Once in Nineteen...

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Re: Once in Nineteen...

Post by VikingLord » Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:20 pm

Dames wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:55 am
I think you're correct and the Cook injury hurt the offense more than people realize. He was a monster in the first half of the year and after the injury the running game (and screens to RBs) took a big hit. Some of that could be defensive scheming, but you could clearly see that Cook was not the same RB at the end of the year.
It says a lot about the offensive line and overall offensive scheme though when it relies on the heroics of one player to produce results.

Contrast that with how the 49er running game performed. They trotted in any one of 3 different backs and didn't skip a beat. Not nearly as explosive a rushing attack as the Vikings with a healthy Cook, but more evenly balanced and effective overall.

If I'm Rick Spielman, the huge dropoff seen when Cook was at less that 100% or out completely coupled with the inability of the passing game to compensate means the offensive line needs serious attention this offseason. I think O'Neill and Bradbury will continue to develop, but if I'm Rick Spielman and I know Kubiak wants to run effectively, the other 3 OL positions all need attention, especially if Spielman decides he can't afford a big extension for Cook. Even if the Vikings do spend the money to keep Cook around beyond next season, there is no way they can count on him to be healthy and effective for an entire season. They almost have to assume he won't be, so shoring up the OL is still a priority regardless.
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Re: Once in Nineteen...

Post by Dames » Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:49 pm

VikingLord wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:20 pm
If I'm Rick Spielman, the huge dropoff seen when Cook was at less that 100% or out completely coupled with the inability of the passing game to compensate means the offensive line needs serious attention this offseason. I think O'Neill and Bradbury will continue to develop, but if I'm Rick Spielman and I know Kubiak wants to run effectively, the other 3 OL positions all need attention, especially if Spielman decides he can't afford a big extension for Cook. Even if the Vikings do spend the money to keep Cook around beyond next season, there is no way they can count on him to be healthy and effective for an entire season. They almost have to assume he won't be, so shoring up the OL is still a priority regardless.
Same ####, different year, isn't it? So frustrating. I think overall it was better this year than last year. That may be mostly due to scheme, but the reason why doesn't matter. We just need it better. Period. :wallbang:
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Re: Once in Nineteen...

Post by Mothman » Wed Jan 29, 2020 3:23 pm

VikingLord wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:20 pm
It says a lot about the offensive line and overall offensive scheme though when it relies on the heroics of one player to produce results.

Contrast that with how the 49er running game performed. They trotted in any one of 3 different backs and didn't skip a beat. Not nearly as explosive a rushing attack as the Vikings with a healthy Cook, but more evenly balanced and effective overall.

If I'm Rick Spielman, the huge dropoff seen when Cook was at less that 100% or out completely coupled with the inability of the passing game to compensate means the offensive line needs serious attention this offseason. I think O'Neill and Bradbury will continue to develop, but if I'm Rick Spielman and I know Kubiak wants to run effectively, the other 3 OL positions all need attention, especially if Spielman decides he can't afford a big extension for Cook. Even if the Vikings do spend the money to keep Cook around beyond next season, there is no way they can count on him to be healthy and effective for an entire season. They almost have to assume he won't be, so shoring up the OL is still a priority regardless.
I agree. The OL has been a problem for most of the past decade. Clearly, it's way past time to make it a priority.

It's worth mentioning, in the overall context of this discussion, that Mattison was out at the same time as Cook last season.
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Re: Once in Nineteen...

Post by Mothman » Wed Jan 29, 2020 3:40 pm

Dames wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:49 pm
Same ####, different year, isn't it? So frustrating. I think overall it was better this year than last year. That may be mostly due to scheme, but the reason why doesn't matter. We just need it better. Period. :wallbang:
The game is still won and lost at the line of scrimmage. Building a terrific o-line is one of the best ways to take a team from also-ran to genuine contender.

It seems like forever since the Vikings showed they really understand that.
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Re: Once in Nineteen...

Post by S197 » Wed Jan 29, 2020 7:12 pm

StumpHunter wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:26 am
Dames wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:53 am

This is a tough spot, because while I agree that he has been very successful, there seems to be a really key component that is lacking. That is being prepared for the most important games. There has been a pattern of Zim's teams completely disappearing in huge games. It happened in 2017 Championship, the final game of 2018, and of course vs SF this year. It speaks to something seriously lacking when you have a pattern of abysmal performances like that. So, yeah, the overall success looks really impressive until you see how the years end.

