Category Archives: Vikings

Predictions NFC North

Chris Schisler

Green Bay Packers: 12-4
Reason: The Packers have arguably the best quarterback in football. The offense may go to new heights. I really love the addition of Devante Adams, especially in the red zone. The offense will stay balanced because of the versatile Eddie Lacey; this will help them win the NFC North’s grind it out games late in the season. The defense will be much better. Julius Peppers gives the Pack another pass rusher. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will help the secondary greatly.

Chicago Bears: 10-6
Reason: There is no doubting the offense (if Cutler can stay healthy). Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall may be the best receiver duo in the NFL. Add Martellus Bennet and Matt Forte and its almost like a video game. The Bears defense was horrible in 2013 however. I do not see it being much better in 2014. This is why they will finish second to the Pack.

Minnesota Vikings: 9-7
Reason: The Vikings fresh start will fall just short of playoff football. Teddy Bridgewater will at some point overthrow Matt Cassell as the starter. This will energize the Vikings. Minnesota has a ton of young talent and it is about to start showing.

Detroit Lions: 7-9
Reason: The Lions play what I call pinball football. They rack up high scores and often their opponent gets the highest score. The Lions have a weak secondary and a flashy but not all that great defense. A good pass rush and Stephen Tulloch does not make up for their defensive issues. I obviously love their new defensive coordinator, Teryl Austin. However you have to give him the talent. The undisciplined Lions did not address key problems and it will hurt them in 2014.

Adrian Peterson vs Lesean McCoy

By Chris Schisler

Its no secret that popular consensus views Adrian Peterson as the best running back in the NFL. LeSean McCoy has made it no secret that he thinks he’s better than Peterson. It sounds crazy- Peterson is the guy who comes to mind when you think running backs. McCoy may have a point however.

2013 was a better statistical season for LeSean McCoy. He rushed for 1,607 yards (341 more yards than Peterson). He had 23 more receptions than Peterson for almost 400 more yards. Both scored a total of 11 touchdowns. Peterson had to battle through injury, 8 men constantly in the box and having mediocre quarterback play. In 2012 Peterson did not have a lot of help but rushed for over 2,000 yards. McCoy did have better statistics in 2013 but statistics alone do not tell the tale.

These are two different types of running backs. Peterson is the prototypical power runner. He runs downhill and is tough to tackle. It almost seems that Peterson looks for contact as if he is Godzilla and the linebackers are radioactive. The point is “All Day” Adrian Peterson is a power runner. He has incredible quickness and can juke with the best of him but his game is all about power.

LeSean McCoy runs with power but his game is about speed and agility. McCoy is great running inside the tackles but it is the open field where he makes his biggest plays. McCoy is more dynamic than Peterson in the sense that there are more ways to get him involved in the offense. McCoy is perfect for the new age offensive approach of Chip Kelly’s.

From a fantasy perspective (especially in PPR leagues) McCoy may be the greater value. Even if Peterson produces more yards on the ground, McCoy can outproduce him. In PPR leagues players get a point for each reception- making McCoy a hot commodity. McCoy has had 50 or more receptions in 3 out of 5 seasons in the NFLand has never had less than 40 receptions. McCoy also has better players around him. Peterson may have huge fantasy days (because Minnesota needs him to) but McCoy will probably have more consistency. In year 2 of the Chip Kelly offense its easy to see bigger things from McCoy. You do have to worry that Darren Sproles will take away some of his touches however.

From a purely football stance its a matter of preference. You simply cannot go wrong with either of them.

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New look Vikings: A Fresh Start

The Minnesota Vikings are looking forward to 2014. For the first time since Brett Favre wore Vikings purple the organization is headed to bigger and better things. With a rookie head coach in Mike Zimmer and rookie quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota is entering a new era.

Zimmer may be a rookie head coach but he has been coaching football since 1979. He spent the last 5 seasons in Cincinnati orchestrating stellar defensive play from the Bengals. Zimmer is a no nonsense, get-it-guy who has a firm grasp on the world that is the NFL. This is his first head coaching opportunity and quite frankly he was long overdue for it.

He brought a sensational offensive coordinator with him to Minneapolis in Norv Turner. Turner is a well established offensive guru. Turner is expected to resurrect an offense that has relied solely on Adrian Peterson since the departure of Brett Favre.

You could not ask for a better situation for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s rookie season. He has a quarterback friendly offensive coordinator. He has the league’s best running back in Adrian Peterson. Bridgewater will also have two good receivers in Gregg Jennings and Cordarrel Patterson. This is not even mentioning the big bodied tight end Kyle Rudolph. The Vikings took a chance on Teddy Bridgewater. If they were right to do so then there is no reason Minnesota can’t have success right away.

The sky could be the limit for Teddy Bridgewater. At Louisville he was an accurate passer with incredible arm talent. He extends plays with his feet but remains a passer. What is incredible about what I have seen from Teddy on tape, he has great anticipation and is aware of everything.

