Offensive Optimism: They might be better than you think...

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mansquatch
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Re: Offensive Optimism: They might be better than you think

Post by mansquatch » Tue May 30, 2017 9:25 am

One of my reasons for focusing on the offense directly in this thread is because I view the the offense as the most significant thing that is holding back the defense. Spending more time in games with a lead will help their statistics, (It does wonders in NE and GB...) and not just because of the standard cliche of making the other team one dimensional (which certainly helps) but also because our unit is at it's best in the Double A nickel package which it can't play in as much as it likes when the opponent is winning on the score board and can dictate tempo.

Maybe a better to way to make the point is with a question: If the offense improves as I've outlined above, why would you expect the defense to not play at least as well as it did in 2016? For that matter, why would you expect it to not be better?

As I pointed out in my first post, it doesn't take much to get the avg margin of victory over 6 points. That was with only a 1 point improvement in PA. Just getting it over 3 is a big deal. Now the opposition can't sink you with a field goal. That alone provides a big change in how a game plays out for the opposing offense.
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Re: Offensive Optimism: They might be better than you think

Post by Mothman » Tue May 30, 2017 10:28 am

mansquatch wrote:One of my reasons for focusing on the offense directly in this thread is because I view the the offense as the most significant thing that is holding back the defense. Spending more time in games with a lead will help their statistics, (It does wonders in NE and GB...) and not just because of the standard cliche of making the other team one dimensional (which certainly helps) but also because our unit is at it's best in the Double A nickel package which it can't play in as much as it likes when the opponent is winning on the score board and can dictate tempo.

Maybe a better to way to make the point is with a question: If the offense improves as I've outlined above, why would you expect the defense to not play at least as well as it did in 2016? For that matter, why would you expect it to not be better?
I think your point is already clear. There's some disagreement about whether the offense is the most significant thing holding the defense back but I don't think there's any disagreement with the idea that an improved offense (especially an offense that scores more TDs) should help the defense.
As I pointed out in my first post, it doesn't take much to get the avg margin of victory over 6 points
It's clearly difficult since there are usually only 5 or 6 teams that manage it each season and the Vikings have only done it once in the past 15 years or so (in 2009, of course). Your point about possible improvement is valid but we know from experience that things rarely work out as neatly on the field as they do on paper, in theory. Given the team's history in this century, there's reason to doubt they can easily achieve an average margin of victory of 6+ points but it's definitely not impossible.

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Re: Offensive Optimism: They might be better than you think

Post by mansquatch » Tue May 30, 2017 10:57 am

I dunno, I think they are a prime candidate:

We have a team that last year actually improved at the QB position and WR position, but took a massive step backward at RB and Tackle. We have a QB who is likely on the verge of a 4000 yard season and the starting WR/TE have shown they can produce at the NFL level. In the case of both RB and the tackles, we were starting backups. For OL we were starting younger players with low ceilings, both of which have been replaced with veteran starters and in the case of Reiff a far better draft pedigree. For RB, we've added a veteran and a promising rookie in place of a career backup in Mckinnon. They've made changes at the weakest positions on that side of the ball without giving up any of their strengths from last season.
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Re: Offensive Optimism: They might be better than you think

Post by Mothman » Tue May 30, 2017 11:06 am

mansquatch wrote:I dunno, I think they are a prime candidate:

We have a team that last year actually improved at the QB position and WR position, but took a massive step backward at RB and Tackle. We have a QB who is likely on the verge of a 4000 yard season and the starting WR/TE have shown they can produce at the NFL level. In the case of both RB and the tackles, we were starting backups. For OL we were starting younger players with low ceilings, both of which have been replaced with veteran starters and in the case of Reiff a far better draft pedigree. For RB, we've added a veteran and a promising rookie in place of a career backup in Mckinnon. They've made changes at the weakest positions on that side of the ball without giving up any of their strengths from last season.
We'll see what happens. I think the sheer amount of change on offense might be enough to make the kind of leap you're talking about difficult but it's not impossible.

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Re: Offensive Optimism: They might be better than you think

Post by mansquatch » Tue May 30, 2017 1:17 pm

A big key will be how effectively they practice. It is obvious that Zimmer is able to get a lot into his guys on the defensive side of the ball in terms of teaching/coaching, but we have not seen the same level of efficacy on the offensive side of the ball. Hopefully this is something both he and Shurmer can improve this summer.

There are going to be growing pains on the OL, there always are when you insert a new guy into a group. I feel this is at least somewhat offset by the fact that last year they never really had consistent continuity until we reached the last half of the season, ergo the dumpster fire.

A big reason for my optimism is that last season was exceptionally burtal on the offensive side of the ball and the areas of particular pain were a result of poor backups playing significant snaps. That makes the Viking's situation a bit different than a team that say replaces one player but keeps an otherwise under-performing unit of starters. The guys we are replacing were not starters in the first place.
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Re: Offensive Optimism: They might be better than you think

Post by Mothman » Tue May 30, 2017 2:46 pm

mansquatch wrote:A big key will be how effectively they practice. It is obvious that Zimmer is able to get a lot into his guys on the defensive side of the ball in terms of teaching/coaching, but we have not seen the same level of efficacy on the offensive side of the ball. Hopefully this is something both he and Shurmer can improve this summer.

