick Boone out to LT and use Sirles or Long on the right side. Not many teams are going to survive 4 injuries on their line.


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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
Doesn't the article sheds some light on the athleticism issue? The Vikings were not exactly anticipating AP being on IR after week 2, so in that respect doesn't it therefore imply that it would make a lot of sense to stick with the straight ahead type blockers vs more athletic types. That seems circular to me: If you have AP and he is, as the article says a "...straight ahead and impatient runner" as well as being the best offensive player on the team then it makes sense to draft and develop guys to accommodate him. One might conclude that the mistake is having a backup whose playstyle doesn't fit with the style of blocking the starter demands.

:deadhorse:

The OL is bad, but there is a certain amount of reflexivity going on here...

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Tue Oct 25, 2016 2:31 pm
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
S197 wrote:
I don't consider 4th round picks "very late round" nor the top of the NFL scrap heap. Lets not forget we got guys like Everson Griffen, Brian Robison, and Stefon Diggs in these areas. Even solid contributors like Shamar Stephen, Adam Thielen and Andrew Sendejo in the late rounds/undrafted. So Clemmings and Beavers shouldn't have been throw away picks, maybe it's a scouting issue?

I don't recall anyone really upset with the Treadwell pick (except me because I wanted Fuller :) but I digress). You could make a case for the Alexander pick, that seemed more like a value than need pick. However, I recall a lot of people wanting a DT like Billings in the 2nd. I know a few wanted a C in what looked like a good class for that position. But a G/C drafted doesn't fix the fact that both our tackles are injured. You make valid points but I think there's a degree of hindsight involved as well. I could be wrong as I'm going off memory but that is the overall vibe I got from the forum during the draft.


For what it's worth, I made it very clear during the offseason that I wanted them to draft OL early and often. :) I know I wasn't the only one to say that. As Craig wrote above, a bunch of us have been talking about it the past few years.

Honestly, I don't think there's much hindsight at work here at all. Everything from Andre Smith being a questionable pick-up to the potential that Sullivan and Loadholt wouldn't be viable this year to Kalil's propensity for injury and Clemmings inadequacy as a starter or quality backup were all discussed here in advance. We knew going into the offseason that depth at tackle was inadequate and we knew coming out of the preseason that it was still inadequate. Losing Harris hurt but the impact of that injury was made more significant by poor decisions and inadequate depth along the whole line.

I think scouting IS part of the problem but I firmly believe the bigger issue is the team's overall philosophy and approach to the line.

mansquatch wrote:
Doesn't the article sheds some light on the athleticism issue? The Vikings were not exactly anticipating AP being on IR after week 2, so in that respect doesn't it therefore imply that it would make a lot of sense to stick with the straight ahead type blockers vs more athletic types. That seems circular to me: If you have AP and he is, as the article says a "...straight ahead and impatient runner" as well as being the best offensive player on the team then it makes sense to draft and develop guys to accommodate him. One might conclude that the mistake is having a backup whose playstyle doesn't fit with the style of blocking the starter demands.

The OL is bad, but there is a certain amount of reflexivity going on here...


I think the author of the article mis-characterized Peterson's game so I don't consider the argument circular. peterson doesn't need straight-ahead blockers to be successful. They haven't spent the last several years running him primarily between the tackles because HE couldn't run outside. They simply didn't have the athleticism up front to run many of those outside plays. He's had the speed to get outside his whole career and he's shown that speed.


Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:03 pm
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
like someone above pointed out most team's wouldn't be able to overcome 3 offensive line starters being out either. and, i was all for drafting a receiver (at the time) but we are nearly half way through the season and treadwell hasn't even caught a single pass. hindsight is always 50/50, but right now he looks like a wasted pick that zimmer felt like he had to make at the time. and let's be honest, not many offensive lineman are usually drafted past maybe the 15th pick in the first round and we picked in the late 20's, so to think we were going to take a lineman there is utterly delusional. however, with that said, i would have totally agreed with taking one in the second round. at this point it is all moot we are doing nothing but splitting hairs. either this line somehow gels and becomes serviceable, or its lights out. that was the worst performance i've ever seen by a line i can remember last week, and my question is, what happens if someone else gets hurt?


