Welcome to another 1500ESPN Live Vikings chat w/ Derek Wetmore and me. What would you like to know?
I figure we'll just open this up to questions on Vikings training camp or looking forward.
As of right now, I have Jabari Price as the only one in. However, I could see Antone Exum and Shamar Stephen making the cut with time. There's potential for Brandon Watts to leap over Larry Dean or Michael Mauti as well. These preseason games will go a long way in deciding that.
Nothing is guaranteed in this league, not even 'guaranteed' money in contracts anymore. I think both Josh Robinson and Robert Blanton eventually make the cut, but they have to get healthy and make an impression quick. Robinson has been ruled out of Saturday's game already, which is a blow for a young guy that has a lot to prove.
Zimmer repeated the old line this morning that 'you can't make the club in the tub' in reference to Robinson. He said the hamstring is tight and suggested that after Rhodes and Munnerlyn, there are more questions than answers in the defensive secondary.
It's not health with Mauti. He finally had a healthy offseason free of rehab and looks to be in decent shape. Right now, it's about finding a fit for him in this defense. The Vikings have liked Brandon Watts over him in certain packages, however Mauti is on all the special teams units -- which is key to make the 53. That's why in my latest roster projections, I have Mauti in over Watts. However, that could change.
It's hard to say exactly without guessing, because the Vikings (Zimmer, Norv and Scott Turner) are intentionally not saying anything that would give away much. If I had to guess, I'd say the Vikings would like Bridgewater to sit the full season for the good of his development, but that might not be realistic if the Vikings get off to a shaky start in the first 8 weeks or so with Matt Cassel at QB.
The Vikings would have to eat his base salary to cut him since it's guaranteed. It's all about whether or not GM Rick Spielman is actually ready to move on, and if Zimmer and the coaching staff can justify needing that extra roster spot. At its core, there's nothing wrong with having a serviceable third-string QB on the roster for one season and let him walk. A trade has to be the Vikings' top priority before ever cutting him.
Best 3rd QB in the league, probably.
Cox is Andrew's pick to be the outside corner in nickel packages (when Captain Munnerlyn slides into the slot). From my perspective, he's got to be one of the guys the Vikings want to see more action in the next 2 preseason games. Health is currently playing a huge role in what the Vikings can do at corner/safety.
I'm not sure I can put a number on it but better than 50, in my opinion
I really liked Derek Cox heading into training camp, and he's made a few plays so far. I just don't see Marcus Sherels or Josh Robinson holding that spot down. Cox is a press corner that should see significant improvement now that he's out of the zone scheme in San Diego. I want to see more of him, but like Derek said, he's my pick for that 3rd spot eventually.
Yep. I've thought that since the Vikings traded the 8th pick and didn't get a guy like Justin Gilbert in the draft. Then they waited until the late rounds to address the position. I think Jabari Price makes the team but is he a difference maker? Looks to me like the defensive rebuilding could be a multi-year process.
(With that being said, I think that's a fair approach to take for Minnesota. Barr looks like he could be a difference maker if he reaches his potential. And linebacker was a huge need as well.)
Can't fix all problems at once.
The Vikings have 19 defensive backs on the 90-man roster. That's the most in the NFC North and probably ranks atop the NFL. They've got bodies to sort through and I don't think they need a 'big' corner in this system. Zimmer didn't have over-sized CBs in Cincinnati, he just needs cover guys that know how to tackle. Size/arm length all help in a press-style scheme, but it's not necessary to be good in it.
I'm certainly having fun.
Patterson has looked improved on the route-running aspect of his game. He's still such a freak athlete that even if he does take one or two steps off a route, he can grab the catch one-handed (as we saw Friday vs. OAK) and make guys miss. Right now, his role has been mainly as a yards-after-catch receiver, as it should be. Short crossing routes, WR screens, etc. to get the ball in his hands and watch him work.
He spoke repeatedly this offseason and during camps that route running was one of his primary focuses. I'm skeptical whether or not he'll be "good" in that regard or merely improved. Still, as Andrew suggested, a lot of people see star potential and it's not hard to see why. Stands out in practice.
Re: OL. The most looming question mark for me on the OL is the left side. Can Matt Kalil bounce back from a knee injury/sophomore slump and protect the QB's blind side? Can Charlie Johnson be serviceable enough to keep the line out of trouble? I see a lot more pulling in terms of the run game, which I think plays to Johnson/Fusco's strengths at the guard position. Less zone blocking. But pass protection is the biggest concern and it starts with that left side.
I talked with Fred Evans this morning and he said that Everson is primed to "blow up" this year. The one thing I've been most interested in about Griffen is where the Vikings will use him. When he signed for big money this offseason, the Vikings obviously gambled on what they feel he can accomplish. Some people saw Griffen as the Jared Allen replacement but that's not really the case. Griffen will not be asked to do the things Allen brought to the Vikings, although he will line up at defensive end. He's been rotating in at DT as well, which I wouldn't be surprised to see in the regular season.
On that note, where does Anthony Barr line up most often? If he's ready, the Vikings could do a lot of interesting things with him, including on the line of scrimmage.
I've never been much of a lemon shandy guy, but it's getting close to that time of year to retire the summer shandy. Shock Top easily makes the grade, then I'd have to say lemon gets left off by a nose.
Almost time for fall beers....
and regular season football
To close out the chat, I'll leave this note: Keep a close eye on Anthony Barr on Saturday. Vikings will be moving him around quite a bit. What he can accomplish in these preseason games will go a long way in how versatile he'll be out of the gate for Mike Zimmer. He should see some snaps at DE as the Vikings shift Everson Griffen inside at times.
Hey thanks for chatting everyone, we plan to do these more regularly during the regular season
I'll get to two quick ones and then close it out.
Quiet camp? Injuries to just about anyone who had a shot for a starting job at safety and third corner, signed a guy off the street who might start week one (Crocker), new head coach, new coordinators, oh and a new nose tackle who was shot in the calf. Eventful, in my opinion.
I'll take the cop out answer on this one, because although I feel he's the weakest link on the offensive line, I don't think he's as bad as fans seems to think he is. So, I'll say 50.0000000 percent. (Two choices: either he will be or he won't be.)
Maybe 50.0000001, just for fun
Thanks again everyone. About to go record another episode of the Purple Podcast. Later!