There are going to be growing pains on the OL, there always are when you insert a new guy into a group. I feel this is at least somewhat offset by the fact that last year they never really had consistent continuity until we reached the last half of the season, ergo the dumpster fire.

A big reason for my optimism is that last season was exceptionally burtal on the offensive side of the ball and the areas of particular pain were a result of poor backups playing significant snaps. That makes the Viking's situation a bit different than a team that say replaces one player but keeps an otherwise under-performing unit of starters. The guys we are replacing were not starters in the first place.

Yes and no. Technically, Reiff is replacing Kalil, not Clemmings. Remmers is replacing Smith (and Clemmings, who started in 2015). The RBs are replacing Adrian Peterson. When viewed in that light, I'm not sure there's much of an overall upgrade (or any at all at RB).

We'll see how it all shakes out. They had an average margin of victory of about 3.5 points in 2015 so 6 isn't out of reach, especially with an arguably better and definitely more experienced QB and without Clemmings starting. i think they'll need a lot to go right... starting at OC.

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Re: Offensive Optimism: They might be better than you think

Post by Nunin » Tue May 30, 2017 3:21 pm

I agree with JIm that a lot of the teams fate will fall at the feet of Shurmur, especially since there is no threat of Zimmer ever taking over playcalling.
I've been fairly positive on his changes due to the talent they have in place and the QB. Having said that, as much as I disliked Norv as a fit here, when he finally began making significant adjustments to accomodate for the o-line woes, it was effective for what they had.
When Shurmur took over there was regression. I'm hoping it was due to there just being a major change mid-season as opposed to, like some here speculate, that Shurmur is over his head with any offense.
We'll see but if it's the latter, things will get ugly quickly.

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Re: Offensive Optimism: They might be better than you think

Post by S197 » Tue May 30, 2017 3:51 pm

It seems almost a certainty that we will have a new C as well. It's early, but 1st team reps were between Elflein and Easton in the first OTAs. That's 3/5ths of the O-line, which is a major overhaul. How quickly they're able to gel is going to be a big factor as well, especially if we start a rookie. I'd imagine Bradford will be making the line calls for the time being.

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Re: Offensive Optimism: They might be better than you think

Post by mansquatch » Tue May 30, 2017 4:14 pm

This is all true, but if your starting point is 2016, then you have to weigh in the fact that performance we saw in 2016 was from an OL that never had a chance to gel AND started two substandard players at both tackle positions. IMO the gel factor is an issue, but it is also a push from what we saw in 2016.

In 2015 with AP, an slightly better OL of Kalil/Johnson/Berger/Harris/Clemmings and AP we put up 2200 yards. I do not think all of those 1000 yards were due to AP. Some of it certainly was. Kalil was so-so in 2015. Not sure Johnson was better than Boone. Berger is a push. Harris got cut, enough said. and Clemmings... LOL.

Here are some rushing stats to consider from 2016:

#32: MIN 1205 YDS
#31: LAR 1252 YDS (With Todd Guerly!!!)
#30: DET 1310 YDS
#29: NYG 1412 YDS
#28: BAL 1463 YDS
#27: DEN 1484 YDS
#26: SD 1510 YDS
#25: SEA 1591 YDS

My main point in showing this is that this is the bottom 25% of the league. If we jsut move to top of this dung heap we improve by almost 400 of the 600 yards I cited above, that just doesn't feel like a major move to me when you consider what we had last season vs. this season.
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Re: Offensive Optimism: They might be better than you think

Post by Mothman » Tue May 30, 2017 4:32 pm

Nunin wrote:I agree with JIm that a lot of the teams fate will fall at the feet of Shurmur, especially since there is no threat of Zimmer ever taking over playcalling.
I've been fairly positive on his changes due to the talent they have in place and the QB. Having said that, as much as I disliked Norv as a fit here, when he finally began making significant adjustments to accomodate for the o-line woes, it was effective for what they had.
When Shurmur took over there was regression. I'm hoping it was due to there just being a major change mid-season as opposed to, like some here speculate, that Shurmur is over his head with any offense.
We'll see but if it's the latter, things will get ugly quickly.

Good post. I was pretty critical of Turner during his stay in Minnesota but it IS worth noting that the Vikings record with him as OC was 23-16 and without him last year they went 3-6. That could just be due to other factors but as frustrating as he was at times, I suspect his experience had it's benefits and one of those benefits may have been an ability to manage games with his playcalling in a way that played to the Vikes overall strengths as a team.

Then again, maybe not. :)

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Re: Offensive Optimism: They might be better than you think

Post by Mothman » Tue May 30, 2017 4:54 pm

mansquatch wrote:This is all true, but if your starting point is 2016, then you have to weigh in the fact that performance we saw in 2016 was from an OL that never had a chance to gel AND started two substandard players at both tackle positions. IMO the gel factor is an issue, but it is also a push from what we saw in 2016.

