The Bucs Stop Here

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StumpHunter
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Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by StumpHunter » Wed Dec 16, 2020 12:21 pm

Cliff wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 12:43 pm
StumpHunter wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 11:05 am
After being cut, Carlson took a few weeks with a private kicking coach to fix his issues, something he couldn't have done if we held onto him. He then went on to be the 24th most accurate kicker in 2018, and the 30th most accurate kicker in 2019. He is now 11th, with the Raiders, but that is 2 seasons of poor kicking you would have had to live through to get to what is so far an outlier with Carlson.

Maybe if we could have stashed Carlson away on the practice squad to develop him it would have worked out, but it isn't like he immediately turned into a great kicker after leaving the Vikings.
The fact that the Vikings staff couldn't provide the same level of coaching as a private kicking coach provided in a handful of sessions isn't a feather in Zimmer's cap.

2018 was his rookie year. The Vikings cut him 2 games through it. He started with the Raiders in week 8 and went on to set a team record with 94% of his field goals made with what I have to assume was fairly minor tweaking. The guy didn't completely change his kicking style in the month between being dropped by the Vikings and picked up by the Raiders.

He took a step back in 2019 no question and went to 26th in FGs made percentage. He's currently 7th in FG% made.

That said, we can call it hindsight if we want. Either way it was a mistake in the end.
This article talks about what he needed to do get back to making FGs:

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/12/20/ ... fl-career/
Carlson says things he wanted to work on because he didn’t have time in between the end of his senior season and the beginning of the NFL season to shorten his strides before kicks, with the combine, pro day, private workouts and training camp affording little time to overhaul mechanics. Now he had no job, and time to alter the distance at which he took his three steps back and two to the side.

Kohl said he noticed this flaw back in February, that Carlson’s elongated strides only helped make kicks in practice but not in games, when compact run-ups help combat charging NFL defensive linemen. Kohl, who has known Carlson for almost a decade, brought in long-snappers and holders to help. Carlson and his wife stayed with Kohl’s family for the final three days of a four-day workout. Normally Carlson wouldn’t kick on back-to-back days, but he wanted to for muscle memory. Over those four days he shortened his strides so that he stood 20 inches closer to the ball when he reached set position.
If Zimmer had stuck with him, there is a good chance he never makes this change and would have been cut 6 weeks in instead of 2 weeks after even the most patient of coaches would have had to cut ties with him.

What I have an issue with isn't cutting a guy with a serious flaw in his approach, and who has struggled big in 1 of his 3 seasons away from the Vikings. My issue is that they stuck with Bailey without looking for better after that 2018 season. Blaming the holder for his failings was an indication of the lack of mental toughness that is causing him to fail now. We needed better, and it seems like we settled, something that happens way to often with this team.
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Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by Cliff » Wed Dec 16, 2020 12:59 pm

StumpHunter wrote:
Wed Dec 16, 2020 12:21 pm
If Zimmer had stuck with him, there is a good chance he never makes this change and would have been cut 6 weeks in instead of 2 weeks after even the most patient of coaches would have had to cut ties with him.
Is it not part of an NFL coaches job to help rookies learn these kinds of things? What makes you think no other coach or specialist on the planet could have figured it out? I guess if the argument is that Zimmer's staff is so terrible that they could have never achieved those results that is a possibility.
What I have an issue with isn't cutting a guy with a serious flaw in his approach, and who has struggled big in 1 of his 3 seasons away from the Vikings. My issue is that they stuck with Bailey without looking for better after that 2018 season. Blaming the holder for his failings was an indication of the lack of mental toughness that is causing him to fail now. We needed better, and it seems like we settled, something that happens way to often with this team.
A "serious flaw in his approach" that could be solved in a month? How "serious" could it have been?

A case can be made for Bailey considering he had the 4th best percentage out of all active kickers in 2019. I'm guessing that's also why he's not being dropped. They at least know he *can* be effective. Probably can't say that about any free agency options.
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Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by psjordan » Wed Dec 16, 2020 1:01 pm

StumpHunter wrote:
Wed Dec 16, 2020 12:21 pm
We needed better, and it seems like we settled, something that happens way to often with this team.
Yeah I put this fully at Zim's feet, since it is his MAIN job to hire competent coaches. It's almost like he divorces himself from the O and ST, with a kind of "well, that's their problem". I don't know. I do know we've had a terrible success rate with finding long term kickers.

Of course I always recall the stubs and flubs and not the high-pressure made kicks, great punts, low rate of penalties on ST, great returns or great tackles on returns.

Hahahaha, JK.

Malouf needs to vamoose 12 seconds after the season-ending whistle. Chances are that Zim will whiff on finding a replacement anyway.
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Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by J. Kapp 11 » Wed Dec 16, 2020 1:03 pm

Texas Vike wrote:
Wed Dec 16, 2020 11:36 am
J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Wed Dec 16, 2020 10:18 am

I'll give you this ... the whole thing is very inconsistent.

Why does Zimmer cut Daniel Carlson after one bad game but keep Dan Bailey after two impossibly horrible games? Bailey has missed 7 of his last 10 kicks, including three extra points. Against Tampa Bay, he was the first kicker in 60 years to miss an extra point and 3 FGs without making a single kick. Yet the Vikings just cut their practice-squad kicker, a guy who made a 57-yarder in the 2019 preseason, and whom a lot of teams wanted to poach.

Sometimes I just want to give Mike Zimmer the old Frank Costanza to George Steinbrenner treatment (Why the hell did you trade Jay Buhner?!).
My guess is that it has to do with two things: 1) Carlson was a rookie. Bailey has a long CV of kicking successfully in the NFL. I think this makes Zimmer see Bailey's current woes as an aberration that can be fixed and that he will likely return to his norm once he does. With Carlson, on the other hand, he likely thought the kid just wasn't cut out for the NFL.
2) Maybe he learned from the Carlson situation. I mean, I kind of doubt it, but maybe. Zimmer strikes me as a set in his ways kind of guy, but I bet deep inside he knows he bungled that situation and would like a do over. This may be his do over.
Great thoughts here. I was kind of wondering the same thing, but I never saw Zimmer as touchy-feely enough to even consider something like a personal do-over. But you're right. That's a solid possibility.