To me, this is much like how Denny Green's career went. Amazing success, but couldn't do it in the playoffs. He was finally let go because they didn't think he would get them over the hump, even though he had an impressive overall record.


I very much appreciate the optimism! I am expecting good things next year for many of the same reasons you listed. I think the Offense should continue its success and hopefully even improve. I know they will be working on the defense a lot, because that is Zim's baby. He'll want to fix that. So, I do expect some results. I have a hard time buying into the next level though, for the reason I stated above.
Every game every coach has lost you could say they were unprepared. Sometimes it is true that the coach was out coached, sometimes the players have bad games, sometimes the other team just has more talent. Sometimes it is a combination

SF, Chicago and Philly had more talent the years they beat us in big games. Philly had a better game plan as well, aided by catching the Vikings off guard with Foles' first good game of the season. All three of those games the QB played a game that would have been next to impossible to win without an elite game from the RB or defense.

Those aren't the only big games of Zimmer's career in MN though. I would say GB and Seattle he did an excellent job in preparing the team in 2015. In 2017 he did a great job versus NO, and in 2019 he schooled Payton once again.

Zimmer may very well be a part of the problem with not reaching the SB and being inconsistent at reaching the playoffs. I don't think any of his teams have ever under achieved with the talent he was given though. Overachieved, yes, finished right around where they should have, but never has he had a SB caliber roster that fell short.
The Bears had nothing to play for and started most of their backups. I don't know how anyone can argue they had more talent. Philly I can see going both ways, on one hand they beat us with a backup but then again they won the SB. We'll see if SF looks as dominant Sunday.

If there was a talent gap, it wasn't that wide. Certainly not to the point where the Vikings couldn't be competitive. One or two games a trend does not make but when it happens 3 years in a row in the last game of the year, it's a little hard to ignore.
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Re: Once in Nineteen...

Post by mansquatch » Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:53 am

VikingLord wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:20 pm
Dames wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:55 am
I think you're correct and the Cook injury hurt the offense more than people realize. He was a monster in the first half of the year and after the injury the running game (and screens to RBs) took a big hit. Some of that could be defensive scheming, but you could clearly see that Cook was not the same RB at the end of the year.
It says a lot about the offensive line and overall offensive scheme though when it relies on the heroics of one player to produce results.

Contrast that with how the 49er running game performed. They trotted in any one of 3 different backs and didn't skip a beat. Not nearly as explosive a rushing attack as the Vikings with a healthy Cook, but more evenly balanced and effective overall.

If I'm Rick Spielman, the huge dropoff seen when Cook was at less that 100% or out completely coupled with the inability of the passing game to compensate means the offensive line needs serious attention this offseason. I think O'Neill and Bradbury will continue to develop, but if I'm Rick Spielman and I know Kubiak wants to run effectively, the other 3 OL positions all need attention, especially if Spielman decides he can't afford a big extension for Cook. Even if the Vikings do spend the money to keep Cook around beyond next season, there is no way they can count on him to be healthy and effective for an entire season. They almost have to assume he won't be, so shoring up the OL is still a priority regardless.

They didn't run the same types of plays when Cook was out. If you recall one of the complaints about that 2nd Packers game was the lack of running things that had worked, such as screen passes. Against the Bears we saw that Boone was/is turnover prone. It is a mistake to equivocate those losses in terms of the offense as merely being the efficacy of the OL. My take on those perrformances was that the backup RB were not game ready and that they ended up doing things that they (the OL in particular) does not do well to try and compensate. That in a nutshell was the offense against the Packers.

There is a bit of Chicken and the Egg here. Is the OL bad because it doesn't do as well against drop back passing or is the OC bad because he didn't recognize this and adjust to things like calling more shotgun or quick passing? IMO, these games showed that Stefanski and co were not all that in terms of game planing and adjusting. What worries me is you'd think that by this point in Kubiak's career he would know better. So who drove those game planning decision? The answer to that is my biggest fear for the offense going into 2020.

Another thing to think about. GB's defense is predicated on rushing a passer who is trying to play catch up. That is why they brought in the Smiths. Look what SF did to them, the ran the ball 45 times! (Remember people saying you can't win that way in the NFL at the start of the Vikings seasson? Where are they now?) The Vikings game planned to try and play against their strength and they failed. They similarly failed vs. SF, not trying to expose those LB. You have to ask if this was the inability of the OL or was it uninspired coaching? Against SF it might have been a bit of both. Against GB, I blame the game plan.
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Re: Once in Nineteen...

