Where the Vikings' run game is broken

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Mothman
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Where the Vikings' run game is broken

Post by Mothman » Thu Nov 17, 2016 8:08 am

Great analysis from Matt Bowen in a piece written by Ben Goessling:

http://www.espn.com/blog/minnesota-viki ... -is-broken
"The line of scrimmage is exactly where it started. To pick up plays in short-yardage situations, you have to advance the line of scrimmage by at least a yard to gain a yard," said ESPN NFL analyst Matt Bowen, who played seven season as a defensive back for the Rams, Packers, Redskins and Bills. "You can't ask the running back to run through three tackles."
The problems described in the article have been evident all year. What a mess...

As Matt Bowen says at the end of the article:
"You cannot fix an offensive line when it's almost Thanksgiving,"
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Norv Zimmer
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Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken

Post by Norv Zimmer » Thu Nov 17, 2016 8:57 am

I have been saying this all year.... If the O line is the biggest problem why not run more plays outside with sweeps, counters, end arounds etc.... they seem to run it up the middle way too much.
The TD play that rhett ellison scored on is a great designed play, sub out rhett and run it to diggs cp84 wright thielen mckinnon... whoever. Run those types of plays more!
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Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken

Post by Jordysghost » Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:07 am

Norv Zimmer wrote:I have been saying this all year.... If the O line is the biggest problem why not run more plays outside with sweeps, counters, end arounds etc.... they seem to run it up the middle way too much.
The TD play that rhett ellison scored on is a great designed play, sub out rhett and run it to diggs cp84 wright thielen mckinnon... whoever. Run those types of plays more!
Those are slow developing plays, therefore not likely to affect O line in a good way.
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Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken

Post by Mothman » Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:13 am

Norv Zimmer wrote:I have been saying this all year.... If the O line is the biggest problem why not run more plays outside with sweeps, counters, end arounds etc.... they seem to run it up the middle way too much.
Those plays still rely on effective blocking by the line.
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Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken

Post by Texas Vike » Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:23 am

Mothman wrote: Those plays still rely on effective blocking by the line.

Certainly, but, as long as they don't rely on the outside stuff too much, there is an element of surprise to it and there are quite simply fewer bodies to run into out there. If your line can't advance (indeed, can't even HOLD the LOS), why run up the gut? Our RBs are doing this, :wallbang: repeatedly.

The number one thing to watch with this team for the rest of the season and going into next year is what the heck they do about the terrible oversight by GM and coaches on the OL. I REALLY hope they finally invest in it--both money and draft/ trade capital.
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Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken

Post by Mothman » Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:48 am

Texas Vike wrote:Certainly, but, as long as they don't rely on the outside stuff too much, there is an element of surprise to it and there are quite simply fewer bodies to run into out there. If your line can't advance (indeed, can't even HOLD the LOS), why run up the gut? Our RBs are doing this, :wallbang: repeatedly.
It seems like they're already doing what's being suggested. They call outside runs but they don't call a lot of them. Like the inside runs, they don't seem to be very effective.

There's just no way to hide bad blocking. :(
The number one thing to watch with this team for the rest of the season and going into next year is what the heck they do about the terrible oversight by GM and coaches on the OL. I REALLY hope they finally invest in it--both money and draft/ trade capital.
I hope so too. I know it seems extreme to many fans but the first thing I'd do is replace that GM. As far as I'm concerned, this terrible oversight puts him over his limit. However, whether Spielman stays or goes, I agree they need to work on improving the OL using every means possible: via the draft, via free agency and even via trade, if necessary.
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Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken

Post by Mothman » Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:58 am

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Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken

Post by mansquatch » Thu Nov 17, 2016 10:51 am

They did invest in it. Their investments have yet to pay off (Boone) / got injured (3 Tackles) / went MIA. (Harris) / Retired (Loadholt) / Were Cut (Sullivan). You guys are all thinking Micro- ie just the vikings. There is more to this problem than just Winter Park.

I posted a series of article about the crisis of OL play in the entire NFL yesterday. Dallas is an anomaly. Most every team is struggling to find quality OL players. GMs and Coaches alike are complaining about the prevalence of the spread offense in college and the fact that OL in that game are in 2 point stance most of their career. In th NFL they have to play a 3 point stance and thus have to learn new technique to even be viable against NFL caliber Defensive Linemen. To make matters worse, guys who play in a 2 point stance and not taught to push the line of scrimmage forward.

Another issue cited is the 2011 CBA and how it has dramatically limited practice, mini-camps, and training camps. Coaches do not have anywhere near the time they used to have teach technique. That further compounds the issues cited above. Some Analysts think that the NFL will start drafting OL for a select few schools that teach proper technique. Other think private training/coaching programs are needed that get past the CBA, but such a thing would be voluntary by the player.

