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State of the Team - Q1
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Team Grade through Q1
A
22%
 22%  [ 11 ]
B
73%
 73%  [ 36 ]
C
2%
 2%  [ 1 ]
D
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
F
2%
 2%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 49

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[UMN]


Joined: 13 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:54 pm    Post subject: State of the Team - Q1 Reply with quote

The 1st quarter of the season is in the books, and at 3-1 with tough wins over the 49ers and on the road against Detroit, the Vikings look pretty good. The schedule definitely toughens up later in the season, but so far the Vikings have been playing like one of the better teams in the league. With that said, let's break down each aspect of the team through 4 weeks.


OFFENSE: B-

It all starts with the QB, and Christian Ponder has looked very good. He has not thrown an interception, and has looked very accurate. He still makes a questionable decision from time to time, but overall looks light years ahead of last year. It would be nice to see more plays down field, but that is not his fault, and Musgrave has confirmed that the receivers just aren't getting open. As long as Ponder keeps being smart with the ball, working the play-action, and works through his progressions the yardage will come.B

Everyone knows the offense goes through RB Adrian Peterson, and it is good to see that he appears to be back to full strength. He started a little slow, but with a 100 yard game in week 4 there is no reason to think he won't be the same workhorse he has been in the past. Toby Gerhart had a case of fumbilitis in the last minutes of week 3, but outside of that he has been a very capable back in his own right. The 3rd piece of the RB puzzle is Jerome Felton, who has been a very pleasant surprise at FB. He doesn't touch the ball, but has been a dominant lead-blocker for AP and Gerhart. B+

The offense may be built around AP, but Percy Harvin is arguably the MVP of the league so far this year. He has been unstoppable, and this team would fall apart without him. He is Ponder's go-to guy, and makes plays no matter how he gets the ball. Outside of Harvin, there really isn't much to talk about. Aromashodu and Jenkins have had some catches but nothing consistent. Hopefully Jerome Simpson and Jarius Wright can add a deep thread, but that remains to be seen. C

It is good the Vikings have talent at TE, because the WR's need all the help they can get. Rudolph has made a bunch of key catches on 3rd down and in the end zone, but it would be nice to see even more of him. He is a mis-match nightmare with his size and athleticism. John Carlson also needs to get more involved and has been a disappointing FA signing so far, although he has blocked well. B

Carlson isn't the only one who has been blocking well this year though; the OL has made huge steps since last year. Matt Kalil looks like the real deal and should be manning that LT spot for the next 15 years. The other new face on the line is Brandon Fusco who has shown flashes, even if his technique and consistently are still a work in progress. John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt both return and have been solid this year, and Charlie Johnson looks much better inside at LG. Overall the line seems to be playing well together, and both Ponder and the RB's have been taking advantage of it. B+



DEFENSE: A-

It is no secret that the life-blood of the defense is the DL. Jared Allen leads a unit that lead the league in sacks last year, and although he has had a slow start to the season, he has shown up more in weeks 3 and 4. Brian Robison has played well early in the season by getting many QB pressures, even if they don't turn into sacks. Letroy Guion has been solid in the middle as the NT with 2 sacks, and although Kevin Williams has been relatively quite, his presence is felt by opposing OL's. Everson Griffen is the wild card, playing both DE and DT, and racking up 3 sacks through 4 games. A-

Speaking of sacks, the LB'ers have done a good job getting to the QB with 4 sacks. Chad Greenway is the leader of the 'backers, and has been in on 44 tackles so far, as well as 2 sacks. Erin Henderson also has 2 sacks and has looked great on the weak side, but has missed two games now with a concussion. Jasper Brinkley has shown great improvements over last year, and has been effective in the middle. Overall the linebackers have done a good job and have made improvements in pass coverage. A-

Unquestionably the most improved unit from last year is the DB's. Harrison Smith has emerged as an enforcer at SS, and it looks like Spielman did the right thing in moving back into the first round for him. Mistral Raymond looked solid before getting injured, and even Jamarca Sanford had a good game against the Lions. Chris Cook and Josh Robinson have emerged as the two starting corners and have been very effective through 4 weeks. Antoine Winfield is not the same player any more, and may quickly be phased out for new acquisition AJ Jefferson, but he still offers a savvy veteran presence as the nickel back. B+