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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
Mothman wrote:
For what it's worth, I made it very clear during the offseason that I wanted them to draft OL early and often. :) I know I wasn't the only one to say that. As Craig wrote above, a bunch of us have been talking about it the past few years.


Who though? I don't recall anyone banging the table for anyone in particular. I know you liked Cann (the previous year) but unless he can play tackle, that wouldn't have fixed the most glaring issue.

Quote:
Honestly, I don't think there's much hindsight at work here at all.


I think there's some. Lets say they didn't draft Treadwell/Alexander and they shored up the line. Then Diggs, Patterson, Thielen are injured. Would people not be saying the same thing? How can we go into the season with just Diggs? Patterson has done nothing his whole career, Thielen is some UDFA bum, now we're left with Wright, Johnson, and Fruchete! Way to screw it up Rick, everyone knew we needed a WR and Treadwell was just sitting there.

You can do this for every position on the field. I'd like to hear one example of a team losing the vast majority of their unit to injury and continue to cruise along like nothing changed. I just don't believe that exists in the modern NFL.


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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
S197 wrote:
Who though? I don't recall anyone banging the table for anyone in particular.

I know you liked Cann (the previous year) but unless he can play tackle, that wouldn't have fixed the most glaring issue.


Perhaps it wouldn't have fixed the most glaring issue they have now but it would have addressed a longstanding issue.

I don't want to get dragged down the "which specific player should they have acquired" road every time this subject comes up. They've had years to do better. We've discussed various options on the board many times and there are new options available every offseason. They get discussed too, during free agency and leading up to the draft. Suffice to say they had choices and they didn't have to end up with this lousy line.

Quote:
I think there's some. Lets say they didn't draft Treadwell/Alexander and they shored up the line. Then Diggs, Patterson, Thielen are injured. Would people not be saying the same thing?


I can't speak for anybody else but I wouldn't because Diggs, Patterson, Wright, Thielen and Johnson should be an adequate, if not scintillating, depth chart and Ive been advocating for them to use Patterson for 2 years anyway. Going into the season with them would have been understandable to me, especially because the need up front was glaring. It's not as if adding more talent at WR and OL were mutually exclusive options either.

OTOH, the OL depth chart wasn't good in the first place and again, it's not hindsight when the problems and issues were pointed out ahead of time. That's foresight, not hindsight. :)

Quote:
You can do this for every position on the field. I'd like to hear one example of a team losing the vast majority of their unit to injury and continue to cruise along like nothing changed.


Nobody is suggesting they should be able "to cruise along like nothing changed" but I think it's a stretch to say they've lost the vast majority of their line to injury when the 3 projected starters on the interior of the line are still starting. The issue to me is they were inadequately prepared from the start. When a team goes into the offseason needing to upgrade their line and comes out of it counting on injury-prone players, mediocre-to-bad starters who were problematic last year and bad depth, I see no reason to cut them much slack when they suffer for it. As far as I'm concerned, it was a bad plan and that's why it's yielded bad results for most of the first 6 weeks.


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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
When exactly did the sky start falling around here? Just after the Eagle's game? Come on...

Sure, a lot of people have pointed out the fact that the offensive line has been a problem now for years, and equally sure we can all criticize Spielman/Zimmer et. al. for not doing more about it, but before we go off the rails, let's also consider the fact that the Vikes are 5-1 and, and that despite a woeful offensive line, a QB who joined the team days before the season started, and absent their top running back, have somehow managed to win and are going to win a lot more IMHO because A) they don't typically make a lot of dumb mistakes, B) they have a very good defense that should keep them in most games and C) they are solid on special teams notwithstanding their very occasional screw up in that phase of the game. In the big scheme of things the Eagles game was an outlier and not typical of how this team has played recently or is likely to play again this season. It stands out and stings so much precisely because it was highly unusual.

All things considered, the offensive line might prevent them from having much post-season success. But then again, that unit still could come together as the season wears on. The games before December rolls around are important, but it's how the overall team is playing in December and heading into the playoffs that really matters, and they could still get their act together in time to make a serious run. Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but the OL doesn't have to be dominant for this team to win. They have to be competent and play well together, plus the coaches have to adjust the protection schemes as necessary to compensate, the QB has to be better about getting the ball out and avoiding pressure to the degree he can, the receivers have to be better about recognizing pressure and adjusting routes within the scheme, backs/TEs have to be better at picking up blitzers, etc. I think all of that can happen as the season progresses.