I just hope it wasn't an overreaction the other direction. Vikings just went all-in on Bailey by releasing Tristan Vizcaino from the practice squad. If Bailey goes out and has another clunker of a game, the team has no alternative but to try and sign somebody off the street, and they'd have to do that by next Tuesday to have the new guy pass Covid protocols. Basically, we're stuck with Bailey.

Look, I get it that we're not a contender even if we make the playoffs. But if we're going to have a prayer of getting in, we can't have any more biffs by the kicker. Here's how dire it is. If Jalen Hurts does a number on Arizona like he did the Aints, and Chicago beats us, the idiot Bears would become the last wild-card team. That simply cannot happen. Worlds will collide.
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Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by VikingLord » Wed Dec 16, 2020 2:14 pm

S197 wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 2:21 pm
Some of the "adversity" the Vikings are having to endure is self-inflicted. When your resources are capped, in this case by dollars, you're going to have to make tough decisions if you choose to allocate large portions of your resources to a select number of individuals. This is a driving factor as to why the Vikings have to field a rookie secondary, why guys like Dozier is starting and Samia is a backup, Holmes is our DE and why Cleveland is playing guard (I assume they drafted him to play tackle). And there will be even more tough decisions to come next year and the following.
There are more ways to explain the things you listed than just resource limitations imposed by the hard salary cap every NFL team is constrained by coupled with allocation decisions for those dollars. If you're specifically referring to the dollars allocated to the QB position, other than the salary being guaranteed, the absolute amount allocated to QB isn't out of line with other NFL teams, and neither are many of the amounts allocated to other positions. For your argument to hold water with me (as I understand it that the Vikings mis-allocation of dollars under the cap has produced the personnel decisions we're seeing on the field this year), you'd need to show me that their allocations are inconsistent with what most other NFL teams are doing, and preferably, what most successful NFL teams are doing with their cap allocations.

More than likely the Vikings wanted/needed to move on from a few players and had reason to believe or anticipate other younger players would be ready to step up in their place. The Vikings also had to deal with the pandemic and opt-outs coupled with some key injuries, especially on defense, so I'm just not fully buying your argument without something more objective to back it up.
S197 wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 2:21 pm
The hope of course is that some of these new guys really step up because the team is more or less all-in on that. The only way this really works is if this draft, and probably next year's, are blockbusters. I don't necessarily think we can judge the success of this year's draft by how many rookies are currently playing, there's not much of a choice, it's how well they end up playing. I would say outside of JJ, it's very much an unknown if any of these guys pan out. It would be unfair to evaluate them with less than a season under their belts but I also think it's very premature to praise this draft as a success.
Depends on what one considers a success for a first year pro. Most struggle considerably if they even see the field. That has been true of the Vikings 2020 class as well, but far more than JJ have stepped up and played pretty well. If you favor looking at trend lines, there are at least 4 members of the 2020 rookie class that have seen significant playing time this year and all have made notable improvement as the season has gone on.

S197 wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 2:21 pm
2019 looked pretty good on paper but that draft is starting to sour pretty quickly. Bradbury looks a little better right now but has yet to play anywhere near close to a 1st round center. Irv Smith could be the best pick out of that draft, he'll likely fill Rudolph's shoes next year. Mattison is a committee type RB, which is ok for a 3rd round pick. The next 9 picks are guys who have basically been cut, should be cut (Samia), or are likely career backups (Boyd, Johnson, etc.).
Hard to say on the 2019 draft as well. I'm not as down on them as you seem to be. Bradbury struggled early in the season, but he's played very well as the team turned things around. Smith, when healthy, is a beast and very hard to cover. Mattison has shown some talent beyond just being a guy who can plug in IMHO. Johnson has made an impact at WR, and I believe Cutting is the long snapper for the team.

I can understand the skepticism, especially given where the team is right now, but I think an objective look at not just the individual players, but how the overall team itself, have responded given how the season started gives a lot of reason for optimism heading into next year. It is much easier for a team that is under-performing to find excuses and blame others for their issues. I don't see any of that with this year's Vikings. They aren't great on the field yet, but the ingredients of greatness are there.

I want to revisit this thread at this time next year. If I'm right about this Vikings team and their progression, then barring significant injuries or something crazy I predict the Vikings will be in the hunt for the #1 seed in the NFC by this point next year and we're all talking about their chances of not just getting to, but winning, their first Superbowl.

You heard it here first.

:govikes:
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Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by RandyMoss84 » Wed Dec 16, 2020 3:27 pm

VikingLord wrote:
Wed Dec 16, 2020 2:14 pm
S197 wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 2:21 pm
Some of the "adversity" the Vikings are having to endure is self-inflicted. When your resources are capped, in this case by dollars, you're going to have to make tough decisions if you choose to allocate large portions of your resources to a select number of individuals. This is a driving factor as to why the Vikings have to field a rookie secondary, why guys like Dozier is starting and Samia is a backup, Holmes is our DE and why Cleveland is playing guard (I assume they drafted him to play tackle). And there will be even more tough decisions to come next year and the following.
There are more ways to explain the things you listed than just resource limitations imposed by the hard salary cap every NFL team is constrained by coupled with allocation decisions for those dollars. If you're specifically referring to the dollars allocated to the QB position, other than the salary being guaranteed, the absolute amount allocated to QB isn't out of line with other NFL teams, and neither are many of the amounts allocated to other positions. For your argument to hold water with me (as I understand it that the Vikings mis-allocation of dollars under the cap has produced the personnel decisions we're seeing on the field this year), you'd need to show me that their allocations are inconsistent with what most other NFL teams are doing, and preferably, what most successful NFL teams are doing with their cap allocations.

More than likely the Vikings wanted/needed to move on from a few players and had reason to believe or anticipate other younger players would be ready to step up in their place. The Vikings also had to deal with the pandemic and opt-outs coupled with some key injuries, especially on defense, so I'm just not fully buying your argument without something more objective to back it up.
S197 wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 2:21 pm
The hope of course is that some of these new guys really step up because the team is more or less all-in on that. The only way this really works is if this draft, and probably next year's, are blockbusters. I don't necessarily think we can judge the success of this year's draft by how many rookies are currently playing, there's not much of a choice, it's how well they end up playing. I would say outside of JJ, it's very much an unknown if any of these guys pan out. It would be unfair to evaluate them with less than a season under their belts but I also think it's very premature to praise this draft as a success.
Depends on what one considers a success for a first year pro. Most struggle considerably if they even see the field. That has been true of the Vikings 2020 class as well, but far more than JJ have stepped up and played pretty well. If you favor looking at trend lines, there are at least 4 members of the 2020 rookie class that have seen significant playing time this year and all have made notable improvement as the season has gone on.