Post by VikingLord » Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:41 am

mansquatch wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:53 am
They didn't run the same types of plays when Cook was out. If you recall one of the complaints about that 2nd Packers game was the lack of running things that had worked, such as screen passes. Against the Bears we saw that Boone was/is turnover prone. It is a mistake to equivocate those losses in terms of the offense as merely being the efficacy of the OL. My take on those perrformances was that the backup RB were not game ready and that they ended up doing things that they (the OL in particular) does not do well to try and compensate. That in a nutshell was the offense against the Packers.
The 49ers trot out 3 different guys (none of whom really stand out IMHO) and don't skip a beat regardless of opponent. That says a lot about their ability to block up front.
mansquatch wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:53 am
There is a bit of Chicken and the Egg here. Is the OL bad because it doesn't do as well against drop back passing or is the OC bad because he didn't recognize this and adjust to things like calling more shotgun or quick passing? IMO, these games showed that Stefanski and co were not all that in terms of game planing and adjusting. What worries me is you'd think that by this point in Kubiak's career he would know better. So who drove those game planning decision? The answer to that is my biggest fear for the offense going into 2020.
I think Kubiak does know better, and he also knows the line is deficient to properly implement the scheme. The scheme is therefore highly dependent on a running back who can compensate for those deficiencies. A healthy Cook, and perhaps a healthy Mattison, can do that. Problem is, the Vikings can't count on Cook remaining healthy for an entire season, and Mattison, while good, isn't at Cook's level and may never be.

I also don't know how much game planning can compensate for deficiencies in the OL itself. You want to run in the NFL you need solid, consistent blocking and execution. you want to pass in the NFL you need the same. If the OL can't do that, especially against the better defensive fronts, good luck scheming your way out of that. To beat those fronts you'll need heroes at RB and QB. The 49ers are proving that if a team can block well, they don't need heroes at those positions and the scheme doesn't have to change at all.
mansquatch wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:53 am
Another thing to think about. GB's defense is predicated on rushing a passer who is trying to play catch up. That is why they brought in the Smiths. Look what SF did to them, the ran the ball 45 times! (Remember people saying you can't win that way in the NFL at the start of the Vikings seasson? Where are they now?) The Vikings game planned to try and play against their strength and they failed. They similarly failed vs. SF, not trying to expose those LB. You have to ask if this was the inability of the OL or was it uninspired coaching? Against SF it might have been a bit of both. Against GB, I blame the game plan.
We'll have to agree to disagree on that because I think the OL was deficient at 4 of the 5 spots this season. The only OL I would say played to potential this year was O'Neill. Bradbury needs time. He has potential and I think he can get there, but he was abused a lot this year. The other 3 spots were all over the map. They had some really solid games, but seemed incapable of dealing with more talented defensive fronts.

I think it's unrealistic for Spielman to completely fix the OL this offseason, but he needs to try. The Vikings have some promising younger players on the roster that could develop, and if they get lucky and a guy like Udoh is ready for next season, it might not be an impossible task to get it fixed this offseason.
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Re: Once in Nineteen...

Post by StumpHunter » Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:31 pm

VikingLord wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:41 am
We'll have to agree to disagree on that because I think the OL was deficient at 4 of the 5 spots this season. The only OL I would say played to potential this year was O'Neill. Bradbury needs time. He has potential and I think he can get there, but he was abused a lot this year. The other 3 spots were all over the map. They had some really solid games, but seemed incapable of dealing with more talented defensive fronts.

I think it's unrealistic for Spielman to completely fix the OL this offseason, but he needs to try. The Vikings have some promising younger players on the roster that could develop, and if they get lucky and a guy like Udoh is ready for next season, it might not be an impossible task to get it fixed this offseason.

I said this in another thread, but I believe 4 of the 5 spots are already set for next year. They will likely try to fix LG, but even there I am concerned. Dennison and co seemed to really like how Elf developed during the season... :puke:
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Re: Once in Nineteen...

Post by Bowhunting Viking » Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:33 pm

StumpHunter wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:31 pm
VikingLord wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:41 am
We'll have to agree to disagree on that because I think the OL was deficient at 4 of the 5 spots this season. The only OL I would say played to potential this year was O'Neill. Bradbury needs time. He has potential and I think he can get there, but he was abused a lot this year. The other 3 spots were all over the map. They had some really solid games, but seemed incapable of dealing with more talented defensive fronts.

