Well, we're another 4 weeks in and that means another quarterly review from yours truly. I was actually going to write this right after the game last night, but I was legitimately angry and the entire post would have just been a long string of profanities, typing they suck in all caps and a few isolated sobs so it wouldn't have been very objective. I've had to a chance to calm down now, so i'm going to take my best shot at being honest and objective about this.
I'm going to do some things differently this time, namely instead of just lumping all of the players at a position in a big paragraph, i'm just going to speak on each of the players that have been on the field individually so it doesn't look like just a huge wall of text in certain situations.
The breakdown after the jump
Just like before, i'm going to start with the coaches.
Leslie Frazier: I want to like Leslie, I really do. He's a good guy. Whether or not he's actually a good coach remains to be seen but he's a good guy. I know he can't just go out publicly and bash his players or even say "Oh yea, he sucks, we're going to bench him in favor him" but he's the head coach. Anything that happens is on him and if he wants to not be a one year wonder like Les Steckel he has to assert his authority in the coming weeks and make some tough changes.
Fred Pagac: The Tampa 2 has to go. Our deep middle is always soft and our flat coverage is always soft. I'm not a defensive formation guru or anything, but we have to develop something else. Bring some pressure from the corners again, do something different than just sitting back in Cover 2.
Bill Musgrave: Hey Bill, remember when you said that you were going to build around our strengths, which would AP, Harvin and our TEs? Yea, what happened to that? Harvin's still on the field only about 50-60% of the time, ADs getting carries inconsistently, especially in the 2nd halves. In his defense, I liked the way he called the KC game yesterday. A lot of passes to Shank and Rudolph over the middle, on the post, giving it to AD on 3rd and 1, the end arounds to Harvin. Do more of that in the coming weeks, please.
Donovan McNabb: Remember (or look back and read) when I said in my first post after pre-season that I was satisfied were weren't getting the Redskin McNabb? Yea...I was high, or drunk, or in a mind-altered stupor from listening to too much Katy Perry. It could be all 3, really. I woke up this morning after blacking out for several weeks covered in sweat, vomit and a sense of shame and regret that I can't shake so anything is a possibility. Point is, I was wrong about McNabb. He's terrible, absolutely terrible. I doubt he could hit the broad side of the Empire State Building, let alone a barn. If, and that's a big if, there was any sense of "Oh man, they have Donovan McNabb. Better roll our safeties deep just in case" left after his stint in Washington, it's was completely dissolved after week 1. Teams can freely stack the box against us and there aint shit we can do about it as long as McNabb is our QB. You know what though, I don't blame the coaches or even McNabb for this. No, you know I am blame? Ted Glover. He had the chance to spare us this nightmare when he covered training camp and nearly hit McNabb with his truck. If he had, we'd probably be 4-0 right now. Sure, he would've been sued and maybe face some jail time, but you have to take one for the team, right? (I kid Ted, I kid)
Adrian Peterson: Have both positive and negative about All Day. The positive: He's still an absolute beast, as long as he can build momentum, he can plow through anyone and still a very real threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. The negative: I remember before he left to go to the University of Colorado, former RB coach Eric Bieniemy was trying to coach Peterson up to be more patient instead of just lowered your head and making contact as soon as you touch the ball. I know he isn't doing that on every play, but there are a few i've seen where I couldn't help but feel that he would have gotten more done if he would have waited for things to develop instead of just hammering it in to a non-existant hole. The poor play of the offensive line factors in to that as well so it's not all on him. At the end of the day though, he's still the best RB in the league and the heart of our offense.
Toby Gerhart: Don't have a whole lot to say about Toby except that i'm pleased with his progress. Last year, he seemed to hesitate a bit before hitting the hole but this year he explodes through it. Also been impressed with his hands in the flat, gotten several nice gains on screens and flat passes.
Lorenzo Booker: I really wish they would make up their minds about who they want to do kickoff returns. Frankly, I think Booker is more suited to it. Not that I necessarily mean he's better at than Harvin, but Harvin's a big part of our offense, no sense risking him getting hurt on the kickoff when Booker is similarly explosive and make people miss. If they don't use him on kickoff returns, i'd like them to use him more on the offense. On 3rd downs, or in a 5 wide set, or in the flat. Something. Not going to put him in the same physical category as Joe Webb but he's in the same "We saw in pre-season he can move the ball, get him out there somehow" category.
Percy Harvin: Harvin is Harvin. Not much else to say save to keep him out on the field as much as possible.
Micheal Jenkins: I know people weren't happy with Jenkins signing in the off-season but he's our number 1 receiver state wise right now, so I think he's paid off. Won't burn you deep but he's big and has sure hands.
Devin Aromashodu: Get him out there more. He caught almost every pass that was thrown in his direction in pre-season. He has good hands and if we can't have a deep burner, get the possession guys out there to make some plays in the medium game.
Bernard Berrian: Why is he still a Viking? Bench him, activate Camarillo. Like I said, if we can't have a deep burner, get our possession guys out there. A catch that doesn't go the distance is still a catch and moves the ball. Or hell, bring up Arcenaeux up from the practice squad, he had a pretty decent 40 time and really only screwed up once in pre-season, granted it was a pretty big mistake. Anything other than having "I'm tryin, why won't anyone believe me?" Berrian out there.
