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Additional Minnesota Viking Commentary

I'll Advised Luxuries  
When is comes to evaluating a roster, the prime question becomes, what might be a luxury that we cannot afford.  To answer that question you need to look at our roster, not based upon the past but in what the future might bring.  To put this into perspective, Hall of Fame John Randal in his first year might have been apart of a defensive line that included Henry Thomas, Cris Dolman, & Keith Millard however for whatever reason John Randal wasn't ready to play.  To be successful at an elite level, we need to see that future and apply it to maximum effect.  In other words, no one can truly improve ... realize your potential ... watching from the bench.  Said another way, Teddy Bridgewater was & will always be ... a winner, where the thought of having him learn from the bench in his first year now seems rediculous.  There's nothing like the learning experience of being immediately thrown into the cauldron of ... sink or swim.  

For example, it was a real eye opener to hear our ex Head Coach Mike Tice state before the draft that our franchise didn't have a Left Tackle.  Of course he was referring to Riley Reiff who was signed before Kalil Mack was traded to the Chicago Bears.  Since that trade ... Mack's Chicago team has owned us where in 2019 we lost both divisional games to the Packers & Bears.  To be direct, Mike Zimmer has made it clear that he loves Reiff's nastiness & fight but is that enough.  Keep in mind that before us, he was moved from Left to Right Tackle by Detroit, in favor of a new draft pick, before bouncing to Minnesota.  What this most likely means is that there will be three new offensive line starters in 2020 where the only two nailed down positions are RG-O'Neil & C-Bradbury.  Which brings on the question ... It's time to envision ... to now see ... our future Left Tackle & to answer that question you'll need to envision your five best linemen ... regardless of experience ... and allow them to reach their potential as after all ... both time & resources are an investment toward your future.

So you might be thinking ... no problem, we'll swap O'Niel from right to left tackle, then insert Ezra Cleveland at Right Tackle ... then let the guards fall where they may.  Of course, only a complete idiot would think this as this teams most effective threat ... play action passing ... running Cook/Mattison right requires O'Niel to lead that play from Right Tackle.  So, of course it begs the question, what does the future tell us about this franchises five best offensive linemen & how do they need to be aligned ... regardless of their history.  From that the reserves such as C/G- Elflein & OL-Dozier emerge.  In other words, developed raw talent must eventually be allowed to emerge where it is long past time that we chuck the journeyman offensive linemen concept to ultimately fill this franchises needs.  Now I ask you ... Do you think it's a coincidence that Udoh & Samia have been attached to each other hip on the left side of that line ever since they've first walked into that Viking facility?.  Now ask yourself another question ... was Udoh a rough piece of clay that had an upside that just might be off the charts if he only had or possessed that signature Zimmer nasty offensive lineman growl, snarl & testiness?  I ask you this because only the hands of God could build or spec an offensive lineman ... and when it happens just so ... what you see ... just jumps off the page.  So we can all then ask the question ... are our five best offensive linemen ... LT-Udoh, LG-Samia, C-Bradbury, RG-Cleveland, RT-O'Neil ... and if it were true, might we see & then realize our future.              

I know, I know ... you wanted Cleveland at Left Tackle however by doing so, would we then have our five best offensive lineman walking the beat?  The answer comes from realizing a run at a Super Bowl Championship.  Now before you get all excited keep in mind that college Tackles are moved to guard all the time but that's not why it might happen that way.  Then why?  Well it might happen that way due to both Dalvin Cook & Alexander Mattison running Gary Kubiak's "Zone-Play Action" run scheme where they nabbed Cleveland for his zone running athletic prowess.  Now keep in mind the words that our coaches have been using, the guard positions are wide open, which means our Tackles have been nailed down.  So if Riley Reiff is a luxury that we can ill afford then their is something in the wind that we just haven't anticipated.  Come June when decisions have to be made, that luxury expense might be better slated on Griffen or Cook ... it's just the nature of the beast.     

Now, onto that next luxury.  How many times have we been told that our back-up quarterback is there to perform a service that we mere mortals can just simply not understand.  In that quarterback room, that backup has a special set of eyes that can pinpoint things that neither the coaches, nor the starting quarterback could see making that individual invaluable to our organization.  Or, during the game, at some particular moment, that back-up holding his clip board can sense a pivotal moment in the game, where his inspiration toward a particular play could change the momentum of the game ... and for that, he's paid millions of dollars each year & secures his position on this squad.  Well, all of it ... and I mean all of that hog wash is exactly that ... hog wash.  The only thing that matters in regard to a back up quarterback is ... can he win any game, in any situation that we put him into.  Based upon that assessment alone we again must ask the question, who will be this franchises future back up quarterback.  To be direct, the answer lies between a head to head evaluation between Browning & Stanley, where Mannion is an unfounded luxury.  Exactly what in Mannion's history warrants his service with this franchise.   Now ask yourself a question ... is Stanley a winner ... and if the answer is yes ... can we see his future?

The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: May 23, 2020