Not much to talk about, right? Let's start this.
For those out of the loop, Mike Zimmer underwent a minor medical procedure this morning and his 4 p.m. press conference was canceled. He's planning on his regularly scheduled 11 a.m. deal tomorrow morning, so it'd appear he'll be just fine.
Zimmer obviously wasn't pleased at the podium inside Soldier Field. But all indications were there was nothing wrong, health wise. I'm interested to see his message moving forward after last week.
It's not impossible. The Vikings could trade a player or two -- or restructure a contract before a trade. Doing the math, which is dangerous for me, it appears they'd only need to clear $4.5M, I know *only*, before adding a Joe Thomas, let's say, at his prorated salary for this season. That would take trading a contract like Jarius Wright's AND restructuring a deal that saved millions. It's a tall order.
It'll take a change in scheme, because this band of misfits isn't going to develop overnight. Jake Long isn't going to get younger. They've spread things out with Bradford and without Peterson and that has compromised some help in protection. Rhett Ellison and David Morgan have barely played as the Vikings have shelved their 2-TE looks .
It was not the secondary's best game, but I haven't re-watched the game yet to pinpoint the real issues. I know safety was a problem on Howard's 69-yard run. Not only did Jayron Kearse take a bad read and angle, but Harrison Smith missed the tackle. Jeffery's TD, the first of the season, came against Waynes on a quick slant near the goal line. Play action brought the backers up, creating the hole.
I think Mike Zimmer's comments on his players, particularly the 'soft' remark when asked about the O-line, resonate more and hit harder than anything he's said about coaching. Though under the radar, Zimmer has made remarks recently and not infrequently about the Vikings needing to do more to help their struggling offensive linemen. Yet we've only seen, from my estimation, limited help.
I'd just like to see him with a clean pocket. Same goes for Teddy Bridgewater, should he return down the line, as well. The Vikings' protection has been in shambles the past 1.5 seasons and it's difficult to get a read on the quarterback in those spots other than standing in the pocket and delivering downfield. Bradford has done that. See the Packers game in Week 2. But lately he looks rattled. Lately it looks like it's getting to him and he's missing throws.
158 rushing yards by the Bears -- sixth worst mark allowed by the Vikings since hiring Mike Zimmer. Ugly, ugly, ugly. Obviously, a big chunk came on the first drive on that 69-yd run. But they couldn't stop them at the end, either.
If Treadwell played offensive tackle, he'd be playing. Problem for him is, receiver isn't the problem. It's the last ditch for Cordarrelle Patterson to earn a long-term deal and he's earned a bigger role after his initial game-plan role against the Giants. Of course, it should be an indictment on Treadwell as well. He's embraced the special teams stuff, which, for instance, Patterson didn't as a younger player.
I'm not really into grading too much. I understand it's an easily digestible evaluation, but it just simplifies things that can be really complicated.
This, to me, isn't all that complicated. Spielman doubled down on Matt Kalil with the fifth year option and paid him $11 million. Once again, injuries undercut Kalil. He then brought in two tackles, bringing back Loadholt and signing Andre Smith, to make sure T.J. Clemmings could sit and develop. Only Clemmings of those four is playing in the NFL. And tackle is the biggest issue, even though Fusco has looked rough.
I don't believe last night had anything to do with figuring out scheme. They got worked on the ground by an offensive line starting two backup guards.
Again, not impossible. Though to add a big-time player, it'll take a corresponding move or two to clear cap space.
Mike Harris, but it's not happening. He's been on reserve/non-football injury since late July and is not expected to play this season. He could be starting at right tackle, or right guard.
At the time of the surgery, Peterson was targeting a December return date. Very late in the season is realistic, if he returns at all.
Without fact checking this, it sounds right. Spielman has shied away from taking O-linemen early since Matt Kalil. Coaches and Spielman have lamented college systems and their impact on linemen, though looking around the league there are clearly guys who get drafted and become studs. Vikings might be wise to change this philosophy.
Can't keep pulling that card, eventually the attention is directed upward. And Sparano has been dealt a pretty terrible hand and he didn't really inherit a great situation.
Brandon Fusco was this team's best guard in Peterson's 2012 MVP season and they've been hoping he'd return to that form. He just hasn't and really has been down ever since his pectoral tear in 2014. And Clemmings, I thought, showed improvement in his first start at left tackle in Carolina (think relative improvement), but he's been a mess ever since.
I don't believe so. The problem is both tackle spots.
However, Jake Long looked better (again, relative) than the 13 snaps he played against the Eagles.
Reporters do not travel with the team. Michael Griffin told me recently the Titans still do that with their writers, at least when he was there. It's pretty rare to see that in the 21st century.
Bradford, ... run? The double-repaired ACL aside, I don't believe he's ever been a runner.
The Vikings' inability to draft and develop offensive linemen is apparent.
But Spielman did not magically rely on five guys to get healthy. Signing Alex Boone, Andre Smith and re-signing Mike Harris brought one starter and two healthy competitors to the mix. Now two are on injured reserve and one, Boone, is in the concussion protocol and has dealt with hip, shoulder and knee injuries.
This is a solid point in the sense that they were relatively bargain moves. The Vikings' biggest investment, really, was picking up Matt Kalil's $11M option. And, of course, the issues continued with his health.