Offensive Line: Going to do a special mention here before the individual player evalutions that our Oline is in terrible shape. There's so much work to be done that it'll probably take 2 or 3 years before it's up to par with the quality of the defensive line our division rivals have. They need to spend every first and second round pick they have on getting some young guys in here for the next couple years to completely turn this mess over.
Charlie Johnson: Remember what i said about Johnson in my first post? About how I though he was an able bodied replacement for McKinnie? Yea...I refer back to McNabb. He's terrible. If he doesn't get beat around the end, he gets beat on the inside and is in terrible position most of the time. If it wasn't for Peyton Mannings lightning-fast release, I doubt he'd even be playing in the NFL right now.
Steve Hutchinson: The only player on our o line above the "average" category. Not much else to say. If there's one guy the Vikes need to keep around for another year or 2 to help stabilize what should be a rebuilt line next year, it's Hutch.
Anthony Herrera: I'm midly surprised with Herrera. Coming off the ACL tear from last year, he's actually been able to hold his own for the most part. When it comes down to it though, he's just average and old. I don't think he'll be here much longer.
Phil Loadholt: Loadholt has always been an underachiever, but I think this expanded off season hurt him a lot. He wen't from not living up to expectations but still barely passable to being out right terrible. He gets beat constantly, he caught called for holding twice in the KC game alone and its not a Vikings if they dont call false start on number 71 at least once. I'm done waiting for him to achieve what he was projected to achieve. Activate Love, put him at LT and move Johnson over here. How sad is it that i'm picking to be the lesser of two evils here?
Jared Allen: He is Jared Allen. He is awesome. That is all.
Kevin Williams: It's great to have Kwill back. Guion and Evans did a decent job of holding the line during his absence (despite being oblivious to the ball before it's snapped. Seriously guys, 3 encroachment calls?) but you know he's back and it's good that his foot isn't bothering him at all.
Brian Robison: In my first post, I hinted that i'd still rather have Ray Edwards opposite Allen. I admit my mistake. Robison has made already made an impact and made it known they can't just ignore him or he'll make them pay.
Erin Henderson: I'm pretty pleased with Erin so far in his first season as a starter. He isn't a weak link at least. His pass coverage abilities could use work but thats a blanket statement that could be applied to all of our linebackers.
E.J. Henderson: E.J. is still E.J. Which is great cause we needed him in top form this year and we got it. He's starting to slowly show his age but I don't think he'll be a liability for several years yet, gives us plenty of time to groom his replacement.
Chad Greenway: Chad Greenway is still a tackling machine and cornerstone of our defense. Like Erin he could use some work on his pass coverage skills but overall he's performing at a high level.
Secondary: Another special note here since I know this was another area people were concerned about but overall, i'm pretty pleased with the way our secondary is performing. Only thing I can really gripe about is not follow through on turnovers. We've had lots of tipped passes but no picks. Need to come up with those, guys!
Antoine Winfield: Still pound for pound one of the best defensive players in the league. When everyone else on the field misses the tackle, you know Winfield is going to make it and he hasn't been burned in coverage so far this year.
Cedric Griffen: I'm kind of sad that nobody in the NFL proper made mention of his achievement, at least none that I saw. No mention of him being the only player in history to come back from consecutive ACL tears in both legs and play at any level resembling starting caliber. Overall, i'm pretty happy with his performance. He tripped and ended up giving up the game winning touchdown for KC yesterday but that could've happened to anyone. He's made several good defensive plays and doesn't really get burned. He stabalized a position that had a lot of question marks.
Chris Cook: If you asked me last year or at the end of pre-season even what I thought of Cook, i'd say he was terrible but he's really impressed me in the regular season. They had him lined up against Vincent Jackson in weed 1 and Calvin Johnson in week 3 and he, mostly, shut them down. Johnson still got the jump ball over his head but yesterday he did the same with *3* Cowboys covering him, so i'm holding that against Cook. If he takes some pointers from Winfield on tackling, we just might (and I do mean might) have Winfield's successor.
Marcus Sherels: I really like this guy. He's an explosive punt returner, which is something we haven't had for a couple years and he's pretty decent in coverage. He's got a pretty bright future ahead of him.
Asher Allen: Havent seen him on the field much this year, which is good cause he's bad.
Husain Abdullah: Pretty solid player at a position thats been a question mark for at least 2 years. Think he has the sole interception we have this year. If he keeps playing at his current level and improving on it, it'll go a long way to stabilizing our secondary
Jamarca Sanford: Another solid player at the shaky Safety position. Like Abdullah, If he keeps improving, it'll go a long way towards stabilizing our secondary.
Eric Frampton: Solid special teams player and 2nd string safety. Not much else to say.
Tyrell Johnson: Why is he still a Viking? Activate Raymond and let him take Johnson's spot.
Ryan Longwell: Mr. Automatic. Nuff said
Chris Kluwe: He's still one of the best punters, still a fan favorite, and still awesome.
Cullen Loeffler: Hasn't botched a snap. All you can really ask of a long snapper.
There you have it. Stay tuned after week 8 for another quarterly review.