Monday, April 10, 2006

A rambling April look at the club

I'm a Viking diehard. I enjoy taking meandering looks at the squad periodically during the offseason. These ramblings lack coherence, direction, and order; it's D- quality writing. But a blog is a good dumping ground for an obsessive-compulsive fan (I don't get the reviews of Hornby's Fever Pitch that talk about how funny it is; I haven't laughed once).

Be warned; this isn't quality writing and you should only read it if you have a deep abiding passion for the Purple.

Despite being converted to a "Defense and Special Teams wins championships" ideology, I still care about the Viking offense. Some ramblings about the Viking offense.

Interesting article here at the Pioneer Press (via PFT) on the Viking WRs.

Koren Robinson is the #1 WR, and Troy Williamson has the best chance to be #2.

I see a lot of of the dreaded word "potential" here. It's not exactly Cris Carter and Randy Moss, but Robinson and Williamson seem suited to play well in a West Coast variant (nobody can really be sure what Childress is going to be running). Robinson has size, speed, and playmaking ability. Williamson has incredible after-the-catch speed (though in 2005 he had real trouble adjusting to deep passes in the air).

There's no proven skill position star on the Vikes...but there are no slouches, either.

It's a little scary that the Vikings could be starting two former Raven skill position players on offense, when the Ravens have had one of the legendarily bad offenses of the past few years.

Brad Johnson won't be spectacular, but that's fine. The Vikes have had plenty of spectacular offense, while BJ has earned the hardware. He wins games, and he's done it with three different franchises. I just hope his 38 year old arm holds up one more season before they turn the squad over to a youngster.

If that youngster is Mike McMahon, perhaps you would like to join me in the purchase of a vomit bucket.

One big question: will Matt Birk be as good at pulling as he was before his injury? And in Childress's offense, will he need to be?

Now, some thoughts on the defense, the stuff that really matters. Don't worry, this is getting somewhere, I think.

Here's what I see when I think about the Viking defense.

On defensive line, I see limitless talent and youth. Pat Williams was the Vikes' best player last season (Dr. Z wrote that he hadn't seen a nose tackle have a year like PW had last season). He is surrounded by three young recent first-round picks: Kevin Williams, Erasmus James, Keneche Udeze. These four (probably the starting lineup) are supported by all sorts of solid role players to add the required depth.

In the secondary, I see Antoine Winfield, the best tackling CB in the league (after watching Winfield for two years, I know that sometimes WRs catch passes against him, but they almost always get tackled immediately where they catch it). On the other side, there's Fred Smoot: not great in 2005, but he's been a very good cover corner, and he's bulked up. The safeties are gems: Darren Sharper is a playmaking veteral who seems to have a knack for intercepting passes, and Tank Williams is a 25 year old 4 year starter.

The defensive line and the secondary make me feel good. The rest of the D? Color me concerned.

Who is a nickel back? Fox and Edwards get mentioned, but they haven't done enough to make me confident. The Vikes could use a CB in the draft (though not in the first round--no reason to pay a nickel CB that much).

And the Vikings simply must draft linebackers. Maybe some of the young LBs come around in 2006. But I was thinking the same thing in 2005, and 2004, and... The Vikes have some young LBs on the roster, but it's anybody's guess what the actual starting lineup will look like in September. We don't even know if any of the current LBs are at all suited to play MLB.

I sat down to write a few things about the Viking wide receivers, and ended up coming back and taking a tour of the Vikings roster. And where'd it get me? It's a half hour later and I've got no greater insights.


  1. Personally I'd like to see Williamson has the 3rd reciever and put more of a possession guy at #2... which is why I really wanted Burleson back, but the Seahawks obviously made that impossible. I'd like to see Williamson be more of the deep threat and/or get a lot of screens and short crossing routes, because I'm not sure if he's ready to be #2 yet.

    And yeah, we need a young QB badly. Which is why I kinda hope we trade the #17 for Schaub if Ernie Sims is gone... That is overpaying a little, but it's for a young guy that would fit well.

  2. There is no way Schaub is worthy of a #1 pick, and the Falcons are crazy to ask. If the Vikings love Sims, I'd rather see them burn a 2 or 3 to trade up and get him. That said, plenty of LB's will be available at 17. Intriguing thought: If Winston Justice is around do they take a chance?

  3. I'm not sure the Vikings need more lineman at this point... the left side is set, and Marcus Johnson looks to be solid in time at RT. If not, they have about 6 guys fighting for 2 spots.

    I'd rather see them use the #17 on someone like Chad Greenway or Tye Hill if they go defense, or DeAngelo Williams if they go offense. Justice is a nice prospect, but when there's other needs, there's no need to take Justice.