Thursday, August 27, 2009

The "Schism" Is No Reason to Be Concerned...Yet

As you have probably heard, there seems to be a schism in the Vikings' locker room. And you know how much that matters at the moment? Not at all.

QB#4 is the starting quarterback. Are there some hard feelings about the way he joined the team? Most likely. Does most of the locker room want either Sage Rosenfels or the Tarvaris Revolution to be the starting quarterback right now? Probably.

But, as Matt Bowen at the National Football Post points out, that's what happens when special circumstances happen. And there will likely be some hard feelings about those special circumstances, but as the great football mind Brad Childress (heh) said, "Business is business". And football is a business. If the Vikings, and QB#4 are successful, none of this is going to matter. Honestly, if QB#4 comes out and plays well against the Texans, the controversy probably goes away--having a long track record of success tends to get you the benefit of the doubt that preseason success will lead to regular season success.

And even if he doesn't play all that well, he has some built in excuses that'll buy time until the regular season (you know, the whole "less than two weeks of practice time" excuse that he created for himself). Of course, if the Vikings and / or QB#4 stumble in the first four games of the regular season, well, then things could get ugly. Special treatment isn't a big deal if the team is successful, but if it isn't, it can lead to a whole lot of problems, many of which can lead to even more problems. But there's no chance of that ever happening, right?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More on the Uncapped Year

Football Outsiders has an article going into a little more detail on the implications of 2010 being an uncapped year, as Luft mentioned in the comments of my post on the Vikings quarterback roster issues. I assume the Vikings have a good idea of whether 2010 will be an uncapped year. If it's going to be (which seems to be likely), then it would be a huge mistake for them to cut or trade Tarvaris Jackson (unless, of course, someone blows them away with a trade offer).

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Tarvaris Conundrum

Filling the third quarterback position rarely seems all that important. Most of the time, whichever quarterback a team has drafted in the mid to late rounds that year or the year before gets the slot. Usually, any debate about which QB should get the roster spot is largely academic, only mattering to the hard core fans, the players involved in the competition, the coaches, the dreamers and me.

This year, however, things are a little different. In a repeat of 2001, when third stringer Spergon Wynn started two games and played in three, there's a distinct possibility that the Vikings will need to call on their third string quarterback. When you consider that QB#4 is turning 40 years old this year and is playing with a partially torn rotator cuff (which, I'm glad to see, the Vikings are being very careful with) and that Sage Rosenfels has never started more than five games in a season (and thus has never shown the ability to handle more games without getting hurt), it's not unreasonable to want a quarterback that can step in and win games for the Vikings. This isn't 2001--the Vikings expect to make the playoffs this year and they should plan accordingly.

Of course, that would mean keeping Tarvaris around as the 3rd quarterback. While Tarvaris had some of the same issues on Friday as he did last year, he looked very good against the Chiefs second stringers and, apparently, he's starting to recognize the blitz and react accordingly. Is that enough to win him the starting job? Not even close, nor is it enough to win him the back up job, but the Vikings can win games with Tarvaris under center (maybe not playoff games, but regular season games, at least). The problem with keeping Tarvaris around, though, is twofold: first, he's still got supporters in the locker room and secondly, that he's an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The first problem probably isn't that much of a problem, assuming, of course, that QB#4 starts to play well. Winning solves a lot of problems, including quarterback controversies (even if they're only minor ones in the locker room).

The second problem is a little more troubling for the Vikings' long term. Tarvaris isn't going to be in Purple next year, whether or not you keep him on the roster this season. One assumes he'll try and get on a roster where he feels he has a chance to start (and let's be honest--there are franchises willing to give him a shot at the starting job), which he doesn't so long as Sage Rosenfels is in Purple. And with QB #4 being a one year solution (please) and Rosenfels only signed through next year (and the Vikings should not be offering him an extension unless he gets a significant amount of time starting this year), cutting Booty would leave the Vikings with one quarterback going into 2010 and no quarterbacks under contract in 2011. Booty is currently signed through 2012, but if you cut him, that really doesn't matter, does it?

And so the Vikings are left with a dilemma: do they make their roster decisions based on their needs this year or long term? Keeping Tarvaris and cutting Booty is the right decision for this year, but for 2010 and 2011, keeping Booty and cutting Tarvaris (or trading him) is the right choice.

Monday, August 24, 2009

20 Days Till The Season

Since the Vikings are taking the day off (because, you know, they've all had more then enough time to practice), I thought everyone would appreciate the latest Viking related Youtube sensation:


I hate this season already.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Thoughts on QB #4's Debut (and the Vikings)

I watched the NFL Network replay of the first half of the DEBUT OF QB #4 (I've decided, for my own sanity, to only refer to him as QB #4, kind of like how NCAA video games work, or how NBA video games never had Michael Jordan, but always had #23 on the Bulls). I do have to say, it got me excited for the season. And not because QB #4 looked like a guy whose first NFL workout (and practice) was on Tuesday. Luckily, he has lots of time before the season starts (Oh wait). A few other thoughts:

