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 Where the Vikings' run game is broken 
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Post Where the Vikings' run game is broken
Great analysis from Matt Bowen in a piece written by Ben Goessling:

http://www.espn.com/blog/minnesota-viki ... -is-broken

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"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:

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"You cannot fix an offensive line when it's almost Thanksgiving,"


Thu Nov 17, 2016 8:08 am
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
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!


Thu Nov 17, 2016 8:57 am
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
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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Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:07 am
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
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.


Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:13 am
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
Mothman wrote:
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.



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.


Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:23 am
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
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. :(

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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.


Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:48 am
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
Vikings’ running game continues to go nowhere


Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:58 am
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
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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Thu Nov 17, 2016 10:51 am
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
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.


Thu Nov 17, 2016 10:53 am
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
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.


Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:26 am
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
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.

Quote:
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.

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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.


Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:31 am
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
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.

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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.

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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!


Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:40 am
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
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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Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:49 am
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
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?

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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.


Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:01 pm
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
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.


Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:44 pm
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
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.


They made terrible investments. Their strategy sucked, many of us said as much at the time, and here we are facing the results. If we had an adequate line we'd be 7-2 or better. We certainly wouldn't have a running game that threatens to be the least effective in the league for at least five years either.

They have not invested sufficiently in OL via the draft since Kalil.

Dallas is an anomaly because, precisely, they HAVE invested in the position. It pains me to praise Jerry Jones, but instead of opting for "flash" players (Manziel, for example) the Cowboys have made smart picks on the OL. They also were very intelligent about pursuing La'el Collins the way that they did.

Regarding him, why in the world did we not pick him with a late round pick? If we were willing to take a flyer on the German Unicorn, why not take one on Collins?


Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:09 pm
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
The single playoff game stat seems overly simplistic to me. Who in the league are they going to bring in that will get it all right in three years given where the roster was at the end of 2013? Belicik maybe? He wasn't available.

I'm more reluctant to just throw it all down the drain and engage in wholesale change on this leadership group, at least it feels like I'm more reluctant than most here. The reason for my reluctance is I'm skeptical that someone materially better is out there. There are teams that are doing better than the Vikings, sure, but are they doing better than us because of better management and coaching or doe the managers and coaches look better because they have more talent at QB or haven't suffered as many injuries? Or (like Dallas) they have played a really soft schedule? I'm not making excuses, I just think the conclusion to blow up the GM is one that should be weighed carefully. How are we evaluating Spielman anyways? He is bad based on what?

For me, I think these guys grow in their positions and that experience matters. We've seen that with the Wilfs for sure. We went from Childress to Frasier to Zimmer. At the same time, the management structure evolved from the "Triangle" to the sort of coach/spielman dual leadership to Spielman being a full fledged GM. It took time for them realize what worked best for them. If we bring in someone new is it going to be better? I'm not sold on that.

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Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:46 pm
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
mansquatch wrote:
The single playoff game stat seems overly simplistic to me.


It IS simplistic but it's not as if it was intended to represent the argument to fire Spielman in it's entirety. :) It's just a bottom line result (and not a good one).

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I'm more reluctant to just throw it all down the drain and engage in wholesale change on this leadership group, at least it feels like I'm more reluctant than most here. The reason for my reluctance is I'm skeptical that someone materially better is out there. There are teams that are doing better than the Vikings, sure, but are they doing better than us because of better management and coaching or doe the managers and coaches look better because they have more talent at QB or haven't suffered as many injuries? Or (like Dallas) they have played a really soft schedule? I'm not making excuses, I just think the conclusion to blow up the GM is one that should be weighed carefully. How are we evaluating Spielman anyways? He is bad based on what?


He's not bad. He's just hasn't been good enough and the basis for that assessment is a decade of work with the Vikings that's been wildly uneven and hasn't led to sufficient success. He wasn't particularly successful elsewhere either. This isn't a GM who came from a championship-winning program or who has ever helped build one. He doesn't have the kind of resumé that should engender deep faith in his ability to assemble a Super Bowl-winning team. He's been with the Vikings for a decade, in the key personnel position, and they don't have nearly enough to show for it. How many years should he get?

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For me, I think these guys grow in their positions and that experience matters. We've seen that with the Wilfs for sure. We went from Childress to Frasier to Zimmer.


Is there actual growth there or just perceived growth? What has Zimmer accomplished thus far that neither of his predecessors did, other than be more beloved by fans? All 3 coaches made the playoffs. Childress won the division. Both Frazier and Childress had deeply flawed teams and Zimmer does too. Over time, Zimmer may prove to be a far superior head coach to his predecessors but I don't think he's done so yet. He's different but not necessarily representative of growth.