I'm still predicting 7-1 after the next 2 games with noted improvement on the offensive line by the end of the Lions game.


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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
VikingLord wrote:
When exactly did the sky start falling around here? Just after the Eagle's game? Come on...


The sky's not falling. I still think the Vikings have a good team and I still think they'll end up with double digit wins. I'm just taking a hard line on a few points because I think they've simultaneously managed to open up a window of opportunity for themselves and potentially sabotaged it in ways that could have been avoided.

Quote:
Sure, a lot of people have pointed out the fact that the offensive line has been a problem now for years, and equally sure we can all criticize Spielman/Zimmer et. al. for not doing more about it, but before we go off the rails, let's also consider the fact that the Vikes are 5-1 and, and that despite a woeful offensive line, a QB who joined the team days before the season started, and absent their top running back, have somehow managed to win and are going to win a lot more IMHO because A) they don't typically make a lot of dumb mistakes, B) they have a very good defense that should keep them in most games and C) they are solid on special teams notwithstanding their very occasional screw up in that phase of the game. In the big scheme of things the Eagles game was an outlier and not typical of how this team has played recently or is likely to play again this season. It stands out and stings so much precisely because it was highly unusual.


Is it an outlier? They lost 3 games in similar fashion last season, As I mentioned elsewhere, this is the eighth time in the relatively short Zimmer era that they've failed to score more than 10 points in a game. Considering their weaknesses and recent history, it seems more like part of a pattern than an outlier. I suspect it will happen again this season because the shortcomings that made it possible in the first place aren't easily fixed in-season.

Quote:
All things considered, the offensive line might prevent them from having much post-season success. But then again, that unit still could come together as the season wears on. The games before December rolls around are important, but it's how the overall team is playing in December and heading into the playoffs that really matters, and they could still get their act together in time to make a serious run.


They could. They could also fail to do so and, worst case scenario, miss the playoffs. I've already said I don't expect that to happen but it's not beyond the realm of possibility here. We're talking about a serious issue to overcome on a consistent basis. A hot start to the season guarantees nothing.

Despite my venting, I actually remain optimistic about the season going forward but I'm extremely frustrated that two of the issues I've been saying they needed to address for years have already bitten them hard this year.


Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:56 pm
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
Lets look at the other side of the trenches. We have 3 healthy DT's. That's it. Tom Johnson (and Robison at times) are the backups with Floyd injured. Lets not forget Linval was injured for some of last season as well. So if Linval gets hurt, we're starting Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen with Toby Johnson coming off the practice squad. Is that adequate depth? Those are all "throw away" picks.

Same with the DE's, we have a solid backup in Hunter but then it's Trattou and your pick of a practice squad guy. Is that adequate depth? Lets keep in mind that D-lines rotate a lot more than O-lines so if anything, they utilize more players.

That depth looks a little thin to me. Same with safety, Harrison goes down and we're starting Kearse and Harris with maybe Terrence Newman as your emergency guy. That's a 7th rounder and an undrafted as our depth!

My point is this is the NFL so the phrase "adequate depth" is often used here in some sort of opaque sort of way. It's a misnomer. Now, that's not to say there are no issues with the O-line, one could argue even the starters had they not gotten injured are shaky. But that's different than depth, and I feel as though the whole depth issue is driven by hindsight. No one has a bunch of 2nd and 3rd rounders waiting in the wings to step in if guys get hurt. Guys get hurt and you're starting late round guys. That is my point. Criticism is deserved but context also needs to be kept.


Tue Oct 25, 2016 6:29 pm
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
Lol this ain't news. I think most of around here were critical/skeptical of the offensive line before the season even began.

Edit* NVM. Point is, the offensive line was not adequately address and we are suffering the consequences of that decision.

