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Jan 15, 2024 15:35:48 GMT -6 10 Replies
I did a QB Situations thread last year that gained a lot of traction, so let's run it back for this offseason, seeing how March is not that far away! Here is my tier list:

As before, any QB whose contract is up is assumed to hit the FA market, even if that isn't the likely outcome.



Going by each tier:

Vikings - Cousins is a FA and could have a big market to appeal to, but the Achilles injury complicates things. 

Patriots - Mac Jones' good rookie season seems so far away, as he imploded this year, getting benched 3 times mid-game. Bailey Zappe has had a couple decent games in his career, but he probably competes for a backup job on another team. Rookie QB seems very likely here.

Commies - Sam Howell flopped after a promising start to the year, throwing 12 picks in their final 8 games, of which they lost every one. Jacoby Brissett is a FA and could be a bridge QB/top backup. Rookie QB seems likely here too.

Falcons - Atlanta geared up for a potential divisional title as they were finally freed from Matt Ryan's contract and build up the defense, just for the offense to implode. Ridder proved to be overmatched as a passer and not good enough of a runner to compensate, while Heinicke played below his career numbers. One of the two will likely backup a veteran QB addition (Cousins?).

Bucs - Baker Mayfield is a free agent after a surprisingly strong campaign. Now fully healthy, he is likely landing a multi-year deal unless the Bucs slap the franchise tag on him. I could see a Geno Smith type of contract for him, but anything more would be pricey for his talent level.

--Strongly Needs--

Steelers - Kenny Pickett was a disaster, but didn't get a full chance with the new OC in town before getting hurt. With even Mason Rudolph outplaying him, you would think the Steelers need to contemplate giving up on him. However, with as conservative as the franchise is, they may give him one more year.

Raiders - Vegas could opt to stay with 4th rounder Aidan O'Connell another year and bank on his progression, but I think he caps out as a high-end backup and they should search for a true franchise QB, but not force themselves into doing it this offseason.

Broncos - Once Denver cuts Wilson, they'll be eating so much dead cap that they might opt to stay with Jarrett Stidham for the 2024 season, a guy the Broncos did everything they could to land on Day 1 of free agency in March 2023. They should develop a young QB behind him in the meanwhile, as going out to sign a veteran like Cousins or Mayfield will clog their cap even further.


--50/50--

The Bears are on the fence deciding whether to take Caleb Williams at #1 or trade down and get another haul and stick with Fields. Personally I'd go Williams and trade Fields for a decent return as I don't think he will ever be a good enough passer to make the Bears offense a great unit.


--Held Back Financially--

Saints - Derek Carr had a middling season but frankly isn't worth the $37.5M per year pricetag, as his play has barely been better than Andy Dalton's with this offense in 2022. They can move on affordably over the 2025 offseason.

Browns - The Watson megadeal is going to sting next year as they have 3 straight seasons of ludicrously large $64M cap hits that they will be forced to kick down the road. Given how even an old and gray Joe Flacco has played better, this could be a Super Bowl contender with better QB play. Alas, they are in a mire of their own making.

Giants - Everyone knew the Giants blundered when they gave Daniel Jones a 4/$160M deal, but then he unexpectedly had the worst season of his career, then suffered an ACL tear. Thankfully the guaranteed money is light after 2024 so they're stuck with him for only one more season. You have to wonder which version of Jones shows up next year - the terrible one or the decent at best one? And will he lose his edge as a runner due to the ACL tear?

--Should consider a rookie--

Jets - They'll run Rodgers back in 2024 and hope for the best, but they should be making contingency plans after Wilson, Boyle, and Siemian played like garbage for them. It'd be nice to have a good backup and a potential successor.

Seahawks - Geno Smith took a step back even though they added more talent surrounding him. With the defense getting built up with several big acquisitions in the previous offseason, it is my opinion that the best way forward is to upgrade the QB position. They had 2 1sts but went CB/WR, and have went back-to-back seasons spending a 2nd on a HB. It's time to invest in a QB. 


The other teams is pretty much locked into their QBs. You could make a case for Arizona, but Kyler Murray's contract is too loaded to move before 2025. The Lions and Rams spent 3rd/4th round picks on a QB behind their veterans in 2022, so that should keep them off the "consider a rookie" tier.


QB Options:

Starters

Kirk Cousins - Let's not start another debate here. He's far and away the best option out there.

Baker Mayfield - I don't trust him, but he proved this year that he is worthy of starting. Overpaying him will be a blunder.

Jimmy Garoppolo - The Raiders will cut him, presumably. It is very hard to project his market after flopping in Vegas, though he wasn't terrible by any measure. I would guess he ends up getting a low-end starter deal ($10M?).

Bridge QBs / Top Backups

Ryan Tannehill - Could start but he's at that point now where being a backup makes sense. 

Jacoby Brissett - Played surprisingly well for Cleveland in 2022 and the few chances he got in 2023 he looked way better than Howell.

Tyrod Taylor - His numbers are better than expected in 5 starts this year, far better than what Daniel Jones was playing at. Even as a scrambling QB at age 35 he can still play.

Sam Darnold - Teams fawn over highly drafted guys like him and he could get another shot. The 49ers reportedly are expecting to lose him on the FA market.

Gardner Minshew - He helped keep the Colts offense going in more of a manager role compared to his Jaguars days as a high volume passer. He's an underrated option as a really good backup.

Backup QB Options

(ordered by 2023 Salary)
Marcus Mariota
Drew Lock
Jameis Winston
Tyler Huntley
Joe Flacco
Josh Dobbs (not getting a Geno Smith deal, eh?)
Carson Wentz
Mason Rudolph



Now then, let's hear your thoughts on what happens this offseason!
I did a QB Situations thread last year that gained a lot of traction, so let's run it back for this offseason, seeing how March is not that far away! Here is my tier list: As before, any
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Feb 17, 2024 8:57:45 GMT -6 0 Replies
We're back, and now we are three idiots strong. Our off-season positional analysis continues, this week with running back. Not as critical a need as QB, but it's right up there. As always, we look at guys on the roster, potential free agents, and then we break out Drew's big board of his top 15 draft picks. So join us!


We're back, and now we are three idiots strong. Our off-season positional analysis continues, this week with running back. Not as critical a need as QB, but it's right up there. As always, we look at
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Feb 10, 2024 17:08:09 GMT -6 0 Replies
Vikings Report with Drew & Ted - Episode 121 - 02/10/24



Vikings Report previews the Super Bowl and talks QBs for the Vikings!

Vikings Report with Drew & Ted - Episode 121 - 02/10/24 https://youtu.be/yXjviBR-pwE?si=6fIt_FugLCztxyHV Vikings Report previews the Super Bowl and talks QBs for the Vikings
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Feb 9, 2024 9:44:59 GMT -6 8 Replies
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024 was revealed last night during NFL Honors.

Julius Peppers
Andre Johnson
Dwight Freeney
Patrick Willis
Devin Hester
Randy Gradishar
Steve McMichael

It’s a puzzling Class. Disappointing too. No offense to the new Hall of Famers.

As a finalist for the fourth time, I figured that this was the year for Jared Allen. He survived the cut to ten the past two years. That’s usually the springboard to making it the following year. You know who didn’t make the cut to ten last year? Dwight Freeney. Somehow, Freeney, in his second year of eligibility, leapfrogged Allen over the past year. What changed? The voters have some explaining to do.

Some Jared Allen vs Dwight Freeney Stats:

Sacks:
Allen 136
Freeney 125.5

Tackles:
Allen 648
Freeney 350

Solo Tackles
Allen 503
Freeney 299

Tackles For Loss
Allen 171
Freeney 128

Interceptions
Allen 6 (1 returned for a TD)
Freeney 0

Safeties
Allen 4
Freeney 1

-Allen’s four career safeties is an NFL record

All-Pros
Allen 4
Freeney 3

Pro Bowls
Allen 5
Freeney 7

Allen had eight seasons of at least 11 sacks. Freeney had five.

Allen played 12 seasons. Freeney played 16 seasons.

The only thing that Freeney really had over Allen was an All-Decade selection. Freeney had the advantage of playing nearly the entirety of the 2000s while Allen’s career bridged the 2000s and 2010s.

Then there’s that Super Bowl title that Freeney’s Indianapolis Colts won in 2006. A team achievement. If the Super Bowl was a deciding factor in this Hall of Fame vote, perhaps Torry Holt and Reggie Wayne should’ve gotten the nod over Andre Johnson. Arguably, if not for Bountygate, Allen’s 2009 Vikings probably beat Freeney’s Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.

Anyway, Dwight Freeney leapfrogging Jared Allen for Canton is more annoying than aggravating. The biggest problem that I have with this Hall of Fame Class is the exclusion of Detroit Lions coach Buddy Parker. First of all, he should’ve been inducted decades ago. He led the Lions to NFL titles in 1952 and 1953. He put together the Lions team that won the NFL title in 1957. He was the only coach that routinely got the better of Paul Brown. Parker had a career record against Brown of 4-1. 2-1 in title games. This was during a run in which the Browns went to six consecutive Championship games, winning half of them. His record against perhaps the greatest coach in league history should’ve gotten Parker to Canton decades ago. The voters so rarely toss the nominees of the Senior/Coach/Contributor committees that it was truly shocking to see a slam-dunk nominee like Buddy Parker not make it over the final hurdle. Actually, it’s true insanity.

The voters also swatted aside Art Powell as a Senior nominee. It’s not quite as absurd as Parker not making it but it was surprising. Some voters have stated that they will not consider players and coaches that they didn’t see play or coach. That’s a concern when the Pro Football Hall of Fame honors the entirety of the league’s past.

Honor the greatest of the game
Preserve it’s history
Promote it’s values
Celebrate excellence together

That’s the mission statement of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The voters that have shut the door on much of the game’s past violate that mission statement. They also make a mockery of the process. Those voters shouldn’t be in the room.

I thought that I’d emptied all of my rage over the Hall of Fame voting process during Cris Carter’s six-year wait. Unfortunately, I feel it’s return. I do find some relief in Randy Gradishar and Patrick Willis finally getting to Canton. Gradishar should’ve been there long ago. He was one of the best two or three linebackers of his generation. I thought that Willis was worthy of first-year induction. He was the best of his generation and one of the best I ever watched. Voting for the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a tough job and responsibility. The seven members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024 are deserving. There’s no denying that. Jared Allen has next year. Buddy Parker doesn’t. Parker not making it is inexcusable.

Next year?

Next year, the following players will become eligible for the first time.

Luke Kuechly
Earl Thomas
Eli Manning
Marshawn Lynch
Terrell Suggs

In my opinion, Luke Kuechly is the player most deserving of first-year induction. He might even be more deserving of first-year induction than Peppers. It’s a fine two years for fans of the Carolina Panthers. Earl Thomas is close. There’ll be quite a debate over Eli Manning. My immediate thought is that he has a Kurt Warner-like wait. Although, Jim Plunkett won two Super Bowls as the quarterback of the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders and he’s still waiting for a Hall call. My fear for Jared Allen is the player that beat him in the voting for 2011 Defensive Player of the Year, Terrell Suggs. After a five-year wait and three consecutive top-10 finishes, Allen has to go in ahead of Suggs. Right? Who the hell knows with these voters?

My immediate thought on the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2025

Luke Kuechly
Jared Allen
Antonio Gates
Darren Woodson
Willie Anderson

I’ve had Allen in the last three Classes. So, what do I know? I can ask the same of many of the people that actually have a voice in the process.





The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024 was revealed last night during NFL Honors. Julius Peppers Andre Johnson Dwight Freeney Patrick Willis Devin
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Feb 3, 2024 11:39:58 GMT -6 0 Replies
A Ranking of the 57 Super Bowls? More accurately, it’s simply how I see the big games. My favorites, in some sort of order. I believe that I was in the room for every Super Bowl. I know that my dad was watching. He loved football. He’d been watching and following football since the Red Grange days. He even saw Jim Thorpe drop kick field goals at Kezar Stadium during halftime of a San Francisco 49ers game. My dad’s football life ignited my passion for the game’s past. And present. If he was watching the games, and I know that he was, I would’ve been in the room. He was a 49ers fan from the moment they joined the All-America Football Conference in 1946. Despite being a devoted fan of the team from San Francisco, he had a great appreciation for Paul Brown and the Cleveland Browns. My love of football grew from his stories of Grange highlights at the movies, Thorpe drop kicks, Saturdays at University of San Francisco games, Sundays at 49ers games , both at Kezar, and Brown’s Browns. He never directed me to the 49ers. He let me find my own football life. From California, I somehow found the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowls VIII and IX. The horned helmet, the purple, I was hooked before I understood what hooked me. I can’t explain it. Falling for the Vikings felt so natural. It just happened. Despite the frustrations, I’ve loved every moment of the journey. Some moments weren’t so special but pain makes you stronger. Right? I’ve been around for every Super Bowl. I have no real time memories of Super Bowls I-VII. Through appreciation and research of the league’s past and the documentary brilliance of NFL Films, I feel like I know the Super Bowls that I was too young to understand. The Vikings 1975 and 1976 seasons are the first seasons that feel as fresh as yesterday. I was so used to the Vikings being in the Super Bowl that I assumed that it’d continue forever. I was young and stupid. We’re fast approaching 50 years since the Vikings last Super Bowl appearance. They will return. The Vikings will bring home that elusive trophy. I believe! When it happens, that game will soar to #1. Until then, this is how I rank the 57 Super Bowls.

