Welcome, please submit any Vikings questions you have. There's plenty to talk about
That's not a question, but we're off to a rip-roaring start!
I'm not sure if we'll see Banyard get mixed in too much, but I spoke with Jerick McKinnon this morning and he's hoping he gets more chances. The Vikings have leaned on Matt Asiata to do the heavy lifting, but I think it's time to see what some of their other weapons can do. Cordarrelle Patterson says he's not lobbying for more carries, but he should be after just one in the last two games.
No, McKinnon is healthy. He just hasn't been used all that much so far, which has surprised me based on the amount of times they want to target Asiata in the passing game. I wouldn't be surprised to see McKinnon get a few more of those receptions.
I'm not sure Chase Ford will be used much this week, since he's got a screw in his foot he's still learning to run with and is still just two months removed from a broken foot. He's come along nicely so far, but getting in game shape is a different animal. I expect a heavy dosage of Rhett Ellison and MarQueis Gray on Sunday.
I'd say Barr has been better than expected. I questioned how much he could contribute when being spread so thin -- He is a DE on most third downs, a nickel linebacker outside of base and the strong side in base. He's embraced all of those head on and has been able to use his physical ability to cover up for any technique lapses. Just watch the guy, he's a men among boys when he gets the right matchup. The biggest liability in his game is in coverage, where a scatback like Pierre Thomas can get the best of him.
Of all the issues on this team, safety is not one of them. Blanton got bested a few times vs. Graham and the Saints, but really they could use an upgrade at middle linebacker and continued development of their outside corners.
For a guy that missed all of August to a bullet wound, Linval Joseph has been great so far. He took on double teams all day on Sunday and still managed four tackles. His pass rush was lacking a bit at times, but here we find out he was playing through a shoulder injury. If Sharrif can get healthy, that would take a load off a guy like Linval, who has played 70-80% of snaps every game so far.
A surprise: Tom Johnson. The 30-year-old has been rejuvenated by a different defensive scheme that allows him to play mainly at 3-tech, which is his pass-rushing dream.
I'd say any panic about Kalil and the OL is much deserved so far. The panic meter should only rise now that you have a rookie/future franchise QB to protect. And now that Fusco's out...it's not just the left side you need to worry about.
Quarterbacks definitely play a part in pass protection, a major part. But those quick pressures affect your QB's internal clock just as much as a quick trigger from a QB can affect the pass rush. We'll see just how poise Teddy can remain if the OL doesn't improve.
We talked about Bridgewater and the lengthy injury report first. So you can either fast forward through that stuff or stay for the whole thing.
Receivers aren't your issue on offense -- it's the offensive line, no running game and now the top tight end is out. You should worry if Vlad Ducasse can emerge as a decent guard or if Matt Asiata can break a run longer than 7 yards once they get to the red zone. The passing game gets bottled up in those situations and that's when a great running game can help.
I was told by a few players that it definitely was different -- not in a great way -- without Priefer. It's tough to ask a guy in Joe Marciano, who did his own thing for a decade in Houston, to come run someone else's system. The players love Priefer and they feel mistakes were corrected when he returned last week.
Now, that doesn't mean kickers will start letting Patterson field any. He had a few last week, but his chances have been slim so far.
All right, Andrew has to run out to practice. I'll take over the chat from here. What other questions do you have?
Personally, I'm not quite as bothered by some of his defensive penalties because most of them have been a result of being too physical. If you're Mike Zimmer, that's probably what you want because it means at least XR is in position to get his hands on a receiver. Now if he can just shore up some of the unnecessary contact down the field I think he'll be in a good spot.
Seems like the coaching staff is counting on big things out of him and they're going to have to use him, of course. Will be curious to see if Josh Robinson (hamstring) plays this week, because otherwise they're probably counting on Jabari Price in nickel.
I don't know how much they'll want to have moving pieces. Right now it's Vladimir Ducasse taking over for Fusco at RG. Vikings like his size and that he's hard to move, but he needs to improve in pass protection probably. I could see Yankey getting in later in the year, but it seems he's not ready from a development standpoint. Don't know yet if it will be him or Austin Wentworth activated as a backup guard this week.
Too early for me. Ask me again in the bye week. (I don't think it will be a RB or a QB.)
If you would have asked me two months ago I might have speculated CB.
I'll need to spend some time looking at the available free agents, which honestly I haven't even begun to do.
They weren't activating Ponder for the games anyway so I don't know that they'll feel the need to have 3 qbs on the 53. In talking to players, it sounds like Wright, MarQueis Gray, Cordarrelle Patterson. McKinnon ran triple-option at Georgia Southern but I'm not sure he'd be considered in that conversation, even though he was my first thought originally.
That'll wrap up this chat, thanks for joining us this week and I appreciate the questions. Join our gameday hangout Sunday!