SPECIAL TEAMS: A

The obvious story here is rookie Blair Walsh, who has made a number of clutch kicks, starting off 9/10 so far, as well as booming kickoffs for touchbacks. It appears the Vikings have found a kid who should be around for a long time. Veteran punter Chris Kluwe has not had a great start, but hasn't been terrible either. A bit more consistency would be nice to see. The coverage units have been superb, Percy Harvin on kickoffs and Marcus Sherels on punt returns have both found the end zone. You really can't ask for more from the special teams units this year. A


COACHING: B

I am personally a fan of the way Bill Musgrave has called the offense this year. He has gotten Harvin the ball early and often, and knows where the roster limitations are. On the defensive side, Alan Williams has really made the defense more physical up front, and seems to be putting everyone in the right positions to succeed. It has been nice to see Frazier come out of his shell a couple of times, and the gameplan/leadership against the 49ers was some of the best I have seen from a Vikings staff. Overall there has been obvious growth from the staff as a whole, and the team has established a strong identity, but I want to see more consistency and more aggression. B


OVERALL: B+
PROJECTED RECORD: 9-7

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SteelKing728


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I said A

Offense:

QB- Christian Ponder has played far better than most expected. He's game managed games, but has also stepped up his game when asked to. He's had clutch moments in each of these 4 games, and was the reason we were able to beat the 49ers/tie Jacksonville. Grade: B

RB- Adrian Peterson might honestly be a top 5 RB all time when you watch him. Percy Harvin is a nice piece to the running game. Toby Gerhart isn't very good, but helps alleviate pressure from Adrian. Jerome Felton has been dominant this year. Grade: A+

WR/TE- Outside of the explosive Percy Harvin, this has been our weak link this season. Kyle Rudolph doesn't see enough passes his way and hasn't been involved in anything beyond 15 yards. Jerome Simpson is the deep threat but has only played in 1 game. Everyone else is meh. Devin Aromashadu adds some life to it, but inconsistantly. Grade: C

OLine- Up and down. We only have 1 false start penalty this year, but othertimes, this Oline looks lost. Against Detroit we gave Ponder no time to settle down and throw. Sometimes we just miss assignments. Matt Kalil has been money so far, and I'm pleasantly surprised from Brandon Fusco, but otherwise its been okay.

Grade: C+

Defense:

DL: Don't look at the numbers, but every single week we are getting into the QBs face, getting sacks, but pressuring him, and stopping the big plays for the most part. We aren't letting anyone get comfortable. Jared Allen and Everson Griffen look like guys on a mission this season. Letroy Guion has stepped up these past 2 weeks. Kevin Williams has been average. Robison gets all the pressure, but hasn't had a sack yet.

Grade: A

LBer: Chad Greenway looks like a completely different guy out there. He's everywhere, and even though he's not that good in coverage, he'll make plays for the team. Very solid. Jasper Brinkley has recently stepped up, and Erin Henderson should have a huge season as long as he stays healthy.

Grade: B

CB/S- Wow, what was once the worst group in NFL history has really come alive. Chris Cook can shut down a WR. Josh Robinson has stepped up huge, made a critical INT, and probably could have had another today. Winfield is the best tackling CB in the league, and doesn't give up big plays. Harrison Smith is a boss, and Raymond looked fine before the injury. Sanford still can't cover, but can sure tackle/Force Fumbles

Grade: A

Special Teams/Coaching

P- Chris Kluwe rocks. Whether its Guitar Hero, Twitter, or that thing he does with the Vikings, he's really good at it. Laughing a few great punts this year so far

Grade: A

K- Blair Walsh has been 9/10. Holds a few records for us. Has been money for us all year so far. Booming kickoff specialist

Grade: A

KR/PR- Percy Harvin and Marcus Sherels both scored so far. Help put our offense into great position

Grade: A

Coaching- So 2 games badly coached, 2 games greatly coached. I guess thats average. Far better than last year!

Grade: C
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Robb_K


Joined: 30 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:45 pm    Post subject: Re: State of the Team - Q1 Reply with quote

[UMN] wrote:

OFFENSE: B-

Everyone knows the offense goes through [b]RB Adrian Peterson, and it is good to see that he appears to be back to full strength.[/b] He started a little slow, but with a 100 yard game in week 4 there is no reason to think he won't be the same workhorse he has been in the past.


