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 Vikings Grades: Quarterback 
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Post Vikings Grades: Quarterback
This is Part 4 in the Strib's series grading Vikings players on the 2016 season.

Vikings grades, outlook: Sam Bradford's season both limited and well navigated

Quote:
Because of Bradford, quarterback play was not the 28th-ranked offense’s biggest worry as they cycled through offensive tackles and running backs to no avail at either position. Moving forward, Bradford and expected full-time offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur will form the offense’s front as Bridgewater recovers.


Quote:
Earned the NFL record for completion percentage (71.6) while averaging the shortest average throw by depth (6.6 yards) in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. Only Kansas City’s Alex Smith (6.9) also had an average depth of fewer than seven yards. All things considered, Bradford’s individual season was a success while throwing for 3,877 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions against defenses that knew he had no running game and subpar protection.


The scale:

5 = excellent season
4 = above average
3 = average
2 = below average
1 = failure to perform

The grades:

Sam Bradford (4.0)
Shaun Hill (N/A)
Teddy Bridgewater (N/A)
Taylor Heinicke (N/A)

There's not much to say here that hasn't been said already. Hill's a free agent this offseason. I think the Vikes would be wise to look for another backup.


Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:10 am
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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
Given the shortcomings of the offensive line and some coaching issues, I thought Bradford did a heck of a job.

Bradford is criticized for not being a scrambler. Okay, he's a pocket passer but I thought he ran well for a QB whenever he took off with the ball. The guy isn't afraid to do it.

Give Bradford and the current receivers (and the RBs) a better OL and wiser utilization, then we'll see more fireworks from the offense.


Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:27 pm
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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
Quote:
Earned the NFL record for completion percentage (71.6) while averaging the shortest average throw by depth (6.6 yards) in the league


Best accuracy in the league but with the shortest average throw depth in the league? Sounds familiar.

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Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:08 pm
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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
Cliff wrote:
Quote:
Earned the NFL record for completion percentage (71.6) while averaging the shortest average throw by depth (6.6 yards) in the league


Best accuracy in the league but with the shortest average throw depth in the league? Sounds familiar.


:lol: That's been the Vikings way for the better part of 5 years now, hasn't it?


Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:37 pm
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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
Mothman wrote:
Cliff wrote:
Quote:
Earned the NFL record for completion percentage (71.6) while averaging the shortest average throw by depth (6.6 yards) in the league


Best accuracy in the league but with the shortest average throw depth in the league? Sounds familiar.


:lol: That's been the Vikings way for the better part of 5 years now, hasn't it?


Yup. In the top 10 most accurate passers (or 1-2 spots off) all of those years. Interesting side note: Bridgewater had a better completion percentage, yards per attempt, yards per completion, and QBR in 2015 with Bradford on the Eagles. That doesn't necessarily mean anything with all of the other factors at play but I didn't expect it.

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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
losperros wrote:
Given the shortcomings of the offensive line and some coaching issues, I thought Bradford did a heck of a job.

Bradford is criticized for not being a scrambler. Okay, he's a pocket passer but I thought he ran well for a QB whenever he took off with the ball. The guy isn't afraid to do it.

Give Bradford and the current receivers (and the RBs) a better OL and wiser utilization, then we'll see more fireworks from the offense.


I really haven't heard anybody criticize Bradford for not being a scrambler. I've just heard people say that he's been criticized for not being a scrambler. :confused:

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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
fiestavike wrote:
I really haven't heard anybody criticize Bradford for not being a scrambler. I've just heard people say that he's been criticized for not being a scrambler. :confused:


People here have complained about his lack of mobility all season.


Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:15 pm
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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
Mothman wrote:
fiestavike wrote:
I really haven't heard anybody criticize Bradford for not being a scrambler. I've just heard people say that he's been criticized for not being a scrambler. :confused:


People here have complained about his lack of mobility all season.


The last 3-4 games or so he was a different QB. Moved a lot better in the pocket and ran much better on scrambles. Cam Newton he is not however neither is Newton the accurate passer Bradford is.

Is he a top 3 QB? No but he's top 10-12 for sure and a guy who could easily win a Super Bowl or 2 if the team improves it's line.


Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:23 pm
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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
Cliff wrote:
Yup. In the top 10 most accurate passers (or 1-2 spots off) all of those years. Interesting side note: Bridgewater had a better completion percentage, yards per attempt, yards per completion, and QBR in 2015 with Bradford on the Eagles. That doesn't necessarily mean anything with all of the other factors at play but I didn't expect it.