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Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:56 pm
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
S197 wrote:
Lets look at the other side of the trenches. We have 3 healthy DT's. That's it. Tom Johnson (and Robison at times) are the backups with Floyd injured. Lets not forget Linval was injured for some of last season as well. So if Linval gets hurt, we're starting Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen with Toby Johnson coming off the practice squad. Is that adequate depth? Those are all "throw away" picks.


Yes, that's adequate depth. It doesn't matter when they were picked.They're good players.

Quote:
Same with the DE's, we have a solid backup in Hunter but then it's Trattou and your pick of a practice squad guy. Is that adequate depth? Lets keep in mind that D-lines rotate a lot more than O-lines so if anything, they utilize more players.

That depth looks a little thin to me. Same with safety, Harrison goes down and we're starting Kearse and Harris with maybe Terrence Newman as your emergency guy. That's a 7th rounder and an undrafted as our depth

My point is this is the NFL so the phrase "adequate depth" is often used here in some sort of opaque sort of way. It's a misnomer.


It's not a misnomer. It's perfectly accurate and appropriate. They have actual quality starters at the positions you mentioned and they go at least one quality player deep on the d-line at DE and 2 at DT. The depth at safety isn't great and that too, is problematic.

Quote:
Now, that's not to say there are no issues with the O-line, one could argue even the starters had they not gotten injured are shaky. But that's different than depth, and I feel as though the whole depth issue is driven by hindsight.


Again, it's not hindsight when you identify the issues ahead of time. How can it be hindsight this year when it was seen as an issue 1 , 2, or even 3 years ago and this year, prior to this season? It's an ongoing, and growing, problem. As for the word "depth", I understand why you're thinking of the term as a reference to backup players but "depth" is a reference to something from the top to the bottom. In other words, the shaky starters on the o-line aren't actually different from depth, they're part of the overall depth of the line. I don't think the Vikes even have 5 good starting caliber o-linemen on the roster and we've known for some time now that some of the backups are pretty ineffective players so the depth there is truly inadequate.

Quote:
No one has a bunch of 2nd and 3rd rounders waiting in the wings to step in if guys get hurt. Guys get hurt and you're starting late round guys. That is my point. Criticism is deserved but context also needs to be kept.


The context is clear. We all understand that no roster is made up of nothing but early round players. That's not, and never was, the point. The issue of draft position comes up because they've failed to build a good depth chart using their current strategy of primarily drafting o-linemen in the mid-to-late rounds. It's not that the approach couldn't work, it's that it hasn't worked well enough. I don't care if they find good linemen in R1 or R7 or as free agents as long as they find them but since they haven't been finding them, investing higher picks to address the problem seems like a good idea because there's more talent at the top of the draft.


Tue Oct 25, 2016 8:04 pm
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
Jim,

My response was to this comment:

Texas Vike wrote:
On the one hand, I understand Zimmer's frustration. But on the other, he needed to do more (along with Rick) to address what many of us clearly saw as a weakness this past offseason. They used some dubious reasoning, relying on guys with questionable health (Sully, Load, and Kalil) or of questionable quality (Andre Smith, even Boone to a certain extent). Their plan for competition / backups was similarly reliant on third rate talent: undrafted or very late round guys, essentially the top of the NFL's scrap heap. Now Zimmer is talking about not looking for someone to play off the street, but to be honest that approach isn't much different from the one that they have taken in the recent past.


You did not make the comment but you replied to it, hence my reasoning that you are backing this point. The plan was Kalil (1st rounder) to start with Clemmings (4th rounder) to be backup. On the other side, it was Loadholt (2nd rounder) or Andre Smith (1st rounder) to start with the other being a backup. That is not "scrap heap" players. Only with injury hindsight does it look like crap because now we have Sirles and Clemmings/Long.

I think it's fair to say Berger has held his own but even he had competition from former starter Sully. And we brought in Boone, to which I heard little objection. So that leaves Fusco who was handed the job due to the illness of Harris who was arguably the best lineman last year.

Not to mention bringing in Shurmur and Pagano. Is there really any other group on the team that has received that much attention?

