To get a better grip on
why this franchise has lost its way, you need to look no further than its hired
guns. Just think back to Brett Favre's revelation that all he would have
to do is hand the ball off to Adrian Peterson ... throw the defense off ... and
the rest would be gravy. It didn't happen and soon we saw Brett tossing a
miracle in the back of the end zone to secure a victory versus the 49ers back in
that 2009 season. Today's hired guns must have expected the same because
the cohesiveness, bonding & continuity is severely lacking where we are
inappropriately looking at the coaches & Rick Spielman, whereas we should be
looking at the hired guns.
In addition, we've lost some incredible contributors to that 2017 success that
represent the glue that held it all together. How much do we miss:
Teddy Bridgewater might have played no direct role upon the field but in regard
to this teams chemistry, he was a proven winner, and he was battling an
incredible fight every day that he took the field & it all still just might
be for absolutely nothing. Tell me, how much respect did you have for this
Flip just might be the
next NFL genius ... gun slinging us to defeat after defeat ... making for great
fantasy entertainment but Pat Shurmur found a way to bring the absolute most out
of just about everything he had at his fingertips. That was apparent the
moment that Norv Turner was replaced by Shurmur.
Jarius Wright was on the perimeter of everything but he was so much more than
that. In baseball, we'd call him a clutch player, because Keenum could
rely upon him to convert just about any 3rd down.
Jerrick McKinnon got his money & his chance at being a #1 running back in
this league but his impact to this team was immeasurable. Not only could
he run delayed action, he was also a vertical threat out of the backfield.
In total he could actually be measured by his impact on Murray who expected the
lead role to be handed to him when Cook went down. Today, who is pushing
Murray's performance on the field knowing that only 1/2 a Cook is in front of
him. 2 or more additional yards on each carry should have been achieved
but instead he just glides through the process and talks about what we could
have achieved. Talk doesn't beget anything but more talk. Boone or
Thomas just might have something to say about this.
Even though Marcus Sherels is on the roster, his impact not being on the field
due to injury is immeasurable. Now compound all of this with the loss of
Newman & you get a recipe for disaster. You see both of these
gentlemen rarely missed their assignment & were almost never out of position
even though neither one were considered world beating athletes in that 2017
season. It was their cerebral presences that confounded the offense where
today we are reliant upon players like Mike Hughes, Jayron
Kearse, Holton Hill & MacKensie Alexander, none of which has proven to be
cohesive within Zimmer's defense. Hughes has had his moments but he is a
rookie where he is prone to jumping the gun thereby immersing the defensive
system into chaos. Hughes doesn't yet understand that he is a pivotal cog
rather than having to achieve that Primetime status. When we see both
Kearse & Hill in simultaneous coverage ... we must accept the fact that we
are in desperate trouble. That lack of cohesiveness, on the back end, was
& still is ... incalculable.
Many believe that the impact of Everson Griffen was paramount to our defense but
in my opinion ... not so much. After his foot injury in 2017, his impact
was only a shadow of its former self where in our opening games of the 2018
season I found myself asking ... exactly what is he doing because he was off
script allowing the QB to attack his vacated zone.
The loss of Nick Easton in 2017 should go along way in explaining how much we
miss his presence in 2018. The problem compounds itself with the
retirement of that flexibility profile of represented by Berger.
Not having Elflein also proved to be quite problematic as your starting
center is like not having your right arm in a street fight.
In 2017, it was clear that Robison's skill set was waning however when we did
have the lead, the addition of a seasoned 3rd defensive end on that four man
front was formidable in that no opposing quarterback could trust that front
especially with a double "A" gap pressure.
Now in consideration of the newly acquired hired guns:
Due in part to his enormous numbers, some have compared Kirk Cousins with Daunte
Culpepper's production. Well that might be true if we're talking about his
small hands trying to handle an NFL ball on a wet feild. Probably a more
accurate comparison would be to compare Kirk Cousins with Jeff George. He
was both entertaining & a gun slinger but he was also prone to inconceivable
disasters. The nightmare of having to play the Rams when they were the
greatest show on turf immediately comes to mind where George had the unexplained
lapses and always during critical moments. It became so prevalent that for
Dennis Green ... he'd be through with Jeff George ... secretly pining for his
scout quarterback (Culpepper) the following year 2000 season.
For some unexplained reason there is this belief that Kirk Cousins will break
that mold by cleaning up his act. Of course that will only happen when he
takes responsibility by looking into the mirror and admits that he's has a
"major league" problem. If Dennis Green was at the helm, it
wouldn't surprise me that he'd have Kirk Cousins take the bench similar to how
he handled Robert Smiths fumbling issues. To be direct, you don't fumble
Denny's ball because someone that lays that ball on Denny's carpet is going to
learn humility & you're going to need a tweezer to pull splinters from your
ass .... cause your going to be there for a while. Will this happen ...
probably not, but somehow Kirk Cousins is going to have to simulate that
demotion in the hopes that he can get back into the game. For a loser can
be both stellar and wretchedly absurd simultaneously and if you look closely at
his overall record you could say that it was his prior organizations fault ...
or you could say it was all of his own doing. There is no question that he
has everything to be the elite of the elite in this league but there is also one
undeniable fact that your record says exactly what you are. Kirk ... it's
time to put the disaster of Cousin's NFL economics to bed in favor of the ebb
& flow of simplicity. There wasn't one thing that the LA Rams
possessed that you now also posses especially with the addition of Robinson
Aldrick. Were the Vikings exposed or were they given the blue print &
the ability to throw it right back into the LA Rams faces. It might not be
ready today, with Cook at limited capabilities, Do we wonder how Herb
Brooks would respond to the thought of taking that game & throwing it right
back into their face? Learn from it.
Richardson has proven to be quite effective as expected but the recent
breakdowns have obscured his eventual impact.
At some point, we would all expect Head Coach Mike Zimmer to come to the
conclusion that a three safeties combination just might be a future possibility
but at present Iloka just might be in the process of being broken down.
It's one thing to have elite players but it is an entirely different situation
to have an elite player sacrifice what he might know to what might work.
Allow me to explain. Well we all remember the days of Bo Jackson but we
forget that Marcus Allen was moved to full back where his role was to block for
Bo. This was a Hall of Fame running back taking a back seat ... because he
wanted to help his team of mates. Well Mr. Iloka you can't help your team
unless your on that field & that just aint going to happen unless you can
diversify your loads.
For some reason Coach Zimmer believes that you can not stop the run rushing five
(two defensive ends (Weatherly/Hunter), with Richardson & Joseph jamming up
the middle by run blitzing Anthony Barr, using three seasoned safeties (Smith,
Iloka & Sendejo) with one covering the tight end, thereby covering a three
receiver sets with Waynes, Rhodes & Hughes. In base defense, which is
designed to counter heavy run support, you have three line backers. In the
past Coach Zimmer has found success using two line backers but that has become
ineffective when the offense spreads the field. The counter just might be
a five man rush using Barr leaving zero backers in reserve covering the back end
with six (three corners & three safeties). The thought that you need a
linebacker to counter the run, or better said, to tackle the runner is a fallacy
and you need to look no further than the legacy of Winfield.
The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: October 3, 2018