Yes but keep in mind a couple things; A) Bradford was coming off back-to-back ACL's and hadn't played in a long, LONG time..started slow in Philly but in the last 7 games was a top 3-5 QB in almost every stat. B) Bridgewater was throwing in an offense that featured the leagues leading rusher while Bradford was throwing in Philly with a horrendous run game and the leagues worst (in terms of drops) receivers.


Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:26 pm
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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
How many QBs were traded for, lost their starting OL, starting HB, had average WRs? Oh, and the offensive coordinator quit half way through the season.

Bradford had questions, but come on, the questions *around* him were much bigger than his questions!


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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
Mothman wrote:
fiestavike wrote:
I really haven't heard anybody criticize Bradford for not being a scrambler. I've just heard people say that he's been criticized for not being a scrambler. :confused:


People here have complained about his lack of mobility all season.


I've missed that somehow. Pocket presence and movement in the pocket I've seen, but not so much about scrambling. I probably just missed it. That is a silly criticism.

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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
fiestavike wrote:
Mothman wrote:
fiestavike wrote:
I really haven't heard anybody criticize Bradford for not being a scrambler. I've just heard people say that he's been criticized for not being a scrambler. :confused:


People here have complained about his lack of mobility all season.


I've missed that somehow. Pocket presence and movement in the pocket I've seen, but not so much about scrambling. I probably just missed it. That is a silly criticism.

I think it was more comparing his mobility to Teddy's, whick is like comparing mine to Usain Bolt.

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Fri Jan 13, 2017 5:30 am
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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
There's been a lot made out of Bradford's average throwing distance. But honestly, a lot of that came early.

The Vikings actually finished 12th in the league with 52 completions of 20 or more yards. Much of that came after Norv's resignation. At first, throws got even shorter with Shurmur, but then the Vikings picked it up down the stretch, averaging 305 yards per game over the last four.

Given the magnitude of Teddy's injury and the low likelihood he'll be ready by the start of the season, we could use help at backup QB. But for the first time in a long time, our starter is solid going into an offseason.

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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
J. Kapp 11 wrote:
There's been a lot made out of Bradford's average throwing distance. But honestly, a lot of that came early.

The Vikings actually finished 12th in the league with 52 completions of 20 or more yards. Much of that came after Norv's resignation. At first, throws got even shorter with Shurmur, but then the Vikings picked it up down the stretch, averaging 305 yards per game over the last four.

Given the magnitude of Teddy's injury and the low likelihood he'll be ready by the start of the season, we could use help at backup QB. But for the first time in a long time, our starter is solid going into an offseason.


Very well said.....agree 100%


Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:13 am
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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
autobon7 wrote:
J. Kapp 11 wrote:
There's been a lot made out of Bradford's average throwing distance. But honestly, a lot of that came early.

The Vikings actually finished 12th in the league with 52 completions of 20 or more yards. Much of that came after Norv's resignation. At first, throws got even shorter with Shurmur, but then the Vikings picked it up down the stretch, averaging 305 yards per game over the last four.

Given the magnitude of Teddy's injury and the low likelihood he'll be ready by the start of the season, we could use help at backup QB. But for the first time in a long time, our starter is solid going into an offseason.


Very well said.....agree 100%


Same here.

Bradford has bested most of the criticism. He wanted to go deep more and tried try to throw downfield as the season progressed. I believe better blocking would have helped the team's efforts in that area. And critics claimed Bradford wasn't mobile. Yet he took off and gained yards running when it was necessary.

The Vikings are going to start the next season with a good QB in Bradford. Maybe not great but good. And having Teddy as backup makes this one of the best QB tandems the team has seen in a long time, though it's doubtful TB will be 100 percent (which admittedly could affect his performance).


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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
Cliff wrote:
Best accuracy in the league but with the shortest average throw depth in the league? Sounds familiar.

Dude threw for nearly 3,900 yards and 20 TDs. Excluding the 2009 Brett Favre season, neither of those marks had been eclipsed by a Vikings QB since 2004. What more do you want than the single best Vikings QB season over the last 11 years?


Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:09 am
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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
720pete wrote:
Cliff wrote:
Best accuracy in the league but with the shortest average throw depth in the league? Sounds familiar.

Dude threw for nearly 3,900 yards and 20 TDs. Excluding the 2009 Brett Favre season, neither of those marks had been eclipsed by a Vikings QB since 2004. What more do you want than the single best Vikings QB season over the last 11 years?


In 15 games...and with only 5 ints.