This team had a ton of holes. DB, LB, WR, DT, G were the main holes over the last several years. Most have been addressed via the draft and free agency but you simply cannot fill every hole with top notch talent. If you trade your 3rd round pick for a lineman then you lose Hunter and now have poor depth at DE. If you spend a 2nd on a lineman you lose your MLB in Kendricks. Nothing works in a vacuum, it's easy to say "there's a problem" but provide no solutions. This is what I mean by context and hindsight. It's not about identifying a problem and then saying "hah! told ya!" Finding a problem is easy, finding a solution is what's hard. And that, is where I believe context is getting thrown out the window.


Tue Oct 25, 2016 9:04 pm
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
S197 wrote:
Jim,

My response was to this comment:

Texas Vike wrote:
On the one hand, I understand Zimmer's frustration. But on the other, he needed to do more (along with Rick) to address what many of us clearly saw as a weakness this past offseason. They used some dubious reasoning, relying on guys with questionable health (Sully, Load, and Kalil) or of questionable quality (Andre Smith, even Boone to a certain extent). Their plan for competition / backups was similarly reliant on third rate talent: undrafted or very late round guys, essentially the top of the NFL's scrap heap. Now Zimmer is talking about not looking for someone to play off the street, but to be honest that approach isn't much different from the one that they have taken in the recent past.


You did not make the comment but you replied to it, hence my reasoning that you are backing this point. The plan was Kalil (1st rounder) to start with Clemmings (4th rounder) to be backup. On the other side, it was Loadholt (2nd rounder) or Andre Smith (1st rounder) to start with the other being a backup. That is not "scrap heap" players. Only with injury hindsight does it look like crap because now we have Sirles and Clemmings/Long.


He specifically referred to Loadholt and Kalil as players with questionable health. Technically, I see your point that Clemmings and Smith aren't "scrap heap" players but Clemmings played like one last year so counting on him to be the top backup at left tackle was foolhardy. He was a known liability and after last year, should have been reassessed to be a 3rd string project at best. Smith may not be a scrap heap player but his play has been in decline and he was available for a relatively low one year deal in free agency for good reason.

Quote:
I think it's fair to say Berger has held his own but even he had competition from former starter Sully. And we brought in Boone, to which I heard little objection. So that leaves Fusco who was handed the job due to the illness of Harris who was arguably the best lineman last year.

Not to mention bringing in Shurmur and Pagano. Is there really any other group on the team that has received that much attention?


As I've said many times now, it's not just the amount of attention that matters, it's the quality. They went into the offseason with a need to actually upgrade the line. The only serious personnel move I see toward that end is the signing of Boone. Otherwise, they brought back the same players that haven't been able to stay healthy and/or give them good enough blocking for years, signed a declining free agent in Smith and drafted Beavers. Shurmur's a nice addition to the staff but I'm still not convinced Pagano isn't just a lateral move or a downgrade from Davidson. Overall, it looks like a very halfhearted effort to me, more wishful thinking than anything else.

Quote:
This team had a ton of holes. DB, LB, WR, DT, G were the main holes over the last several years. Most have been addressed via the draft and free agency but you simply cannot fill every hole with top notch talent. If you trade your 3rd round pick for a lineman then you lose Hunter and now have poor depth at DE. If you spend a 2nd on a lineman you lose your MLB in Kendricks. Nothing works in a vacuum, it's easy to say "there's a problem" but provide no solutions.


We've been over this. Nobody is claiming every hole needs to be filled with top notch talent. Nobody. The solution to the line problem has always started with 3 simple words: prioritize the line. yes, even then bad luck can strike but that's where building a good line begins and doing so is critically important because blocking is fundamental to offensive success. I realize a team can't be deep at every position but this team has had more than enough resources to build a better line over the past 6 years and still most of the other holes that needed to be filled.

Quote:
This is what I mean by context and hindsight. It's not about identifying a problem and then saying "hah! told ya!" Finding a problem is easy, finding a solution is what's hard. And that, is where I believe context is getting thrown out the window.


It's not being thrown out the window. We've been over this too. I've literally been pointing to solutions for years not just saying there's a problem and then saying "Ha! Told ya!". Solutions are easy but they're not impossible either.