57. Super Bowl IV-Kansas City Chiefs 23, Minnesota Vikings 7
56. Super Bowl VIII-Miami Dolphins 24, Minnesota Vikings 7
55. Super Bowl IX-Pittsburgh Steelers 16, Minnesota Vikings 6
54. Super Bowl XI-Oakland Raiders 32, Minnesota Vikings 14
53. Super Bowl XXIV-San Francisco 49ers 55, Denver Broncos 10
52. Super Bowl XLVIII-Seattle Seahawks 43, Denver Broncos 8
51. Super Bowl XX-Chicago Bears 46, New England Patriots 10
50. Super Bowl XXXV-Baltimore Ravens 34, New York Giants 7
49. Super Bowl XXIX-San Francisco 49ers 49, San Diego Chargers 26
48. Super Bowl XXXVII-Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48, Oakland Raiders 21
47. Super Bowl XXII-Washington Redskins 42, Denver Broncos 10
46. Super Bowl XXVII-Dallas Cowboys 52, Buffalo Bills 17
45. Super Bowl XII-Dallas Cowboys 27, Denver Broncos 10
44. Super Bowl XXXIII Denver Broncos 34, Atlanta Falcons 19
43. Super Bowl XVIII Los Angeles Raiders 38, Washington Redskins 9
42. Super Bowl XXVI-Washington Redskins 37, Buffalo Bills 24
41. Super Bowl XV-Oakland Raiders 27, Philadelphia Eagles 10
40. Super Bowl I-Green Bay Packers 35, Kansas City Chiefs 10
39. Super Bowl VI-Dallas Cowboys 24, Miami Dolphins 3
38. Super Bowl XL-Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Seattle Seahawks 10
37. Super Bowl XLI-Indianapolis Colts 29, Chicago Bears 17
36. Super Bowl II-Green Bay Packers 33, Oakland Raiders 14
35. Super Bowl XIX-San Francisco 49ers, 38, Miami Dolphins 16
34. Super Bowl V-Baltimore Colts 16, Dallas Cowboys 13
33. Super Bowl VII-Miami Dolphins 14, Washington Redskins 7
32. Super Bowl XXVIII-Dallas Cowboys 30, Buffalo Bills 13
31. Super Bowl XXI-New York Giants 39, Denver Broncos 20
30. Super Bowl LV-Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31, Kansas City Chiefs 9
29. Super Bowl XXXI-Green Bay Packers 35, New England Patriots 21
28. Super Bowl XXX-Dallas Cowboys 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 17
27. Super Bowl L-Denver Broncos 24, Carolina Panthers 10
26. Super Bowl XVII-Washington Redskins 27, Miami Dolphins 17
25. Super Bowl XLIV-New Orleans Saints 31, Indianapolis Colts 17
24. Super Bowl LIII-New England Patriots 13, Los Angeles Rams 3
23. Super Bowl XXXIX-New England Patriots 24, Philadelphia Eagles 21
22. Super Bowl XLV-Green Bay Packers 31, Pittsburgh Steelers 25
21. Super Bowl XLVI-New York Giants 21, New England Patriots 17
20. Super Bowl XXXII-Denver Broncos 31, Green Bay Packers 24
19. Super Bowl III-New York Jets 16, Baltimore Colts 7
18. Super Bowl XLVII-Baltimore Ravens 34, San Francisco 49ers 31
17. Super Bowl XXXIV-St. Louis Rams 23, Tennessee Titans 16
16. Super Bowl XVI-San Francisco 49ers 26, Cincinnati Bengals 21
15. Super Bowl XXXVI-New England Patriots 20, St. Louis Rams 17
14. Super Bowl XIV-Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Los Angeles Rams 19
13. Super Bowl LIV-Kansas City Chiefs 31, San Francisco 49ers 20
12. Super Bowl LVI-Los Angeles Rams 23, Cincinnati Bengals 20
11. Super Bowl LII-Philadelphia Eagles 41, New England Patriots 33
10. Super Bowl LVII-Kansas City Chiefs 38, Philadelphia Eagles 35
9. Super Bowl X-Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Dallas Cowboys 17
8. Super Bowl XXIII-San Francisco 49ers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 16
7. Super Bowl XXV-New York Giants 20, Buffalo Bills 19
6. Super Bowl XXXVIII-New England Patriots 32, Carolina Panthers 29
5. Super Bowl XLII-New York Giants 17, New England Patriots 14
4. Super Bowl LI-New England Patriots 34, Atlanta Falcons 28
3. Super Bowl XLIX-New England Patriots 28, Seattle Seahawks 24
2. Super Bowl XLIII-Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Arizona Cardinals 23
1. Super Bowl XIII-Pittsburgh Steelers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31

A Ranking of the 57 Super Bowls? More accurately, it’s simply how I see the big games. My favorites, in some sort of order. I believe that I was in the room for every Super Bowl. I know that my dad
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Dec 28, 2023 8:54:46 GMT -6 1 Replies
The 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024 were revealed yesterday. In any given year, the finalists are always highlighted by those in their first year of eligibility. This year, those players are Antonio Gates and Julius Peppers.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024 Finalists

Eric Allen, Cornerback — 1988-1994 Philadelphia Eagles, 1995-97 New Orleans Saints, 1998-2001 Oakland Raiders
Jared Allen, Defensive End — 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers
Willie Anderson, Offensive Tackle — 1996-2007 Cincinnati Bengals, 2008 Baltimore Ravens
Jahri Evans, Guard — 2006-2016 New Orleans Saints, 2017 Green Bay Packers
Dwight Freeney, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker — 2002-2012 Indianapolis Colts, 2013-14 San Diego Chargers, 2015 Arizona Cardinals, 2016 Atlanta Falcons, 2017 Seattle Seahawks, 2017 Detroit Lions
Antonio Gates, Tight End — 2003-2018 San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers
Rodney Harrison, Safety — 1994-2002 San Diego Chargers, 2003-08 New England Patriots
Devin Hester, Punt Returner/Kick Returner/Wide Receiver — 2006-2013 Chicago Bears, 2014-15 Atlanta Falcons, 2016 Baltimore Ravens
Torry Holt, Wide Receiver — 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars
Andre Johnson, Wide Receiver — 2003-2014 Houston Texans, 2015 Indianapolis Colts, 2016 Tennessee Titans
Julius Peppers, Defensive End — 2002-09, 2017-18 Carolina Panthers, 2010-13 Chicago Bears, 2014-16 Green Bay Packers
Fred Taylor, Running back — 1998-2008 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2009-2010 New England Patriots
Reggie Wayne, Wide Receiver — 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts
Patrick Willis, Linebacker — 2007-2014 San Francisco 49ers
Darren Woodson, Safety — 1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys

Like Antonio Gates and Julius Peppers, the quartet of Eric Allen, Jahri Evans, Rodney Harrison, and Fred Taylor are finalists for the first time. Unlike Gates and Peppers, they are finalists after a combined 40 years of eligibility.

The 15 finalists will join Coach/Contributor nominee Buddy Parker and Senior nominees Art Powell, Randy Gradishar, and Steve McMichael for final discussions by the 50-person Selection Committee in advance of Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The Pro Football Hall Fame Class of 2024 will be announced live on the “NFL Honors” telecast on February 8.

Times as a Finalist

Eric Allen: 1, 2024
Jared Allen: 4, 2021-24
Willie Anderson: 3: 2022-24
Jahri Evans: 1, 2024
Dwight Freeney: 2, 2023-24
Antonio Gates: 1, 2024
Rodney Harrison: 1, 2024
Devin Hester: 3, 2022-24
Tory Holt: 5, 2020-24
Andre Johnson: 3, 2022-24
Julius Peppers: 1, 2024
Fred Taylor: 1, 2024
Reggie Wayne: 5, 2020-24
Patrick Willis: 3, 2022-24
Darren Woodson: 2, 2023-24

Years of Eligibility

1st: Antonio Gates, Julius Peppers
2nd: Jahri Evans, Dwight Freeney
3rd: Devin Hester, Andre Johnson
4th: Jared Allen
5th: Reggie Wayne, Patrick Willis
9th: Fred Taylor
10th: Torry Holt
11th: Rodney Harrison, Willie Anderson
16th: Darren Woodson
18th: Eric Allen

What I think the Selection Committee should do with any group of Hall of Fame finalists and what they will do is always different. The voters repeatedly show an urgency to jam through players in their first year of eligibility. I feel that making it in the first year should be reserved for the players for which there are no doubts. If there’s even the slightest hint of a debate, the player waits. In my opinion, only Julius Peppers should make it in his first year. I’m pretty sure that the voters will push both Peppers and Antonio Gates through. After that, Jared Allen makes it in his fourth year of eligibility. If he had been able to wrestle that Defensive Player of the Year award from Terrell Suggs in 2011, Allen would’ve made it earlier. His frustrating four year wait should end. Patrick Willis finally makes it to Canton. I still don’t understand how he wasn’t through in his first or second year. He wasn’t even a finalist until his third year. Willis was more deserving of first year consideration in 2020 than Gates is this year. Willis was the best in the league at his position for nearly all of his eight-year career. I never once thought that Gates was the best at his position. Tony Gonzalez pretty much had that title. Jason Witten was in there as well. Willis was the best off-the-ball linebacker I’d seen since Jack Ham. His Hall of Fame journey has been a complete mystery to me. Anyway, a receiver should round out the modern-era class. Unfortunately, the two receivers that I feel are most deserving didn’t make it to the finalist stage. That would be Steve Smith Sr. and Hines Ward. Of the actual receiver finalists, I feel that the voters will go with Andre Johnson.

So, that gives us a Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024 that looks something like this:

Julius Peppers
Antonio Gates
Jared Allen
Patrick Willis
Andre Johnson
Randy Gradishar
Steve McMichael
Art Powell
Buddy Parker

That’s a fine Class. With Allen it, I’ve gotta start making plans to be in Canton in August.




The 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024 were revealed yesterday. In any given year, the finalists are always highlighted by those in their first year of eligibility. This
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Dec 2, 2023 16:08:47 GMT -6 24 Replies
No depth chart this week, but we've still got content coming - it's draft analysis time! They say you should give a draft class three years before making judgements, meaning it's about time to judge the 2021 season. I'm going to be following the methodology I used in my past draft article here to judge how success the picks were, and also judging how accurate the grades I gave each pick were.

The rubric:



And here are the Vikings' picks:



(grade on the left is my draft board's grade, on the right is the Hindsight grade)

Rick Spielman's swan song was generally a disaster outside of the A+ selection of Christian Darrisaw, and the savvy pick of Bynum in the 4th round. I don't think a team has ever whiffed on 4 3rd round picks before! My draft board approved the Davis and Jones II picks, but had Surratt and Mond far lower than where they went, meanwhile the Day 3 picks were goofy. Spending a 4th on Nwangwu when it was widely known he was a KR-only was highly questionable, Robinson was another failed pick in the vein of Danielle Hunter, chasing a toolsy pass rusher with poor play in college, ISM was a possible deep threat but more of a return man, and the Davidson pick is the kind of guy you take in the 7th round. I still get the Twyman pick even in hindsight as he was a very good college football player.

The elephant in the room here is the class itself - the 2021 draft was messed up by the COVID pandemic as many players opted to stay in college another year, causing this class to be a shallow one. This was widely speculated at the time, and going through this class - yeah, it gets real barren. There's a point somewhere in the 3rd round where the quality plummets, which makes it all the more frustrating that Spielman continued to collect late round picks in a top-heavy class. Let's compare the team's final grade to the others:


* = team did not have a 1st round pick

Normally I believe a D+ would put them near the bottom, but many other teams had bad drafts, confirming our suspicions.
There's also a notable correlation between teams that are good right now and who had strong 2021 drafts. The Chiefs came out with 3 starters with #58 being their highest pick in the most top heavy class in recent memory, the Lions came out with 3 high quality starters between the 1st-3rd, and the Broncos (George Paton's first class) landed 4 starters.

Three of the worst classes have flagship players with major injury woes, with the Jets LT Becton, Panthers CB Horn, and Titans CB Farley. The Giants didn't land a single average starter, only having ED Ojulari as a mediocre rotational pass rusher.