S197 wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 2:21 pm
2019 looked pretty good on paper but that draft is starting to sour pretty quickly. Bradbury looks a little better right now but has yet to play anywhere near close to a 1st round center. Irv Smith could be the best pick out of that draft, he'll likely fill Rudolph's shoes next year. Mattison is a committee type RB, which is ok for a 3rd round pick. The next 9 picks are guys who have basically been cut, should be cut (Samia), or are likely career backups (Boyd, Johnson, etc.).
Hard to say on the 2019 draft as well. I'm not as down on them as you seem to be. Bradbury struggled early in the season, but he's played very well as the team turned things around. Smith, when healthy, is a beast and very hard to cover. Mattison has shown some talent beyond just being a guy who can plug in IMHO. Johnson has made an impact at WR, and I believe Cutting is the long snapper for the team.

I can understand the skepticism, especially given where the team is right now, but I think an objective look at not just the individual players, but how the overall team itself, have responded given how the season started gives a lot of reason for optimism heading into next year. It is much easier for a team that is under-performing to find excuses and blame others for their issues. I don't see any of that with this year's Vikings. They aren't great on the field yet, but the ingredients of greatness are there.

I want to revisit this thread at this time next year. If I'm right about this Vikings team and their progression, then barring significant injuries or something crazy I predict the Vikings will be in the hunt for the #1 seed in the NFC by this point next year and we're all talking about their chances of not just getting to, but winning, their first Superbowl.

You heard it here first.

:govikes:
If you are wrong, I hope you will stop making predictions forever
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Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by S197 » Wed Dec 16, 2020 7:51 pm

J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Wed Dec 16, 2020 9:48 am
S197 wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 2:21 pm
Some of the "adversity" the Vikings are having to endure is self-inflicted. When your resources are capped, in this case by dollars, you're going to have to make tough decisions if you choose to allocate large portions of your resources to a select number of individuals. This is a driving factor as to why the Vikings have to field a rookie secondary, why guys like Dozier is starting and Samia is a backup, Holmes is our DE and why Cleveland is playing guard (I assume they drafted him to play tackle). And there will be even more tough decisions to come next year and the following.

The hope of course is that some of these new guys really step up because the team is more or less all-in on that. The only way this really works is if this draft, and probably next year's, are blockbusters. I don't necessarily think we can judge the success of this year's draft by how many rookies are currently playing, there's not much of a choice, it's how well they end up playing. I would say outside of JJ, it's very much an unknown if any of these guys pan out. It would be unfair to evaluate them with less than a season under their belts but I also think it's very premature to praise this draft as a success.

2019 looked pretty good on paper but that draft is starting to sour pretty quickly. Bradbury looks a little better right now but has yet to play anywhere near close to a 1st round center. Irv Smith could be the best pick out of that draft, he'll likely fill Rudolph's shoes next year. Mattison is a committee type RB, which is ok for a 3rd round pick. The next 9 picks are guys who have basically been cut, should be cut (Samia), or are likely career backups (Boyd, Johnson, etc.).
Well, if this isn't a case of glass-half-empty, nothing is. Please don't take that as a put-down ... it's your right to view the Vikings' situation that way. I and a few others just don't share it. You seem to be going mostly with the eye test, which again is your prerogative. But the eyes can deceive. Just as you believe some of us overrate young players based on our biases, I would submit that you may be underrating others based on yours.

Here's an example. A lot of fans rely on PFF for rankings and grades. I don't trust their methodology, but others do, so let's go with that. I also don't have a subscription, so the information I get is a little outdated, but as of the middle of November, Garrett Bradbury ranked 4th among all centers in overall grade. That may not make him an All-Pro, but it's certainly more than "a little better right now but has yet to play anywhere near close to a 1st round center." Brian Baldinger also consistently mentions Bradbury in his breakdowns — anecdotal evidence, I realize, but I consider Baldinger an expert because he knows what Bradbury is supposed to be doing, as well as the techniques he uses to do them.

So yeah, a lot of this is hunches and beliefs and gut feels and hairs on the backs of our necks. Some of it is simply a matter of where a guy gets his information. There are biases. With that disclaimer firmly in place, here's what I believe, specifically.

Jeff Gladney and Cam Dantzler have ability. We've seen that. They're getting lots of playing time, which is highly unusual for rookie corners under Mike Zimmer. And the thing for me — they compete. Hard. Even when they get beat, they're hustling and busting their butts. But more and more over the past month, they've been in position and battling for the ball. They're making more plays every week. They still get beat on occasion, but they're starting to make plays. That's what I see. Here the deficiencies are, indeed, self-inflicted. But those deficiencies are dwindling, I believe. Look, it's just not fair to compare Jeff Gladney to 2016 Xavier Rhodes simply because they're both first-rounders. Rhodes was in his fourth year when he was owning OBJ and others in 2016. Let's not forget, he got burned constantly his first year or two, and we wondered if HE was a wasted pick.

When I watch Irv Smith, I see a stallion. A big man who can really run. He catches the ball when it's near him. He's surprisingly good after the catch for a tight end. The thing holding Smith back is that he's playing behind and icon in Kyle Rudolph (which honestly shouldn't be the case because Smith is better). Smith has also had trouble staying healthy this year. But knowing what we know about Rudloph's age, contract, etc., I can't see how anybody can look at Irv Smith and say he isn't a breakout candidate for 2021. People wonder why Kirk Cousins doesn't throw to his tight ends, like he did with Jordan Reed in Washington. Maybe it's because Kyle Rudolph just doesn't get much separation. You saw what happened when Rudy was out against TB and Kirk had two younger, faster tight ends in the game ... 9 catches for 104 yards between Smith and Conklin. I believe this will be an addition-by-subtraction thing next year when the Vikings cut ties with Rudolph. As of this year, you are correct — our deficiencies at the position are self-inflicted because Rudolph gets 80% of the snaps.