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At the same time, the management structure evolved from the "Triangle" to the sort of coach/spielman dual leadership to Spielman being a full fledged GM. It took time for them realize what worked best for them. If we bring in someone new is it going to be better? I'm not sold on that.


It could get better or it could get worse but how long should we settle for mediocrity? Teams hire new GMs and sometimes, they actually get better with new management. Sometimes, they even win the Super Bowl! The Vikings management structure has evolved but the results are the same: inconsistent teams, extremely unbalanced rosters, oversights and endless frustration. I'd rather see the Vikes move on and try to get that championship than continue settling for a GM whose approach has just extended decades of frustration and disappointment. The Wilfs finally got the basic management structure right but that doesn't mean they put the right guy in charge.

I just feel 10 years is enough.


Thu Nov 17, 2016 2:18 pm
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
When the runningback can't even make it to the Los without being hit or he is met at the line by a wall you have serious problems. It's doesn't take a former football player turned analyst to figure that one out.

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Thu Nov 17, 2016 2:29 pm
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
You seem to forget that when Zim took the reigns in 2014 there was an almost overnight change in the defense from what we saw with Frasier, and with basically the same personnel outside of Barr.

I'm not persuaded that management change is the answer. They've built a championship defense and the best ST return and coverage game in the league. Jeff Locke is having a career season. They look to have gone from one of the worst QB situations in the NFL to having two average to above average starters on the roster. The WR corps, which has been a complete disaster since 2010 is now looking like one of the deepest groups in the league. Adrian Petersen up until this season was widely considered the best RB in football. The two groups where they have failed have been Kicker and OL.

They've literally succeeded at practically every other roster spot besides K and OL. But we should toss them? I do not find this line of thinking persuasive in the least. It could be SOOOO much worse. This year has been very disappointing, there is no doubt, but I like our chances with this leadership team. I'm really shocked after everyhting we saw with Tice, Childress, and Frasier that guys are so quick to quit on this group. We've seen bad. This group might not be winning the top seed in the NFC right now, but they are not bad.

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Thu Nov 17, 2016 5:13 pm
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
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!

They did that against the Lions with some success.

The Redskins apparently watched film. The first two times the Vikings tried outside rushing plays, they lost 2 yards and 6 yards.

At some point, you gotta win the line of scrimmage if you're going to run the ball. There's no way around it.

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Thu Nov 17, 2016 5:47 pm
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
mansquatch wrote:
You seem to forget that when Zim took the reigns in 2014 there was an almost overnight change in the defense from what we saw with Frasier, and with basically the same personnel outside of Barr.


That's simply not true. There were a bunch of new starters on that defense. Barr, Munnerlyn, Brinkley and Joseph were all added to the team that year. Several players whose development had begun under the previous coaching staff showed improvement and took on larger roles: Griffen, Rhodes and Floyd among them. It was a very different defense in terms of both personnel and scheme.

I also haven't forgotten that the offense was ranked 13th in the league the year before Zimmer took over. It's descended from there to dead last in the league. That's not exactly a feather in anybody's cap.

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I'm not persuaded that management change is the answer. They've built a championship defense and the best ST return and coverage game in the league. Jeff Locke is having a career season. They look to have gone from one of the worst QB situations in the NFL to having two average to above average starters on the roster. The WR corps, which has been a complete disaster since 2010 is now looking like one of the deepest groups in the league. Adrian Petersen up until this season was widely considered the best RB in football. The two groups where they have failed have been Kicker and OL.


No wonder you're not persuaded. We have very different views of the team. We can debate whether they've built a championship-caliber defense or not but the defense is good. Unfortunately, the goal is to build a championship team, not just a good-to-great defense. They have 1 healthy starting-caliber QB on the roster. The other has clearly been below average in my opinion and is seriously injured. We don't even know if he'll ever play again so I don't see how he can be considered part of a positive QB situation for the team at this point. Their coverage and return teams are good. Locke's okay. The offense as a whole is B-A-D.

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They've literally succeeded at practically every other roster spot besides K and OL.


That failure on the OL has crippled the entire offense. That's very significant, especially since it was obvious a year ago that they needed to improve up front. They have good depth at WR but that unit is nothing special by NFL standards. The only reason the Vikes even have a solid starting QB right now is because they were fortunate enough to find a trade partner who would send them one for a #1 pick (and more) at the 11th hour. That wasn't accomplished through any sort of planning and while I give Spielman credit for his resourcefulness and improvisation, he's now spent 3 first round picks in 6 years on QBs and we still don't know if the future of that position is secure, especially beyond 2017.