Let's go round by round now:


(grade on the left is my draft board's grade, on the right is the Hindsight grade)

The first round has its fair share of hits, with a handful of blue-chip players escaping the top 10. The middling QBs like Fields and Jones are considered to be minor successes because of their play time and stretches were they weren't "bad". The round itself drops off after about #25, with everybody after that mostly being 2nd round caliber.

The difference number (which explained in the previous article is the correlation between my grade and the hindsight grade) is 1.18, which means the grades were heavily correlated to what actually transpired. Following the consensus boards was far safer than freelancing - not a single player who was given a C or lower ending up getting anything higher than a C.



Only 5 players got above a B, with 12 getting a D or below. The difference stat is at 1.86, meaning that the correlation between grades is weak. We will reach a point where my grades mean nothing because so many picks fail - there are no adjustments for how weak a draft class is.



This round sees a whopping 23 D to Fs and only 8 above a B. The difference is now at 2.1, meaning my grades are more often wrong than right.

The first 3 rounds see just 36 players receive a B or better. Of those picks:

5 iOLs
3 CBs
3 EDs
2 DTs
3 LBs
4 Ts
2 QBs (one being Mac Jones...)
2 RBs
2 Ss
1 TE
5 WRs

The class's main strength was 9 offensive linemen. Every other position underachieved, with several not having hits until the second round (LB, TE, S) or even the third (DT).



20 Fs! This round has provided nothing and this looks like the normal year's 6th round. St. Brown, Bynum, and Stevenson are the biggest finds here.



I got tired of keying in Fs so I kept them empty. This is the rare situation where a kicker in the 5th round actually worked out, since this is more like the average year's 7th round. The 49ers found both Hufanga and Lenior here, while the Raiders got a starter in Hobbs. The DBs class had some Day 3 hits, at least.



This is basically a UDFA list now. A handful of these players turned into good backups. Trey Smith is the runaway success here, as teams were scared off by his heart problems. But there wasn't much risk using a higher pick on him since these past few rounds have been so devoid of talent.



The 7th round is an actual ghost town, with only Jonathon Cooper and Will Fries starters at the current moment. Even when the bar is "Awful" on the PFF scale, most of these players couldn't crack any time.


Takeaways - this was a bad class to begin with, but it doesn't excuse Spielman's poor haul. Going 1 for 10 on the 3rd-7th round picks is a sign of a front office that was not good at evaluating talent, period. I can forgive some busts, but there were decent players available in that third round. There were a few good WRs that they passed on, Davis over Meinerz, Surratt over Deablo and Jones, etc. The QB pick was pretty much doomed because this class is basically Trevor Lawrence and nobody else.

One more note - a while back I had noticed there was a pattern with Vikings prospects failing who happened to have poor PFF grades in their final year of college. For this draft class:
LB Surratt - 205 out of 205 players on my board
WR Smith-Marsette - 197th / 205
ED Robinson - 188th / 205
G Davis - 186th / 205

That's 4 picks from the 3rd-5th round who didn't even play that well in college. Not a good strategy there!


I'll leave the analysis there. Please elucidate me with your thoughts and what can be learned from the mercurial 2021 draft class!
No depth chart this week, but we've still got content coming - it's draft analysis time! They say you should give a draft class three years before making judgements, meaning it's about time to judge
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Dec 14, 2023 9:08:24 GMT -6 2 Replies
Watching Brian Flores get so much out of what many consider a marginally talented group got me thinking about some of the underrated players in franchise history. This is an all-time Minnesota Vikings team made up of players that might not receive the attention that they deserve for the great career that they had. All-time teams are always a very subjective thing. This one has another layer of subjectivity to it. Just as not everyone will agree whether a player is an All-Timer, not everyone will agree whether a player’s career was underrated.

Minnesota Vikings All - Time Underrated Team

Offense

Quarterback
Tommy Kramer

Tommy Kramer was great. If injuries hadn’t popped up throughout his career, he wouldn’t be on this team.

Running Back
Tommy Mason

Tommy Mason was much more than the first pick in franchise history. Injuries cut his career short. In his six years in Minnesota, Mason was named All-Pro once and went to three Pro Bowls. When I visited the Vikings Museum at TCO, I was surprised and thrilled to find a Tommy Mason exhibit. I was surprised because I felt that history had forgotten him and thrilled because it hadn’t.

Fullback
Rick Fenney

In today’s NFL, fullbacks are always underrated. Rick Fenney was the last Vikings fullback that got more than the token carry.

Receivers
John Gilliam
Jake Reed

The Vikings have been blessed with a load of terrific receivers. John Gilliam was one of the league’s most explosive playmakers during the early 1970s. Jake Reed had four consecutive 1000-yard seasons. Unfortunately, he played with Cris Carter and lost his starting job to Randy Moss.

Tight End
Joe Senser

A knee injury ended Joe Senser’s career before it really got started. Seven touchdowns as a rookie. 1,004 yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore. Senser was on the verge of joining the league’s first wave of great tight ends. Kellen Winslow, Ozzie Newsome, Dave Casper. Senser was in their league. Then he was suddenly and sadly done.

Offensive Tackles
Grady Alderman
Tim Irwin

Both were named 50 Greatest Vikings. Grady Alderman was recently inducted in the Pro Football Researchers Association’s Hall of Very Good. Neither was really underrated but each played a chunk of their career in the shadow of the best tackles in Vikings franchise history. Ron Yary and Gary Zimmerman.

Guards
Milt Sunde
David Dixon

Like fullbacks, guards are often underrated. Unless you’re Randall McDaniel or Steve Hutchinson. Milt Sunde and David Dixon weren’t McDaniel or Hutchinson but they were fine football players.

Center
Dennis Swilley

It isn’t the equal of receivers and defensive line but the Vikings have an excellent center tradition. It helps that Mick Tingelhoff played about 100 years. Dennis Swilley had the unfortunate task of replacing Tingelhoff. A team can’t have a strong tradition at a position with a single player. In that sense, Swilley started the Vikings excellent center tradition.

Defense

Defensive Ends
Doug Martin
Brian Robison

Doug Martin was the best of the players tasked with replacing the Purple People Eaters. He had two seasons of more than 10 sacks and two seasons of nine sacks. His 11.5 sacks in nine games during the strike-shortened 1982 season led the league. Brian Robison was much more than a fan-favorite. He might’ve received more attention league-wide if he didn’t play all of his career opposite Jared Allen and then Everson Griffen.

Defensive Tackles
Henry Thomas
Keith Millard

Henry Thomas and Keith Millard aren’t underrated. They just happened to play for a franchise that had Alan Page and John Randle. Thomas and Millard have Hall of Fame cases. Millard would already be in Canton if injuries hadn’t whittled away at his career.

Linebackers
Ed McDaniel
Lonnie Warwick
Ben Leber

All three were fun football players. Ed McDaniel was the best player on his Vikings defense not named John Randle. Lonnie Warwick played middle linebacker during the era of Dick Butkus, Ray Nitschke, and Joe Schmidt. Ben Leber simply made big plays.

Cornerbacks
Bobby Bryant
Nate Wright

Bobby Bryant and Nate Wright were the cornerbacks of my youth. I love them.

Safeties
Karl Kassulke
Tom Hannon

Karl Kassulke’s physicality was an excellent compliment to Paul Krause’s finesse. Kassulke’s football career ended with a motorcycle accident on this way to the Vikings 1973 training camp. The accident left him paralyzed. Tom Hannon had the unfortunate task of replacing Krause at the back of the Vikings defense.

Special Teams

Kicker
Ryan Longwell

Ryan Longwell was one of the league’s most reliable kickers for nearly all of his 16 seasons. Six of those were in Minnesota. The Vikings have a history of kicking atrocities. The six Longwell years were bright years.

Punter
Bobby Walden

Bobby Walden is better known for his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers. His first four seasons were in Minnesota. He led the league in yards/punt as a rookie.

Punt Returner
Leo Lewis

Leo Lewis was a fun football player. He didn’t have the football in his hands often. When he did, it felt like something fun was about to happen.

Kick Returner
Eddie Payton

Walter Payton’s older brother might’ve found his way to Minnesota because of what he did as a returner for the Detroit Lions. He returned a kick and a punt for touchdowns against the Vikings in 1977. He kept the Lions in a game that they had no business being in. Perhaps due to memories of that game, the Vikings signed him three years later. He led the league in kick return yards in 1980 and had a 99-yard kick return touchdown in 1981.





Watching Brian Flores get so much out of what many consider a marginally talented group got me thinking about some of the underrated players in franchise history. This is an all-time Minnesota
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Dec 7, 2023 15:39:36 GMT -6 23 Replies
Wow! What a few weeks this has been. Dobbs takes this team to new heights, only to come crashing back down to earth against the Bears of all teams. I am sure most of you have seen the chart online, but the fact the Vikings have been the unluckiest team in the NFL this season and still have 6 wins is fitting. A lot of high highs and some low lows this season, all leading to a crazy offseason next year. In this breakdown we will look back to see how Dobbs has done with this team compared to when Kirk was still running the show. I also want to look forward to the final 5 games of the season and try to find some areas this team has an advantage over their opponents. If you have missed any of the previous breakdowns you can find them all here: Week 1 | Week 4 | Week 8.


EPA by Player – Powell is WR3


Diving back in on EPA by player and there are not a lot of changes at the top. Addison, TJ, and JJ still lead the pack. The biggest addition is now seeing Dobbs (as a runner) pop up into the top 5 for total EPA. Not only is he a top 5 in total EPA, but he is 2nd behind only JJ in EPA/Play if you remove any players with 5 or fewer touches. There is no denying that Dobbs is pretty great when he decides to run. The other thing of note is how Brandon Powell continues to be in the top 5 for the team. Not only is he the #3 WR from a total EPA and EPA/Play standpoint, but it is not even close when comparing him to Osborn. Powell is averaging 40 times more in EPA/Play than Osborn, and only has 16 fewer touches. Both players are free agents after this season, but if the team wants to resign one, Powell is the clear and obvious choice as of right now.





On to the bad. First, Mattison continues to be BAD for the team. Not only is he the worst player on the team from a total EPA standpoint (by a MILE!), he is the 5th worst runner in the entire league for total EPA, and 3rd worst in EPA/Play (min 125 rushes). This holds true if you look at just the last 5 weeks as well. He is 6th worst in total EPA, and 3rd worst in EPA/Play amongst runner with at least 50 touches since week 9. I hate to say it, but the Alexander Mattison experiment was a dud. Especially considering Ty Chandler is a top 5 skill player on the team in total EPA. In fact, Chandler is a top 20 RB for total EPA, and top 10 in EPA/Play for all RBs with at least 30 carries this season. I know his pass protection is lacking, but if you give him some time and reps at it, hopefully he can improve. Plus, he is so much better in the running game you have to use him more.


Now we are going to talk about the REALLY bad. Josh Dobbs as a passer is just not good at all. Currently, Josh Dobbs has the 4 worst total EPA and EPA/Play for all QBs with at least 200 pass attempts this season. This obviously includes his time with Arizona with lesser weapons and offensive play calling. However, if I adjust to only look at QBs with at least 100 pass attempts since week 9, he is 5th worst in EPA/Play and 6th worst in total EPA. This is not ideal considering the talent surrounding him on the team. I know KOC went with Dobbs, and I understand why, but based on these metrics it feels like Mullens or even Hall might be a better option. In fact, I went to look at the week 9 stats for all QBs to see how Hall did in his limited playing time. SMALL SAMPLE SIZE ALERT! Hall had the highest EPA/Play of any passer in week 9 at 0.816 EPA/Play. Now he only threw 6 passes, but completed 5 of them for 78 yards and was starting to get into a groove before the injury. I know this could easily turn back into a pumpkin with Hall after another quarter or two of play, but call me crazy in saying I want to see more from him before the season is done.





Team EPA – This Defense is Legit


Now let’s look at EPA for the team as a whole. First, I wanted to pull the basic offense vs defense EPA chart to see where the Vikings sit. As you can see in the first chart below, the Vikings continue to be middle of the pack in offensive EPA/Play, however they are officially a top 10 defense, and getting ever closer to a top 5 one. We have seen this defense continue to grow and shine as the season has gone along. In the second chart below, I split their first 6 games and their last 6 games on defense. Your Minnesota Vikings have a top 4 defense from an EPA/Play standpoint in the last 7 weeks of football! They were a middle of the pack defense the first 6 weeks, but have really shown what they can be in the last 7 weeks. The 4th best overall defensive EPA/Play allowed in the entire league. The only teams better were the Dolphins (-0.134), Ravens (-0.128), and Jets (-0.110) compared to the Vikings at -0.093 EPA/Play allowed.