I think it's unrealistic for Spielman to completely fix the OL this offseason, but he needs to try. The Vikings have some promising younger players on the roster that could develop, and if they get lucky and a guy like Udoh is ready for next season, it might not be an impossible task to get it fixed this offseason.

I said this in another thread, but I believe 4 of the 5 spots are already set for next year. They will likely try to fix LG, but even there I am concerned. Dennison and co seemed to really like how Elf developed during the season... :puke:
I'm an Ohio boy, and gave the ex Buckeye Elf as much slack as I could , but I've finally put the loyalty aside and admitted he isn't the answer, and I just don't see how anyone can like how he "developed" during the season other than his family, his fiancee and agent
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Re: Once in Nineteen...

Post by Raptorman » Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:03 pm

Mothman wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 7:58 am
S197 wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:09 pm
I can only imagine what it was like back in you and Jim's era when the Vikings were formidable and velociraptors roamed the earth :tongue:
:lol:

It was rough! As Raptorman pointed out, if you didn't live in Vikings territory you had to eagerly await halftime highlights and box scores for many games and sometimes, you couldn't even see them because ravenous prehistoric beasts would chase you away from the television.

It was hell.
How do you think I got my name? It should be "Raptorkiller" from the time in the old days fighting off the beasts to get the news and scores of the Vikings games. :whistle:
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Re: Once in Nineteen...

Post by Raptorman » Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:18 pm

mansquatch wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:20 am


If you look at Zimmer's history, He has been to the playoffs 50% of the time. 3 out of 6 seasons as Head Coach. In those appearances he has won a playoff game 2 of 3 times. The time they didn't win, was the Walsh missed 26yd field goal in 2015. So lets just round down for the sake of simplicity. In 2015 we were the 9th best team in NFL. In 2017 we were the 4th best team. In 2019 probably the 5th best team (In NFL, not NFC), despite having the #6 seed. IMO most of those estimates are conservative.

So just to be clear, when people are saying Zimmer should go, they are also saying there is someone out there who can take the above results and improve upon them. I get wanting that elusive SB win, but I'd be hesitant to assume that the grass is greener. Aside from winning the big game, Zimmer's grass has been pretty green.

Another offshoot of the above. If you think Spielman is a disaster, then the above results should make you love Zimmer since he is getting such elite results while hamstrung by Rick. Or if Zimmer is a disaster then you should love Rick because he has assembled such talent as to almost overcome the coaching debacle. I humbly submit that just maybe they are both pretty good at their jobs and that is why we are getting the results we see, but I'm probably a minority on this point...

To me the key question to ask is this: Do you think the 2017 and 2019 teams have the same post season record if they get to play at home? For me the answer is an unequivocal NO. So what is the path to improvement? I think Zimmer needs to figure out how to win 13+ games in the regular season. As I outlined in my previous post on this thread I think a significant culprit has been turnover and lack of continuity on the offensive coaching staff. At least in 2020 it looks like this will not be a factor.

I advise patience with this offseason. Let's see what shakes out on defense once we hit free agency. There are reasons on offense to be VERY optimistic next season about this team. Defense is murkier due to the Salary Cap issues. Let's see what happens.
This. This right here is the single most important issue. How important? Well, let's look at the Patriots. The team everyone loves to hate. In the playoffs, they are 4-4 in away games. A .500 team. But at home. 20-4. .833 So getting HFA is important. And my bet is I went and looked, that's pretty close to all home teams in the playoffs.
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Re: Once in Nineteen...

Post by J. Kapp 11 » Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:52 pm

VikingLord wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:20 pm
Contrast that with how the 49er running game performed. They trotted in any one of 3 different backs and didn't skip a beat. Not nearly as explosive a rushing attack as the Vikings with a healthy Cook, but more evenly balanced and effective overall.
And one of those backs, Raheem Mostert, had been cut SEVEN TIMES in the NFL.

This is supposed to be Gary Kubiak's stock in trade -- making star running backs practically out of thin air. Let's hope he can get this thing pointed in the right direction, especially given the fact that he has Dalvin Cook, who the last I checked has not been cut seven times.
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Re: Once in Nineteen...