Of course it is possible that the Vikings decide to go with Matt Cassel at QB. Cassell showed glimpses of promise last season. The problem is that we know what Matt Cassell is at this point of his career. He has always been capable of having a great game but has never been consistently good. I heavily expect the Vikings to go with Teddy Bridgewater.

The Vikings have been building their defense through the draft for a while now. Shariff Floyd leads an intriguing defensive line. Harrison Smith is a very talented safety. Xaiver Rhodes continues to blossom into a star NFL cornerback. The Vikings have a core nucleus of defensive talent and Chad Greenway provides veteran leadership.

There is much to be excited about in Minnesota. While the Vikings are fighting an uphill battle in the NFC North there is reason for hope. The Vikings may fall short of the postseason, in a tough conference. Vikings fans though need to understand this could be the beginning of something special. The Vikings have a fresh start and are looking towards a bright future.

Rookie QB’s: Sit em or Start em

-Chris Schisler

When NFL teams draft a quarterback of the future, the question is when do they let the future begin. Starting an unpolished rookie risks making him spoiled goods. The Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings as well as the Oakland Raiders all believe they have just found their savior under center. It is an exciting time in these 4 NFL cities. The decision they make could either pay off big time or haunt them for years to come.

It used to be common for teams to give their rookie QB time to develop. Things started to change in 2008, when Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco, led their teams to the playoffs in their rookie season.Teams began to start their quarterbacks right away.

In 2009, the New York Jets started Mark Sanchez right away. The Jets went to back to back AFC championships. The Jets were winning but Sanchez was a very flawed passer. The Jets surrounded their quarterback with a pound it out running offense & the comfort of a dominant defense. The Jets kept believing that Sanchez could be a star, ignoring his shortcomings. Sanchez regressed to a butt fumbling level and the Jets replaced him. The Jets came into the 2013 season at square one with Geno Smith. Geno Smith did so poorly in his rookie season that the Jets signed Michael Vick this offseason.

The league did not realize that Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco were exceptions to the rule. Teams looked for QB’s to get on the field training; they rationalized it by saying “what’s he going to learn on the bench?” There are some success stories such as Cam Newton, Russell Wilson & Andrew Luck but there are just as many Blaine Gabbert like nightmares.

There are less people qualified to be an NFL quarterback than any other job in the world. The physical and cerebral workload is incredible. The quarterback is the leader of the team and ideally is the most football obsessed amongst the players. They get all the credit in victory and all the blame in defeat. Think about the teams that win; they all have good QB’s. Teams have to be picky about who they put under center. If a rookie quarterback is going to start he has to earn it and be capable. Many teams draft a quarterback with a high ceiling in terms of potential and ruin him on the field too early. Everyone looks at the Flacco’s and Matt Ryan’s of the world. Why does nobody look at Aaron Rodgers. He had to sit behind Brett Favre; that worked out pretty good.

No matter how you slice it a rookie quarterback is a project. This years crop is a great example. Blake Bortles has a prototypical QB body and supreme arm talent. That said his footwork is messy at best, this affects the timing and accuracy of his passes-he struggles to read a defense when he is in the pocket and us only comfortable when rolling out. Johnny Football is not without his flaws. He has a lazy drop back, makes bad reads-uses his legs to get him out of the trouble he got himself in and forces late throws in the red zone. These two quarterbacks can make every throw and have an amazing amount of talent but I don’t think either one is ready. It’s not the ability, its the lack of fundamentals in their game.

The Browns would be best suited to sit their rookie passer on the sideline. They must remember the future is what is important. Manziel needs to develop a disciplined approach to football. If he tries the headless chicken-make magic out of nothing routine in the NFL he may get himself killed. Brian Hoyer deserves a chance to at least prove he can start in the league. The future is important to Cleveland they have been bad for a long time.

The Jaguars don’t expect to start Blake Bortles this year. Sure he could win the job, but they will only play him if he is truly ready. This is an organization that went through growing pains with Blaine Gabbert; they have learned from this experience. Chad Henne showed flashes of decent play last season. The Jaguars don’t need to rush things, they don’t expect to be great over night. They are rebuilding not rehashing their past mistakes.

Teddy Bridgewater however could start on day one. Bridgewater ran a savvy offense at Louisville like a well oiled machine. I had him rated as the best quarterback prospect; he was a total steal as the first rounds last pick. Bridgewater read defenses like a pro in college. Like Bortles and Manziel, Bridgewater has the ability to beat you with his legs. However Teddy uses his legs to extend plays, keeping his eyes downfield remaining a passer. Its funny that Bortles gets compared to Ben Roethlisberger based on size. Teddy Bridgewater plays the game mostly comparable to Roethlisberger; extending plays and connecting on deep bombs. The Vikings got a guy who is ready & they have no time to waste. Adrian Peterson is human so he won’t last forever.