If you remember from my previous breakdowns, the offense came to a halt when it reached the RedZone early on this season. Well, time to check in and see if that has improved since Dobbs took over. First off, on the overall chart for the whole season (1st chart below) you can see the Vikings are still a bottom 7-10 team in the RedZone for the season as a whole. Breaking this down by with Kirk and without Kirk, there has been some improvement. The 2nd chart below shows the EPA/Play in the RedZone in weeks 1-8 left to right, and weeks 9-13 up and down. You can see that the Vikings had the 3rd worst EPA/Play in the RedZone in the first 8 weeks of the season. Since then, they are right smack dab in the middle of the league. Obviously, you want that to be higher, but the fact it has improved that much since Kirk was injured is a big reason they won even the 2 games they did. This also shows the benefit of a mobile QB in the RedZone and their ability to just escape and make something out of nothing.








Success Rates – Stay Aggressive in the 4th KOC!


Moving on to success rates for the individual players and the team as a whole. JJ still clear and away the leader for the team despite not playing in 7 weeks. After that, here comes Powell! Only 39 targets, but 22 of those targets have resulted in a successful play. This puts Powell 44th among all RB, TE, and WRs so far this season with at least 35 targets/touches. Addison has slowed a bit since week 8, which isn’t a big shocker considering no more Kirk, and teams have focused on him with JJ out. He is still really good, but he is not quite ready to take on that WR1 role for the team. There are 39 players with at least 100 rushes so far this season. Of those 39 players, Mattison is 31st in success rate. Another feather in the cap of him no longer being the lead RB1 for this team. He has a role, but it is not as the main runner all 3 downs.





The success rate by quarter for the Vikings offense and the opposing offense continues to be a fun chart to look at. This team just has not been good in the 4th quarter on offense. The defense has evened things out and keeps each team under 50% no matter the quarter. That, and they are at their best when they get to the 4th quarter. The offense though has not particularly gotten better as the season has gone along. The 5 worst weeks in the 4th quarter for the offense were weeks 1, 4, 6, 8, and 10 (ranged from 9.1% to 23.5% success rate). The 5 best weeks were weeks 5, 3, 9, 2, and 12 (ranging from 44% to 56.3%), including their last game against the Bears being their best performance in the 4th. The offense ranks as the 20th, 9th, 20th, and 30th best for success rate in the 1st through 4th quarters. Not great, and something KOC needs to look at. Can’t call the 4th quarter differently than the rest of the game if it was working. Stay aggressive!





Things are about to get interesting.


The next few weeks became all the more interesting after the back to back losses to the Broncos and Bears, combined with Green Bay and the Rams jumping up to 6 wins. The division is more than likely out of reach now after the loss to the Bears and the Lions taking care of business this past week. It would take one of the biggest falls in recent memory for the Lions to not win at least 2 more games in the next 4 weeks to make it impossible for the Vikings or even Packers to catch them. HOWEVER, the 6 and 7 seed are fully up for grabs. Realistically, the Vikings, Packers, Seahawks, and Rams are the 4 teams vying for the final 2 spots. Below are the remaining schedules for each of the 4 teams, and how I see them playing out.





So much will ride on that GB game in week 17. A loss there and  the Vikings might miss the playoffs, or at the very least become the 7th seed with 8 or 9 wins, and go to DAL/PHI on Wild Card Weekend. Not ideal at all. The 6th seed will go to Detroit WC Weekend, and that makes me feel better about the chances of an upset. Either way, the next 5 weeks are going to be crazy, and every week truly matters.


What’s next?


So obviously I already spoiled what I think happens next, but let’s dig a little deeper into each game and see why I think the Vikings will get that 6th seed. Below is the quick breakdown of EPA and success rates for the upcoming opponents. As we discussed before, this Vikings defense is pretty good. They have the 8th best defense from and EPA/Play allowed! Also, the upcoming defenses the Vikings face are not all that intimidating. All 4 of them are in the bottom half of the league in both EPA/Play allowed and success rate allowed. Here is hoping KOC and Dobbs/Mullens/Hall can take advantage and get into the playoffs.



At Las Vegas | 12/10/2023 | 3:05pm

You have to win this game. A rookie QB with an interim head coach leading the team. You are clearly the better team on paper and on the field. WIN THIS GAME!


BOLD PREDICTION: The Vikings offense has 0 turnovers and the defense forces at least 2.


WIN MIN 27 – LV 17


At Cincinnati | 12/16/2023 | 12:00pm


This game comes down to how well Jake Browning continues to play for the Bengals. If he plays like he did against the Jaguars against the Vikings, I don’t think they can win it. I am going to say the Bengals pull it off. If this was in Minnesota I would pick the Vikings, it is just that close. If the Vikings do end up winning this game, they are almost assuredly making the playoffs unless they lose their last 3 games.


BOLD PREDICTION: JJ goes off for 150+ receiving yards.


LOSS CIN 28 – MIN 27


Home Against Detroit | 12/24/2023 | 12:00pm


This game could seal the division win for Detroit. Assuming they beat the Bears and Broncos, this game would be win #11 and match the best record the Vikings or Packers could get. However, if the Lions do lose to the Broncos this game could be a huge divisional game to setup a division title showdown in week 18. I am going to go with a win here, mainly because it is in Minnesota, and the Lions might be looking ahead a bit to the Cowboys the following week.


BOLD PREDICTION: The Lions have their second worst offensive outing of the year scoring under 20 points.


WIN MIN 24 – DET 17


Home Against Green Bay | 12/31/2023 | 7:20pm


This game determines a lot of the playoff seeding in the NFC. A win against Green Bay after wins against LV and Detroit earlier more than likely guarantees a playoff spot. Call me crazy or a homer, but I don’t fully trust that Jordan Love is actually a great QB. Is he a solid QB that can win some games, sure. But I do not think he can take on this defense as it is currently playing.


BOLD PREDICTION: Love is intercepted twice in the game.


WIN MIN 23 – GB 16


At Detroit | 1/7/2023 | TBD


Here we are. The final game of the year. If the previous 4 games go as I predicted and the Vikings are 9-7 going into this game, this is probably a nothing game for either team. The only exception is if the Lions lose 2 of their 3 other games. Then this game will be the division title matchup, and probably the final regular season game of the year on Sunday Night Football. I anticipate the Lions beating both the Bears and Broncos so this game will be nothing for them, and more than likely the Vikings already have a playoff spot secured. In that case both teams rest players and don’t game plan a lot in order to preserve their best for the wildcard round rematch the following week. Give me a Vikings win, but I don’t feel great about it at all.


BOLD PREDICTION: Hunter plays some and gets at least 1 sack to give him 20+ for the season.


WIN MIN 21 – DET 14



There you have it. The Vikings finish 10-7 and get the 6 seed to go on the road to face the Lions for the 3rd time in 4 weeks. That or they get some good luck finally and the Lions lose to the Broncos and the Vikings are hosting another playoff game. As always, discuss below, and let me know if you have any questions or would like to see a deeper dive into some of these metrics. I will be back in the final week of the season or after the final game to breakdown the season as a whole and look forward to the anticipated playoff game. TF


All data exported from the NFLVerse in RStudio.

Wow! What a few weeks this has been. Dobbs takes this team to new heights, only to come crashing back down to earth against the Bears of all teams. I am sure most of you have seen the chart online,
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Dec 3, 2023 16:42:06 GMT -6 0 Replies
Through its first five years, the National Football League was a very shaky and questionable business. The most popular sports in the 1920s were baseball, boxing, college football, and horse racing. Some folks probably sprinkled in tennis and golf before they considered paying attention to professional football. Joe Carr, George Halas, Curly Lambeau, Chris O’Brien, Carl Storck, and the rest of the league’s leaders were scraping, scratching, doing everything they could to gain notice and traction with the media and public. Enter Harold “Red” Grange.

The 1920s introduced the nation to sports celebrities. Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey, Bobby Jones, Helen Wills, Lou Gehrig, Man o’ War, and Bill Tilden thrilled a public that finally had some spare time. In his three years at Illinois, Red Grange joined those sports celebrities. People flocked to the stadium to see him live and to theaters to see his highlights. The NFL needed him. They needed him bad. 1925 was 11 years before the first NFL Draft. Every potential professional football player was essentially a free agent. In an attempt to gain a bit of respect and credibility, the NFL had established a policy of no tampering with college football players that still had remaining eligibility. Grange’s last football game as an innocent University of Illinois student-athlete was at Ohio State on November 21, 1925. A day later, he was sitting on the sidelines at Cubs Park for the Chicago Bears-Green Bay Packers game. He was watching his new teammates shut out the Packers 21-0. Four days later, he played for the Bears against the Chicago Cardinals on Thanksgiving. 120 hours after his final college football game, Red Grange played in his first NFL game. Perhaps he wasn’t so innocent.

If the general public wasn’t so thrilled to see Red Grange play professional football, they might’ve been suspicious as to how Grange signed with the Bears in only a matter of hours. The reality was that it had been in the works for weeks, maybe months. All of that and all that was to come was crafted by Grange’s agent. A theater owner named C.C. Pyle had an expansive plan for Grange, the Bears, and himself. C.C. Pyle was a piece of work but this story isn’t really about him. This story is about the ridiculous football marathon that kicked off soon after Grange joined the Bears.

It’s really no stretch to say that the addition of Red Grange to the roster of the Chicago Bears and the NFL put player, team, and league on a whole other trajectory. All three needed each other. All three looked to profit from the new union. What happened after Grange joined the Bears could never happen today. It shouldn’t have happened in 1925. Grange and his new teammates played a lot of football.

Most of the following is taken from Chris Willis’ excellent and incredibly thorough Red Grange: The Life and Legacy of the NFL’s First Superstar.

Red Grange’s Football Tour:

After playing in his final eight-game season for the University of Illinois, Grange played in the final two games of the Chicago Bears 1925 schedule:

11/26/25: Chicago Cardinals
11/29/25: Columbus Tigers

That was just the beginning. With Grange on the team, George Halas and the Bears went on a tour. It was a barnstorming tour with two parts. Here’s the first part.

Wednesday, December 2, at St. Louis All-Stars
Saturday, December 5, at Frankford Yellow Jackets (NFL game)
Sunday, December 6, at New York Giants (NFL game)
Tuesday, December 8, at Washington All-Stars
Wednesday, December 9, Providence Steam Roller (NFL game)
Thursday, December 10, Pittsburgh All-Stars
Saturday, December 12, Detroit Panthers (NFL game)
Sunday, December 13, New York Giants (NFL game)

Over 11 days, Grange and the Bears played eight games. At one point in the tour, they played six games in eight days. It was an insane schedule. The Bears had 20 players on their roster for these games. In those days, players played offense, defense, and special teams. Much to the disappointment of the fans in the stands, Grange did not play every minute of every game. The highlight of the tour was the December 6 game in New York. Attendance for the game was estimated between 65,000 and 70,000. Those were unimagined numbers for the NFL. The Bears won that game, 19-7. The crowd was thrilled when Grange returned an interception for a score to clinch the win. A frequently told story from this tour is from the stop in Washington D.C. Grange and Halas met President Calvin Coolidge at the White House. Illinois senator William McKinley made the introductions. “Mr. President, this is George Halas and Red Grange with the Chicago Bears.” President Coolidge responded by saying, “Young men, I’m very happy to meet you. I always did like animal acts.”

During the Pittsburgh game, Grange injured his left arm while throwing a block on an interception return. It would impact his play for the final two games of this part of the tour.

After a week a week of rest, Grange and the Bears continued barnstorming. The second part of the tour hit the south and west.

Friday, December 25, 1925, at Coral Gables (FL) All-Stars
Friday, January 1, 1926, at Tampa (FL) Cardinals
Saturday, January 2, 1926, at Jacksonville (FL) All-Stars
Sunday, January 10, 1926, at New Orleans All-Southerns
Saturday, January 16, 1026, at Los Angeles Tigers
Sunday, January 17, 1926, at San Diego California All-Stars
Sunday, January 24, 1926, at San Francisco Tigers
Saturday, January 30, 1926, at Portland All-Stars
Sunday, January 31, 1926, at Seattle Washington All-Stars

Again, four days after completing an eight-game college football season, Red Grange played in his first NFL game for the Chicago Bears. Over two months, from 11/26/25 to 1/31/26, Grange and the Bears played 19 football games. Several of those games were on zero days rest. This was the 60-minute era. Players didn’t have the luxury of sitting and resting while the defense, offense, or special teams took the field. It was a 60-minute grind. It was a grind that Grange and the Bears did over and over again for two months. The only real break over those two months was the 12 days between the two parts of the barnstorming tour. At least it was a little time for Grange to rest his injured arm. The first part of the tour was mostly against NFL teams. The second part was mostly against “all-star” lineups. Those “all-star” teams might’ve been a little short on “stars” but they weren’t always a bunch of slappies. Stanford great and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Ernie Nevers played in the Florida games. University of Washington All-American George “Wildcat” Wilson played in the west coast games.

