Monday, August 31, 2009

A massive upgrade

thoughts during this preseason game

In 2006, virtually all Viking fans were critical of Brad Childress's offensive philosophy: dink and dunk, short passes, no aggressiveness, no creativity. What if, for the sake of argument, the 2009 Vikings had the exact same offensive scheme, strategy, and attitude as the Vikings had in 2006. If that were the case, the 2009 Viking offense would be far, far, far superior. The Vikings have undergone a massive, phenomenal upgrade at every conceivable offensive skill position.

The '06 Vikings were quarterbacked by 38 year old Brad Johnson, who at that point had virtually no mobility and very little arm strength. Chester Taylor was the feature back, with Mewelde Moore backing him up and catching a lot of passes. The tight end was Jermaine Wiggins, who had 8.4 yards per catch that year.

It was the WR corps where the real horror show started: the top three wide receivers were Travis Taylor, Marcus Robinson, and Troy Williamson. Sit back. Let that sink in. Do you remember watching the Viking QB try stick passes in to WRs that couldn't separate from a defender at all? Do you remember watching the ball bounce off the hands of the one WR that could get separation? It was a group that really couldn't make plays.

Overall, it was an offense lacking as much in speed, explosiveness, and talent than it was lacking in aggressiveness and creativity.

The '09 Vikings will be quarterbacked by 39-40 year old Brett Favre, clearly past his prime, but who still exhibits skills that make him, even now, the best QB of the Childress era by far. He's showing the mobility, arm strength, and accuracy to be a successful QB. If nothing else, the QB that completed 66.5 and 65.7 percent of his passes the last two seasons might be perfect for a dink and dunk approach throwing to talented, athletic pass catchers (I love screen passes, by the way). The great Adrian Peterson is the feature back, with Chester Taylor moving into the backup and pass catcher role. The tight end is Visanthe Shiancoe, whom I still don't understand or trust, but who has the potential to be a much bigger playmaker than Wiggins.

But it is the WR corps where I start getting excited. The top three wide receivers will likely be Bernard Berrian, Sidney Rice, and Percy Harvin. These players have speed and explosiveness, talent and the ability to make big plays. They are players that can get open, and they are players that can run fast when they get the ball.

I'm very impressed with the talent upgrade the Viking management has achieved. This Viking offense has the players on the field to be successful.


  1. Anonymous10:17 PM

    Harvin missed a TD pass which made me not like him for a few plays until he got sandwiched together and was still standing.. incase you were wondering my random thoughts

  2. Anonymous6:00 AM

    Penalties and a dropped pass aside they looked pretty sharp last night. It wasn't until after the game I even realized the Vikings didn't have their #1 reciever either. There will be some games where the plays after the catch come but they're showing they can move the ball even without the big play.


  3. Peter8:06 AM

    My biggest concern is pass protection. McKinnie is drawing penalties and Peterson continues to struggle with blocking. I want Chester Taylor in on all passing downs next to Favre to protect and/or provide a release valve if nothing comes open. It's likely his last year with the team (and, hopefully, Favre's), so let Peterson get his blocking experience later.

  4. Anonymous10:11 AM

    Childress has taken a lot of heat. His team has improved the record every year. He has helped build a team with lots of talent, thru draft and free agency. Any credit for this?

  5. Anonymous7:42 PM

    You can't call plays effectively if the opposing defense knows that the running back on the field isn't trusted to pass block. This is why it is critical for Peterson to become at least an average pass blocker.It is always amazing as to how play calling improves when the personnel on the field can do more things well.

    They obviously need to get Berrian back on the field before they can maximize headaches for opposing defensive coordinators. What was clear from last night was that any attempt to line up in a seven man front against the Vikings risks a quick seven points; we may be seeing the greatest home run threat in the history of NFL running backs, or the perhaps the greatest since Gale Sayers. Teams simply cannot face him without at least eight in the box, and that means Berrian and other receivers will have their chances, this time with a qb who can use the entire field.

    I don't think the Vikings have had a qb who is really, really, good at looking off defensive backs since Warren Moon was here. Even Cunningham's big season in '98 was mostly a case of Randy Moss and Carter defeating their coverage, instead of a qb who could confuse the defensive backs. Here's hoping for a minor miracle regarding the health of 40 year old NFL quarterbacks.

  6. I think the problem is that Childress has one set offense, regardless of the players on the field. If Peterson is a bad pass-blocker, why doesn't the team have more plays that feature both Peterson and Taylor, etc.?

    Childress is like Norv Turner - his offenses can be great, but it depends on the talent, not the coach.

  7. Anonymous8:21 PM

    Trust me, every great offense was more dependent on players than on coaching.