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Feb 7, 2006

One Road. Two Friends. One Ass.

Overall I'm pretty happy with the Vikings this season. After Peterson hosed off this year was about how Bridgewater and Zimmer would do, and I'm excited for next season because of what they showed.

Teddy improved throughout the season, and his overthrows especially became less of a problem as it progressed. Zimmer's credited Norv and the weight trainers for that. What Teddy does well he does consistently, reading the field, and moving in the pocket. What I really love though, especially after this week of Brown's hits, are quotes like this about him.

“The thing the veterans really respect and appreciate about Teddy is the way he prepares, the way he studies, the way he cares about his job, and I think the way he loves playing this game,’’ Zimmer said. “I know you guys don’t see him in practice … he missed maybe two throws in practice (earlier this week.) He practices to be perfect in the games as well.’’

That's another thing I've loved about Zimmer. For years the excuse given for why he wasn't getting a head coaching job was he's a bad interview. Combined with how he had a reputation for being hard on players I didn't know what to expect there. But consistently he's dealt with the media well, articulated his points, and has maintained the attention of the entire team. Patterson has had a terrible sophomore season, but a few weeks ago they both publicly talked about them sitting down and discussing what was going on, and both left that conversation supportive of each other. I don't think he's going to be a guy who's better off as a coordinator.

Speaking of that, after years of Bevels and Musgraves, Turner has been a boon. By all accounts he and Zimmer have a great relationship, and Turner doesn't sound interested in trying the head coaching thing again anytime soon. I'm relived we got a qb like Bridgewater the same time we got a coach who could actually help him develop.

Zimmer's impact on the defense and especially the young guys was evident. Barr was a badass before he got hurt, and he was considered a project when he was drafted. Griffen was surprisingly worth the contract, Smith and Rhodes look like an exciting half of a secondary, and just in general play improved because they weren't using an outdated Cover 2 system.

The WR group is a weird mix of potential and careful expectation. Jennings is a nice guy to have if overpaid, Wright and Johnson both showed flashes, and then there's Patterson who flopped this year. All the coaches seem to think he just needs to be more consistent, and I'm hoping he gets it together because he has a lot of potential. I'll be worried if Johnson continues into next season as the number 1, but for a guy who came in during the season off the Brown's practice squad he was fun to root for.

Negatives are the o-line is just a mess and I don't know what to do with Matt Kalil. He's getting worse every year, and it's so frustrating because having a young stud LT to go with the new QB would have been perfect. Charlie Johnson won't go away, and Loadholt just is what he is at this point and I guess the Vikings are okay with that. Obviously with the injuries this year it's clear that depth is an issue as well.

The Vikings also need something else in the running game. McKinnon had some good games, and Asiata has a specific but useful skillset, but I don't think either are a lead back. McKinnon's young though, and if he's the number one week one it'd be a great surprise. I'm still expecting a 3-4 round pick at HB though.

I'm optimistic for the direction of this Vikings team.


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