Red Grange collected $125,000 for his first season as a professional football player. That was an unfathomable amount for the time. C.C. Pyle did alright for himself as well. In some respects, this initial business relationship had George Halas working for Grange and Pyle. Halas didn’t see as much take-home cash as his partners but he saw enough to keep his young team afloat during very difficult times. More important than profits for Halas and the NFL was the attention ignited by Grange and the insane barnstorming tour. Not every game was a sellout but every game brought much-needed attention to professional football. Some historians and pundits have said that Grange saved the NFL. I wouldn’t go that far but it was the first big step in the right direction for professional football.





Through its first five years, the National Football League was a very shaky and questionable business. The most popular sports in the 1920s were baseball, boxing, college football, and horse racing.
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Nov 18, 2023 11:02:32 GMT -6 0 Replies
Our new show is out and we talk all things Vikings, and preview the Broncos game. And don't forget, we're doing a live watch party for the Broncos game SUnday night, starting at about 6:45 CT on our YT channel We hope you join us, but for now, enjoy our show!


Our new show is out and we talk all things Vikings, and preview the Broncos game. And don't forget, we're doing a live watch party for the Broncos game SUnday night, starting at about 6:45 CT on our
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Nov 12, 2023 0:34:08 GMT -6 0 Replies
Today, Josh Dobbs will start his first game for the Minnesota Vikings. He’ll be the third Vikings quarterback to start a game over the past three weeks. That’s a remarkable quarterback churn by any measure. My first days with the Vikings saw Fran Tarkenton start every game. For much of the 1970s, there was no quarterback question. It was Tarkenton. It feels like the Vikings have been searching for their next franchise quarterback every year since Tarkenton retired after the 1978 season.

Since their first season in 1961, the Vikings have selected four quarterbacks in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Tommy Kramer (1977)
Daunte Culpepper (1999)
Christian Ponder (2011)
Teddy Bridgewater (2014)

Tommy Kramer was always fun and often great when he was on the field. He wasn’t on the field enough. Daunte Culpepper was on an upward trajectory until a knee injury ended his time in Minnesota. Christian Ponder was drafted to be a quarterback that he never had the talent to be. As with Culpepper, a horrible knee injury ended whatever future Teddy Bridgewater might’ve had with the Vikings. Each of the four quarterbacks was drafted to be the next great Vikings quarterback. Two showed great potential, one had potential, and the fourth was Ponder. The Vikings are still searching for their next great quarterback.

Considering that Tarkenton is the Vikings all-time franchise quarterback, it’s shocking that the team once traded him away. At least the same decision-makers had the bright idea to bring him back five years later.

The Vikings have a history of quarterback inconsistency. Through 62 years and 9 games, Fran Tarkenton and Kirk Cousins are the only Vikings quarterbacks to consistently start games. It was and is shocking to see either miss a game. During his 18-year career, Tarkenton suffered his only significant injury in his 17th season. Cousins suffered the first significant injury of his career two weeks ago, his 12th season.

The past three weeks of Vikings quarterback inconsistency had me thinking about all of the starting quarterbacks in Vikings franchise history. As a rookie, Fran Tarkenton was supposed to make the first start in that history. Just before kickoff, head coach Norm Van Brocklin informed his rookie that veteran George Shaw would start the first game against the Chicago Bears. Before the first quarter was over, Tarkenton entered the game, took apart the Bears, and created a legend. His first start wasn’t as great as his fist appearance. Here’s hoping that Dobbs’ first start is the opposite.

Seeing a new quarterback start each game the past three weeks got me thinking about all of the quarterbacks to make starts for the Vikings. I had to find them all. The following are those quarterbacks and their number of starts for each season.

1961:
George Shaw (4)
Fran Tarkenton (10)

1962
Fran Tarkenton (14)

1963:
Fran Tarkenton (13)
Ron Vander Kelen (1)

1964:
Fran Tarkenton ((14)

1965:
Fran Tarkenton (14)

1966:
Fran Tarkenton (12)
Ron Vander Kelen (1)
Bob Berry (1)

1967:
Joe Kapp (11)
Ron Vander Kelen (3)

1968:
Joe Kapp (14)

1969:
Joe Kapp (13)
Gary Couzzo (1)

1970:
Gary Couzzo (12)
Bob Lee (2)

1971:
Gary Couzzo (8)
Bob Lee (4)
Norm Snead (2)

1972:
Fran Tarkenton (14)

1973:
Fran Tarkenton (14)

1974:
Fran Tarkenton (13)
Bob Berry (1)

1975:
Fran Tarkenton (14)

1976:
Fran Tarkenton (13)
Bob Lee (1)

1977:
Fran Tarkenton (9)
Bob Lee (4)
Tommy Kramer (1)

1978:
Fran Tarkenton (16)

1979:
Tommy Kramer (16)

1980:
Tommy Kramer (15)
Steve Dils (1)

1981:
Tommy Kramer (14)
Steve Dils (2)

1982:
Tommy Kramer (9)

1983:
Steve Dils (12)
Tommy Kramer (3)
Wade Wilson (1)

1984:
Tommy Kramer (9)
Wade Wilson (5)
Archie Manning (2)

1985:
Tommy Kramer (15)
Wade Wilson (1)

1986:
Tommy Kramer (13)
Wade Wilson (3)

1987:
Wade Wilson (7)
Tony Adams (3) - replacement games
Tommy Kramer (5)

1988:
Wade Wilson (10)
Tommy Kramer (6)

1989:
Wade Wilson (12)
Tommy Kramer (4)

1990:
Rich Gannon (12)
Wade Wilson (4)

1991:
Rich Gannon (11)
Wade Wilson (5)

1992:
Rich Gannon (12)
Sean Salisbury (4)

1993:
Jim McMahon (12)
Sean Salisbury (4)

1994:
Warren Moon (15)
Sean Salisbury (1)

1995:
Warren Moon (16)

1996:
Warren Moon (8)
Brad Johnson (8)

1997:
Brad Johnson (13)
Randall Cunningham (3)

1998:
Randall Cunningham (14)
Brad Johnson (2)

1999:
Jeff George (10)
Randall Cunningham (6)

2000:
Daunte Culpepper (16)

2001:
Daunte Culpepper (11)
Spergon Wynn (2)
Todd Bouman (3)

2002:
Daunte Culpepper (16)

2003:
Daunte Culpepper (14)
Gus Frerotte (2)

2004:
Daunte Culpepper (16)

2005:
Daunte Culpepper (7)
Brad Johnson (9)

2006:
Brad Johnson (14)
Tarvaris Jackson (2)

2007:
Tarvaris Jackson (12)
Kelly Holcomb (3)
Brooks Bollinger (1)

2008:
Gus Frerotte (11)
Tarvaris Jackson (5)

2009:
Brett Favre (16)

2010:
Brett Favre (13)
Tarvaris Jackson (1)
Joe Webb (2)

2011:
Donovan McNabb (6)
Christian Ponder (10)

2012:
Christian Ponder (16)

2013:
Christian Ponder (9)
Josh Freeman (1)
Matt Cassel (6)

2014:
Matt Cassel (3)
Teddy Bridgewater (12)
Christian Ponder (1)

2015:
Teddy Bridgewater (16)

2016:
Shaun Hill (1)
Sam Bradford (15)

2017:
Sam Bradford (2)
Case Keenum (14)

2018:
Kirk Cousins (16)

2019:
Kirk Cousins (15)
Sean Mannion (1)

2020:
Kirk Cousins (16)

2021:
Kirk Cousins (16)
Sean Mannion (1)

2022:
Kirk Cousins (17)

2023:
Kirk Cousins (8)
Jaren Hall (1)
Josh Dobbs (1)

62 years and 10 games, the Minnesota Vikings have started 41 quarterbacks.

George Shaw
Fran Tarkenton
Ron Vander Kelen
Bob Berry
Joe Kapp
Gary Couzzo
Bob Lee
Norm Snead
Tommy Kramer
Steve Dils
Wade Wilson
Archie Manning
Tony Adams - replacement games
Rich Gannon
Sean Salisbury
Jim McMahon
Warren Moon
Brad Johnson
Randall Cunningham
Jeff George
Daunte Culpepper
Spergon Wynn
Todd Bouman
Gus Frerotte
Tarvaris Jackson
Kelly Holcomb
Brooks Bollinger
Brett Favre
Joe Webb
Donovan McNabb
Christian Ponder
Josh Freeman
Matt Cassel
Teddy Bridgewater
Shaun Hill
Sam Bradford
Case Keenum
Kirk Cousins
Sean Mannion
Jaren Hall
Josh Dobbs

Here’s to Josh Dobbs’ first start being more like Fran Tarkenton’s than Josh Freeman.


Today, Josh Dobbs will start his first game for the Minnesota Vikings. He’ll be the third Vikings quarterback to start a game over the past three weeks. That’s a remarkable quarterback churn by any
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Nov 11, 2023 12:56:06 GMT -6 0 Replies
This week's VR is out. We talk about the week that was, really dig into Josh Dobbs and what to expect moving forward, preview the Saints, and trivia returns. 


This week's VR is out. We talk about the week that was, really dig into Josh Dobbs and what to expect moving forward, preview the Saints, and trivia returns.  https://www
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Nov 3, 2023 16:47:11 GMT -6 14 Replies
“I hurt myself today, to see if I still feel. I focus on the pain, the only thing that’s real.” Yep, that feels about right. Just when the team turned the corner and was showing what they could be, this happens. I have never been a huge Kirk fan, but man this sucks. He was playing so well, the team had started to fully realize its identity, and the defense has been playing lights out the last 3 weeks. Due to the injury I plan to focus on the defense and skill position players on offense for this quarterly update. We will once again look at EPA and Success Rates, I will also throw in some PFF grade analysis.


EPA by Player – RESIGN DANIELLE!


Lets start where we usually do with the EPA by player through the first 8 weeks of the season. As you can see below, Addison is a star and has really come into his own the last few weeks. He now leads the team in total EPA and EPA/play (Mundt is better per play, but only has 2 plays) with Jefferson out. It has also become increasingly clear that Mattison is just not a great lead back. After the first 4 weeks of the season, Mattison was averaging -0.096 EPA/Play on 74 total plays. He is now nearly twice as bad from an EPA/play stand point at -0.178 per play. Compare this to Akers who has settled in as a solid RB with a +0.059 EPA/Play on his 39 touches. Akers has had 30 runs since joining the Vikings ahead of week 3. He ranks 15th of 54 total RBs with at least 30 carries since week 3 in total EPA (0.588) and EPA/Play (0.019). Compare that to Mattison in the same time frame who is 39th in EPA/Play (-0.135) and 43rd in total EPA (-11.706). I was happy to see Akers getting his own series to be the lead back on Sunday in Green Bay, but it is time for him to be the main guy with Mattison filling in from time to time. Also, don’t sleep on Ty Chandler. He has limited touches, but is doing a lot with those touches.





I haven’t done this before, but wanted to see how much havoc Danielle has been causing on the defensive side of the ball from an EPA standpoint. I pulled up every defensive player with a sack to see the total EPA lost for their sacks. Danielle is 8th in the entire league from a total EPA lost by the possessing team from a sack. Below you can see the top 10 for the league, including Harrison Smith making an appearance at #10!





Team EPA – Don’t look now, the RedZone offense is improving.


When shifting to EPA from a team standpoint, a few developments stick out. First, lets look at the defensive side of things. In the chart below, I put each team’s defensive EPA/play allowed split by the first 5 weeks of the season (x-axis) and the last 3 weeks (y-axis). As you can see in the first 5 weeks the defense was middle of the pack at best (12th worst overall). In the last 3 weeks, not only are they in the top tier of defenses, they are the 4th best defense from an EPA/play allowed standpoint! The only teams with a better defense in the last 3 weeks are the Jets, Giants, and Jaguars. If the defense continues down this path, we could be looking at a top 10 defense by the end of the season.




Next, I wanted to circle back to the RedZone offense that we looked at 4 weeks ago. If you remember, the Vikings had the worst offense in the league when inside the opponents 20-yard line. While their overall RedZone EPA/Play is still bottom 5 in the league, it has improved. After week 4, the team was averaging nearly -0.4 EPA/play in the RedZone as an offense. Now they are sitting at just under -0.2 EPA/Play in the same situations. The difference is even more glaring when I put the first 5 weeks vs the last 3 weeks RedZone EPA on the chart (2nd chart below). Here you can see that in the first 5 weeks, the offense was virtually tied with the Giants for the 2nd worst RedZone offense (-0.354 EPA/Play). In the last 3 weeks, they are firmly in the top half of the league, and actually come in with the 8th highest EPA/Play in the RedZone (0.119).








All of these charts showing the drastic improvement in the last 3 weeks, just makes the Cousins injury that much more heartbreaking. Hopefully the defense can continue its run and Jaren Hall/Josh Dobbs aren’t a total disaster. If that can happen, there is enough here for the team to still win some games.