In 2015 with AP, an slightly better OL of Kalil/Johnson/Berger/Harris/Clemmings and AP we put up 2200 yards. I do not think all of those 1000 yards were due to AP. Some of it certainly was. Kalil was so-so in 2015. Not sure Johnson was better than Boone. Berger is a push. Harris got cut, enough said. and Clemmings... LOL
I think a lot of that really was Peterson. The man gained a lot of yards after contact.

By the way, I think you meant Fusco, not Johnson. :)
My main point in showing this is that this is the bottom 25% of the league. If we just move to top of this dung heap we improve by almost 400 of the 600 yards I cited above, that just doesn't feel like a major move to me when you consider what we had last season vs. this season.
It's certainly a possible improvement. After all, the 2001 Vikings were 25th in rushing and Mike Tice vowed that was going to change in his first season as HC. In 2002, the Vikings were the #1 rushing team in the league. They went from 1609 yards rushing to 2507 yards rushing in one year. That's a massive change in one season.

Assuming they can make a 400-600 yard improvement with their rushing game this season, the impact that will have on their record may depend on how it works with other factors. Will those gains in the ground game come at the expense of passing yardage or can they be more productive in both areas? Will that production translate into a better 3rd down conversion rate, into extended drives and touchdowns? I think that's the stuff that will ultimately be important. if gains in rushing or passing yardage are accompanied by factors like an increase in turnovers, too many costly penalties and continuing struggles to score in the red zone, they may not have much impact on the W/L record.

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Re: Offensive Optimism: They might be better than you think

Post by halfgiz » Tue May 30, 2017 6:27 pm

We already should have a improved OL

Quote: The Vikings have penciled in the same five offensive linemen on the first-team unit through the first four OTA practices.

Riley Reiff, an offseason free agent signing, has lined up at left tackle next to left guard Alex Boone, who is in his second season in Minnesota. Nick Easton has taken early reps at center, and Joe Berger has shifted over to right guard - a combination the Vikings used at the end of the 2016 season. Mike Remmers, another free agent acquisition, has been the first-team right tackle.

The Vikings second-team unit has been left tackle Rashod Hill, left guard Jeremiah Sirles, center Pat Elflein, right guard Zac Kerin and right tackle T.J. Clemmings.


http://m.vikings.com/news/article-1/3-O ... 0a13f309dd

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Re: Offensive Optimism: They might be better than you think

Post by S197 » Tue May 30, 2017 6:33 pm

mansquatch wrote:This is all true, but if your starting point is 2016, then you have to weigh in the fact that performance we saw in 2016 was from an OL that never had a chance to gel AND started two substandard players at both tackle positions. IMO the gel factor is an issue, but it is also a push from what we saw in 2016.

In 2015 with AP, an slightly better OL of Kalil/Johnson/Berger/Harris/Clemmings and AP we put up 2200 yards. I do not think all of those 1000 yards were due to AP. Some of it certainly was. Kalil was so-so in 2015. Not sure Johnson was better than Boone. Berger is a push. Harris got cut, enough said. and Clemmings... LOL.

Here are some rushing stats to consider from 2016:

#32: MIN 1205 YDS
#31: LAR 1252 YDS (With Todd Guerly!!!)
#30: DET 1310 YDS
#29: NYG 1412 YDS
#28: BAL 1463 YDS
#27: DEN 1484 YDS
#26: SD 1510 YDS
#25: SEA 1591 YDS

My main point in showing this is that this is the bottom 25% of the league. If we jsut move to top of this dung heap we improve by almost 400 of the 600 yards I cited above, that just doesn't feel like a major move to me when you consider what we had last season vs. this season.
No doubt I expect this year's line to be better but a lot of that is due to last year being a total train wreck. I think it's totally plausible the offense could end up around middle of the pack, which may be enough if the defense can remain stout.

Looking at the line depth, it's better than last year especially in the interior if guys like Isidora and Easton can work out. Hill looked decent in limited play, I just hope someone can beat out Clemmings for the backup job or he has some MAJOR offseason improvement.

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Re: Offensive Optimism: They might be better than you think

Post by Nunin » Tue May 30, 2017 8:48 pm

as it stands, the o-line is one injury away from clemmings starting.
that is zero improvement, IMO.
i cannot understand what a guy, who didn't even play on offense until late in college, who has a significant amount of film supporting the view that he just doesn't cut it at tackle, is doing on this team at all.
whta. i'm .i. missing?

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Re: Offensive Optimism: They might be better than you think

Post by VikingPaul73 » Tue May 30, 2017 9:39 pm

S197 wrote:It seems almost a certainty that we will have a new C as well. It's early, but 1st team reps were between Elflein and Easton in the first OTAs. That's 3/5ths of the O-line, which is a major overhaul. How quickly they're able to gel is going to be a big factor as well, especially if we start a rookie. I'd imagine Bradford will be making the line calls for the time being.
And 4/5 in new positions because Berger will be at RG instead of C

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