With the first pre-season game in the book, I thought I’d roll out an idea I’ve been working on. If it works, great, I’ll keep doing it. If not, I’ll junk it (junk it…junk bonds…stock market—see what I did there?) and come up with something else. I want to do a weekly ‘Stock Market Report’ of the team, starting out with blue chip stocks, sound investments, and junk bonds. Then I’ll do a Buy/Sell category, based on my perception of who’s doing well…and who isn’t. There’s an open debate as to who might be a blue chip stock, and who might be a junk bond, and it can change from week to week, and that’s one of the reasons I’m doing this. Let me know what you think, and we’ll go from there.
BLUE CHIP STOCKS:
Defensive Line. Brian Robison and Jimmy Kennedy could start on 8 or 9 other teams in the NFL. The Vikings pressure, regardless of who was applying it, was relentless. Oh, and the Welcome to the NFL, Sam Bradford.
Sage Rosenfels. 300 yards passing is 300 yards passing, especially when you’ve been jacked around like Rosenfels has. He made some very good throws, and yeah, although it was pre-season, it was a bit reassuring to see him do well after a shaky opening to training camp. He had some zip on his short and intermediate throws, and nice touch on his two deep TD passes.
Toby Gerhart, RB. Not a great debut, but did okay. His first NFL action was highlighted by a nice 20+ yard run in the second quarter. I haven’t re-watched the game (yes, I do that for you people…I accept PayPal), but nothing jumped out at me in a negative way regarding Gerhart. The line didn’t do him or any of the backs any favors, but he seemed to be okay in pass protection.
Secondary. I thought it was an overall good performance. No big plays given up, aggressive coverage, for the most part, and everyone came out healthy. Chris Cook made a couple of good plays, I thought, and like Gerhart didn’t do anything that jumped out in a negative way.
Joe Webb, QB. Very promising display from the rookie. He’s still young, and a couple times he reverted to relying on his natural ability, but I thought he looked calm and poised in the pocket, and had a nice TD drive in the fourth quarter.
Rhys Lloyd, K. Are the Vikings really going to waste a roster spot with two kickers? Lloyd didn’t do anything terrible in his brief appearance, but he wasn’t any better than Ryan Longwell, either. Maybe once he gets in a dome he’ll get…more…distance…never mind.
Ian Johnson, RB. Although Albert Young had the worst stat line, he did it in the position of the #2 RB. I feel Johnson’s days are numbered, as 6 yards on 4 carries just won’t get you moved up on the depth chart. Johnson was a feel good story at Boise State, but I think his time as a Viking will be coming to a close.
Offensive Line. The offensive line, as a unit, was as bad as the defensive line was good. Other than three runs I can think of off the top of my head, the backs were met on the wrong side of the line of scrimmage all night. The pass protection, for the most part, was good, but there were no running lanes all night. And when a running back did get some daylight, there was either a holding or false start penalty called.
Buy: Darius Reynaud, RB. I thought he was the most impressive back of the evening, and looked faster than either Albert Young or Toby Gerhart. He had a couple nice blitz pickups as well as a couple of special teams plays, and went a long way to make up ground between him, Young, and Gerhart. His stat line wasn’t that impressive, but he had two very good runs that were called back on penalty.
Buy: Logan Payne, WR. If the Vikings carry five receivers, I agree with Chris’ assessment from the game wrap that 1-4 are pretty much set. Lewis is the ‘savvy vet guy’ that can play any of the receiver positions for a short term injury substitute, so I can see why Mayock thinks he’s a lock. But if they go with five, it’s between Jaymar Johnson, Logan Payne, and Ray Small. Of those three, I thought Payne had the best night. Jaymar Johnson might have the inside track due to his use on special teams, but Payne seems to be making a move on the outside.
Buy: Garrett Mills, TE. I thought Mickey Shuler might make a push for a roster spot, but Mills played well. He looked way out of position on the Danny Amendola punt return, but had a nice TD reception, and over 200 yards receiving. The Rams announcers insisted it was blown coverage, which it might have been, but if your secondary can’t track down Garrett Mills, it’s going to be a long season, fellas.
Sell: Ray Small, WR. I was intrigued by Small when the Vikings signed him, but I don’t think he’ll make it. He didn’t do anything to lose a job, but he didn’t do anything to take a spot away from someone, either. And that’s what he has to do. It was an okay night, but okay won’t cut it for a guy that’s currently on the outside looking in.
Sell: Albert Young, RB. Young came into the game as the #2 RB on the depth chart, and he didn’t do himself any favors. He looked very slow, and although the line was terrible, it was equally terrible for everybody, and Gerhart and Reynaud were still able to make something happen. Logic tells me that if the trend lines keep going in their current direction, at some point Gerhart and/or Reynaud will overtake Albert Young.
So, those are your stock tips for the week. Check back in next week for more tips. Unless, of course, Chris thinks this is stupid, and he fires me, which is probably long overdue.