Post by VikingLord » Fri Jan 31, 2020 2:48 pm

J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:52 pm
And one of those backs, Raheem Mostert, had been cut SEVEN TIMES in the NFL.

This is supposed to be Gary Kubiak's stock in trade -- making star running backs practically out of thin air. Let's hope he can get this thing pointed in the right direction, especially given the fact that he has Dalvin Cook, who the last I checked has not been cut seven times.
What is really amazing about the 49er running game right now is they don't even need to pretend to throw it. Most times at the pro level teams can get away with emphasizing one aspect of the offense on pain of threat caused by the other. The 1998 Vikings were a great example of that. They could hurt their opponent badly via the run or the pass, so teams often had to pick their poison.

But the 49ers right now (and really, throughout the entire season) are just running on everyone regardless ala the '72 Dolphins. People talk about Jimmy G like he's a factor when he really seems to be more of a liability, but the reality is they don't need him to be a factor in most games or situations because they are so effective running, especially on 1st and 2nd downs.

Kubiak knows that running effectively requires blocking effectively, and he also must understand that as it stands right now the Vikings don't have the horses along the offensive line to establish that sort of running potential.

Beyond that, Mostert just illustrates that pretty much anyone can run through a hole at the pro level if the guys in front of them open one. A guy like Cook can often run through holes that aren't really open or aren't open for very long, but a consistent running attack doesn't require that of its backs. A consistent running attack is built from the line back and not vice-versa.

Spielman really does have his work cut out for him this offseason. If the Vikings can find an effective starter from their younger guys like Udoh or Samia for next year and get Bradbury to develop along with a guy like Irv Smith at TE, then the task might not be insurmountable.

But one thing seems certain to me - if that doesn't happen, then next year's offense will resemble this year's offense. It will rely on heroics and health from Cook/Mattison and Cousins and will likely experience a severe dropoff in production against defenses with stout aggressive front 7s.
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Re: Once in Nineteen...

Post by StumpHunter » Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:32 am

VikingLord wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 2:48 pm
J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:52 pm
And one of those backs, Raheem Mostert, had been cut SEVEN TIMES in the NFL.

This is supposed to be Gary Kubiak's stock in trade -- making star running backs practically out of thin air. Let's hope he can get this thing pointed in the right direction, especially given the fact that he has Dalvin Cook, who the last I checked has not been cut seven times.
What is really amazing about the 49er running game right now is they don't even need to pretend to throw it. Most times at the pro level teams can get away with emphasizing one aspect of the offense on pain of threat caused by the other. The 1998 Vikings were a great example of that. They could hurt their opponent badly via the run or the pass, so teams often had to pick their poison.

But the 49ers right now (and really, throughout the entire season) are just running on everyone regardless ala the '72 Dolphins. People talk about Jimmy G like he's a factor when he really seems to be more of a liability, but the reality is they don't need him to be a factor in most games or situations because they are so effective running, especially on 1st and 2nd downs.

Kubiak knows that running effectively requires blocking effectively, and he also must understand that as it stands right now the Vikings don't have the horses along the offensive line to establish that sort of running potential.

Beyond that, Mostert just illustrates that pretty much anyone can run through a hole at the pro level if the guys in front of them open one. A guy like Cook can often run through holes that aren't really open or aren't open for very long, but a consistent running attack doesn't require that of its backs. A consistent running attack is built from the line back and not vice-versa.

Spielman really does have his work cut out for him this offseason. If the Vikings can find an effective starter from their younger guys like Udoh or Samia for next year and get Bradbury to develop along with a guy like Irv Smith at TE, then the task might not be insurmountable.

But one thing seems certain to me - if that doesn't happen, then next year's offense will resemble this year's offense. It will rely on heroics and health from Cook/Mattison and Cousins and will likely experience a severe dropoff in production against defenses with stout aggressive front 7s.
The Niners are the best case scenario for what the Vikings are trying to build. In the end despite having a top D, Oline and run game, they lost to another complete team with the better QB.
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Re: Once in Nineteen...

Post by Dames » Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:53 am

StumpHunter wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:32 am
The Niners are the best case scenario for what the Vikings are trying to build. In the end despite having a top D, Oline and run game, they lost to another complete team with the better QB.
That's spot on. The QB made a huge difference last night. The 49er's looked like the better team for 3/4 of the game, but once Mahomes started making plays, despite tremendous pressure from the line, they had no answer. He made comebacks in all 3 playoffs games.
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