Thursday, February 22, 2007

2007 Vikings (Offense)...

Anybody remember the 1998 Viking offense? I was starting to forget then the 2006 Viking offense reminded me of it. Not because they were so good but because they were SO BAD. Brad the Red Hot Chidress Pepper (BRHCP)* has refered to his offensive system as a "Kick Ass Offense." (KAO) The caviat of course is that you need the right personnel to run this KAO. This is an easy excuse but time will tell if the breakdown is in the coaching/play calling or if the problem rests with the personnel.

Here is a preview of the 2007 Viking Offense...

Starter - Tarvaris Jackson
Reserves - Brooks Bollinger, Brad Johnson (for the moment)
Analysis - well, BRHCP is going to give the reins of the KAO to essentially a rookie QB. BRHCP will have the opportunity to groom TJax into the next Donovan McNabb but I'm not going out on a limb here expecting growing pains. But I'll take a rookie with promise over the oldest and boringest QB in the League. Everyone expects Brad to be cut and I'm sure we'll sign a nobody as another backup (maybe Spurgeon Wynn is available). Other possibilities are rumors of trading for David Carr or drafting Brad Quinn. Both would be agreeable to the PKA, but who knows if they are capable of running BRHCP's KAO?

Running Back
Starter - Chester Taylor
Reserves - Mewelde Moore, Ciatrik Fason
Analysis - Chester was what we (and Denny Green) thought he was going to be and maybe a little more. 1200 yards and 6 TDs isn't lighting the world on fire but it is solid and respectable coming from the worst offense in Viking's history (urgh, KAO). Good free agent signing and improved O-Line play with improved play calling (crossing my fingers on that one) should make for a better year for Chester in 2007.

Wide Receiver
Starters - um anyone who can catch please raise your hand. I guess it'll be Troy Williamson and yet to be deteremined
Reserves - again, anyone?
Analysis - This was brutal in 2006 and it is probably the biggest question mark of 2007. Williamson has to get another chance and after that it is anybody's guess. Travis Taylor and Bethel Johnson are free agents who have a shot at coming back. I'd be comfortable with Bethel coming back. But likely this will be addressed in the draft and/or free agency.

Tight Ends
Starter - Jermaine Wiggins
Reserves - unknown
Analysis - reports tell me that Jimmy "Sioux Suck" Kleinsasser is going to be cut. What? Our "franchise player"? I know, hard to believe but Jimmy is probably gone. Expect him to be signed by Jacksonville. Wiggins is adequate but this position should be upgraded to official KAO status as well.

Starters - Bryant McKinnie and Ryan Cook/Marcus Johnson
Reserves - Ryan Cook/Marcus Johnson
Analysis - Left side is probably the most overrated OT in the game and the other side is full of more ineptitude and blown assignments. Mike Rosenthal is going to be cut as well but that is just fine with the rest of us. McKinnie is OK 8 out of 10 plays he does just fine but it seems that he gets beat on crucial plays more than anybody else. The right side could use some help but I don't see this as a very high priority and will likely be addressed with a 2nd day draft pick or a 2nd tier free agent. Either way it is an opportunity position, both young guys and maybe a cheap free agent will be given the opportunity to win the starting job.

Starters - Steve Hutchinson and Artis Hicks
Reserves - Anthony Herrera and who knows
Analysis - Hutch was solid but not the greatness everyone expected. I think he'll be fine and better in 2007 than 2006. The other side is probably the 2nd highest priority on this side of the ball. I would expect a draft pick in the first 3 rounds to fill this spot next season.

Starter - Matt Birk
Reserves - ?
Analysis - Birk didn't seem to dominate as he used to but he did still make the ProBowl. I'm not sure how much of that was reputation vs. actual assesment by his peers on his 2006 performance. Birk is still one of the best, making this position one we don't need to worry about.

My biggest concern for 2007 is the BRHCP calling plays again. I expect that he will continue with those duties but I sincerely wish that he'd focus on overall game plan, execution, motivation and game management rather than thinking about the specific play to call. If you don't trust current OCoord (quick what's his name) then hire someone with experience who you trust to do it. I got the feeling as the season wore on the team's overall prep and readiness suffered because BRHCP spent too much of his time during the week scripting plays. Tim Brewster has this figured out and he's never been a head coach before.

Unfortunately this offense CAN be worse than it was in 2006, but hopefully it won't be. My name for this offense has always been the Midwest Coast Offense (MWCO) and it lived up to it's humble and boring origin. It was a very polite and non-invasive offense that was concerned about pushing the opposition too much for fear they'd be offended. Well I'd love to see the KAO not the MWCO in 2007!

* - BRHCP is credited to Swan, very funny and is the official PKA nickname of Brad Childress.

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