OK. Getting this thing started. Gonna do my best to get to as much as possible between now and 1. New system we're using for this one. So hopefully I'll adjust quickly. Let's do this ...
At present? None. As I've said before, Christian Ponder is 100 percent the opening day starter. And barring injury, he'll be the starter through London and the bye. At that point, he'll remain the starter unless there's a monumental failure for four straight weeks. But keep an eye on his production in preseason games 2 and 3 for progress checks. And watch Cassel closely as well.
Trolling. Early in the chat. I love it. Think I've made my thoughts on Jennings pretty clear. This week's "controversy" was 100 percent ridiculous. And most ironic, I thought, was Packers fans telling Jennings to get over it and move on yet still totally obsessed with every little jab or perceived shot he takes at his former team.
I have been on record as saying the criticism of Rodgers was both petty but honest. Very forthright and candid. Jennings isn't perfect. He's a team-first guy with plenty of self awareness and a desire to prove to people that he's elite. Sometimes those things cause him to be a little bitter, a little fragile, a little goofy with what he says. But I'll take a guy who answers direct questions directly any day. Let's hope the games start soo.
Good question. And oh yeah, that will definitely be in the plans. With Adrian in the backfield, there's no question the Vikings will try to unlock the code to the deep ball riddle better than they did in 2012. And part of that is sending CP deep. His rawness comes from his understanding of route running and defense recognition. So in the immediate future, they have to work around that.
In my opinion, I have to believe Sharrif Floyd will be the guy whose impact will show up most right away. But this isn't like last year where Matt Kalil and Harrison Smith had no one blocking their path to the starting lineup. Floyd has Kevin Williams in front of him. Xavier Rhodes still hasn't overtaken Josh Robinson as the second CB starter. And Patterson will be mixed in w Jennings, Wright, Simpson.
Overall, I think Floyd is ready physically and mentally to get in and make the most of his time early.
Let's put it this way: The first wave of cuts will come Aug. 27. Roster goes from 90 to 75. Four days after that, from 75 to 53. Demarcus best be searching for an exit strategy.
This is an absolutely fantastic question. The best-case scenario is that it's Bishop. But there's reason to be awfully worried about that right now. The guy missed all of 2012 w a hamstring issue and is now sidelined early in camp with the groin problem. If you miss too much time in camp, especially as a brand new arrival learning the system and your teammates, it's hard to catch back up in a timely manner. See: Carlson, John. Bishop needs to be back on the field by the second preseason game to have any chance of starting right way, in my opinion. So after all that long-winded goodness, your answer is ... Marvin Mitchell.
It's not the secondary, so much as it's CB. At safety, there's really, really good depth there. Though if the injury hit Harrison Smith, it'd be far worse for the Vikings than if Jamarca Sanford went down. At CB, this week we had Xavier Rhodes and A.J. Jefferson missing time with injuries which at times left Brandon Burton as one of the three CBs on the field with the first-unit nickel. That is not a great look. And Jacob Lacey is now dealing with an injury issue as well after missing chunks of the OTAs and mini-camp w a hand problem. It could get dicey. Quick.
The plan is to train Webb as a WR from here on out. No delusions of putting him back into a QB role. So, no, you wouldn't mess with your roster in a way where you'd only keep two QBs. You need three for practice reps and scout team. And say, in Week 1, Ponder were to blow out his ACL. Suddenly, you've got Cassel starting and a back-up who hasn't taken a QB snap since January.
Fantastic question. Bottom half of the roster question. I'm going with Adam Thielen, WR. Will come in the fourth quarter. The guy has nice hands and good athleticism. If I were assembling my roster, I'd have him on the practice squad plan. Get a good look at him this evening.
I personally believe they're looking for every reason to keep Webb around as opposed to searching for reasons to cut him. I think they see so much raw athleticism and his exuberance and work ethic are infectious. But eventually, he's going to have to show he can be a difference maker in game action. These preseason games are vital to his future.
These are sharp questions on the day of the preseason opener. We've hit on a few of them ...
#5 WR: Webb vs. Burton with Chris Summers and Adam Thielen in the mix
#2MLB: Audie Cole vs. Michael Mauti
#3 Safety: Mistral Raymond vs. Andrew Sendejo vs. Robert Blanton
PR: Marcus Sherels vs. Stephen Burton vs. Bobby Felder vs. Jarious Wright
#1-2 WLB: Mitchell vs. Bishop
I know there are some in the media that are trigger shy to take shots at other media outlets and other coverage. I understand that. But I feel an obligation to be fair to the people we cover and won't stand by idly when guys are ripped from afar without full justification. Learned this during my time covering college basketball and Coach K. Also, remember the Chad Greenway "super-duper drunk" silliness from last December. Spoke up then too.
Really, really, really strong division. You could put all four teams in a hat, pick them out in any combination possible and that could be the final standings. Go ahead and do that today. Let me know what you come up with. Especially now with the injury bug in Green Bay. The Vikings had A LOT go right last year. The best player in football had the best season of his career. A sixth-round kicker made 10 FGs without a miss from 50+. They pulled out a handful of either-way wins last season. They have an unproven stable of CBs and will dearly miss Winfield. They're the one team in the division with plenty of questions about their starting QB. So yeah, 6-10 is certainly possible without the right breaks.
Griffen has had a fantastic camp. Poor Phil Loadholt has had his hand full at times. All that freakish athleticism and hunger that Griffen showed last year seems to be elevating. I wouldn't see an extension necessarily coming in-season. Mostly because there are a lot of moving parts at DE with Jared, Robison and Lawrence Jackson all entering contract years as well. But at season's end, some BIG BIG decisions will be needed on that d-line. So long as Griffen doesn't get into off-field trouble or take an unexpected step back, he should be part of the long-term plans.
Serviceable as a two-down guy. Stepped in last year while Henderson was out for a couple games and played very well. He's not a star by any means. But again, to play 45% of the snaps as a WLB in base? Doable.
Yes. They trust him again. He turned a corner late last season and realizes that his grip on his starting job isn't that tight. That's motivation for him to continue growing. Vikings don't want to be in a RG platoon again. That's not good for anybody.
Good question. But one I'd rather revisit after the third preseason game when we get a look at a few of these other guys under the lights.