Success Rates – I think we can move on from the Mattison experiment.


Switching gears to the success rates for the team, similar trends continue as we saw 4 weeks ago. Mattison and Osborn continue to disappoint, and JJ, Addison and TJ continue to stand out. Mattison in-particular is the worst player on the team with at least 20 touches from a success rate standpoint. He not only is the worst on the team, but he is one of only 18 RBs in the entire league with at least 100 rushing attempts. Of those 18 RBs, he is the 4th worst in Success Rate (43.4%). The only players worse than him are Barkley (38.2%), Pierce (40.4%), and Jacobs (43.2%). The 18 RBs also average a 48% success rate overall so he is well behind the pack. Looking at KJ Osborn we see some similar trends/issues. He is the 2nd worst on the team, and when you look at all pass catchers in the league with at least 40 targets (65 qualifying players), he is the 8th worst. His 42.6% success rate is more than 10% short of the 65-player average of 53.8%. Putting this into even more perspective, JJ hasn’t played for 3 weeks, only has 6 more targets/plays than KJ does now, and still has 14 more successful plays (34) than KJ (20). When JJ comes back, I will be shocked if KJ see more than a couple targets per game. He is clearly the 4th best option in the passing game now, and that will show in a week or two when JJ returns.





Looking at the Vikings offense and opposing offenses success rates by quarter again, the continual improvement trend shines again. After week 4, the Vikings offense only had 1 quarter with a success rate above 40%, and the defense had given up a 50%+ success rate in 3 of the 4 quarters. Now, as you can see in the chart below, the offense is above 44% in the first 3 quarters, and the defense only has 1 quarter with a success rate above 50%. The improvement by the offense in the 1st quarter since week 4 is nothing short of amazing. In the first 4 weeks of the season they had a total success rate of just 32%. In the last 4 weeks, that success rate is 51.9%! The 51.9% success rate in the 1st quarter since week 4, ranks as the 12th best rate in the NFL. The first 4 weeks rate ranked as the 5th worst in the entire league.





PFF Grades – Look at the OLine!!


I wanted to take a second to look at some of the PFF grades for the players on the team. As with any metric or analytics, never use 1 of them as the end all be all to if a player or team is good or not. That being said, if you use the PFF Grades, EPA, Success Rates, eye test, etc. all together. It will give you a really good idea as to the quality of a player at their position. As a final reminder, PFF grades work as follows. If a player gets a grade below 60 that is not good, 60-70 is considered average, anything 70-80 is pretty good, 80-90 is exceptional, and 90+ is all-pro caliber play. With that being said, let’s dive into the OL grades first and see how they are doing. Obviously, I am not the first to tell you this, but the Vikings OL is actually pretty dang good now! I know that is crazy to think about, but we finally made it. The grades took a bit of a hit this past weekend against the Packers, but overall everyone is at a minimum a solid OL player. Below is a chart to show you each starters grades and their rank among qualified players at their respective position.





As you can see, Darrisaw and O’Neill are elite and easily a top 2 tackle pair in the league and it might be 2nd. Risner is going through a few growing pains, but the top 15 LG PBLK grade so far is encouraging. Bradbury was a top 10 center prior to the GB game, so that isn’t ideal to see it shrinking back to his career average. However, keep in mind this team has played 2 really good DLs in the last 2 weeks. Ingram is still Ingram, but he at least seems to be serviceable now and not a complete train wreck. In the OL world that is the biggest thing you can hope for. If your worst player is even just average, then you have a pretty dang good OL by modern NFL standards. The best way to see this is looking at the team grades for the PBLK and RBLK categories. They have a top 3 grade in the entire NFL in both categories, with the Eagles and Lions as the only other teams to even just be top 5 in both grades (Lions are also top 3 in both).



Next, let’s give some defensive players some love. First and foremost, Danielle Hunter is your sack leader in the league! He has been playing lights out this season, and I will not jump off the extend him train until he officially signs with a different team in March. We all know BFlo is using the 3 safeties all over the field, and it appears to be working. Bynum is a top 5 graded safety with at least 250 snaps this season. Metellus and Smith are also both top 15 safeties this year. All 3 of them have a 73+ DEF grade by PFF, with only 18 safeties reaching that mark. Finally, I wanted to give a shout out to Mekhi Blackmon who has a 70 overall defensive grade from PFF, the highest of any CB for the Vikings so far. He is the 36th highest graded CB with at least 100 snaps. The other 2 Vikings CBs to qualify are Akayleb Evans and Murphy. They both have a sub 60 grade, with Murphy sitting at just 45 overall (a bottom 10 grade).


All is not quite lost. I think.


This breakdown really makes the Kirk injury that much worse. This team was really starting to come into their own and really make something of this season. They still can be uber competitive, and I predict they still finish at or around .500 for the year. This defense is always attacking, and it is working more times than it isn’t. Are they still going to give up some big plays here and there, is the run defense still meh at best, of course. However, BFlo has big time buy in from the players, and you can tell they really love playing in this system and for him. The offense, while without a top 10-12 QB now, still has a solid if not pretty good OL and in my opinion the top collection of pass catchers in the league. If Jaren Hall can just be okay. If he can be what Teddy was in year 2, or what Keenum was in 2017, or even what Ponder was in 2012, this team can still win 4 or 5 more games. The schedule is favorable, not just from the offenses this team faces (all of the next 4 opponents are in/near the bottom half of the league in offensive EPA/Play. It is also decently favorable in the defenses Hall will face. An interesting few weeks ahead, that is for sure.


What’s next?


Speaking of the next few weeks, here is a quick breakdown of the next 4 opponents current EPA/Play and Success rates on both sides of the field. As you can see, on average the Vikings will be facing 4 very middle of the pack or even bad offenses in the next 4 weeks. Then, it is a fairly mixed bag of opposing defenses. You have a clearly top 5-10 defense in the league in New Orleans. But after that, Atlanta is fine and then Denver and Chicago are just plain bad.





Finally, before I get into my predictions for the next 4 weeks, I wanted to do a little gloating. Not often am I right on predicting the NFL (just look at my betting slips!) so when it happens I have to make sure and shout it from the rooftops. In my last breakdown, I predicted they would go 2-2 with losses to the Chiefs and 49ers. Half right! The main thing I wanted to talk about though was that I hit 2 bold predictions right, and I would not have been shocked if my final one hit if JJ was healthy and played at GB. I said Addison would be the leading Vikings WR against the Chiefs and that Fields would be sacked 4+ times. Yes, I was way way way off on my prediction for the 49ers game, but that game was a pleasant surprise and a win like that is never going to make me upset. So without further ado, here is how I see the next 4 weeks going for your Minnesota Vikings.





At Atlanta | 11/5/2023 | 12:00pm


This is a tough one to predict without know how Jaren Hall will look. If he comes out and plays even just okay, the Vikings will win this game. If he comes out and throws 2 picks in the first half and is benched for Dobbs, watch out, it could get ugly. I am going to say Hall is a decent QB on Sunday and the Viking squeak out a win against Heinicke and the Missing Bijans/Pitts.


BOLD PREDICTION: Hall throws for at least 225 yards and accounts for 2+ TDs including at least 1 rushing TD.


WIN MIN 20 – ATL 17


Home Against New Orleans | 11/12/2023 | 12:00pm


Hall, or even Dobbs, going up against this defense scares me. I don’t think they will be able to play clean enough to give the defense a chance. In fact, the only real way I see the Vikings winning this game is if the defense puts on a master class against Carr and forces 2+ turnovers. That or Jaren Hall is the next Tom Brady, but let’s not plan on that. I do think JJ has a really good game against NO, but it just isn’t enough to overcome 0 running game and some mistakes by Hall/Dobbs.


BOLD PREDICTION: The Vikings lose by double digits for the first time this season.


LOSS NO 23 – MIN 10


At Denver | 11/19/2023 | 7:20pm


Now this could be a good game. Something about it just screams nail bitter and it coming down to the final play of the game. If this was in Minnesota, I easily mark it as a win. With it being in Denver, the unknown at QB right now, and the Denver defense playing better the last couple weeks, I am going to say the Vikings lose by 3 after Joseph misses at least 1 field goal in the game.


BOLD PREDICTION: Spoiled this one, but Joseph misses a game tying/winning kick in the 4th quarter.


LOSS DEN 24 – MIN 21


Home Against Chicago | 11/27/2023 | 7:15pm


I do not care who is playing at QB for the Bears or the Vikings. This is a game this team has to win, and should win. Chicago has a not very good head coach, an offense that has no idea what it is doing, and an inability for its GM to sign an extension for any player. I just don’t see a way (barring another major injury) that this Vikings team loses to this Bears team.


BOLD PREDICTION: Danielle Hunter gets 2+ sacks giving him 15+ for the season and on pace to hit at least 20 by the end of the season.


WIN MIN 23 – CHI 13




This has the Vikings at 6-6 after 12 weeks going into their BYE. Not only would you have taken that after starting 0-3, but with the Kirk and JJ injuries that is a great performance. Enough that KOC should be in the Coach of the Year conversation. Hopefully you enjoyed this breakdown, and as always share your thoughts below and let me know if there is something else you would like me to dig into on the next breakdown. TF


All data exported from the NFLVerse in RStudio.

“I hurt myself today, to see if I still feel. I focus on the pain, the only thing that’s real.” Yep, that feels about right. Just when the team turned the corner and was showing what they could be,
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Nov 4, 2023 10:46:44 GMT -6 3 Replies
This week we welcome in PPF's very own to help us navigate the QB situation, the Ezra Cleveland trade, and he previews the Falcons game with us!


This week we welcome in PPF's very own @Danchat to help us navigate the QB situation, the Ezra Cleveland trade, and he previews the Falcons game with us! https://www.youtube
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Oct 21, 2023 18:32:05 GMT -6 0 Replies
Sorry we're late, but since the game is on Monday Night you've got plenty of time to watch! We cover the idiocy of fever social media fever dreams and rumors Farnsworth style and we preview the 49ers game.


Sorry we're late, but since the game is on Monday Night you've got plenty of time to watch! We cover the idiocy of fever social media fever dreams and rumors Farnsworth style and we preview the 49ers
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Oct 21, 2023 10:17:59 GMT -6 0 Replies
The Minnesota Vikings host the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night. This is a look back to a distant time in this modest rivalry. I recently acquired a game program for the Vikings-49ers game played on November 8, 1964 in Minnesota. This game was played at a time before the Super Bowl. This was a time of West and East Divisions in a 14-team National Football League. The Vikings and 49ers were West Division foes. They played each other twice in 1964. The first game was played on October 25 in San Francisco. That was the game in which the great Jim Marshall returned a fumble the wrong way. When he tossed the ball into the stands from the end zone, instead of scoring six points, he gave two points to the 49ers. Despite the historic and unforgettable mistake, Marshall helped lead the Vikings to a 27-22 win. The Vikings won the November 8th game as well, 24-7. 1964 was the fourth season in Vikings franchise history. It was their first winning season. Their 8-5-1 record was good for second in the West. Those eight wins were four behind the Baltimore Colts. That great Colts team would go on to lose to the underdog Cleveland Browns in the 1964 NFL Championship. 1964 was the 19th season in 49ers franchise history. The team played in the All-America Football Conference from 1946-49. They were pretty good. The 49ers joined the NFL in 1950. They were mostly good and always entertaining through the 1950s. They had the misfortune of being just behind great Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams teams in the West. The 1957 49ers team was a half away from playing the Browns for the NFL title. The Lions came back from a 24-7 halftime deficit and made that terrific 49ers team forgettable. The 1960s started with the 49ers in transition. Their great players from the 1950s had either retired or moved on. 1964 was a down year as they finished last in the West with a 4-10 record.

The Vikings and 49ers were West Division foes from 1961-66. The 1967 realignment that preceded the 1970 full merger with the American Football League separated them. It’s probably a stretch to say that the Vikings and 49ers have a rivalry. In my lifetime, when one team’s been good the other often hasn’t. Outside of the wonderful 1987 Divisional playoff, postseason matchups have been one-sided in the 49ers favor. At best, it’s a modest rivalry. Personally, it’s a significant rivalry as the 49ers are my local team. Loads of family and friends are 49er faithful. At least, they’re as faithful as 49ers fans tend to get. They are a very fair-weathered bunch. The Vikings, of course, are my team. I’ll always have that 1987 game. Anthony Carter, that pass rush, they put Joe Montana on the bench. Oh my, that game was beautiful.

Back to the November 8th Vikings-49ers game program.

The advertisements are fantastic.

There’s an article about Vikings trainer Fred Zamberletti. He was the Vikings trainer from 1961-98. He was on the sidelines for every Vikings preseason, regular season, and postseason game from 1961 to December 24, 2011. He was a living team icon. It’s a little wild to see a young Zamberletti in only his fourth year with the Vikings.