Last week Adrian was running on one leg. He was clearly dragging his bad leg around, not putting full weight on it on push offs from the ground. I'd say he was about 85%. That shows you what a great runner he is. His tough running helped allow the passing game to work against the 49ers' tough defence.

This week, Adrian clearly had a little more confidence on his cuts. But, when watching closely, one could see that he's still favouring his bad leg, and only treading lightly on it, especially avoiding full pressure and not initiating cuts off it. He still gained 102 yards and averaged 4.9 yards a carry, running at only 90%!!! What a runner!

The proof that he's still not at 100% is the fact that he hasn't really broken away from the pack. He's being caught, because he can't use his normal great acceleration, because evry other step is on his bad leg. Had he been 100%, he'd have broken out for 25+ yard gains (and some touchdowns) on at least half of his 8 yards+ runs, so far.

I've been watching The NFL since 1951, and I've never seen a better runner (not Jim Brown, nor Gayle Sayers, nor anyone else). He's right up there at the top (tied with 4 others).

It will be great to see him reach 100% , and rip through the front line defences for huge gains and TDs once again, after a few more weeks (we hope),

Ponder has done a good job of playing within his comfort zone, and has looked A LOT more poised than he did last season. The offensive line played only so-so in games 1 and 2, AND against Detroit. So, Ponder has done well, considering that. They played a super game vs, The 49ers. But, it's clear that Ponder will have time to operate this season, when he did not for most of last season. Khalil will get more comfortable playing with the others each game, and Johnson will get more used to his new position. They should improve as a unit almost every game.

I think that the receivers deserve a B- so far, based on Harvin's and Rudolph's good work. Once Simpson and Ponder get a rapport going, and Adrian is integrated better into the short passing game, the offence will get a lot more consistent, and be able to march down the field, and score on a much higher percentage of their drives. Simpson catching deep balls will open up the mid-level passing game, which will, in turn, open up more room for the running game. The Vikes' offence will be a thing of beauty if all goes well.

The defence has played well in the last 2 games. The young kids are tghtening up their games, and playing more consistently. Smith has looked great. Cook, and Robinson have looked good. Sanford has looked great in the running game. He needs to improve in pass coverage. Brinkley has looked very good in the last 2 games. Greenway looks very good once again. I hope Erin Henderson can come back strong, soon. Ihe defensive line has looked pretty good. Guion has improved quite a bit. Robison and Allen have been steady, if not stellar. Griffin has made some great, athletic plays.

Special teams have been good. Placekicking and punting are in good hands. Nice to see that Khalil can block kicks. I hope to see more of that. Harvin and Sherels have been very good. Coverage on kickoffs and punts could get more consistent.

The coaching in the first two games was fairly poor, I thought. But, Frazier and Musgrave and Williams have matched up the opponents' weaknesses to The Vikings' strengths, fairly well in the last 2 games. They really had good games plans on BOTH sides of the ball against The 49ers, and again vs. Detroit. Let's hope they get it right from now on.
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[UMN]


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ great post

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Robb_K


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

5 posters gave The Vikings an "A" overall for this season, so far. That would fit had they won Game 2. But they played TERRIBLY early in that game, came back to tie it up with only 31 seconds left. Then, they couldn't prevent The Colts from moving 2/3 of the way down the field in those few seconds. That was TERRIBLE execution on defence. They SHOULD have taken that game into overtime, and they'd have had ALL the momentum. They could easily be 4-0 now. And that poor effort loss could potentially keep them from sealing a wild-card playoff position (let's hope not).

But, that alone, knocks them down from "A-" to "B" for this season, so far.
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vike daddy


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robb_K wrote:
5 posters gave The Vikings an "A" overall for this season, so far. That would fit had they won Game 2. But they played TERRIBLY early in that game, came back to tie it up with only 31 seconds left. Then, they couldn't prevent The Colts from moving 2/3 of the way down the field in those few seconds. That was TERRIBLE execution on defence. They SHOULD have taken that game into overtime, and they'd have had ALL the momentum. They could easily be 4-0 now. And that poor effort loss could potentially keep them from sealing a wild-card playoff position (let's hope not).