We see what Eric Wilson is doing. This is an undrafted guy who has grown and developed with some great coaching, and by playing with and learning from Kendricks and Barr. Now he's on the edge of Pro Bowl consideration.

Yes, the D-line is a mess, but I wouldn't call that situation self-inflicted. Nobody knew that Covid would hit, which means nobody knew that Michael Pierce wouldn't play. If you think that wouldn't make a difference, consider that Pierce was far better against the run in 2019 than Linval Joseph was, and we all miss Linval. Also, how could anybody know that Danielle Hunter, one of the most feared edge rushers in the game, would suffer a potentially career-ending neck injury? These things weren't self-inflicted.

Troy Dye? Meh. Haven't seen much from him that makes me think he's any better than depth. But he's playing and contributing. James Lynch, same thing. But D.J. Wonnum? Surely you see the potential in that guy. Honestly, I'm sort of baffled as to why he's hovering around 50% snaps. He played more special teams snaps against Tampa Bay than he did defensive snaps. Maybe he's still not good against the run ... but is Jalyn Holmes significantly better?

Again, you have been consistent in your view that the Vikings haven't been run very well organizationally. I don't agree, but I respect that point of view, and the fact that you've been consistent about it. But I think you have to admit that it's also going to color your opinion of individual players. And mine is colored by the fact that I think the organization is fine, and that I'm eternally optimistic by nature. I'm hoping we can see the validity in each point of view and call it a day.
I more or less went out of my way to not talk about the 2020 draft class because it's early and players need to acclimate. My only statement was that snaps doesn't equate to success. I just think it's wrong to say, "wow look how many rookies are playing, such a great sign" when really they're thrust into playing because there's no real other options. If Dantzler and Gladney don't play, we're putting guys like Hill (now cut), Boyd, Hand, Jones etc. out there. So it's not exactly like they're beating out solid competition.

I don't see it as half empty. I mentioned Dantzler was covering Chark and Godwin the last two weeks and both had very quiet games. I even talked about some progress on the O-line and was given flak for it. Which is all good but it's not like everything I've said is negative.

Let's try from a different perspective. Would it be fair to say 4th and 5th round picks aren't throwaway picks? You're not going to hit on a Diggs in the 5th every year but you can find very solid contributors in the middle of the draft. Guys like an Everson Griffen or Brian Robison as an example. Let's take a look at the last five years, excluding 2020 because it's too early to call. This is the list.

TJ Clemmings - Huge bust
Mycole Pruitt - Miss
Stefon Diggs - Homerun
Willie Beavers - Huge bust
Kentrel Brothers - Special teams LB
Jaleel Johnson - Underperforming starter
Ben Gedeon - Marginal mike LB
Rodney Adams - Cut before the season
Danny Isidora - miss
Jaylyn Holmes - Unproductive DE by even your account
Tyler Conklin - Solid run blocking TE
Daniel Carlson - Cut
Dru Samia - Huge bust
Cam Smith - Tough break with his condition but he didn't really see the field even when healthy

I'd say that's a decent sample size. Out of 14 I'd say Diggs, Conklin and Gedeon panned out. Is my glass really half empty when 21% of the picks in the last 5 years pan out?

This is why I'm saying our strategy worries me. We need guys like Wonnum, Lynch, Dye, Hand etc to work out. History says maybe one of them actually pans out. That's on top of guys like Cleveland, Dantzler and Gladney also needing to be hits.

I don't care for PFF's line grades but if they're saying Bradbury is that good then that's encouraging. I'll take it and rescind my comment on him for now. But what about guard? Who is the last decent guard we've had? If I'm feeling generous maybe Fusco? That was 9 years ago.

You guys are making it out like I'm looking very short term when in fact my concerns are because of Rick's long term track record particularly at certain positions.
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Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by S197 » Wed Dec 16, 2020 8:08 pm

VikingLord wrote:
Wed Dec 16, 2020 2:14 pm
S197 wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 2:21 pm
Some of the "adversity" the Vikings are having to endure is self-inflicted. When your resources are capped, in this case by dollars, you're going to have to make tough decisions if you choose to allocate large portions of your resources to a select number of individuals. This is a driving factor as to why the Vikings have to field a rookie secondary, why guys like Dozier is starting and Samia is a backup, Holmes is our DE and why Cleveland is playing guard (I assume they drafted him to play tackle). And there will be even more tough decisions to come next year and the following.
There are more ways to explain the things you listed than just resource limitations imposed by the hard salary cap every NFL team is constrained by coupled with allocation decisions for those dollars. If you're specifically referring to the dollars allocated to the QB position, other than the salary being guaranteed, the absolute amount allocated to QB isn't out of line with other NFL teams, and neither are many of the amounts allocated to other positions. For your argument to hold water with me (as I understand it that the Vikings mis-allocation of dollars under the cap has produced the personnel decisions we're seeing on the field this year), you'd need to show me that their allocations are inconsistent with what most other NFL teams are doing, and preferably, what most successful NFL teams are doing with their cap allocations.

More than likely the Vikings wanted/needed to move on from a few players and had reason to believe or anticipate other younger players would be ready to step up in their place. The Vikings also had to deal with the pandemic and opt-outs coupled with some key injuries, especially on defense, so I'm just not fully buying your argument without something more objective to back it up.
S197 wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 2:21 pm
The hope of course is that some of these new guys really step up because the team is more or less all-in on that. The only way this really works is if this draft, and probably next year's, are blockbusters. I don't necessarily think we can judge the success of this year's draft by how many rookies are currently playing, there's not much of a choice, it's how well they end up playing. I would say outside of JJ, it's very much an unknown if any of these guys pan out. It would be unfair to evaluate them with less than a season under their belts but I also think it's very premature to praise this draft as a success.
Depends on what one considers a success for a first year pro. Most struggle considerably if they even see the field. That has been true of the Vikings 2020 class as well, but far more than JJ have stepped up and played pretty well. If you favor looking at trend lines, there are at least 4 members of the 2020 rookie class that have seen significant playing time this year and all have made notable improvement as the season has gone on.