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But we should toss them? I do not find this line of thinking persuasive in the least. It could be SOOOO much worse.


It could also be SOOO much better. That's the point.

By the way, I didn't say they should toss Zimmer. That would be up to a new GM but I do understand that a new GM might want to hire his own HC.

Quote:
This year has been very disappointing, there is no doubt, but I like our chances with this leadership team. I'm really shocked after everyhting we saw with Tice, Childress, and Frasier that guys are so quick to quit on this group. We've seen bad. This group might not be winning the top seed in the NFC right now, but they are not bad.


They've looked pretty bad lately. The signs aren't healthy: OC inexplicably quit mid-season. The OL is a disaster and will be difficult to fix. The running game is performing at historically poor levels. The long term future of the QB position is still unsettled. They're on a 4 game losing streak during which the team has been out-coached more than once. The defense has been faltering. None of this is indicative of a team trending upward but it's not just about this season or even primarily about this season. It's about 10 years of mediocrity.

I don't expect much agreement on this. This season has just finally convinced me of something I've suspected for a while and I feel they have the wrong man for the job. If you're not persuaded, I understand.


Thu Nov 17, 2016 6:18 pm
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
I've gone through the OL history before:

In March the OL was expected to be:

Kalil
Boone
Sullivan
Harris or Fusco (most though Harris better than Fusco)
Loadholt

by June it was:
Kalil
Boone
Berger
Fusco
Smith

So before we even enter training camp we lose two or three starters (depending on your views of Harris vs. Fusco) to injuries, play falling off, and we still don't know what in the case of Harris.

By Week 3 the injuries hit Tackle:

Clemmings
Boone
Berger
Fusco
Sirles

After the bye it went to:

Long
Boone
Berger
Fusco
Clemmings

Now it is going to be something even worse:

Clemmings / Boone
Easton/Keren/Other
Berger
Fusco
Clemmings / Boone

They attempted to address the OL this offseason. They expected to get back two of their better players and resigned a third (Harris) who showed promise. (All last year we made the comment that getting Loadholt and Sullivan back alone would improve the line, they both stayed gone.) Injuries and Harris being MIA demolished it. OL always take time to come together, so when you have a year of change it takes time for that new group to get things put together. This group has been in constant flux since before the season began due to injuries on top of injures, retirements, MIA, and new additions.

Since March they've lost 4 tackles to injuries and retirement. FOUR! They lost a guard to non-football whatever on top of that. What GM out there is going to make lemonade out of these lemons? Furthermore what can a GM do to prevent such a mess? How much of it is his fault? We haven't seen all 5 OL starters play healthy since 2013. Is that Spielman's fault? I'm not sure who this superhuman GM is that could prevent/ overcome losing 4 tackles in 9 months.

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Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:07 am
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
mansquatch wrote:
They attempted to address the OL this offseason.


Nobody questions that. The point all along has been that they addressed it poorly, with a bad plan. It's the judgment involved that's the source of the criticism.

Quote:
They expected to get back two of their better players and resigned a third (Harris) who showed promise. (All last year we made the comment that getting Loadholt and Sullivan back alone would improve the line, they both stayed gone.)


... and last year some of us pointed out that it was unlikely they'd be back and/or reliable. A GM has to be able to see that and do a better job of accounting for it.

Quote:
Injuries and Harris being MIA demolished it. OL always take time to come together, so when you have a year of change it takes time for that new group to get things put together. This group has been in constant flux since before the season began due to injuries on top of injures, retirements, MIA, and new additions.

Since March they've lost 4 tackles to injuries and retirement. FOUR!


They lost 3 injury-prone tackles they chose to rely on despite their injury history and a 4th injury-prone tackle they signed off the street. Given that history, the excuse that those players all got injured (or retired after missing 22 straight games) loses considerable weight. Again, it was a bad plan.

Quote:
They lost a guard to non-football whatever on top of that. What GM out there is going to make lemonade out of these lemons?


The point is he needs to be better at shopping for lemons in the first place. If you buy bad ingredients, it's almost impossible to make a good meal out of them.

Quote:
Furthermore what can a GM do to prevent such a mess? How much of it is his fault? We haven't seen all 5 OL starters play healthy since 2013. Is that Spielman's fault? I'm not sure who this superhuman GM is that could prevent/ overcome losing 4 tackles in 9 months.


It doesn't require a superhuman GM to prevent it. You prevent it with good risk assessment, with good decision-making, judgment and preparation. You prevent it by building quality and depth along the line over a period of years, not ending up in a circumstance in which you seriously need to improve the line and end up making it worse through a series of questionable decisions.