  • The pass rush looked dominant today. Which is especially amazing because neither Pat Williams or Jared Allen suited up. Fred Evans had a couple of plays where he just pushed the Chiefs center into Cassel, and Robison and Edwards both did a good job on the edge. Defensive line depth is a huge part of a successful defense, and it looks like the Vikings are deep in the front four. Sweet.
  • E.J. Henderson looks like the stud I remember and Chad Greenway matched him play for play. They paired up to force a field goal in the first quarter with two great plays in the first quarter. On 1st Down, the Chiefs handed off to Larry Johnson going off tackle. E.J. shed a block in the middle of the field and closed (and when I say "closed", I mean he he beat LJ to the spot he was going) to meet Johnson at the line of scrimmage for no gain. After a 9 yard gain on a pass play, Greenway slipped through the line (and I rewound the play three times and still didn't see the line in the hole he got through) and stuffed LJ for no gain on 3rd and 1, forcing the Chiefs to kick a field goal. Let's see here. Stud defensive linemen. Quality depth behind the studs. And Stud Linebackers? The Vikings are going to be fun to watch on defensive this year.
  • Percy Harvin looks like he's going to be dangerous. I'm not sure if he's going to be, but he really looks like he can be. Harvin is Purple Jesus fast. And he had a nice catch with two Chiefs draped all over him for QB #4's only completion. If Harvin turns out to be as dangerous as he looks, the offense could be one of the best in the NFL, assuming the quarterback play is up to par.
  • Tarvaris Jackson had good stats, but most of them came after the Chiefs' first teamers came out. He threw off his back foot under pressure, made a horrible decision to throw a pass 4 yards past the line of scrimmage despite having lots of room to run and generally looked a lot like the Tarvaris Jackson from last year--good enough to allow the Vikings to win games, but not in the playoffs.
  • Naufahu Tahi is awful. He can't block (he missed a block on the Chief that tackled Peterson on 4th and 1 on the Vikings' first drive), he can't run routes (it was as much his fault as QB #4's that the Vikings' first pass play was an incompletion) and even if he does catch the ball, he's not going to get any yards after the catch. I can't believe the Vikings can't find a better fullback then him, because he's not an NFL caliber player.

Friday, August 21, 2009

This Thing Still On?

What? Brett Favre skipped off season workouts and Training Camp and everyone welcomed him with open arms (well...not everyone, but you know what I'm saying).

So it's been a while. Since May apparently. One of the biggest keys to running a blog is definitely to continue to write. You lose your posting groove and suddenly it's August 21st and you haven't posted since May. And, yes, I blame my lack of motivation on Brett Favre. (In fact, if I were you, I'd be prepared to read a lot of posts that blame Brett Favre this year--that man is going to get no mercy from me. I might be willing to give him credit where credit is due, but he will receive no quarter and no mercy when he plays poorly.)

Big Daddy Drew puts the way I feel the best. This season isn't going to be very fun. Success will be Favre's (and I hate Favre. Hate. Hate. Hate. Doesn't matter that he's in Purple. Even if I'm rooting for laundry, I'm not going to root for the laundry he's wearing.) and failure (which, since the Purple sold their soul to get Favre, is anything that doesn't involve a Super Bowl trophy) will be the Vikings'. So yeah. Good times.

The thing is, I was just starting to talk myself into Sage Rosenfels (or as I like to call him, Trent Dilfer Jr.). His stats looked good against Indianapolis (You be quiet with your "they weren't playing their starters"--if I wanted to be reasonable, I wouldn't have been talking myself into Rosenfels). And even more importantly, I was excited for the Vikings' defense to be at full strength. Remember how good the Purple's defense was last year (Football Outsiders had them as the 4th best defense in the NFL)? Remember how they were that good despite missing their Pro Bowl middle linebacker for the entire season? Remember how their starting safety missed the first seven games and their Pro Bowl nose tackle missed the last two games and the playoff game? And remember how none of those players are hurt at the moment (barring the resolution to the Williams' Suspension Trials). The Vikings defense is going to be ridiculous this year. They're going to chew offenses up and spit them out. I don't have the skills to properly describe what they're capable of doing, but if I did, it'd be roughly equivalent to multiplying the destructive force of the Mega Bear and the Mega Lion.

And then, of course, there's the offense, which, not including Brett Favre, should be ridiculously fun. Can you say offensive weapons? Because I can, and I'm pronouncing it "Purple Jesus, Chester Taylor, Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian and Visanthe Shiancoe". Really, the big question marks are where they were last year--under center and everyone to the right of Steve Hutchinson. Except that, unlike last year, the Vikings were actually proactive, drafting Phil Loadholt and acquiring two new quarterbacks (ahem).

Honestly, if it weren't for the whole Brett Favre thing, I'd be ridiculously excited for the upcoming season. So, I'm mainly planning on pretending that's not Favre under center (it'll be hard, I know) and focusing my rube excitment on the Purple People Eaters v. 2 and the weapons surrounding QB #4. And if John Sullivan or Phil Loadholt blow an assignment and Favre gets knocked out for the season, well, those things happen, you know?