Tue Oct 25, 2016 9:53 pm
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
S197 wrote:
Jim,

My response was to this comment:

Texas Vike wrote:
On the one hand, I understand Zimmer's frustration. But on the other, he needed to do more (along with Rick) to address what many of us clearly saw as a weakness this past offseason. They used some dubious reasoning, relying on guys with questionable health (Sully, Load, and Kalil) or of questionable quality (Andre Smith, even Boone to a certain extent). Their plan for competition / backups was similarly reliant on third rate talent: undrafted or very late round guys, essentially the top of the NFL's scrap heap. Now Zimmer is talking about not looking for someone to play off the street, but to be honest that approach isn't much different from the one that they have taken in the recent past.


You did not make the comment but you replied to it, hence my reasoning that you are backing this point. The plan was Kalil (1st rounder) to start with Clemmings (4th rounder) to be backup. On the other side, it was Loadholt (2nd rounder) or Andre Smith (1st rounder) to start with the other being a backup. That is not "scrap heap" players. Only with injury hindsight does it look like crap because now we have Sirles and Clemmings/Long.


You are playing around with time by setting things up this way. Smith was a first rounder, but we ended up with him (for a reasonable price) precisely because he had performed so poorly. WE didn't invest a first rounder in him, obviously, so your argument is disingenuous here.

Going into this season it was pretty reasonable to doubt that Load and Sully were going to come back from their injuries and be starters; Kalil's frequent injuries did little to inspire confidence either. Instead of using our resources to draft young talent to compete at these positions or sign a high quality FA (not Smith!), we did PRECISELY what I said: we chose to depend on players from the scrap heap.

The rest of your post continues to make mistakes with time. It isn't hindsight if we were pointing it out years ago! There is no other position that we've neglected like the OL.

Lastly, I don't think the sky is falling either! But our OL sucks and the handling of it the past few years just goes to show that you reap what you sow.


Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:01 pm
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
Texas Vike wrote:
You are playing around with time by setting things up this way. Smith was a first rounder, but we ended up with him (for a reasonable price) precisely because he had performed so poorly. WE didn't invest a first rounder in him, obviously, so your argument is disingenuous here.

Going into this season it was pretty reasonable to doubt that Load and Sully were going to come back from their injuries and be starters; Kalil's frequent injuries did little to inspire confidence either. Instead of using our resources to draft young talent to compete at these positions or sign a high quality FA (not Smith!), we did PRECISELY what I said: we chose to depend on players from the scrap heap.

The rest of your post continues to make mistakes with time. It isn't hindsight if we were pointing it out years ago! There is no other position that we've neglected like the OL.

Lastly, I don't think the sky is falling either! But our OL sucks and the handling of it the past few years just goes to show that you reap what you sow.


Exactly.

We're obviously never going to have strong agreement on this subject on the board. Let's just hope the o-line proves to be nothing more than a frustrating shortcoming they can overcome rather than a fatal flaw that does them in.


Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:41 pm
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Post Re: Andy Benoit: Vikings Have a Big Problem
I thought about it for a while and I think this is the issue. Some feel as though the line was neglected, that there was no plan or focus on remedying the problem (or at least a poor one). A knock on Spielman's philosophy as I believe Jim put it. This is what I have to disagree with because I think they did focus on the line, look no further than the added coaching, personnel, and the amount of money spent. And I think it was a fairly reasonable plan given their options. They brought in competition at nearly every position and drafted 4th rounders to play back ups. And I think part of this was not only to get the best guy on the field but also to address the potential injury issue. However, I don't think anyone could have foreseen the amount of injuries that hit. Hence my comment on context.

Jim mentioned quality and I think this is where we can get on the same page. I think really where the "philosophy" has failed has been in the scouting dept. If you look at the flip side of the line, we're getting great production out of "scrap heap" picks (Robison, Griffen, Stephen, etc.). So to me, it really isn't about the strategy as the same strategy is employed at other positions, it's just that the picks have been rather poor. To me that's a ding on scouting. A big one, but also a bit of hindsight.

Yes, people have been saying our line has been bad for years. People have also said our receivers were garbage, our DB's were bad, our run defense was bad, etc. But take it further than that, okay the line is bad so who shouldn't have been drafted? Saying we should have put more high round picks into the O-line has negative consequences as well, which seems to get glossed over.

Tl;dr - I'm okay with the approach I think the failure was in scouting.


Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:07 pm
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