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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
RFIP wrote:
720pete wrote:
Cliff wrote:
Best accuracy in the league but with the shortest average throw depth in the league? Sounds familiar.

Dude threw for nearly 3,900 yards and 20 TDs. Excluding the 2009 Brett Favre season, neither of those marks had been eclipsed by a Vikings QB since 2004. What more do you want than the single best Vikings QB season over the last 11 years?


In 15 games...and with only 5 ints.


I'm happy with the job Sam did, I'm more reflecting on the fact that it's the same kind of passing game the Vikings have been playing for years. Even that "great improvement" for the Vikings is 16th in the league. I'm happy with the improvement overall at QB, I'm just not happy that it's still the kind of offense that is overly conservative by limitation or plan - either sucks.

Teddy's stats weren't as good as Sam's but the trend is the same as far as which stats were emphasized. Very accurate largely in part to the kind of passing game that the Vikings play. Everything else average or below average (Bradford more average and Bridgewater more below average).

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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
RFIP wrote:
720pete wrote:
Cliff wrote:
Dude threw for nearly 3,900 yards and 20 TDs. Excluding the 2009 Brett Favre season, neither of those marks had been eclipsed by a Vikings QB since 2004. What more do you want than the single best Vikings QB season over the last 11 years?


In 15 games...and with only 5 ints.


I'm happy with the job Sam did, I'm more reflecting on the fact that it's the same kind of passing game the Vikings have been playing for years. Even that "great improvement" for the Vikings is 16th in the league. I'm happy with the improvement overall at QB, I'm just not happy that it's still the kind of offense that is overly conservative by limitation or plan - either sucks.

Teddy's stats weren't as good as Sam's but the trend is the same as far as which stats were emphasized. Very accurate largely in part to the kind of passing game that the Vikings play. Everything else average or below average (Bradford more average and Bridgewater more below average).


You do realize that to be more aggressive down field the OL has to be a LOT better correct?

Improve the line and this offense will be a lot more aggressive...and the run game will improve as well.


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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
RFIP wrote:
You do realize that to be more aggressive down field the OL has to be a LOT better correct?

Improve the line and this offense will be a lot more aggressive...and the run game will improve as well.



Sure, I agree that the OL is part of the problem but that doesn't explain the last 5-6 years where it's been the same story. Having two defensive-minded head coaches back to back probably has something to do with that though.

It's more me tired of seeing basically the same terrible offense over the last ... what ... 8 years or so? Favre left in 2010 but he didn't exactly listen to the play calls anyway. At any rate, we were still 26th in passing in 2010.


2011 - 18th ranked offense (28th passing) (yards per attempt 29th)
2012 - 20th ranked offense (31st passing) (yards per attempt 31st)
2013 - 13th ranked offense (23rd passing) (yards per attempt 16th)
2014 - 27th ranked offense (28th passing) (yard per attempt 14th)
2015 - 29th ranked offense (31st passing) (yards per attempt 20th)
2016 - 28th ranked offense (18th passing) (yards per attempt 19th)

Bradford represents an improvement for sure but the improved rank is almost certainly because they were forced into passing with the worst running game in the league.

We've been in the bottom half of the league in terms of short passes for 6-7 years regardless of QB, Oline, RB, WRs, etc. Not that simply airing it out is some kind of cure all but it reflects the kind of game the Vikings have been focusing on which is "safe" offense to limit turnovers. I guess you could argue that it's partly because Peterson is the 'focal point' but that didn't seem to matter in 2009.

Anyway, it's not new this year with Bradford, it's a trend and it's frustrating to watch.

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Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:57 am
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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
Cliff wrote:
RFIP wrote:
You do realize that to be more aggressive down field the OL has to be a LOT better correct?

Improve the line and this offense will be a lot more aggressive...and the run game will improve as well.



Sure, I agree that the OL is part of the problem but that doesn't explain the last 5-6 years where it's been the same story. Having two defensive-minded head coaches back to back probably has something to do with that though.

It's more me tired of seeing basically the same terrible offense over the last ... what ... 8 years or so? Favre left in 2010 but he didn't exactly listen to the play calls anyway. At any rate, we were still 26th in passing in 2010.


2011 - 18th ranked offense (28th passing) (yards per attempt 29th)
2012 - 20th ranked offense (31st passing) (yards per attempt 31st)
2013 - 13th ranked offense (23rd passing) (yards per attempt 16th)
2014 - 27th ranked offense (28th passing) (yard per attempt 14th)
2015 - 29th ranked offense (31st passing) (yards per attempt 20th)
2016 - 28th ranked offense (18th passing) (yards per attempt 19th)

Bradford represents an improvement for sure but the improved rank is almost certainly because they were forced into passing with the worst running game in the league.