Roster size. The Vikings had 39 players listed in the program. The 49ers had 38. With so few roster spots, it’s amazing that the Vikings had room for four backs. The 49ers had five. It was a different game.

There were some eventual Hall of Famers on each team.
Vikings:
Fran Tarkenton
Mick Tingelhoff
Carl Eller

Vikings head coach Norm Van Brocklin was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his playing days with the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles.

49ers:
Jimmy Johnson
Dave Wilcox

49ers head coach Jack Christiansen was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his playing days with the Detroit Lions.

Some interesting 49ers roster nuggets.
Billy Kilmer is best known for his quarterbacking days with the Washington Redskins in the 1970s. It’s interesting to see him playing halfback for the 49ers in in the 1960s.

For some, flanker Bernie Casey might be better known as an actor.

Many know Howard Mudd as one of the best offensive line coaches in the history of the NFL. He was an outstanding guard for the 49ers. He made the 1960s All-Decade Team and should get more Hall of Fame consideration than he’s received. I was initially surprised to see him as a backup for this game but realized that 1964 was his rookie season. For some reason, he’s listed as Harold Mudd in the program.

Left side linebacker Dave Wilcox is the father of current Cal head coach Justin Wilcox.

Speaking of Cal, 49ers right side linebacker Matt Hazeltine was one of the greatest Golden Bears.

Speaking of left side and right side linebackers, defenses of the era were often aligned left-right rather than weak-strong.

49ers quarterback John Brodie is another player that should get some Hall of Fame consideration. He was the league MVP in 1970. He passed for more than 2900 yards three times during a time when few quarterbacks did such a thing. He led the 49ers to consecutive Conference Championship games in 1970 and 1971.

Through this program, it’s fun to look back at a Vikings-49ers game played nearly 60 years ago. It’s on to the present and Monday night’s game. Skol!






The Minnesota Vikings host the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night. This is a look back to a distant time in this modest rivalry. I recently acquired a game program for the Vikings-49ers game played
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Oct 10, 2023 19:17:34 GMT -6 5 Replies
This past summer I wrote a piece trying to reflect how much on-field "return" the Vikings received in 2022 relative to the investment into those players - that article can be found in the Purple Pain Original Contect Section here: link. The basic premise was to explore how well the Vikings investments (rookie contracts, player extensions, etc.) paid off in 2022 and what 2023 might look like.

Now that we're approx. 30% into the 2023 season, I think it's worth exploring what dividends the Vikings are actually seeing vs. the investment that was made. 

There are two sources that I use to look at the values: Spotrac's Team Value Rankings and OvertheCap's (OTC) individual player evaluations. 

Spotrac's Team Value Rankings
Their "Value Rankings" consist of a sum of a team's individual qualifying player "TVS" (True Value Score), which is made up of their current avg salary against production points, which are made up of statistical categories relevant to their position (players need to have played 60% of available snaps to qualify); in a nutshell, it's trying to measure how well a player - and ultimately the team - is producing relative to their salary (ie, managing the cap). Here is a snapshot of Spotrac's 2023 Team Value Rankings through Week 5 (link):



Takeaways:
- As you can see, the 49ers are not only the top team in the NFL at 5-0, but #1 in "value" because they're spending the least amount of 2023 cap dollars to get the roster/record. How can they do this? Well, it helps if you Draft really well and you have a starting QB on Day 3 rookie contract. Yes, they have some expensive contracts that will constrain their cap starting in 2024, but they can kick some of those cap dollars down the road to keep the majority of their team in-tact. 
- The Lions have obviously done a good job extracting value from their investments, primarily their draft picks. While Goff's $33.5m APY contract may seem like a bunch, he's played relatively well in 2023 and relative to the $40m+ a year market value some teams paid this offseason for the likes of Daniel Jones and Derek Carr, Goff provides a decent value. Their other longer term investements have primarily been along the OL (Decker and Ragnow). 
- The Vikings come in at 26th - they are right in the middle in terms of total cap dollars spent (16th most), but with an underachieving record of 1-4, the investments aren't paying off. 
- I displayed the Steelers at 18th primarily because, while the teams at the top have the best records in the NFL and the teams ranked at the bottom have bad records, Pittsburgh is an example of a team with an "Ok" record, but they were 7th in cap dollars spent in 2023 so even though they officially have a winning record at 3-2, relative to what they spent they aren't getting a Top 10 return. 

2023 OTC Valuation thru Week 5: Offense
While Spotrac does assign individual scores to players, they don't provide an individual dollar figure of a player's "value" to compare against their invested cap hit. That's where OTC comes in.

OTC has their "OTC Valuation", which calculates the dollar-value being provided by a player based on his on-field performance relative to the current market for his position. OTC primarily uses PFF grades and snap counts, as their article on their "OTC Valuation" states (link): "While snap counts do not tell us much about a player’s performance they are telling us that the coaching staff must see something in that player to keep trotting him out there week after week. Even if the coach is simply forced by circumstance to play someone, there is value to just taking a snap."

I bet most Vikings fans have used OTC a few times to look up a player's contract or cap hit(s), but you may have overlooked their prior season's OTC Valuation figure. Below is Justin Jefferson's profile on OTC - notice the 2023 OTC Valuation figure right underneath the header information. I compare that against their contract APY (Average Per Year) value which just simply takes their the players total current contract and divides it by the # of years:


So you can see, so far in 2023 Jefferson has generated $26.7m in "value" to the team while only costing them $3.3m per year on contract costs - this is the value of getting starting level production from your rookie contracts, and in Jefferson's case, All-Pro level production.

Here is a table for the rest of the offense:



Takeaways:
- Outside of Jefferson, another individual value that stands out is Kirk. Like I mentioned with Goff earlier, thanks to all the QB extensions that were signed the past two offseasons that ballooned the contract APY to $45m-$50m+, Kirk's 1-yr extension of $35m (signed last offseason) relative to the production he provides is actually good value. 
- You can see that OTC really values snap counts and PFF grades in the OL values and Ezra, Ingram & Schlottmann all earned solid value relative to their contracts as their PFF grades & snap counts are a bit higher than perhaps what fans might perceive them to be via the "eyeball test" on Sundays.
- With our WR1-WR3 group on rookie contracts, it's probably the best WR "value" group in the entire NFL. 
- The most disappointing position group on offense is the TE group as Hockenson and Oliver haven't lived-up to their deals so far in 2023. 
- We knew coming into 2023 that the offense would have to carry the Vikings and it's no surprise that if you take away Jefferson's & Kirk's values, the offense as a whole would be "in the red", mainly because of Hockeson and the dead cap hits of Thielen/Cook/Reagor. The latter isn't so much of a problem because we knew we'd have to "eat" those contracts at some point, but Hockeson's value is a complete eyesore and has fans thinking about the negative value of that last Rudolph extension Rick did.  

2023 OTC Valuation thru Week 5: Defense



Takeaways:
- The Vikings are getting really good value from their ILB group as all 4 players are providing more on-field "value" than what they're costing the team. Hicks' figure might be surprising, but PFF has graded him really solid overall and he's not really breaking the bank at only $3.5m per-year and while Pace, Jr. is still just a rookie, he's playing productive snaps and costing us peanuts being an UDFA. 
- The eyesore on the defensive side is obviously the three big FA signings this offseason: Lowry, Murphy & Davenport. The combined negative value for all 3 so far is ($18.2m). Davenport's negative value is primarily because he hasn't played much in the first 5 weeks and if he remains healthy and active, I suspect his 2023 OTC Evaluation will increase, but I can't image Lowry's will go up. I'm wondering if part of Murphy's issue is that he's playing out of position on the outside as he does typically grade better in the slot, but we al know the problem is that we don't have much in the way of outside CB depth.  
- While Harrison Smith had a nice game in Carolina, it still doesn't make up for his hefty APY contract value. You have to imagine that this is his last season in Minnesota. 

2023 OTC Valuation thru Week 5: Special Teams



Takeaways:
- Greg Joesph is having a solid start to 2023: 4/4 on FG's, 14/14 on Xpt's, and his 82.6% TB % is the highest he's ever had, although that could be the result of new touchback rules. Still, he's earning his $2m 1-yr extension. 
- The dead cap is Podlesny and I used Spotrac's Dead Cap totals as the source for those figures. 

2023 OTC Valuation thru Week 5: Kwesi
To perhaps evaluate how Kwesi's roster-building has done (seeing as many fans are looking ahead to 2024 already), I separated the players Kwesi has either extended, acquired (trade, free agency, waiver wire, etc.) or drafted:



Takeaways:
- One way to look at this is to compare the total # of players in the red (21) vs green (17) and suggest that Kwesi hasn't done a good job when just looking that # of players. That probably speaks more to the quality of the depth, as it's currently lacking and you'd like to see more players in the green. 
- The other way is to look at just pure contract value which probably suggests that when he hits on someone, he really hits. Cases in point: Kirk's extension, Hicks, and the draft "hits" of Addison, Pace & Evans. 
- Kwesi has struck-out so far on the first "long-term" extension (Hockenson, hopefully he turns it around this season), and while Davenport, Murphy & Lowry have been disappointments, they aren't on long-term deals. That being said, we will be eating a bit of dead cap in 2024 if we don't resign them as Kwesi did push some of the contract into future years beyond 2023 by using Void years. 
- I think Roy, Nailor, Blackmon and Ward could possibly flip from red to green by the end of this season and that would give a bit more "value" from the Draft side of things. With Hicks probably gone in 2024, you'd like to see more value out of Asamoah, though. 



This past summer I wrote a piece trying to reflect how much on-field "return" the Vikings received in 2022 relative to the investment into those players - that article can be found in the Purple Pain
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Oct 14, 2023 10:52:11 GMT -6 0 Replies
It's out a little late this week, because we wanted to talk about the Justin Jefferson injury, but episode 109 of VR is now up. We talk about the Vikes offense and the WR group with JJ out, we preview the Bears game, and talk about where the Vikes will be at the trade deadline and what they should or shouldn't do.


It's out a little late this week, because we wanted to talk about the Justin Jefferson injury, but episode 109 of VR is now up. We talk about the Vikes offense and the WR group with JJ out, we
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Oct 12, 2023 20:31:44 GMT -6 1 Replies
To pass some time before the Vikings take apart the Bears, here’s a little origin story of a couple coaches that found some success in the league. 

Two Geniuses And A Ballboy

As with the lack of respect shown to any high school substitute teacher, the New York Giants assistant coach had no hope of bringing the team's offensive meeting room to order. But when the bespectacled offensive coach entered the room and simply cleared his throat, all fell silent.

Pat Summerall leaned over to Don Heinrich and asked, "Who the hell is that?"
"That's Lombardi," Heinrich replied, "and you'll know soon enough."

It's amazing now that there was a time when Vince Lombardi was an unknown offensive coach. That was the case in his 1958 introduction to Summerall. Lombardi would be called an offensive coordinator today. Even more amazing is that the Giants unknown defensive coach then was Tom Landry. Lombardi and Landry are football coaching icons. Thinking of them as unknown assistant coaches is like thinking of Bill Walsh as Paul Brown's slappy in Cincinnati and Bill Belichick as Ted Marchibroda's gofer in Baltimore. It just doesn't feel right.

1956-63 is considered the "golden years" of New York Giants football. They won it all in 1956. They played for it all in five of the six seasons from 1958-63. Only missing the title game in 1960. Jim Lee Howell was the head coach. He'd be the first to admit that Lombardi and Landry were the ones that actually coached the players. It's impossible to imagine a head coach today giving the freedoms to his assistants that Howell easily gave his brilliant assistant coaches. He never felt threatened by them and constantly acknowledged their skills and where the credit belongs. In fact, the head coach claimed that he was only there to make sure that the footballs were properly inflated. Howell was hired as head coach in 1954. He had the difficult task of replacing his own coach, the legendary Steve Owen. Tom Landry was already there as a player/coach but was made a full-time coach. Howell's first external hire was grabbing Vince Lombardi from Red Blaik's Army team. Howell's first order of business for his coaches was to catch the Cleveland Browns. Paul Brown's Browns were the NFL's dominant team as soon as they joined the NFL, after the folding of the All-America Football Conference, in 1950. The new kids on the block were the best kids on the block. The Browns played in every NFL title game from 1950-55. They won championships in 1950, '54, and '55. The schemes developed by Lombardi and Landry were done with the Browns in mind. Being in the same Eastern Conference, the Browns success was at the expense of the Giants success. The rivalry between the two teams became the NFL's best in the 1950's. It only took two years for the two Giants assistants to get past the Browns. They were helped by the retirement of Browns quarterback Otto Graham following the 1955 title game. Still, everything came together for the Giants in 1956. Frank Gifford was the perfect back for Lombardi's power sweep/option attack. Gifford was the NFL's MVP that season. Landry's defense, led by rookie middle linebacker Sam Huff, was brilliant. Landry's scheme and Huff's play was making a football-curious nation aware of this new "middle linebacker" position. For the first time in an NFL stadium there were chants of "defense,defense, defense...." The Giants were on top of the football world. The unknown assistant coaches were becoming known. Lombardi's last game with the Giants was the 1958 NFL Championship game against the Baltimore Colts, the "Greatest Game Ever Played." The Green Bay Packers grabbed him. After a decade of losing the Packers became the league’s dominant team in the 1960s. They lost the 1960 NFL title game to the Philadelphia Eagles. Lombardi promised his team that they’d never again lose a postseason game. They didn’t. His Packers won five titles in seven years, 1961-62 and 1965-67. Landry's last game with the Giants was the 1959 NFL Championship game, also against the Colts. The expansion Dallas Cowboys grabbed him. He became a fixture in Dallas for an amazing 29 years. His Cowboys won five Conference and two Super Bowl titles. The two unknown coaching assistants that shared the same sideline in New York in the 1950s were on opposite sidelines for two classic League Championship games a decade later. Lombardi won both. Howell retired following the 1960 season. Allie Sherman, who took over the offense from Lombardi, took over for Howell. The team that Howell, Lombardi, and Landry built played in three straight NFL Championship games from 1961-63. The Giants lost the first two to Lombardi's Packers.