In 2015 only 2 of the first round OL drafted cracked the starting line up on their respective squads. Think about that. I've harped on the Treadwell pick, given this fact, I'm reconsidering my stance. It might be a calculated risk that taking OL in the early rounds doesn't show much liklihood of getting an impact player. This is especially salient if you are drafting with a SB window open. This is obviously debatable, but adding OL early is obviously not as safe as it was once considered to be.

Given this backdrop Slick Rick could MTG our future and trade for 3 1st round picks in the next draft, draft three brand new OL and not a single one of those guys could end being better than what we have now, at least next season. It is likely those three new OL wouldn't even start.

The VIkings OL is BAD. Really BAD. But there is a shortage of talent at this position in the entire league. It isn't likely to get better any time soon. I'm not sure what the right strategy is for the Vikings? If the above gets worse, quality players are going to command premium contracts due to scarcity. Is the OL worth investing a ton of cap space in if the payoff is subpar?

A further question is if the coaching staff we have in place is up to snuff given the league wide problems. I know we have guys with a lot of experience, but do they have the requisite talent to make the most of the current OL issues league wide? I'm not saying they aren't, but it is worth asking if Sparano and Co are up to the task. Hard to evaluate this season with the pile of injuries at tackle.

I've said this before also: What is up with the training staff? We've had three consecutive seasons with multiple injuries on the OL. Some of this might be personnel issues, Kalil is a frequent occupant of the injury report.

Long story longer: OL problems are likely to continue being an issue.
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Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken

Post by losperros » Thu Nov 17, 2016 10:53 am

Mothman wrote:I hope so too. I know it seems extreme to many fans but the first thing I'd do is replace that GM. As far as I'm concerned, this terrible oversight puts him over his limit. However, whether Spielman stays or goes, I agree they need to work on improving the OL using every means possible: via the draft, via free agency and even via trade, if necessary.
If the Vikings replace Spielman, then it better be with someone better equipped to handle the job. They also need to rethink every other staff position involved with building the team. I guess I don't see this as being all Spielman's doing, though he's at the top of the food chain so he has to be held accountable.

That said, everyone from Coach Zimmer to the rest of the coaches needs to fully understand the pressing needs of the team. Seriously, was Spielman acting solely on his own by neglecting the offensive line? I don't think so. Not for this long.
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Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken

Post by chicagopurple » Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:26 am

SPielman has the final word. He has never really shown any commitment to focusing on the OL.

I think the Vikes need to do like the Cubs and expect to lose for a few years, build up draft choices and trades and do it with top notch administrators who have succeeded in the past....This year is a mediocre year for QB draft. We need to build an OL, Find a solid RB without an insane price tag (like AP), and perhaps next year draft a good QB. Its not a pretty situation if you look at it as an outsider rather then as a fan.
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Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken

Post by Mothman » Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:31 am

mansquatch wrote:They did invest in it. Their investments have yet to pay off (Boone) / got injured (3 Tackles) / went MIA. (Harris) / Retired (Loadholt) / Were Cut (Sullivan). You guys are all thinking Micro- ie just the vikings. There is more to this problem than just Winter Park.

I posted a series of article about the crisis of OL play in the entire NFL yesterday. Dallas is an anomaly. Most every team is struggling to find quality OL players. GMs and Coaches alike are complaining about the prevalence of the spread offense in college and the fact that OL in that game are in 2 point stance most of their career. In th NFL they have to play a 3 point stance and thus have to learn new technique to even be viable against NFL caliber Defensive Linemen. To make matters worse, guys who play in a 2 point stance and not taught to push the line of scrimmage forward.

Another issue cited is the 2011 CBA and how it has dramatically limited practice, mini-camps, and training camps. Coaches do not have anywhere near the time they used to have teach technique. That further compounds the issues cited above. Some Analysts think that the NFL will start drafting OL for a select few schools that teach proper technique. Other think private training/coaching programs are needed that get past the CBA, but such a thing would be voluntary by the player.

In 2015 only 2 of the first round OL drafted cracked the starting line up on their respective squads. Think about that. I've harped on the Treadwell pick, given this fact, I'm reconsidering my stance. It might be a calculated risk that taking OL in the early rounds doesn't show much liklihood of getting an impact player. This is especially salient if you are drafting with a SB window open. This is obviously debatable, but adding OL early is obviously not as safe as it was once considered to be.

Given this backdrop Slick Rick could MTG our future and trade for 3 1st round picks in the next draft, draft three brand new OL and not a single one of those guys could end being better than what we have now, at least next season. It is likely those three new OL wouldn't even start.
Whether they started or not, they could potentially excel down the road and ultimately, the draft is about team-building not just instant gratification.

