Although most of us would like to put last season behind us, I would like to take a brief late reflection on the Viking's training camp last year.
I moved from Minnesota to California when I was seven years old, and somehow remained to be what most would call a die hard fan throughout my life into my early twenties. I was lucky enough to spend last summer in Minnesota visiting extended family. I was also lucky enough to make it out to Mankato with my uncle to see the Minnesota Vikings in Training Camp, something I was ecstatic about. I remember it was a blazing hot Tuesday, the Tuesday before James Vandenberg was released..I wonder where that guy is now.
Although I had a great time taking pictures, browsing memorabilia, and collecting autographs (Chad Greenway was my favorite) the offensive strategy that day really stuck out to me. The Vikings were known in 2012 for being a team with a strong running game but lack of offensive explosiveness. They were dead last in completions over 20 yards. I came into Training Camp expecting the coaches to make adjustments to counter these horrific stats from the previous year. I expected to see some long bombs, at least some 15 yard throws. For over five ours watching Cassel, Ponder, Vandenberg, and Bethel-Thompson throw 5 to 10 yard passes, I could not believe my eyes. They were literally throwing 7 yard out routs over and over and over again.
I tried to justify that the coaches had some reason for what they were doing. I tried to justify the fact that Cassel was performing only at a average level but still outperforming Ponder by a long shot. I tried to justify the coaches not letting Cordarrelle Patterson run different kinds of routes. I know everything is 20-20 in hindsight and the Vikings defense was horrendous last year, but those first three losses really came down to blowing a lead not being able to convert a 3rd and 7 with only a couple minutes remaining. Maybe if the team had practiced eight yard throws the season would have been a different story. What are your thoughts?