Damn, you guys and gals knocked it out of the park. I figured I’d get one or two questions and I’d have to make up a few to make my post look (somewhat) legit. I looked at Twitter before hitting the publish button, didn’t see anything except questions from 2016. Likely it’s my inexperience with Twitter combined with the Dodgers SB Nation site was using #DNMailbag too, so I’ll have to change it up. Going forward any questions about the salary cap I’ll use overthecap.com Enough from me, let’s see what was on everyone’s mind.
VikingFaninMD: I think Diggs made the right decision. Question his tactics, but we’d question any tactics, but he wanted out because he knew he played for an offense that the HC would not allow to play to its capability - when that capability was a bona fide top passing threat.
Okay, this wasn’t really a question but I’m going to phrase it as my answer why Stefon Diggs forced his way out of Minnesota. Playing in the NFL is a short brutal career, every player is playing for that next contract and needs to maximize his exposure to match his talents. Diggs could see he wasn’t going to be the focus of the offense with the Vikings and wanted to go somewhere where he was going to be not only an impact player but a superstar. As Terrance Newman is quoted as saying “those wide receiver guys, the thing is they are always open.” Personally, I don’t blame Diggs for wanting out since he wasn’t going to be the focus (I still have and wear his Vikings jersey) the Vikings got a draft haul (and got lucky by landing Jefferson) and Diggs is in his second conference championship as a player. Everybody associated won, except some have continued hard feelings about how it went down.
MidwinterViking asks: Do you keep or kick Anthony Barr? I land on keep, but I’ve seen some decent arguements to let him go. His contract looks designed for the vikings to get out of it this offseason with a post June 1 cut designation (not sure if there are any guarantees that kick in). But our LBs were a huge weakness late in the season and I don’t know if we could get anyone better. He wouldn’t be a great value, but it is a clear path to filling a position of need with a quality player.
I’m going to answer this as to what I would want the Vikings to do and what I think Zimmer/Rick will do. Looking back at his career with the Vikings he’s been a good player, but he was drafted with the ninth pick, he’s not a bust but he hasn’t made an All-Pro team either. One could make the argument in Zimmer’s system he’s playing exactly how he’s supposed to. I know I’ve read a lot of comments here and on Twitter about using Barr to rush the passer more frequently that haven’t come to fruition, doing so puts more pressure on the pass coverage and I haven’t seen any evidence he’s the next coming of Khalil Mack. I’d consider cutting him (big cap hit though) and either finding a guy in free agency, redoing his deal to offer more guaranteed money or cozy up to the idea of the Vikings first round pick being a LB.
I think Zimmer/Rick keep him with a slightly altered contract.
DelawareViking asks: Do you see any real strategy to improve the OL coming from Spielman/Zimmer?
No. Just kidding, kinda. We’ve been complaining here for years about the ineptitude of the offensive line, looking at PFF grades the Vikings pass blocking grades as a team were abysmal, third to worst if I remember correctly. Running the Kubiak system with play action passing only goes so far with the defense, they won’t honor a play action when their team is up two scores. Something has to give soon, I’d expect a higher draft pick used on the IOL and possibly a free agent signing to bolster the offensive line, Joe Thuney or Brandon Schreff are both names I’ve seen thrown out there, however I don’t know if they are system fits. Probably the best idea would be to adapt Kubiak’s system for more timing and quick throws.
Surly Viking had a two parter: Are we stuck with Kirk for one more year, or two, or does he get extended and ruin the next 5 years for me? Part 2 - Can Gruden make an NFL QB out of SLOTERGOAT?
I think Zimmer, Rick and Kirk are tied to the hip via context and contract. Kirk’s 41M cap hit in 2022 isn’t workable under any reasonable salary cap so I’d expect an extension for a couple more years with a year to two left at the end for the team to get out. I know that’s probably not what you wanted to hear but that’s the most likely scenario with the current regime.
As to Slotergoat, along with a lot of you I had a lot of fun with the Goat playing in the 4th quarters of games and putting on a show, (MT Viking and I went wild in Denver when he went on the field) but he hasn’t been able to stick to a team yet....I think he’s signed and cut from three or four teams at this point. I’m not a Gruden fan, (he made his reputation on being a QB coach for a HoF QB and took over the roster Tony Dungy built, but that’s beside the point). I doubt Gruden can do anything with Sloter, somehow he either hasn’t put it all together or doesn’t have all the tools to do so.
norsfan asks: are we eligible for Federal Emotional Impact Payments as Viking fans? And if so, mine’s late.
Check is in the mail? Because mine is late also.
D_Train asks: Is being a fan even worth it? Or is it just better than being bored?
My usual DN answer, yes of course. Real answer? It’s just sports and most likely has no real context in your life other than being a fun hobby. I used to plan my weekends read: grilling times: around when the Vikings were on but I let Direct TV and Sunday Ticket go last year. I have no emotional attachment/involvement when I watch football and when it’s not fun I turn the TV off and go do something else.
TheSnarkyViking asks: Long time listener, first time caller. When it is all said and done how many trades do you think Rick will make during the draft? Thanks, I’ll hang up and listen.
First of all, welcome and we’re glad you got though the phone lines in time for our show today. Enough to make every single one of us mad when Rick passes up our favorite 3rd or 4th round pick. I’d put the over/under at ten and take the over.
shimrod asks: Now that Kubiak is gone, are we going to hire an offensive line coach who doesn’t have his head up his ass? Our offensive linemen are not improving, and it looks like our criteria for selecting starters does not include determining who can block and who can’t.
I can’t speak to whether the next OC is going to hire an oline coach who doesn’t have his head up his fourth point of contact; but buckle up, because I don’t think the Vikings will change their offensive strategy much if at all. Dennison came with Kubiak as part of the package, remember one of the candidates for the OC position is Kubiak’s son. I do agree that some change of personnel and coaching has to happen (sidenote-all the coach’s contracts were renewed with the exception of Maalouf) so that leaves us with a personnel change, especially on the interior. By the way, Kirk approves of better pass blockers.
skolifer asks: What’s better for my colon. Coffee or tea?
Coffee is always the correct answer.
I’ll solicit for questions for the next mailbag on Monday the 1st of February and post the mailbag on Wednesday for your excellent questions and my mediocre answers. Thank you to everyone who took the time to read, ask questions and participate in the comments.