So for those of you who don't know, Reddit has a "subreddit" dedicated to the Minnesota Vikings. While I was browsing Reddit, I came across an interaction (interview might be too formal) between a Redditor and one of the Vikings coaches (name not revealed to keep the coach from possibly getting into trouble), and I thought a lot of the information was something people here might want to hear.
Here's the link in case you want to read it for yourself.
The highlights of the conversation, for those who don't want to read the article:
- QB roundup: Teddy Bridgewater is indeed the stud we all believe him to be. He is a football genius, has a quick release, a great arm, and a great brain. He is delivering on all the hype surrounding him, and then some. The biggest concern that coaches have around him is the fact that Bridgewater is smaller than they want him to be, so they are concerned about his durability. The coach mentioned that the Vikings were pushing hard to trade up into the latter half of the first round, and while the coach says that there is some truth to the rumors that the Vikings were trying to trade up for Johnny Manziel, they are even happier with Teddy Bridgewater. At the moment, Matt Cassel is "the guy," but Teddy Bridgewater will be given every opportunity and then some to make a splash during camp. The coaches opinion is that Bridgewater should take over the starter's job around game 4 or 5, when fan expectations are lowered, compared to what they will be if he starts the season as the starting QB.
- TE situation: Rudolph is the guy. Ellison can "do it all," and as far as the Vikings coach knows, Ellison's job is secure due to his amount of versatility. The true battle will be between A.C. Leonard, Chase Ford, and Allen Reisner; however, according to the coach, A.C. Leonard "is a stud; though he is a little small, he has great hands, runs great routes and so far has stayed out of trouble. This could lead Leonard to having a larger role than people expect."
- Jerick McKinnon: The 3rd-round pick "is the goddamn man" (DQ). He is great in the film room, and has been grasping and learning the offense faster than any of the coaches believed possible. The coaches also can't believe his offensive knowledge and football acuity are so developed for being a triple-option QB in college. His athleticism, which was his hallmark in college, is blowing the coaches away, especially his ability to change directions (which sounds great to me). All of the coaches are very excited by his potential.
- RB3 competition: Joe Banyard, while not the high-profile guy anyone is looking for as even a RB3, has apparently done enough to receive additional looks from coaches. Matt Asiata is apparently well-liked by just about everyone within the Vikings organization, and he is seen as a nice replacement for AP (as a 2nd between-the-tackles runner). He's very smart, has good hands, is well above-average in pass protection, awesome at special teams, a very hard worker, and he might be the toughest player on the roster.
- FB competition: This is going to be one tough competition. According to the coach, the Vikings are only keeping one FB, and said FB has to be a special teams ace. The FB role is devalued under Turner because Ellison can play the FB role in a pinch. The coach likes Felton (and believes he is an under-rated pass-catcher) and believes Felton doesn't have to prove himself anymore on special teams (which likely means no other fullbacks beyond Felton are making the team).
- 5th/6th WR battle: Adam Thielen is likely the frontrunner in this competition, as he has had "an 'amazing' offseason." Kain Colter is the only other player to impress in this battle, as Erik Lora and Rodney Smith haven't shown much if anything. The coach says to watch for Josh Cooper as "a super-super dark horse candidate."
- Unfortunately, the OP wasn't able to ask whether or not David Yankey or Jeff Baca has a shot at unseating Charlie Johnson.
Switching over to the defensive side, which was a lot more depressing to read (in my opinion), and with a lot less detail as the focus of the conversation was mostly on offensive skill players.
- Brian Robison "is just plain awesome." Teams over the last few years have been respecting B-Rob more than Jared Allen despite Robison's almost criminal under-rating. This coach is excited about what is in store for Robison in 2014.
- The coach is TERRIFIED of the linebacking corps (my words, not the OP's). Greenway has a large amount of football knowledge, but has definitely lost a step. Greenway's leadership is the main reason (and might be the only reason) the coaches want him on the field this year (possibly could be the Vikings starting MLB in Zimmer's scheme).
- Audie Cole, while a cult legend and definite fan favorite (at least he is here), is not expected to be a big part of the Vikings plans going forward according to the coach. Coaches just don't believe he is athletic enough. (NOOOOOOOO!!!!)
- This coach couldn't have emphasized enough how thin the brain trust believes the linebacking corps to be. Other than Greenway and Barr, he had no full confidence in anybody. He wasn't optimistic for Hodges, Cole, Mauti, any of them. Eeshhhh.
- In the secondary, Rhodes is progressing extremely well and stands to be a force to be reckoned with. Smith is progressing just as well. Antone Exum is...eccentric...but definitely talented enough to push for a starting role.
- The coach sees good things that could come out of Corey Wootton, and the coach believes the d-line might be the best part of our defense this upcoming season.
- As for the defensive schemes themselves, they are "going to be 'just awesome.'" The schemes might not make up for our lack of talent, but we can cover some of the holes with aggressive enough tendencies.