S197 wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 2:21 pm
2019 looked pretty good on paper but that draft is starting to sour pretty quickly. Bradbury looks a little better right now but has yet to play anywhere near close to a 1st round center. Irv Smith could be the best pick out of that draft, he'll likely fill Rudolph's shoes next year. Mattison is a committee type RB, which is ok for a 3rd round pick. The next 9 picks are guys who have basically been cut, should be cut (Samia), or are likely career backups (Boyd, Johnson, etc.).
Hard to say on the 2019 draft as well. I'm not as down on them as you seem to be. Bradbury struggled early in the season, but he's played very well as the team turned things around. Smith, when healthy, is a beast and very hard to cover. Mattison has shown some talent beyond just being a guy who can plug in IMHO. Johnson has made an impact at WR, and I believe Cutting is the long snapper for the team.

I can understand the skepticism, especially given where the team is right now, but I think an objective look at not just the individual players, but how the overall team itself, have responded given how the season started gives a lot of reason for optimism heading into next year. It is much easier for a team that is under-performing to find excuses and blame others for their issues. I don't see any of that with this year's Vikings. They aren't great on the field yet, but the ingredients of greatness are there.

I want to revisit this thread at this time next year. If I'm right about this Vikings team and their progression, then barring significant injuries or something crazy I predict the Vikings will be in the hunt for the #1 seed in the NFC by this point next year and we're all talking about their chances of not just getting to, but winning, their first Superbowl.

You heard it here first.

:govikes:
Cutting was cut. It's a small point but FYI.

I do agree that the team not throwing in the towel after the start is an encouraging sign. Here's the thing, the Vikings are not a bad team and haven't been since Zimmer took over. He and Rick aren't terrible. Neither is Cousins. The problem is all of them have consistently shown the inability to consistently perform at a high level. So there's always going to be reason to believe the team catches fire next year. We go through this every year. This team was a shanked gimmie FG away from beating a good Seattle team. Next year looks promising. But it wasn't. This team made it to the NFCC with Case Keenum. Next year looks promising. But it wasn't. This team beat a very good NO team on the road. Next year looks promising. But it isn't.

Think about how we finished the last 3 seasons. The Eagles absolutely embarrassed this team in the NFCC with the potential to play the SUPER BOWL at HOME. Next year the Vikings have a huge game, at home, against the Bears. They have everything to play for, the Bears had nothing to play for. They even rested a lot of their starters. What happened? Another blowout loss. Same thing with the 49ers, another blowout where the team was badly outmanned and outcoached. So again, am I being pessimistic? Keep in mind I'm not saying we had to win all those games but don't you think it's a problem the team wasn't even competitive? 3 years in a row. That's not a pattern?

I'm not trying to shoot down you or Kapp's optimism. But at the same time I'm going to justify my position because I think it's a fairly realistic take. The leadership on this team has had the time and wherewithal to put out a good consistent product and it simply hasn't happened. Sounds like you're willing to give them another chance, which is absolutely fine. But I'm ready to move on.
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Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by StumpHunter » Thu Dec 17, 2020 8:44 am

S197 wrote:
Wed Dec 16, 2020 7:51 pm

I don't care for PFF's line grades but if they're saying Bradbury is that good then that's encouraging. I'll take it and rescind my comment on him for now. But what about guard? Who is the last decent guard we've had? If I'm feeling generous maybe Fusco? That was 9 years ago.
PFF is really hard on Bradbury actually and I think VikingLord's info on him is a bit outdated. His pass blocking grade among qualifying centers is 31st, run blocking is 16th. Overall he is graded as the 20th best center in the NFL, but the overall PFF grade is kind of meaningless by design.

From a pressure standpoint, he has given up the 8th most pressures of centers with 600+ snaps, sacks he is 7th.

Of centers drafted in 2019, he is doing much better than all but McCoy, who is having a down year after a stellar rookie season, but one thing with McCoy, it turns out that he is only good blocking for Brees and Teddy. He was the 11th best center prior to Brees going down, and in the weeks following Brees' injury, he has been the 21st best. His QB made him look better and he is struggling with Brees out.

Turns out there wasn't a great center in the 2019 draft, which sucks because we really had a need there. A bad year to have a need to draft a center 18th overall and we probably should have looked to fill that hole via free agency.
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Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by psjordan » Thu Dec 17, 2020 9:03 am

S197 wrote:
Wed Dec 16, 2020 8:08 pm
Think about how we finished the last 3 seasons. The Eagles absolutely embarrassed this team in the NFCC with the potential to play the SUPER BOWL at HOME. Next year the Vikings have a huge game, at home, against the Bears. They have everything to play for, the Bears had nothing to play for. They even rested a lot of their starters. What happened? Another blowout loss. Same thing with the 49ers, another blowout where the team was badly outmanned and outcoached. So again, am I being pessimistic? Keep in mind I'm not saying we had to win all those games but don't you think it's a problem the team wasn't even competitive? 3 years in a row. That's not a pattern?
I agree with this 100%. I believe where you and I may part ways is in the accountability. I put 75% of the above directly on the coaching staff, and I am bumping that down from 99% just so I don't look like a complete tool.

I agree you need talented players to win games, but if the talent is good enough to make or barely miss the playoffs, well then, you have talented players by NFL standards. What happens heading to and into the postseason is almost entirely up to the coaching staff IMO.

Repeating from another thread, I'd much rather see "Rick's players" with another coaching staff than this coaching staff with an unknown commodity at GM for the next four years.

I ask myself, "self, why wouldn't a self-preservationist HC in the NFL scour the college ranks for the best, sharpest offensive line coach he can find?" Wasn't it Zim who said "the time for caring about feelings is over"? Apparently that only applies to players and not the coaching staff.

And my answers all point to that process apparently being incredibly, incredibly difficult, since Zim has not undertaken it in his tenure and our OL continues to flounder.
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Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by VikingLord » Thu Dec 17, 2020 12:14 pm

S197 wrote:
Wed Dec 16, 2020 8:08 pm
Cutting was cut. It's a small point but FYI.
:oops:

For some reason I thought he was still the long-snapper...
S197 wrote:
Wed Dec 16, 2020 8:08 pm
I do agree that the team not throwing in the towel after the start is an encouraging sign. Here's the thing, the Vikings are not a bad team and haven't been since Zimmer took over. He and Rick aren't terrible. Neither is Cousins. The problem is all of them have consistently shown the inability to consistently perform at a high level. So there's always going to be reason to believe the team catches fire next year. We go through this every year. This team was a shanked gimmie FG away from beating a good Seattle team. Next year looks promising. But it wasn't. This team made it to the NFCC with Case Keenum. Next year looks promising. But it wasn't. This team beat a very good NO team on the road. Next year looks promising. But it isn't.

