Welcome to today's Live Chat with Andrew Krammer. He'll be here at 12:15 to answer questions and respond to comments about the Vikings' 3-0 start and what could be ahead. You can start leaving them. (The chat is starting a bit later than normal because the Vikings have tweaked their practice schedule this week.)
Welcome all. Let's start this chat.
Maybe somewhere in the middle. Definitely nowhere near Russo's Wild chats.
It is pretty difficult on the television broadcast to judge O-line play, especially when the Vikings change things up in protections as often as they've done. Regarding T.J. Clemmings, he looked much improved from last year in pass protection in his first-ever *meaningful* start at left tackle. He played all at right tackle in college and keep in mind, he's only in his fourth season playing offensive line.
Overall, a good start for T.J. at left tackle. They need more from him and everybody in run blocking.
They just promoted Willie Beavers, the fourth-round pick who didn't make the initial roster, and that's all the help I'd expect. They're going to press forward with who they have on the roster -- for now.
I would keep a stable of tryout guys on call, as they've done in the past. But Blair Walsh is their kicker now even though he's been frustratingly inconsistent to start this season. Mike Zimmer showed his lapse of confidence in Walsh by going for the 2-point conversion in Carolina after he missed an extra point. I would assume the ice is getting thinner.
Run blocking. Sam Bradford has been solid in executing the game plan, which called for longer throws vs. Green Bay and quicker stuff vs. Carolina. Now just get a run game going and the Vikings won't be so one-sided as they were vs. Panthers.
To illustrate: 11 of 13 first downs were gained by Bradford. They were 3 of 12 overall on third down. Not good enough moving forward.
A body. He's solid depth at the position, but doesn't provide much in terms of special teams, pass pro or receiving. Asiata and McKinnon are better all-around backs at this point of their careers and should continue leading the way.
That's a good question.
My take: Stefon Diggs has transitioned into more of a slot receiver when the Vikings go three wide, and Adam Thielen is a more versatile player to line up outside of the slot -- and he's bigger, which helps. Give credit to Thielen, he's played his way onto the field and isn't letting go of that role.
It's interesting the Vikings went with a cornerback-by-committee with Rhodes returning in Carolina. Xavier still led all corners in snaps, but they swapped him with Trae or Trae with Newman throughout the game. Some of that might be the humidity and heat in Carolina, which they were wary of heading into the game, and some might be *easing* Rhodes into his first game back.
That's one I'm watching moving forward -- who's the odd man out?
While defensive TDs and special teams TDs can't be counted on every week, and the +8 turnover differential is certainly very high, I think any regression to the mean can also be expected from the offense. This running game needs to improve and I think it will vs. lesser defenses (Hello, Giants).
So, while the 3-0 start is called 'fluky' by some, they can get more from other areas to balance out any expected regression.
It's a concern as long as Charles Johnson still isn't producing. That's been disappointing for the Vikings that Sam Bradford has connected well with almost everyone but him. If Treadwell can't surpass Johnson and his lack of production soon, then he's off to a slower start than anticipated.
That's a real tough one. Too many guys to pick from. But I'd start with Linval Joseph and Everson Griffen and work my way back to Harrison Smith.
John Sullivan was excellent at diagnosing the defense before the snap and was instrumental in helping Teddy Bridgewater improve that area of his game. Though Joe Berger is now going on ~20 straight starts at center and he's not the reason for the failures in the run game. Their poor tackle play vs. the run has been the biggest lapse -- that and Brandon Fusco has not returned to form at RG. Essentially, Berger is the only consistent run blocker up front and pre-snap calls aren't to be blamed.
I believe the Vikings would like to keep Patterson, but it all comes down to how other teams view him. Does he want to leave for potentially more money? Can a WR-needy team use him on offense more? It's been clear that all the talk of his improvement hasn't turned into much for the Vikings offense. But he's a key player on special teams.
Yeah, one of those European-spellings-with-American-pronunciation deals. I've been told my many an employer (not this one) to drop the extra M. At this point, it's just about principle.
The Vikings' recent history suggests they'll work with Peterson to try and get a deal done that keeps him in Minnesota. The question becomes Peterson's mindset and other offers (should he hit the market).
College tackle moved to guard in NFL.
It's certainly possible, though Captain is certainly confident in what he can do and might get the money of a full-time starting cornerback elsewhere. I think drafting Alexander in the 2nd kind of put the writing on the wall for him.
Just high school. I was an undersized center for my senior team that went 0-8. Memories.
I'll go Treadwell, only because of the lack of production at split end. Though it's likely neither.
It was pretty vertical against Green Bay as he averaged nine yards per throw with two 40-plus yard strikes to Stefon Diggs.
Time, I don't believe, is a factor in a vertical attack. It's just the pass protection and whether you're going up against an opponent that can pass rush. Carolina can. Hence the 6-yard average. Credit to Norv Turner, because that was a smart approach starting a new left tackle.
Mike Harris has still chosen to keep his illness quiet, and those close to him have respected that decision. He certainly could've been helpful and potentially beaten out Brandon Fusco at right guard as he's struggled mightily through three weeks.
I remember him telling me before training camp that it was a "head injury," then after visiting trainers for the pre-camp physical he was placed on the non-football illness list. It's a strange situation, but hopefully Mike can play again.