Friday, February 09, 2007

"You Wait For Good Things"

The above quote from Brad Childress both explains the eighteen day wait for Tomlin's replacement and suggests that Leslie Frazier is going to be able to keep improving the Vikings' defense despite his "rocky stint" as Cincinnati's Defensive Coordinator. And I think he's right about that.

Frazier explains:

"If [defense] is your background," Frazier said, "it's a hard thing to let it go and trust. My personality, some people would say I'm a soft-spoken guy. But I have some strong convictions about certain things. Certain things, I'm not
necessarily going to compromise on."

Obviously (and thankfully) Childress isn't going to get involved on the defensive side of the ball. He didn't with Tomlin, and he won't with Frazier. It helps that Frazier is a disciple of the Tampa 2 (though really, who isn't these days?), even though his version of the scheme incorporates more blitzes than Tomlin's did.

That should be a good thing. If the Vikings retain Harris, linebacker will be amongst the deepest positions they have, with three quality players (possibly four if Greenway plays up to his potential) whose strength lies in blitzing and playing the run. Frazier's scheme should play to their strengths, allowing the Vikings to get pressure without having to rely so heavily on their defensive line.

What it will also likely do is shift the Vikings' focus in free agency from defensive end (of which there are few quality free agents) to cornerback. While Antoine Winfield is an elite corner, that stems as much from his tackling and ability against the run as it does his coverage ability. Fred Smoot is likely as good as gone. Cedric Griffin and Dovonte Edwards are both decent corners, but neither is likely to be in the Pro Bowl next year. Edwards didn't play last year, and while Griffin started as rookie, it would be best if he could remain as the Nickleback for another year. Luckily for the Vikings, it's a good year for cornerbacks in free agency. I can't say I would mind seeing the Bills starting corners from 2001 to 2003 reunited. Or seeing if Asante Samuel can set a record.

[Update: There's a breakdown of the Wide Recievers in the draft over at Rumors and Rants if you're interested. Just be careful--I don't want anyone getting hurt in the mad scramble to get over there. If you're smart, you'll pay particular attention to the recievers not named Johnson, Jarrett or Ginn, Jr. because those are the ones most likely to end up in Purple next year]


cheswick said...

And so yet another ex-Eagle comes home to roost. It's getting to be like Philly-North anymore! I hope this works out...too bad Bob Sanders wasn't part of the deal. Looks like a good signing though.

Jason J said...

Why does everyone assume that Smoot will be released? His salary for 2007 is $2.7M. I agree that unless production doesn't substantially improve that he will be gone due to $4.9M owed in 2008. I view it similar to Brian Williams situation in 2005. Smoot can play well and make his contract parallel to performance or he can pout and have no leverage as a released free agent