We've been in the bottom half of the league in terms of short passes for 6-7 years regardless of QB, Oline, RB, WRs, etc. Not that simply airing it out is some kind of cure all but it reflects the kind of game the Vikings have been focusing on which is "safe" offense to limit turnovers. I guess you could argue that it's partly because Peterson is the 'focal point' but that didn't seem to matter in 2009.

Anyway, it's not new this year with Bradford, it's a trend and it's frustrating to watch.


All I can tell you is about the present, and that present, with Bradford, looks pretty darn promising to ME if the OL gets fixed because they WILL draft a young buck RB (hopefully one of the 2 from OU - Mixon or my favorite Perine) and Bradford year 2, with an off season with these receivers, bringing Treadwell along too AND a good run game will improve (and I believe dramatically) all of your numbers above.

This team is not too far away my friend.


Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:45 pm
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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
RFIP wrote:
This team is not too far away my friend.


Exactly. Although if this is what you believe, I will warn you to not bother looking in that "Done with the 2017 Vikings thread". I made that mistake already.

We have some weak spots on the OL and are weak at RB (hoping AP leaves). Some are acting like it's impossible to fix and that we have holes across the board. And all of that is completely false

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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
Pondering Her Percy wrote:
RFIP wrote:
This team is not too far away my friend.


Exactly. Although if this is what you believe, I will warn you to not bother looking in that "Done with the 2017 Vikings thread". I made that mistake already.


I've heard the same tune for decades. For a team that hasn't been too far away for so long, it's sure taking them a long time to reach their destination.

Quote:
We have some weak spots on the OL and are weak at RB (hoping AP leaves). Some are acting like it's impossible to fix and that we have holes across the board. And all of that is completely false


It's not impossible to fix what's wrong with the team. What many are saying is that we lack confidence in the people doing the fixing and the team they've assembled so far. We can't all be zealous true believers.


Thu Jan 19, 2017 7:41 am
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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
Mothman wrote:
Pondering Her Percy wrote:
RFIP wrote:
This team is not too far away my friend.


Exactly. Although if this is what you believe, I will warn you to not bother looking in that "Done with the 2017 Vikings thread". I made that mistake already.


I've heard the same tune for decades. For a team that hasn't been too far away for so long, it's sure taking them a long time to reach their destination.

Quote:
We have some weak spots on the OL and are weak at RB (hoping AP leaves). Some are acting like it's impossible to fix and that we have holes across the board. And all of that is completely false


It's not impossible to fix what's wrong with the team. What many are saying is that we lack confidence in the people doing the fixing and the team they've assembled so far. We can't all be zealous true believers.


So a weak OL and a team in need of a RB. Doesn't sound to hard to fix if you ask me. Remember 2011 when we had an old DL, no LBs outside of Chad, and a terrible secondary. Along with no QB, no WR and an average OL?? Look what we needed then and look what we need now. I think we'll be alright

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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
Pondering Her Percy wrote:
So a weak OL and a team in need of a RB. Doesn't sound to hard to fix if you ask me.


... and yet the problems remain and, in fact, might be worse on the OL than they have ever been on a Vikings team. It seems like the folks in charge are having a hard time fixing it. They're not doing so great with the offense as a whole either. At least the kicking game is in good shape! Oh, wait... ;)

Quote:
Remember 2011 when we had an old DL, no LBs outside of Chad, and a terrible secondary. Along with no QB, no WR and an average OL?? Look what we needed then and look what we need now. I think we'll be alright


Yes, they will probably be alright but the definition of that word is literally "satisfactory but not especially good". "Alright" isn't the goal. "Alright" is what we've been seeing for far too long.


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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
RFIP wrote:
All I can tell you is about the present, and that present, with Bradford, looks pretty darn promising to ME if the OL gets fixed because they WILL draft a young buck RB (hopefully one of the 2 from OU - Mixon or my favorite Perine) and Bradford year 2, with an off season with these receivers, bringing Treadwell along too AND a good run game will improve (and I believe dramatically) all of your numbers above.

This team is not too far away my friend.


Looking back 8 years isn't exactly the distant past and it shows how this team has been built over that span. It shows the tendencies of the management and how they're likely to build in the future barring a complete rebuild.

Here is what I know about the present if you just mean last season though; The Vikings have one of the worst offenses in the league. Bottom half in most categories, bottom five in some significant ones. They'll be lucky to get to average next season even though Bradford represents a significant upgrade at QB.