I am not high on Derrick Carr, I never really have been. He has a tremendous arm, the physical tools are there. I can’t help but see Kyle Boller in Derrick Carr. I think it is so easy to fall in love with a cannon arm that we overlook signs of trouble. for Oakland’s sake I am wrong. I think Carr was very sheltered at Fresno State. The QB friendly spread offense and lower level of competition concerns me. His mechanics concern me. Getting blown out by USC in Fresno State’s Bowl game concerns me. Carr has the physical tools but I am not convinced he can do it at the next level. I don’t foresee patience for the Oakland Raiders. Matt Schuab is a shell of hus former self and a mere placeholder at quarterback. I predicted Carr to be a bust- an opinion many people have bashed me for. Now that I know he is a Raider, I am even more convinced.

There is no right or wrong approaches here. Everything depends on the situation. A team should absolutely start a rookie if he has earned it and is ready. Sitting your QB does not insure success. However starting him before he is ready is a good way to make him spoiled goods. Its a slippery slope that the respective NFL head coaches must be aware of.

Draft Grades NFC North

Green Bay Packers: A

The Packers selection of Hasean Clinton-Dix at pick 22 was absolute gold. I had Clinton-Dix ranked as the 13th overall player in the entire draft class. The Packers also got high value in the second round, with Fresno State receiver Devante Adams. Adams is a good replacement for James Jones, who Green Bay lost in free agency. Adams gives Aaron Rodgers a red zone threat with his big frame and great jumping ability. Carl Bradford was a steal in the fourth round, if he was a little taller he’d go earlier. Jared Abbrederis is simmilar to the Packers number one reciever Jordy Nelson and was a steal in the 5th round. The Packers made no reaches, making 9 quality picks.

Detroit Lions: C+

Going into the draft the Lions desperately needed secondary help and they did little to ease that situation. Detroit selected the electrifying tight end Eric Ebron with the 10th overall selection. This improves an already potent offense. Detroit resigned Brandon Pettigrew so it looks like we will see many two tight end sets. The lions could have gotten the defensive help they needed, Kyle Fuller or Darqueeze Dennard would have made more sense. In round two the Lions selected Kyle Van Noy. Van Noy is a good outside linebacker but he is not a system fit. Maybe Teryl Austin is trying to convert his defense to a 3-4. Travis Swanson and TJ Jones were good values. Lions got okay players but all but ignored their needs.

Chicago Bears: B+

The Bears got good value with most of their selections. Chicago hit a home run with their first selection, Kyle Fuller. Fuller was the best fit at cornerback for their defense. My favorite selection from their draft us Will Sutton, a beastly defensive lineman from Arizona State. Ka’Deem Carrey is a stron lick in the 4th.

Minnesota Vikings: B+

The Vikings got their franchise quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater trading back into the first round with the Seattle Seahawks. This was by far their most important acquisition. Anthony Barr was not a great fit and a bit of a reach. Scott Chricton and David Yankee were high value selections.

QB Battle in Twin Cities

It may not be brewing yet but as training camp creeps up on us so does the potential QB controversy in Minnesota. The Vikings brought former Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassell, to compete with the incumbent Christian Ponder. The Vikings will probably give Ponder every opportunity to win the job. After all it was just two off-seasons ago they selected him with the drafts 12 overall pick. Ponder has probably not struggled enough to lose his front runner to be 1st string status. Viking fans however are impatient wanting to win in Adrian Peterson’s prime. If Ponder struggles a battle, at least in public opinion could rise at QB position.

To discuss this position battle we must compare the two quarterbacks. Please note that this is not based on rigorous film study but a recall of their performances based on what I have seen from them. It is my judgement that Christian Ponder has the more up side and potential; while looking fairly even with Cassell at the moment.

Ponder is a fundamentally sound quarterback. When given the time he is an accurate passer. He does not have great arm strength and has to put extra “oomph” on the ball by being mechanically focused. I have the theory that he lacks the necessary confidence to take his shots. It is this hesitation which leads to sacks and turnovers. When Ponder struggles his throws are late. This is intriguing to me. Here is a guy who has good mechanics and who has shown decent decision making, yet he struggles with late throws. If I was his coach I would focus on building his confidence. I do not see a physical problem, I see a psychological one. Ponder is a sharp guy with good technique it to me has to be about confidence.

We know what Cassell is. He is an adequate at best quarterback who gets into slumps he can’t work out of. Cassell at times looks great. He has a good arm and is not always inaccurate. However when Cassell is pressured his level of accuracy plummets. Matt Cassell struggles mightily in tge red zone. He only threw 6 touchdown passes and threw 12 interceptions in 2012. When the Chiefs running game went well they were tough to beat. This is proven by their 10 win season in 2010. When the running game was not working, neither was Matt Cassell.

Christian Ponder should win the job. I may be a bigger Ponder believer than most, but I see so much potential in him. I know what I will get with Cassell, and it is not good. Ponder will only get better with time and coaching.