Think about how we finished the last 3 seasons. The Eagles absolutely embarrassed this team in the NFCC with the potential to play the SUPER BOWL at HOME. Next year the Vikings have a huge game, at home, against the Bears. They have everything to play for, the Bears had nothing to play for. They even rested a lot of their starters. What happened? Another blowout loss. Same thing with the 49ers, another blowout where the team was badly outmanned and outcoached. So again, am I being pessimistic? Keep in mind I'm not saying we had to win all those games but don't you think it's a problem the team wasn't even competitive? 3 years in a row. That's not a pattern?
I don't know if that is a pattern. They've certainly under-performed at key moments and probably over-performed at others. If there is a pattern there, it most likely is that they have been incredibly inconsistent. When they need to step up and play well, sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't.

But in those last 3 seasons I think the changes that were made between the seasons were largely incremental. Spielman kept the core of the team together for the most part, which is part of the reason why the team has such a tight salary cap situation this year.

If there is a difference between last year and this year, it seems to be that the team wasn't afraid to make some wholesale changes. Diggs was shipped, for example. Few teams trade away their star players without a good reason. Maybe with Diggs it was the impact he was having on team chemistry. On the defensive side, they shipped all of their starting CBs. That's a pretty bold move for a team that has mostly made incremental changes during the prior 3 offseasons and emphasized extending it's own players.

Maybe those players were part of the problem. Maybe those players, through their on-field performance and off-field attitudes were hurting the team more than helping it, and getting rid of them and replacing them with younger guys who don't have those same issues has made a real difference in the trajectory this team is now on as compared to those prior seasons and situations you pointed out.

Put a different way, if you discount the start of this season and just focus on the last 8 games or so, the Vikings haven't had a real clunker of a game during that stretch. Yes, they've lost a few games, and yes, they've watched their special teams struggle giving up some big plays and making some mental errors, and yes, they've had a lot of close games against marginal opponents. But the team overall has been amazingly consistent, resilient, and most importantly, when they lose or even are losing, they're not quitting, sulking, or blaming. Those were all characteristics of those prior teams you mentioned.

I totally get where you're coming from, and maybe I'm seeing something where nothing exists just because I want to see it, but I think this is a completely different team character-wise from those prior seasons. They're not great yet. Character can only take them so far, but even among the vets like Cousins and Cook and Reiff I get the strong sense this team fundamentally has changed.

I guess we'll see. With any luck and perhaps a reversion to the mean by the special teams, I'm still optimistic this year's team can make it into the playoffs.
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Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by Pondering Her Percy » Thu Dec 17, 2020 1:10 pm

S197 wrote:
Wed Dec 16, 2020 7:51 pm


TJ Clemmings - Huge bust
Mycole Pruitt - Miss
Stefon Diggs - Homerun
Willie Beavers - Huge bust
Kentrel Brothers - Special teams LB
Jaleel Johnson - Underperforming starter
Ben Gedeon - Marginal mike LB
Rodney Adams - Cut before the season
Danny Isidora - miss
Jaylyn Holmes - Unproductive DE by even your account
Tyler Conklin - Solid run blocking TE
Daniel Carlson - Cut
Dru Samia - Huge bust
Cam Smith - Tough break with his condition but he didn't really see the field even when healthy

I'd say that's a decent sample size. Out of 14 I'd say Diggs, Conklin and Gedeon panned out. Is my glass really half empty when 21% of the picks in the last 5 years pan out?

This is why I'm saying our strategy worries me. We need guys like Wonnum, Lynch, Dye, Hand etc to work out. History says maybe one of them actually pans out. That's on top of guys like Cleveland, Dantzler and Gladney also needing to be hits.

I don't care for PFF's line grades but if they're saying Bradbury is that good then that's encouraging. I'll take it and rescind my comment on him for now. But what about guard? Who is the last decent guard we've had? If I'm feeling generous maybe Fusco? That was 9 years ago.

You guys are making it out like I'm looking very short term when in fact my concerns are because of Rick's long term track record particularly at certain positions.
I guess what confuses me is you are listing these 4th/5th rounders are "huge busts"? Pull up the rest of the leagues 4th/5th round picks and let me know how they compare. I can tell you right now, they are very similar or worse. 4th/5th round picks are (on average) decent to below average contributors. Here is how I view them:

TJ Clemmings - Miss
Mycole Pruitt - below average contributor and is currently contributing in Tennessee as well
Stefon Diggs - Yes, home run
Willie Beavers - Miss
Kentrel Brothers - excellent college LB, worth a shot, off the field issues was part of him sitting the bench IMO. Miss
Jaleel Johnson - below average contributor that shows flashes at times.
Ben Gedeon - he was a Will LB, which in Zim's scheme, doesnt play often but he was always in the right spot at the right time. Name a time where you said "wow we need to get Gedeon out of there he's playing terrible"? I'm guessing you cant. It's just not a flashy position in this defense and doesnt play often. Average contributor
Rodney Adams - miss
Danny Isidora - below average contributor
Jaylyn Holmes - below average contributor
Tyler Conklin - Solid run blocking TE AND solid pass catching TE. Conklin seems like he always shows up in the clutch. Had a solid game last week, catching 3rd down passes, does his job, etc. I like him more than Rudolph at this stage of his career. Average contributor
Daniel Carlson - premature cut
Dru Samia - miss
Cam Smith - Tough break with his condition but he didn't really see the field even when healthy. Correct. Miss.

Name me 5th round picks that have made a bigger impact in this league than Stefon Diggs has? I know I cant name one. So we have to get the "look at what kind of talent we can get in the 5th round" comparison out of our heads. Landing Diggs in the 5th is about as likely as landing Russell Wilson in the 3rd. It's a once in a decade thing if you're lucky. Most 4th/5th round picks across the league either become misses, contribute occasionally or become an average player. If you get an average to above average player in the 4th/5th, I think that's a win.