But, that alone, knocks them down from "A-" to "B" for this season, so far.

that's why i voted B too.

good analysis earlier, Robb.
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The Gnat


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I voted B as I think they are better than who we thought they were going into the season, they have won some games thus far that we didn't think they would win, but have played very poorly at other times, the end of the Jacksonville game, giving up that last minute draft, the whole Colts game, making dumb penalties, but there has been reason to enjoy the season too, much more than for looking down on the season. Ponder has performed well and the last two weeks against the toughest competition he has limited the mistakes. Sure, he hasn't lit up the scoreboard and put put 40 yet, but that hasn't been needed, and let's not pretend that we have elite WR's for him to do that with. Rudolph and Harvin are good, Simpson is a wild card, and there is a whole lot of unproven or nothing after that, so what Ponder has done with a limited cast has been quite good. That said, he still has room to improve, but being that he hasn't imploded we can take that as a positive. The defense has had some great moments, Greenway who disappeared last year has been playing lights out for the most part doing well in coverage, coming up and stopping the run like a pro-bowler (if pro-bowl was decided by people in the know) and has shown good pass rush. The defensive line has done better than I thought they would against the run. Special teams of course has been the highlight, the low lights of the special teams have been the long return to SF on the kickoff, and Kluwe looked off in week 2, that has been about it, two returns for TD's this week, Harvin has been putting up great numbers on returns the whole year, Walsh hasn't missed yet (some luck involved) but has 19 touchbacks this year, through 4 games, that is 5 a game, last year I don't think the Vikings were kicking off five times in most games (might be exaggeration for the sake of the point, but let's gloss over that), so the special teams gets the high grade, offense and defense still have areas to improve upon, but there is hope on the young players, especially in the secondary, that the Vikings can put together a young core for the future and be back to competing for a playoff spot and run in the next couple of years.
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HighHopes


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I say A, because this has been a fun overachieving season so far lol.
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Lil Uno


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I went with B.

The offense has played much better than any of us expected. Ponder looks to be the QB of the future and we have several young playmakers in place. Hopefully they can continue to play well and jell together. If so, I believe we can be a Top 10 offense.

As for defense, I believe we are playing wolf in sheep's clothing. The run game is legit, players are doing a great job of flying around and wrapping up. In the passing game we've only played one high power passing team which were the Colts and we know how that ended. The Jags got lucky. The 9ers while a solid offense aren't built around big plays, more time consuming drives with ball control. Similar to ours, and the Lions have been out of whack all year. IMO, the Jags, 9ers, and Lions all missed a few "gimmies" that could have easily changed the outcome of the game. Next week will be a good test to see what the pass defense is really made of. The Titans have no choice but to get it done through the air and will likely be the best passing team we've faced yet.
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Captain Viking


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I said B.. its easy to think this team could be 4-0. But they could just as easily be 1-3.. if a rookie kicker doesn't save our butte in week 1 and Detroit learns how to catch .. I said B because good teams find ways to win and not lose
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I voted a B simply based on expectations prior to the season. Nothing has really stood out from this team but every unit seems to be playing above average to good. The passing game has been efficient but lacking big play ability. The running game has been effective, but havent really put together explosive runs.

The run defense has been reliable and strong but it seems teams go away from the run against MN. The pass rush and pass defense has also been good, but have lacked big play ability.

They are exceeding expectations at the end of the day but there is still a lot to work on.
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CriminalMind


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

B.
Team shows lots of progress, but there are areas we can certaintly improve on.
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vikingsrule


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I only see one true flaw with this team and that is the downfield passing attack.
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vike daddy


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adrian Peterson: "Maybe the world of spectators is surprised, but we're not. We knew that we could play some good football."

Kevin Williams: "We'll sneak up on everybody. Let's just keep playing well as a team and who cares if anybody sees us coming. We want people to have a blind eye."

John Sullivan: "This is a great spot to be in after four games, but we need to remember it's just the first quarter of the season. We just want to get on a roll and win more games. Put some in the bank."

Jared Allen: "To come on the road, division game -- we haven't won in the division for a while -- and to control the game, this was a huge team win."

http://www.startribune.com/sports/vikings/172027681.html?refer=y
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

B

The Good
-3-1
-Defense is overachieving
-Offensive line
-Making few mistakes, and being lucky when making them
-Niners game

The Bad
-3 games were against bad teams (Detroit isn't bad, but they're playing bad)
-Offense is still too conservative, even when it seems like we can make downfield plays
-Too much reliance on Percy Harvin. The screens are getting to predictable.
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