Even if you believe the passing game can improve significantly; we had the *worst* running game in the league last year. I don't see these as single year fix problems though things can move quickly in the NFL.

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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
Cliff wrote:
Sure, I agree that the OL is part of the problem but that doesn't explain the last 5-6 years where it's been the same story. Having two defensive-minded head coaches back to back probably has something to do with that though.


I would argue that this year the short passing was due to an OL problem, but in the previous 4 years it was due to an incapable QB problem or no depth at WR.

2016: Capable QB, Incapable OL, OK depth at WR
2011-15: Incapable QB, Capable/passable OL, no depth at WR

Our past WR corps certainly didn't inspire fear in opposing secondaries:
2011 (Ponder): Emmanuel Arceneaux, Devin Aromashadu, Greg Camarillo, Percy Harvin
2012 (Ponder): Devin Aromashadu, Stephen Burton, Michael Jenkins, Jerome Simpson, Jarius Wright
2013 (Cassel, Ponder, Freeman): Greg Jennings, Cordarelle Patterson, Jarius Wright, Rodney Smith, Joe Webb
2014 (Bridgewater, Ponder): Greg Jennings, Charles Johnson, Adam Thielen, Cordarelle Patterson, Jarius Wright
2015 (Bridgewater): Stefon Diggs, Charles Johnson, Cordarelle Patterson, Mike Wallace, Jarius Wright


Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:18 am
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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
720pete wrote:
Cliff wrote:
Sure, I agree that the OL is part of the problem but that doesn't explain the last 5-6 years where it's been the same story. Having two defensive-minded head coaches back to back probably has something to do with that though.


I would argue that this year the short passing was due to an OL problem, but in the previous 4 years it was due to an incapable QB problem or no depth at WR.

2016: Capable QB, Incapable OL, OK depth at WR
2011-15: Incapable QB, Capable/passable OL, no depth at WR

Our past WR corps certainly didn't inspire fear in opposing secondaries:
2011: Emmanuel Arceneaux, Devin Aromashadu, Greg Camarillo, Percy Harvin
2012: Devin Aromashadu, Stephen Burton, Michael Jenkins, Jerome Simpson, Jarisu Wright
2013: Greg Jennings, Cordarelle Patterson, Jarius Wright, Rodney Smith, Joe Webb
2014: Greg Jennings, Charles Johnson, Adam Thielen, Cordarelle Patterson, Jarius Wright
2015: Stefon Diggs, Charles Johnson, Cordarelle Patterson, Mike Wallace, Jarius Wright


Regardless of the reason; the Vikings management has failed to address the problem in 8 years. I don't see any reason to have faith that they'll be able to get all the components on the field at once next season given how our offensive line has played (which requires at least 3-4 average players to even make serviceable, let alone account for any injury) and Peterson is near the end of his career.

I'm happy to have Bradford on the team, but QB wasn't our worst offensive need to begin with - the offensive line was still in worse shape than QB even if you didn't think Teddy had a very bright future at QB.

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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
Mothman wrote:
"Alright" isn't the goal. "Alright" is what we've been seeing for far too long.


Last time I checked, you need to get to "alright" before you get to a SB. You dont just wake up in the morning and become a Super Bowl Champion. I mean you practically make some kind of dig at Zim, Spielman or management in just about every post you make now. We get it. You have no confidence in them. I on the other hand, do. Moving on.....

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Post Re: Vikings Grades: Quarterback
Pondering Her Percy wrote:
Mothman wrote:
"Alright" isn't the goal. "Alright" is what we've been seeing for far too long.


Last time I checked, you need to get to "alright" before you get to a SB. You dont just wake up in the morning and become a Super Bowl Champion. I mean you practically make some kind of dig at Zim, Spielman or management in just about every post you make now. We get it. You have no confidence in them. I on the other hand, do.



... and we get that.

I apologize if I sound like a broken record (there's a comment that dates me). A lot if it is a reaction to constant assurances from fans here that success is just around the corner, the team's not that far away, etc. After so many years of mediocrity, that rings increasingly hollow. Of course a team needs to get to "alright" before they can win a Super Bowl but the Vikings keep accomplishing step 1 and leaving out step 2.

As Cliff wrote above in regard to the passing game: Vikings management has failed to address the problem in 8 years. Why should we have faith that's about to change?

I realize I just brought management into the conversation again but it's the offseason and that's all about what management is going to do to improve the team.


Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:48 pm
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