The Vikings hit a home run with the 32nd pick in the 2014 draft. Teddy is an enigma that defies description where on each progressive step he learns something new. Teddy's learned NO QUARTER ... as he drags forward the foot that's slow. He is truly a marvel however it will all be for naught if this franchise does not invest in PROTECTION.
Under Peterson, the franchise progressed toward the run game as that was the easy thing to do under maybe the greatest runners of all time. For example, Felton hammered people in the run game blowing holes open for Adrian Peterson. The continuing philosophy was a remnant of the Brad Childress era where he imparted the run-down-your-throat CHESS STRATEGY of attrition rather than the eastern "GO" strategy. Although quarterback protection was important ... it wasn't the VITAL HEART of this organization. To put this into perspective, the blocking scheme for Tom Brady is to protect the quarterback at all times which was quite different from the Minnesota Vikings offensive run-game scheme. How many times in the past was Peterson taken off the field when we fell behind and needed the pass game to re-establish the lead? Was that a function of his blocking skills or was that designed to take protection hits off his body? What did that signal to the defense? Now here's a vital question, if Adrian Peterson found himself as part of the Patriots, would Belichick have forced Adrian to change his overall approach to the blocking scheme to protect Tom Brady? In other words, would Belichick have forced Adrian to a different level of play, where regardless of blocking scheme, Adrian would almost never come off that field on 3rd down. Now here's the rub ... is there any question in your mind that Belichick would have broken Adrian to that new level of play where you would see a much more polished Peterson on his way to a championship? In my opinion, under Belichick, a bad habit, established by others, would have been broken ... and you'd almost never see him come off the field on the money down (3rd down) as under Belichick there would be no reason to remove him. This criticism isn't a reflection of Adrian Peterson but rather a reflection on how he's been coached. Here's the question, if and when Adrian Peterson returns will the combination of Norv Turner and Mike Zimmer be collectively strong enough to allow Peterson to exhibit his pass blocking skills on 3rd down as he's a threat on 3rd and long, not just on 1st and 2nd down. After a year in oblivion AP has to know that a great deal of change has occurred where his championship comes upon the strings of a partnership, rather than upon his incredible individual achievements. If he wants to win that championship, he will once again have to adjust the tone of his string until it is all tuned to perfection. This has become an issue of maturity (not Adrian's maturity) as even a child could would clearly state that Adrian Peterson is not known for his stellar blocking skills. How did we allow this to happen as Adrian has got to know that the true mark in the NFL became Sweetness and his indelible blocks that brought the 85 Bears it's first Super Bowl championship? How is it that we've robbed Adrian from being that 3rd down threat? It's as if the Vikings mentality was frozen under Jim Brown of the 1960's where all he was made to do was tote the rock. Believe me when these words are stated ... Adrian Peterson is capable of being much more than that.
What was fairly apparent was that the right side of the Viking's offensive line has evolved for run blocking whereas the left side, with frequent failures, was established for pass blocking. In having 3 starters yanked off that offensive line, due to injury, it is clear that Sullivan was this teams MVP as somehow he held it all together. We had some good depth, no doubt, but to be direct the results just might have been more a function of the Vikings beating the teams that they were supposed to beat rather than beating the teams that we needed to down the stretch. To take it (the game, victory) ... if you will ... you're going to need to protect Bridgewater.
As Sid Harman just recently reminded us, when we traded Fran Tarkenton to the New York Giants for two #1's and two #2 draft picks which became Clint Jones, Bob Grim, Ron Yary and Ed White, which became Viking stalwarts? Ron Yary is in the hall of fame and to be direct, when the NFL's strongest man Ed White was allowed to leave, we were never the same team.
Now begins the mock drafts. What I see early on is the Louisville wide receivers being taken off the board at number 11 ... the 3rd wide receiver selected. That may be so however it may not be Minnesota that makes that selection. Once again I see Cleveland with two fist round picks at #12 & #19 ... all of which will be too little, too late. This is where Cleveland's Josh Cooper rears his ugly head once again as the Browns are desperate to put this knucklehead in their review mirrors and as you know desperation leads to opportunity. Between Kevin White, Amari Cooper and Davante Parker it is quite possible that two of these receivers will be off the board when the Viking clock begins ticking. This is the perfect opportunity to trade down in the draft. Both the Saints at #13 & Dolphins #14 know that by the 12th pick that 3rd wide receiver will be off the board where both would be willing to swap at #1 for additional picks. Both teams have recently paid dearly for very expensive receivers and both are desperate to rebuild finding inexpensive replacements through the draft. We all know that Cleveland will not make the same mistake that it did selecting Trent Richardson which opens the door for the potential swap. Between the Saints and Dolphins, under an aging Drew Brees the Saints are much more desperate. It all begins with, "We think that Cleveland is planning to do this. How do you see it?"
The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: March 2, 2015