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.