This OL issue is just a symptom of what's wrong with the team under Spielman. The way the QB position has been mishandled over the past decade is another symptom. It's time to stop ignoring and perpetually excusing the symptoms. He's not a victim of circumstances. He hasn't been a bystander during the past 10 years of (mostly) mediocrity for the Vikings. He has been an absolutely central figure in it, arguably the single most important figure not named Wilf.


Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:00 pm
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
Prior to 2011 he wasn't central. Jackson was Childress' guy. Ponder was on Spielman, but once he showed signs of busting out, they brought in Cassel.

You have to keep drafting high on QB until you get one. Not everyone gets lucky with a Russel Wilson or Tom Brady. I'm not going to get down on a guy for having all the same problems drafting that position that every other team has. The squads that have a franchise guy are lucky, not possessing some sort of ability that other GMs lack. The GM that can consistently pick QB talent is a unicorn: He doesn't exist.

If I accept your reasoning on the OL, then we get back to the issue of Opportunity Cost. Who do they not draft in the first two rounds the last 4 season and replace with OL talent? Recently, early draft OL have been a risky proposition in the NFL, so would that have been a wise strategy? It is also worth noting that if I accept your reasoning I am carrying an assumption that Spielman can predict injury issues before they happen. is that now a job requirement in the NFL? Also, the Salary Cap limits how much top talent the roster can hold, so should they balloon the roster with OL as insurance, then who do they drop? Who doesn't get paid and walks out via FA?

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Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:34 pm
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
mansquatch wrote:
Prior to 2011 he wasn't central.


The Vice President of Player Personnel, the man running the scouting department and doing the drafting wasn't a central figure in the organization? He was, at an absolute minimum, 1/3 of the "Triangle of Authority" and since Brzezinski's role in that trio was primarily as a cap expert and negotiator, Spielman's voice in player personnel decisions was greater than 1/3. The responsibility was right there in his title.

Quote:
You have to keep drafting high on QB until you get one. Not everyone gets lucky with a Russel Wilson or Tom Brady. I'm not going to get down on a guy for having all the same problems drafting that position that every other team has. The squads that have a franchise guy are lucky, not possessing some sort of ability that other GMs lack. The GM that can consistently pick QB talent is a unicorn: He doesn't exist.


GM's who do a better job of it than Spielman has over the past 10 years certainly exist. It's not just luck. The Seahawks didn't simply get lucky with Wilson. They scouted him, recognized his talent, invested a 3rd round pick in him and it paid off faster than they imagined. Attributing his acquisition and subsequent success to pure luck ignores the process by which he ended up on that team in the first place. The teams that possess franchise QBs aren't simply lucky. Luck plays a role but there's much more to it than that.

I don't think Spielman's drafted a good QB yet.

Quote:
If I accept your reasoning on the OL, then we get back to the issue of Opportunity Cost. Who do they not draft in the first two rounds the last 4 season and replace with OL talent? Recently, early draft OL have been a risky proposition in the NFL, so would that have been a wise strategy? It is also worth noting that if I accept your reasoning I am carrying an assumption that Spielman can predict injury issues before they happen. is that now a job requirement in the NFL? Also, the Salary Cap limits how much top talent the roster can hold, so should they balloon the roster with OL as insurance, then who do they drop? Who doesn't get paid and walks out via FA?


You can endlessly rationalize and excuse his moves and mistakes but the overall results speak for themselves.

Nobody can predict injuries but it's certainly possible to look at a player's history and assess the likelihood that player will be injured again. How can anyone be genuinely surprised that a 31 year old center coming off two back surgeries didn't pass muster or believe that a 30 year old tackle who had missed 22 straight games was a good bet to stay healthy and be reliable this season? Is anyone surprised that Kalil is injured? He's struggled with injuries since his rookie year. Jake Long? His injury history is why he was available in the first place and Smith has a a history of injuries as well.

The idea that drafting o-lineman is risky and therefore unwise is self-defeating. There's risk in drafting anybody and the price of relying too heavily on late round picks and rookie free agents to build a line should be obvious by now. As for the cap, they're already paying their lousy line excessively.

I'll ask again: what in Spielman's history, what part of his resumé, suggests he's the right GM to build a champion?