The Vikings line is enough of a mess that they could obviously use a quick fix but they need to build a good line. If they can't build one quickly, they should build one slowly. Either way, it needs to be done.

I read the articles you shared and I've been aware of the issues you raised above for a long time now but I don't think any of them represent insurmountable hurdles.
The VIkings OL is BAD. Really BAD. But there is a shortage of talent at this position in the entire league.

It isn't likely to get better any time soon. I'm not sure what the right strategy is for the Vikings? If the above gets worse, quality players are going to command premium contracts due to scarcity. Is the OL worth investing a ton of cap space in if the payoff is subpar?


The right strategy is probably good scouting, smart player acquisition and strong player development. It likely involves making the OL a very high priority, as it should have been all along. Not every college program runs a spread offense, not every college lineman is unprepared to play at the pro level and not every draft pick needs to be a quick fix, even if there's a dire need to fill.

I think there are things they can do. For example, they can look for good linemen that have started for 3-4 years at the college level, preferably in a pro-style offense or at least an offense that requires them to get in a 3 point stance. Maybe they have to start adapting their offense a little more to the changing talent landscape.

They need to make absolutely certain they have an OL coach whose strength is developing talent and if I'm not mistaken, there's no firm limit on how many coaches a team can hire. It could be a mistake to have too many cooks in the proverbial kitchen but perhaps, instead of having 2 OL coaches, they need 5 or 6. Sparano and Fraley could do the main on-field coaching but the others could provide more tutoring to players that need it or perhaps specialize in off-field work, like studying film with small groups of 2 or 3 players and helping them get the most out of their time. Whatever they can do within the rules to help players learn and develop efficiently, they should try to do. It may take some innovative thinking.
A further question is if the coaching staff we have in place is up to snuff given the league wide problems. I know we have guys with a lot of experience, but do they have the requisite talent to make the most of the current OL issues league wide? I'm not saying they aren't, but it is worth asking if Sparano and Co are up to the task. Hard to evaluate this season with the pile of injuries at tackle.
It's a fair question even if injuries make it hard to evaluate Sparano this season.
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Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken

Post by Mothman » Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:40 am

losperros wrote:If the Vikings replace Spielman, then it better be with someone better equipped to handle the job.


Absolutely. They can't afford to make a mistake with a hire that important.
They also need to rethink every other staff position involved with building the team. I guess I don't see this as being all Spielman's doing, though he's at the top of the food chain so he has to be held accountable.
I don't see it as all Spielman's doing either but as far as I'm concerned, he's had enough bites at the apple over the past decade.
That said, everyone from Coach Zimmer to the rest of the coaches needs to fully understand the pressing needs of the team. Seriously, was Spielman acting solely on his own by neglecting the offensive line? I don't think so. Not for this long.
Of course not but he's been the biggest voice in Vikings personnel decisions since he was hired in 2006 and he's been the GM, in full control, for about 5 years now (we're a month and a half away from the actual 5 year mark). There's always going to be some shared responsibility for success and failure but to the degree any individual can be said to be the architect of this Vikings team, he fits that description.

I just see little reason to believe he's the right man for the job anymore. :( I think the Vikes need to find that individual. They must be out there somewhere!
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Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken

Post by mansquatch » Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:49 am

I'm not nearly as convinced canning Spielman is the answer. Overall his drafts have been good.

We are in a transition at RB and our OL is in shambles. Our WR corps looks quite deep and finally it seems like we have some stability at QB. Defense we look stout.

I'd rather see a strong focus on OL the next few offseasons, but I fear that we are going to be a in very crowded pond.
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Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken

Post by Mothman » Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:01 pm

mansquatch wrote:I'm not nearly as convinced canning Spielman is the answer. Overall his drafts have been good.
Overall, they've been okay. He's had some good ones and some clunkers but drafting is just one aspect of his job and not the main one. His main job is to build a serious contender, a championship team.

The question isn't so if much of canning Spielman is the answer. Is retaining Spielman going to achieve the desired result?
We are in a transition at RB and our OL is in shambles. Our WR corps looks quite deep and finally it seems like we have some stability at QB. Defense we look stout.
That's one way to look at it. Another is they're 5-4 with an offense ranked dead last in the league. They've won a single playoff game in the 10 years he's been with them. How long do we settle for continued mediocrity and an occasional playoff appearance because he's drafted pretty well? Enough is enough.
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Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken

Post by chicagopurple » Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:44 pm

exactly! I think we have all spent the last few years desperately trying to convince ourselves that Spielman was doing a better job then he really was. He has had a ton of time to build a champion and other then one year with Farve, never come close.
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