'Tis the season, ladies and gentlemen, and we here at The Daily Norseman are no different. We have some gift ideas for some members of the Minnesota Vikings, and this seems like the appropriate time to share those. So, in the spirit of the holiday, here are the things that I hope that some members of the Vikings receive this holiday season.
Cordarrelle Patterson - A trip to Cris Carter's receivers camp this summer
Going into this season, a lot of big things were expected from the second-year receiver out of Tennessee. He was the #1 player on NFL.com's list of players they felt would "Make the Leap" in 2014. Well, he made the leap, alright. . .unfortunately, it appears that leap was directly over the edge of a cliff, as it would be hard to classify Patterson's 2014 season as anything other than a disappointment.
If the Vikings want Patterson to be able to function as more of a "traditional receiver" and less of a gimmicky-type of player (which they may or may not see him as), getting him to the camp that Cris Carter holds every summer would be a big step towards making that happen. Let Patterson hang around with Carter and Larry Fitzgerald and guys like that for a week or two and see if they can get him to harness his ridiculous physical ability and help him bounce back in 2015.
Matt Kalil - A priest, a witch doctor, a faith healer, a sports psychologist. . .anyone that can get him back to 2012 form
Yes, Kalil has been pretty awful for most of this season, though he has come around a bit these past couple of weeks. He's under contract for next season, and the Vikings will almost certainly pick up his fifth-year option (since it isn't guaranteed unless he gets injured). I know we're all frustrated with Kalil at this point, but I'm not ready to throw in the towel on him yet. We know that he's capable of playing at a high level, and hopefully he'll have the benefit of having a better player next to him at left guard next season, too.
With Kalil's struggles this year, I can't help but wonder how much of it is physical and how much of it is mental. The physical stuff is easily enough taken care of with off-season surgeries and things of that nature. Fixing the mental side of things would likely prove to be quite a bit tougher, if that's the case. So, that's the rationale behind what I'm hoping Kalil receives this off-season.
Chad Greenway - A shiny gold watch
Why a gold watch for Greenway? Because. . .well, because that's what you give someone when it's time to send them on their way.
I know that the timing of this may seem cold, given recent off-the-field circumstances for Greenway, and I don't mean it to be that way. However, from a strictly on-field perspective, there's no way this team can justify starting Chad Greenway at linebacker next season. Just can't do it. I know that Arif has been beating this drum for some time, and things haven't gotten any better this year. Greenway has been frequently out of position and just generally not very good in any aspect of the game this year. I'm not sure if the team will replace him with someone already on the roster (like Gerald Hodges) or if they'll do it in the draft or free agency.
Chad Greenway has been a great Viking for nearly a decade now. I don't want to downplay that. But the Minnesota Vikings have a very young, talented, and athletic defense, and Greenway has reached the point where he's now more of a liability than an asset. Throw in a $7 million cap figure for next season, and I just can't see him being back.
Teddy Bridgewater - About ten more pounds
I know that a lot was made about Teddy Bridgewater's physical attributes going into this season, and is still being made about them. He's not the biggest guy (although 6'2", 215 pounds isn't exactly small or anything). Still, if the Vikings are going to be transitioning in a couple of spots on the offensive line, I think we'd all feel a little more comfortable if #5 added a little bit of extra bulk to be able to take shots in the pocket. He did miss a start this year, but you'll recall that was because he tweaked his foot on a designed run, not because of any sort of hit that he took.
Fortunately, he's only 22 years old, and appears to have the frame to be able to do just that. A full off-season in a full-blown NFL strength and conditioning program (rather than a focus on draft preparation) is probably going to do wonders for Teddy Bridgewater. It will probably help him with his arm strength, too, though he hasn't really had any issues with that to this point.
Mike Zimmer - A lot of patience. Or booze. Or both, maybe
When Mike Zimmer accepted the job of being the ninth head coach in Minnesota Vikings history this past January, I'm sure he was amazingly happy about it. Since he took the job, however, the guy has put up with as much crap in four months as a lot of coaches put up with in four years. There was the whole Adrian Peterson situation, Jerome Simpson doing Jerome Simpson things, a list of injuries a mile long. . .it's been pretty bad, from that perspective.
And, despite all of that, the Vikings are guaranteed to finish this season with a better record than they did in Leslie Frazier's final season, the defense has gone from being near the bottom of the league in 2013 to a top ten unit in 2014, the team appears to be developing their franchise quarterback, and a lot of young players have stepped up in a major way on both sides of the football for this team. Mike Zimmer and company have a plan for this team, and it really appears to be coming together nicely so far. There's a lot to look forward to for the Minnesota Vikings going forward, and Mike Zimmer has a lot to do with it.
What are some of your wishes for members of the Minnesota Vikings this holiday season?