Fri Nov 18, 2016 1:15 pm
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
i knida feel the o-line has been handled much the same way the QB position has.
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the big difference being that when TB went down the guy they scrambled to replace him with worked out better than any of the guys brought in as replacements at OT.
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for some reason (zimmer?) they've opted to invest heavily in depth on defense first and foremost. there has been the investment at wr and te on offense....and those may have been BPA type decisions.
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i never thought phil or sully would make it back healthy from those injuries and i'm dissappointed they didn't draft both whitehair and Lael Collins. as much as i understand the treadwell and mckenzie picks, collins and whitehair would have been far better in terms of teambuilding investments imo. and i'm saying that having little to no idea how they are doing as pros.
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point is, you have to make a committment to the trenches...
jerry jones was booed on draft day when they took that center a few years back in rd 1. who's laughing now?
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it's an awful shame for this team that phil and sully got hurt...and that kalil has basically never been healthy outside his rookie year. AD led the league in rushing last year...those injuries were huge.
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i feel this vaccum all began when spiels cut mckinnie with no plan to replace him....the subsequent 'bust' of kalil has had them scrambling ever since. they don't appear to know what they are doing when it comes to o-lineman either...and that's putting it mildly.


Fri Nov 18, 2016 1:26 pm
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
Mothman wrote:
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. :(

Quote:
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.


My first post on this forum. I cannot disagree with the " Fire the GM " talk more. Slick Rick has done a solid job building a team along with the coaching staff. The O Line is horrible right now, nobody is going to argue with that. But AP lead the league in rushing last year behind an O Line he had a hand in assembling. Teddy was running for his life, but that was as much a product of a slow developing Air Coryell Norv Turner Offensive Scheme as it was the offensive line. The O line wasn't great, but it was a serviceable product. The staff made a few changes to the line in the additions of Boone and Smith and had planned on some competition. I believe if they hadn't been decimated by injuries on the line they would be better than last years line. They are going to start there 10th different o line combination this week!! You cannot build continuity, nor can the line communicate with each other properly when there is that much change going on. That being said, I don't see the O line being fixed this season and I because of that, they wont make a deep playoff run. I expect some changes to the line next season, but they wont be earth shattering moves....they just wont be able to afford it unless they move some young defensive capital.


Fri Nov 18, 2016 8:12 pm
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
Alaskan wrote:
My first post on this forum. I cannot disagree with the " Fire the GM " talk more. Slick Rick has done a solid job building a team along with the coaching staff. The O Line is horrible right now, nobody is going to argue with that. But AP lead the league in rushing last year behind an O Line he had a hand in assembling. Teddy was running for his life, but that was as much a product of a slow developing Air Coryell Norv Turner Offensive Scheme as it was the offensive line. The O line wasn't great, but it was a serviceable product. The staff made a few changes to the line in the additions of Boone and Smith and had planned on some competition. I believe if they hadn't been decimated by injuries on the line they would be better than last years line. They are going to start there 10th different o line combination this week!! You cannot build continuity, nor can the line communicate with each other properly when there is that much change going on. That being said, I don't see the O line being fixed this season and I because of that, they wont make a deep playoff run. I expect some changes to the line next season, but they wont be earth shattering moves....they just wont be able to afford it unless they move some young defensive capital.



:welcome to the board and thanks for posting.

As I said above, I don't expect much agreement regarding Spielman and that's fine. :)


Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:09 pm
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Post Re: Where the Vikings' run game is broken
imo, if spielman is quilty of anything it's of being slow to adjust to the changed climate regarding the quality of o-line prospects coming out of college.
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i am a casual, attentive follower of the sport. i don't get way into numbers or specific players as much as i pay attention to trends and styles/philosophies of teams and coaches. having said that, i've been hearing and reading for at least 2 seasons that the nfl readiness of todays o-line prospects has never been so poor.
there is no way in hell that spielman and co. are not aware of this trend.
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it is arguably THE most important unit on the field on any given sunday. it is also one of, if not the most, injury prone units.
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there needs to be a heavy investment in scouting, coaching/developing and money to keep it legit and to have a respectable depth. the vikes have thrown a lot of cash at it...but have come up short otherwise imo.
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the teams that have good lines are few and the teams with great depth are fewer, but they have one thing in common and that is their investment.
look at what the raiders did last off season and look at how their offense functions now. they spent on the best FAs available and have a great o-line coach. the cowboys drafted at o-line like the vikes have drafted in the secondary, because they understand how important it is to get the best guys when the overall talent is flagging.
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AD and fusco's contracts are albatrosses. i'm not convinced that the lineman the raiders got in free agency last off season wouldn't have come to minnesota if the vikes could have thrown more money toward them . spielman would have imo. instead spielman got what he could afford in second tier injury history guys.
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just like several teams have done at the qb position, the vikes need to rethink how the build the line and how they spend money.
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i'd be surprised if spielman was let go....but they better fix peterson's lame #### contract and hyper focus on getting up to par on the line if they expect to contend any time soon.


Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:48 pm
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