Afternoon Norseman! While
most of us all of us, started this season with high hopes, only to see them crushed, I decided to do a little research of my own into finding out just HOW we ended up in this mess.
---Flashback to 2009
2009. The last time I can say the Vikings were truly dominant. We were on top of the NFC North, AD having an All-Pro season, and the
infamous #4 behind center. The Williams Wall held strong, Jared Allen with another 14+ sack season and everything seemed to click. If not for 100+ fumbles and the Saints' assassination bounties, the Norseman would have returned to the Superbowl.
Now, as we all painfully remember, that season ending in disappointment. Favre retired, then unretired, then retired once more (maybe? Rams?). Our defense aged, our QB position turned into a circus, and we began our slide into the NFC North's basement.
Or not. The 2012 Season was a breath of fresh air to Vikings fans. We were on the way back. On the back of Peterson's MVP season, we rolled into the playoffs. Yes, the playoff lost stung. But after a 3-13 season before, who wasn't thrilled with the direction the Vikings were moving? And with high hopes, we entered the 2013 season.
---2013: An excercise in futility
With the Vikings fighting hard for the 1st pick in the draft, lets take a quick look at our current roster. Lets compare to our 2009 roster, and see the changes
QB- Favre vs Ponder/Freeman/Cassel. No question here. 3 bad QB's does not equal 1 good one.
RB- Peterson 2009 vs Peterson 2012. I'll take new Peterson, less fumbles.
FB- Tahi vs Felton Moar fullback.
TE- Shiancoe/Kleinsauser vs Rudolph/Carlson Push. Rudolph is a Top-5 TE in my book, but K-sauce's blocking is missed.
WR- Harvin, Rice, Berrian vs Jennings, Simpson, Patterson. Not too much of a difference. Grade on Patterson is incomplete, just because he never seems to be in the game,
OL- Mckinnie/Hutch/Sully/Herrera/Loadholt vs Kalil/Johnson/Sully/Fusco/Loadholt. I'd give this one a push overall. Better tackle play, but our guards are significantly worse.
DL- Allen, P. Will, K. Will, Edwards vs Allen, K. Will, Guion, Robison. Our biggest falloff. Both Allen and K. Will are declining. No comparison at the nose tackle. I'd give Robison the slight edge over Edwards.
LB- Greenway, Henderson Sr, Leber vs Greenway, Henderson Jr, Mitchell?. Another steep falloff. Greenway is slightly improved, Erin nowhere close to EJ, and Mitchell continuing to look lost.
DB's- Winfield, Griffin, Sapp, Williams, Sanford vs Cook, Rhodes, Robinson, Sanford, Sendejo. With Harrison Smith in, our feeble secondary gets better, but again, little improvement on the back end.
To sum this all up:
1.) Our offense is not significantly worse, save at Quarterback. We really need to hit the QBOTF in this draft. Whether Mariota, Bridgewater, Carr, or Manziel, I'd say this is definitely our top concern.
2.) Our defense has gone from top tier to futile. Our stars are aging and our rookies are having little impact. We need a new nose tackle, a pass rusher, some linebackers who can cover, and new corners. Rhodes and Floyd need to see the field much more. Throw in Mauti and Hodges, to see if they can ball. Maybe bring in some free-agents to patch this up.
This won't be an easy fix gents. I see this season, and maybe a rebuilding year next before we can begin to compete again. Hopefully with new coaches, and with Spielman nailing the draft, we can return to our rightful place atop the NFC North. Skol Norsemen, Skol.