When you say "huge bust" you're making it come across that Dru Samia was a top 5 first round pick that didnt pan out. He was a mid 4th round pick. That's far from a guarantee.
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Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by S197 » Thu Dec 17, 2020 2:22 pm

StumpHunter wrote:
Thu Dec 17, 2020 8:44 am
S197 wrote:
Wed Dec 16, 2020 7:51 pm

I don't care for PFF's line grades but if they're saying Bradbury is that good then that's encouraging. I'll take it and rescind my comment on him for now. But what about guard? Who is the last decent guard we've had? If I'm feeling generous maybe Fusco? That was 9 years ago.
PFF is really hard on Bradbury actually and I think VikingLord's info on him is a bit outdated. His pass blocking grade among qualifying centers is 31st, run blocking is 16th. Overall he is graded as the 20th best center in the NFL, but the overall PFF grade is kind of meaningless by design.

From a pressure standpoint, he has given up the 8th most pressures of centers with 600+ snaps, sacks he is 7th.

Of centers drafted in 2019, he is doing much better than all but McCoy, who is having a down year after a stellar rookie season, but one thing with McCoy, it turns out that he is only good blocking for Brees and Teddy. He was the 11th best center prior to Brees going down, and in the weeks following Brees' injury, he has been the 21st best. His QB made him look better and he is struggling with Brees out.

Turns out there wasn't a great center in the 2019 draft, which sucks because we really had a need there. A bad year to have a need to draft a center 18th overall and we probably should have looked to fill that hole via free agency.
Thanks Stump, that's more in line with what I was seeing but I don't have a PFF subscription.
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Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by S197 » Thu Dec 17, 2020 2:41 pm

Pondering Her Percy wrote:
Thu Dec 17, 2020 1:10 pm
When you say "huge bust" you're making it come across that Dru Samia was a top 5 first round pick that didnt pan out. He was a mid 4th round pick. That's far from a guarantee.
By huge bust I'm just saying their play was really awful for where they were drafted, but if you want to categorize instead as a miss, I'm fine with that because it's not really my point. My point is the way the team is set up, we're going to be very reliant on those 4th and 5th round picks over the next couple years. Guys like Wonnum, Lynch, Dye, Hand, Osborne... these guys are going to have to be pretty good picks for us to be a championship caliber team. So my list is showing why I have reservations because based on Rick's history, or on draft history in general if you want, it's very unlikely that 70-80% of these guys become significant contributors.

Let's be honest, it's fairly easy to pick 1st round picks. You do mocks all the time. Both of us loved Justin Jefferson this offseason. You're always going to have guys like Kalil who don't work out but for the most part, a guy drafted in the 1st is generally regarded as a top prospect. Where a GM really makes his money is in those mid rounds and beyond. And Diggs was one a hell of a pick, I give all the credit to Rick for that pick. And honestly, he's done pretty well overall at WR over his tenure. But he's struggled mightily at many positions, which is why I brought up Fusco. The O-line has been a mess for the better part of a decade. I'd argue DT is another one. After Kevin Williams we haven't really had a decent 3-tech despite its importance to the defense. I'd even say Sheldon Richardson far underperformed his hype. Corner is another, we've thrown a TON of draft capital at that position and here we are starting over from scratch. Pierce is another. People are automatically assuming he's going to be the next Linval but the guy has conditioning issues and there's a reason he was cut. I bet if Tajae Sharpe opted out this year a lot of people would be saying, "man our WR corps would be amazing with Thielen, JJ, and Sharpe." When in actuality the guy hasn't done a thing.

Bottom line, my point is we're heavily reliant on a lot of factors going right in order for this team to take it to the next level next year. Factors that history have shown the front office hasn't been able to get right, at least on the level that we'll need it for next year. So I'm skeptical. I could be wrong of course, these guys could all play great or half from this class and half from next year but that's the reason I made the list of 4ths and 5ths, we're counting on something that Rick hasn't been able to do. A 20% hit rate in the 2020/2021 draft class isn't enough given our cap situation.
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Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by J. Kapp 11 » Thu Dec 17, 2020 3:24 pm

S197 wrote:
Wed Dec 16, 2020 7:51 pm
J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Wed Dec 16, 2020 9:48 am

Well, if this isn't a case of glass-half-empty, nothing is. Please don't take that as a put-down ... it's your right to view the Vikings' situation that way. I and a few others just don't share it. You seem to be going mostly with the eye test, which again is your prerogative. But the eyes can deceive. Just as you believe some of us overrate young players based on our biases, I would submit that you may be underrating others based on yours.

Here's an example. A lot of fans rely on PFF for rankings and grades. I don't trust their methodology, but others do, so let's go with that. I also don't have a subscription, so the information I get is a little outdated, but as of the middle of November, Garrett Bradbury ranked 4th among all centers in overall grade. That may not make him an All-Pro, but it's certainly more than "a little better right now but has yet to play anywhere near close to a 1st round center." Brian Baldinger also consistently mentions Bradbury in his breakdowns — anecdotal evidence, I realize, but I consider Baldinger an expert because he knows what Bradbury is supposed to be doing, as well as the techniques he uses to do them.

So yeah, a lot of this is hunches and beliefs and gut feels and hairs on the backs of our necks. Some of it is simply a matter of where a guy gets his information. There are biases. With that disclaimer firmly in place, here's what I believe, specifically.

Jeff Gladney and Cam Dantzler have ability. We've seen that. They're getting lots of playing time, which is highly unusual for rookie corners under Mike Zimmer. And the thing for me — they compete. Hard. Even when they get beat, they're hustling and busting their butts. But more and more over the past month, they've been in position and battling for the ball. They're making more plays every week. They still get beat on occasion, but they're starting to make plays. That's what I see. Here the deficiencies are, indeed, self-inflicted. But those deficiencies are dwindling, I believe. Look, it's just not fair to compare Jeff Gladney to 2016 Xavier Rhodes simply because they're both first-rounders. Rhodes was in his fourth year when he was owning OBJ and others in 2016. Let's not forget, he got burned constantly his first year or two, and we wondered if HE was a wasted pick.

