Life had been sucked out of them at that point. The Vikings looked much like they'd made opponents look through a 5-0 start. It looked, again, like San Francisco last year. However, the problems on offense are much more worrisome this time around.
On first look, since I haven't watched the game again, it appeared the Vikings had issues handling the Bears' stretch runs and Jordan Howard found cutback lanes. The Vikings defensive scheme limits any kind of freelancing and we've seen before, when the run defense breaks down, it's often a linebacker or defensive lineman overrunning his lane. Sometimes, like the 69-yard run, it's missed tackles.
10-6. The defense can be great. They should be great. And it looks like they need to be great.
Ah. Well, Bradford doesn't call personnel formations so that got me confused. In re: Bradford and two-TE sets, I do wonder if it's an adjustment that's necessary moving forward just to keep him healthy.
I wouldn't be worried, though the Vikings do press him to be consistently aggressive. I think he's still toeing that line between penalty and physical, which you've seen Rhodes go through those ups and downs. He's shown some bright spots and I wouldn't use that b word.
They need to find ways to get the ball out quicker. It wasn't happening in Chicago and Sam Bradford said he saw more 2-high safety coverage, which took away some of the vertical quick strikes. I'd agree in that you want to see more creative quick passes, whether it be screens, slants or the TE curls. The Vikings were still taking deep shots into the second half last night even with that line.
If the Vikings had to "go back to the drawing board" last week, as Mike Zimmer said, then I'd blow the drawing board up after this one. I was surprised to see Jeremiah Sirles get benched, only because of how shoddy Jake Long's debut was and because Clemmings, to Zimmer's admission, played worse on the right side in Philadelphia. Then they started him at right tackle. But, it'd be unfair not to mention Jeremiah Sirles had the worst game of everybody in Philly. He was blocking on six of the 18 hits on Bradford.
And I'm starting to get the sense that backup OL in Minnesota, much like backup QBs in the past, are becoming fan favorites. I'll give you that Sirles had an admirable stretch filling in before the Eagles loss and should definitely be in the mix after Monday's putrid night.
Just get the ball out quickly without a play-action, 10-yard out. They've still got weapons on offense and, surprisingly, we're talking about Cordarrelle being one of the top ones at this point. His talent is undeniable and, hey, I haven't seen a jet sweep in a while.
You're right here. One criticism of Clemmings is that he plays too upright and defenders have been able to get underneath him easily. He's not lunging as much as he did when he was a rookie, but he's still a mess at times. Only reason I can think of is they view Clemmings' ceiling as higher down the road and value Sirles as a backup for four spots. And again, Sirles was awful in Philly.
Stubbornness, I would imagine. I do wonder if Bradford's mobility, or lack thereof, does limit what the coaching staff wants to do in terms of bootlegs. They've sneaked the Zach Line or Rhett Ellison bootleg pass at the goal line before.
But then what happens when Bradford is hit by immediate pressure from his right? (Where the issues mostly came from) .. so, I can see the sure-handed Asiata as being the best option just to get 2 yards.
Ellison and Morgan say they're healthy now. Ellison did tweak his patellar injury in Week 4 and has only played sparingly since the bye week. Morgan has barely seen any playing time.
It's been more on the offensive shift with Bradford to shotgun, three receivers. And the emphasis to get Rudolph involved down the field takes another option away. A theme of this chat is that could be one way to help, but you bite the bullet of one less downfield option for your QB and for the defense.
The Vikings' best offensive linemen are Joe Berger and Alex Boone and many of their runs have come behind them. They've also been banged up at TE, so the edge runs, which best fit McKinnon or Hillman, weren't well blocked when run.
Matt Kalil isn't under contract next season, so that automatically frees up $11 million. If he is brought back, it realistically won't be at that price. And Adrian Peterson's number spikes to an $18 million cap hit, though it's a team option that will likely be addressed this offseason.
Either way, they'll have a delicate balancing act with a young, talented defense and now a veteran quarterback on the books for $17 million next season.
And the next Vikings defender up for an extension is cornerback Xavier Rhodes.