The best thing that came out of Saturday nights pre-season game against the Seahawks is that it's over, no one got hurt, and that means the pre-season is now 75% OVAH. Yes, the VIkings won. Big deal, although it feels better to write about this game than the San Francisco Crapapalooza.
With the first round of cuts coming this week, some guys made a statement for making the roster, some didn't, and the first team offense and defense had their dress rehearsal. Since there will be five guys not on the roster by the time I do the next stock market report, my video selection for the week is 'Don't Stop Believing', by Journey. I thought about 'Don't Fear the Reaper', by Blue Oyster Cult, but I figured I'd go the Duckies and Bunnies Route this week. No reason to rub more salt in the wound. Hat tip to those that are no longer a Viking; we thank you for your effort, and may you find an NFL home somewhere.
The Stock Market Report After the jump. In the meantime, enjoy some classic rock by one of the better bands of my generation.
Blue Chip Stocks:
Brett Favre, QB: Yes, he had two picks, and yes, the Vikings went on 16 and 14 play drives that yielded zero points. If this was the regular season, it would be unacceptable. But again, the pre-season is about timing and working on fundamentals. I liked what I saw from Favre, picks aside. The first one was a catchable ball that Bernard Berrian couldn't handle, and the second was a bad pick, but I think it was more to see how accurate he could be on a deep ball in game conditions. Kind of a 'Hey, Sidney could go get this, let's see if Camarillo can' moment. Camarillo didn't, and that's something that will be filed away. This offense is elevated to another level with Favre, and I saw elements of that against Seattle.
Percy Harvin, WR: What a relief to see Harvin a) on the field, b) make a big play early in the game, and c) take a hit and get up. When you add all of that to the news that doctors might have finally pinpointed what might trigger Harvins' migraines, I have a sense of optimism with Harvin where there was uncertainty. If he is healthy, I have no worries about the WR corps. I'd still like to have Rice, but I am satisfied with what I saw tonight from Harvin, Berrian, and Camarillo.
Greg Camarillo, WR: If what we saw from Camarillo on Saturday is a preview of things to come, this might turn out to be one of the better trades in recent VIkings memory. Camarillo showed acute situational awareness, sure hands, and a guy that can be Favre's security blanket. I don't see him being a big play guy like Sidney Rice was last year, but he doesn't need to be. The addition of Camarillo will be a good thing for the Vikings.
Darius Reynaud, RB/KR: A lot of people thought I was nuts when I said Reynaud could make this team. Truth be told, I thought he was a long shot, but I don't think that anymore. Reynaud has been the most consistent running back this pre-season, and had a great kick return to help swing the momentum after the Seattle pick 6.
Chris Cook, CB: Cook made some very good plays in run support, and improbably secured a starting job tonight. He has looked impressive in every game, and has also improved every game. The CB opposite Winfield was a big question entering training camp, and it looks like that question has been answered. Once Cedric Griffin comes back, what once was considered a position of weakness could be one of the best defensive backfields in the NFL.
The Vikings need to cut five guys to get to 75, and the Junk Bonds section is my predictions on who will be asked to turn in the playbook.
Jon Cooper, C: Okay, when the starting guard gets the nod as the starting center over you, a natural center and the suposed #2 center on the roster, you really need to worry about your job security. I don't like the fact that Herrera is the backup center at all, and hope Sullivan gets healthy soon.
Tremaine Johnson, DT: I don't see the Vikings carrying more than 4 DT's, and they will be Messrs. WIlliams, Fred Evans (or Letroy Guion), and Jimmy Kennedy. So it comes down to Johnson or Mike Montgomery, who has played better than Johnson. Johnson goes.
Bill Noethlich, T: I don't write this to be mean or insulting, but I haven't heard Noethlich's name called at all during the pre-season. Has he even played?
Two Wide Receivers, let's go with Marquis Hamilton and Freddie Brown: Ray Small got the boot earlier this week, and Jaymar Johnson got put on IR. If you assume that Sidney Rice will be put on the PUP list to begin the season, the Vikes can still keep five WR's, because guys on the PUP aren't counted as a roster spot. Let's assume that Harvin, Berrian, Lewis, Camarillo, and probably Javon Walker are the five guys on the roster to begin the season. The Vikes still have approximately 82 WR's left on the roster, and I think that's where most of the roster trimming comes from.
Buy: Ryan D'imperio's Effort: It was late in the fourth quarter, and D'imperio went the extra effort to get in the end zone, and then showed some serious effort on the kickoff. I don't think he'll make the roster, but an effort like that gets a guy a spot on the practice squad.
Buy: Toby Gerhart's Night: Gerhart had a decent night, and looks to be getting more and more comfortable in the offense.
Buy: Javon Walker's TD: That was an experienced veteran going up and getting the ball and making a play. And I think at the end of the day, that's why he'll make the final roster over one of the younger guys.
Buy: The Entire Defense: This unit will be fun to watch. They pressure the quarterback, pursue to the ball well, and hit hard. I can't wait for them to lay the wood to New Orleans.
Sell: Turnovers: Can't have it, and although it was pre-season, it was mildly disconcerting.
Sell: Tyrell Johnson: Wow, has Johnson fallen off the face of the earth. He was playing late in the fourth quarter, with the fringe roster guys.
Sell: Rhys Lloyd, K. You were signed to kick the ball off into the end zone, and two of your three games have been in a dome. You have yet to do what you were hired to do, and you kick...in...a...dome. You have zero excuses, and if you can't do it, I pray that a roster spot isn't wasted on you. I have a lot of love for you as an ex-Gopher, especially the winning kick over Wisconsin to win the Axe, but get it together dude.
So, that's your stock market report for the week. Only one more pre-season game to go, and then it's the real thing. Overall, I'm feeling much better about the line this week than I have since training camp began, and like I said earlier, once C John Sullivan comes back, I think the line will be no longer be a position of weakness. Favre is Favre, Camarillo looks to be the Camareal deal, and the defense is going to be really good.