When I watch Irv Smith, I see a stallion. A big man who can really run. He catches the ball when it's near him. He's surprisingly good after the catch for a tight end. The thing holding Smith back is that he's playing behind and icon in Kyle Rudolph (which honestly shouldn't be the case because Smith is better). Smith has also had trouble staying healthy this year. But knowing what we know about Rudloph's age, contract, etc., I can't see how anybody can look at Irv Smith and say he isn't a breakout candidate for 2021. People wonder why Kirk Cousins doesn't throw to his tight ends, like he did with Jordan Reed in Washington. Maybe it's because Kyle Rudolph just doesn't get much separation. You saw what happened when Rudy was out against TB and Kirk had two younger, faster tight ends in the game ... 9 catches for 104 yards between Smith and Conklin. I believe this will be an addition-by-subtraction thing next year when the Vikings cut ties with Rudolph. As of this year, you are correct — our deficiencies at the position are self-inflicted because Rudolph gets 80% of the snaps.

We see what Eric Wilson is doing. This is an undrafted guy who has grown and developed with some great coaching, and by playing with and learning from Kendricks and Barr. Now he's on the edge of Pro Bowl consideration.

Yes, the D-line is a mess, but I wouldn't call that situation self-inflicted. Nobody knew that Covid would hit, which means nobody knew that Michael Pierce wouldn't play. If you think that wouldn't make a difference, consider that Pierce was far better against the run in 2019 than Linval Joseph was, and we all miss Linval. Also, how could anybody know that Danielle Hunter, one of the most feared edge rushers in the game, would suffer a potentially career-ending neck injury? These things weren't self-inflicted.

Troy Dye? Meh. Haven't seen much from him that makes me think he's any better than depth. But he's playing and contributing. James Lynch, same thing. But D.J. Wonnum? Surely you see the potential in that guy. Honestly, I'm sort of baffled as to why he's hovering around 50% snaps. He played more special teams snaps against Tampa Bay than he did defensive snaps. Maybe he's still not good against the run ... but is Jalyn Holmes significantly better?

Again, you have been consistent in your view that the Vikings haven't been run very well organizationally. I don't agree, but I respect that point of view, and the fact that you've been consistent about it. But I think you have to admit that it's also going to color your opinion of individual players. And mine is colored by the fact that I think the organization is fine, and that I'm eternally optimistic by nature. I'm hoping we can see the validity in each point of view and call it a day.
I more or less went out of my way to not talk about the 2020 draft class because it's early and players need to acclimate. My only statement was that snaps doesn't equate to success. I just think it's wrong to say, "wow look how many rookies are playing, such a great sign" when really they're thrust into playing because there's no real other options. If Dantzler and Gladney don't play, we're putting guys like Hill (now cut), Boyd, Hand, Jones etc. out there. So it's not exactly like they're beating out solid competition.

I don't see it as half empty. I mentioned Dantzler was covering Chark and Godwin the last two weeks and both had very quiet games. I even talked about some progress on the O-line and was given flak for it. Which is all good but it's not like everything I've said is negative.

Let's try from a different perspective. Would it be fair to say 4th and 5th round picks aren't throwaway picks? You're not going to hit on a Diggs in the 5th every year but you can find very solid contributors in the middle of the draft. Guys like an Everson Griffen or Brian Robison as an example. Let's take a look at the last five years, excluding 2020 because it's too early to call. This is the list.

TJ Clemmings - Huge bust
Mycole Pruitt - Miss
Stefon Diggs - Homerun
Willie Beavers - Huge bust
Kentrel Brothers - Special teams LB
Jaleel Johnson - Underperforming starter
Ben Gedeon - Marginal mike LB
Rodney Adams - Cut before the season
Danny Isidora - miss
Jaylyn Holmes - Unproductive DE by even your account
Tyler Conklin - Solid run blocking TE
Daniel Carlson - Cut
Dru Samia - Huge bust
Cam Smith - Tough break with his condition but he didn't really see the field even when healthy

I'd say that's a decent sample size. Out of 14 I'd say Diggs, Conklin and Gedeon panned out. Is my glass really half empty when 21% of the picks in the last 5 years pan out?

This is why I'm saying our strategy worries me. We need guys like Wonnum, Lynch, Dye, Hand etc to work out. History says maybe one of them actually pans out. That's on top of guys like Cleveland, Dantzler and Gladney also needing to be hits.

I don't care for PFF's line grades but if they're saying Bradbury is that good then that's encouraging. I'll take it and rescind my comment on him for now. But what about guard? Who is the last decent guard we've had? If I'm feeling generous maybe Fusco? That was 9 years ago.

You guys are making it out like I'm looking very short term when in fact my concerns are because of Rick's long term track record particularly at certain positions.
I understand your entire argument and thesis here. I really do.

The problem is that it misses the point.

The point was that many of us have optimism for next year.

I've given plenty of reasons why I have that optimism, based on how I feel the rookies and young guys are playing this year. I'm looking at this year, what we have coming back next year, and feeling bullish.

You've given me the past as a reason for being bearish.

Yes, I realize you've pointed out a pattern, one that we all have seen. And yes, that pattern is continuing this year. Unless we win out, we won't make the playoffs, which means the every-other-year trend will continue.

But here's the thing. If I said, "The every-other-year pattern means we're GUARANTEED to make the playoffs next year," you'd hammer me for that, and rightly so.

Then why is it OK to use past years as a precursor to what's going to happen in 2021? You can't use the pattern to support a negative argument if I can't support it to support a positive one, can you?

I believe you have to look at each year as its own entity. And when I see the way the rookies and second-year players are developing, along with the talent we should have returning, I'm optimistic about next year. That doesn't mean a thing ... we could go 2-14. But I'll tell you what. Give Jefferson, Gladney, Dantzler, Wonnum and others OTAs, a full camp and preseason, and I wouldn't be surprised at a division title and high seed, either.

And for the record, I don't think there were many Vikings fans on this board who expected big things this year, if we're all being honest. We lost four defensive starters in the offseason, and we had no idea Jefferson would be Jefferson. Everyone here expected a dropoff. To my mind, the fact that we're still in the playoff picture entering Week 15 is a positive. Because I honestly didn't expect it.
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