There's no denying the football brilliance and historical significance of Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry. For nearly 35 years, one or both were cornerstones of the NFL. History has not been as kind to Jim Lee Howell. I've been guilty of too easily dismissing his importance to those great New York Giants teams. One of the most impressive aspects of Howell was that he simply didn't care if he got credit for the wins. He'd rather take the blame for a loss than take credit for a win. Fortunately, those Giants teams had far more wins than losses. Howell did far more than pump up the footballs. He should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame simply for managing the egos and demands of his assistant coaches. The ability of head coaches to manage and delegate authority is more appreciated today. Head coaches in the first half of the NFL's existence did much more scheming and teaching. With only a few coaches on a staff, they had to. Jim Lee Howell was one of the first, if not the first, head coaches to limit his duties to delegating and game managing. It was Howell that decided to send Pat Summerall out to kick about a 50-yard field goal against Cleveland in something of a blizzard in 1958. A field goal that Summerall made to force a playoff against the same Browns team a week later. A field goal that would eventually put them in the 1958 NFL Championship game. A field goal attempt that was strongly opposed by Lombardi and Landry.


To pass some time before the Vikings take apart the Bears, here’s a little origin story of a couple coaches that found some success in the league.  Two Geniuses And A Ballboy As
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Oct 4, 2023 11:13:55 GMT -6 22 Replies
We are not allowed to have nice things! I know they finally got a win on Sunday, but I still do not feel good about this team (maybe that will change after this breakdown?). The defense played really well when it needed to on Sunday, the offense looked its worst yet, and that is with us not even mentioning weeks 2 and 3. On that fun note, welcome to our first quarter breakdown and look ahead. As with the previous breakdown after week 1 (find that here), we will look at some key analytics metrics for this Vikings team, and how that compares to the rest of the league. The main metric we will look at today is EPA, but I do mix in some success rate data, yards per play, and net air yards.


As the eye test tells you, there is some good and some bad with this team. There are things that give us hope for a turnaround, while others would tell you this is going to be a very long disappointing season. As someone mentioned in the last thread, the key to EPA and even Success Rate data is knowing they are more overall efficiency metrics, and not an end all be all to say if a single player is good or not. That being said, if the team is seeing a big spike in these metrics when targeting or running through this player, that means they are probably adding something of benefit to the team.

EPA by Player – I am starting to think JJ might be good.


To start, let’s check in on the EPA for individual players on offense. As you can see below, JJ is still leading the pack, and it isn’t even close. When this offense targets JJ, good things happen (shocking I know!). JJ leads the team with 22.19 in total EPA and a 0.472 EPA/Play. That total EPA is 9th overall for the entire league right now, and his EPA/Play is 16th for all players with at least 20 plays. As we saw after week 1, Addison is pretty dang effective in this offense as well. So much so, I would say it is time to incorporate him a lot more. He is not only second on the team in total EPA despite being 3rd in targets and 4th in total touches, but he is top 20 in the entire NFL (20 play min) for EPA/Play. Put this in the small sample size bin, but Akers looked and performed great in his limited action on Sunday. Only 7 plays, but those 7 plays already have him with the 3rd highest total EPA on the team, and 3rd for EPA/Play. I would anticipate him being worked into the offense more and more as time goes on.


 


You will notice that Mattison is still a bottom 3 skill player on the team for EPA, however, below is a breakdown by week to show you the improvement. Mattison had about as bad of a week 2 as you could ask for (-8.89 total EPA), but has followed that up with 2 consecutive weeks of positive EPAs. His 0.05 EPA/Play the last 2 weeks would rank in the top 10 for all RBs with at least 30 rushes this season. This is not to say he is a game breaker and a clear RB1, but he has turned a corner after week 2 (partially the OL as well), and should continue to help push this offense forward.





Shifting to the QBs, I wanted to circle back to the EPA/Play by down and quarter for Kirk and the QBs the team has played. First you will see the EPA/Play by Down chart. Things have started to level off a bit for Kirk on a down by down basis, however, he still continues to drop off on 3rd downs. Not to pour salt in the wound, but not only is his performance on 3rd downs worse than any other down, it is actually worse than it was in week 1. In week 1 Kirk’s EPA/Play on 3rd downs was -0.037. Now after 4 weeks it is -0.324 per play. This ranks as the 9th worst EPA/Play for any QB on 3rd down (minimum of 20 plays).





Now let’s look at QB play by quarter. On second thought, maybe we skip the 1st quarter? This is a theme for the entire offense, but it is staggering to see. The biggest reason for this is the turnovers, but even if you remove the turnovers, Cousins (and the entire passing offense) still has a -0.386 EPA/Play in the 1st quarter compared to 0.579, 0.188, and 0.258 EPA/Play in the 2nd through 4th quarters. It is great to see the offense and Kirk rebound in the 2nd quarter, but they really need to sit down and figure out their 1st quarter woes if this team truly wants to turn their season around. Putting that -1.169 EPA/Play in the 1st quarter into perspective, it is the worst mark in the entire league for all QBs with at least 20 total snaps. The next closest is Pickett at -0.968/play, and only 5 QBs total have an EPA/Play of -0.5 or worse in the 1st quarter. Compare this to Cousins coming in at 6th best in all other quarters combined (+0.197). Purdy is #1 on the list with a +0.342 EPA/Play. Come on KOC and Kirk, let’s figure this 1st quarter thing out!




Team EPA – The RedZone is a bloodbath.


Now we will shift our focus to EPA for the team as a whole. The first thing I wanted to look at was the EPA for the offense when it is in the RedZone vs when it is not. The results are staggering. Below you can see a chart for the entire NFL showing each team’s offensive EPA/play when they are in the RedZone and when they are not. For these types of charts, you always want to be in the top right section. The further right the logo, the higher the EPA/Play for RedZone plays, the higher the logo, the higher the EPA/Play for non-RedZone plays. Pretty much, if a team is in the top right box, they have a pretty good and consistent offense no matter where they are on the field. If they are in the bottom left box, they have a consistently bad offense. The Vikings, as you can see, are in the top left box. This means their offense when anywhere outside of the RedZone is pretty good (around top 10 overall), but their offense when in the RedZone is bad. They actually have the worst RedZone offense in the entire NFL on an EPA/Play basis.





I wanted to then see how the team did on the opponent’s side of the field but not in the RedZone. The below chart shows the EPA/Play while in the RedZone, and when they are between the opponents 21 and midfield. This is even more of an eye opener than the previous chart to me. The Vikings have a top 4 offense when on the opponent’s side of the field, just not in the RedZone. Top 4! Then they get inside the 20 and everything falls apart.





Just for reference as well, below is the regular EPA/Play chart you will find on the internet showing the offense and defense EPA/Play with tiers. This is a useful tool to show discrepancies between a team’s offense and defense, and their overall EPA ranking across the NFL. Once again, the further right and higher on the chart a team is, the better. You can see that the Vikings are pretty middle of the pack for both offense and defense. They, along with about half the NFL, are in that fringe 3rd to 4th tier of teams. The Bills, 49ers, Dolphins, and Cowboys are clear and away the top tier of teams after 4 weeks in the NFL. That leaves the Giants, Bears, Steelers, Jets, and Bengals to bring up the rear. The good for this with the Vikings is the defense has been holding its own, and the offense has its moments. If the offense can get things together in the 1st quarter and the RedZone, they have the potential to be in the top 2 tiers.





Success Rates – Did you forget what you did in the 2nd?


This team just cannot stay consistent for 60 mins. Below is a breakdown of success rates for the offense by quarter. As we saw with the EPA data, the 1st quarter is rough for this offense. They are only successful on 32% of their plays, which is the 5th worst rate in the NFL for the 1st quarter. Compare that to the 2nd quarter where over 62% of all plays were successful. That comes in as the single best rate in the NFL, beating out the likes of Miami (60.7%), Houston (60.5%), the Chargers (58.5%), and Kansas City (57.1%). Things don’t stay that high in the 2nd half (39.76% total success rate), and fall back to the 8th lowest success rate of any team in the NFL.


On the defensive side, they are much more consistent, albeit not great. While they are really good in the 1st quarter against opposing offenses, they then show their true form of being an okay but still not good defense. The 34.3% success rate in the 1st quarter by the defense is the 6th best rate in the NFL. However, their 2nd through 4th quarter rate of 53.1% is the 2nd worst in the NFL, with only Denver being worse at 54.4%.




Lets circle back and look at success rates for individual players when they are targeted or run the ball. Some small changes from week 1, but overall, nothing too crazy. JJ is still leading the way with a 66% success rate when targeted, TJ is the next closest at 58.1%. That is a fairly significant improvement for TJ from his 44.4% success rate in week 1. The main takeaway from this is KJ is still struggling, and the offense really needs to shift focus to the big 3 of JJ, TJ and Addison. KJ still has a role in this offense, but as we have seen the last couple weeks, Addison should be that #2 WR right now.





Yards/Play – Wait, are the Vikings actually really good?


A stat I wanted to look at more this go around than I did after week 1 was yards per play. This metric can be a pretty good indicator of how good a team is/can be. In-particular, if your team can gain more yards per play on offense than it gives up on defense, watch out. Right now, after 4 weeks, the NFL has 14 teams with a positive number in the offensive yards/play gained over the defense’s yards/play allowed. There are only 7 teams who are gaining at least 0.5 yards/play more than they are giving up, and the Vikings are one of them. The Vikings actually come in at 6th overall in net Yards/Play gained, sitting at +0.9 yards/play. The top 10 teams are listed below.





The Vikings sitting at #6 overall and a +0.9, is a big improvement compared to last season. Last year, the Vikings finished the regular season at -0.41 net yards/play, despite gaining over 5.5 yards/play on offense. The big reason for them finishing 24th in this metric last year was easily the defense. They gave up the 3rd most yards per play, behind only the Bears and Lions (NFC North has some bad defenses!). To help show how important this metric can be, the top 5 teams in the 2022 regular season were KC, PHI, BUF, SF, and MIA (3 of these 5 teams played on championship weekend). The top 4 teams all netted over 1 yard/play more on offense than they gave up on defense last year. The bottom 5 teams were PIT, LAR, ARI, CHI, and HOU with an average of -0.823 net yards/play (4 of these 5 teams were picking in the top 6).


To put all of these numbers in one chart, below is a similar tier chart as the EPA/Play one above. The further right, the better the offense, the higher on the chart the better the defense. You will notice, the Vikings easily fall in that second tier of teams for this stat. They are middle of the road in defensive yards/play allowed, but being a top 5 team in yards gained per play pushes them up the chart quite a bit.





Air Yards – Keep pushing it down the field!


Finally, I wanted to look at air yards for this Vikings offense. Air Yards are a metric that measures how far past the line of scrimmage a pass travels in the air before reaching the receiver. In other words, it helps to clear up some of the YAC noise you can see (i.e. the Justin Fields preseason passing issue) in passing yards. YAC is a great thing, but it is not nearly as consistent and reliable as just plain passing the ball deep.


Looking at Kirk’s average air yards per attempt so far this season, we can see he is trying to push the ball down the field. Minnesota, as a team, ranks 11th in average air yards per passing play, throwing it 7.58 yards down the field. The top teams are GB and PHI both averaging over 9 air yards per pass play. Bringing up the rear are the Cowboys and Giants at less than 5.5 air yards per play. The average for the entire NFL right now is 7.17 air yards.


I wanted to take this to the next level, so I compared the air yards to the yards needed for a first down. For example, if it is 3rd and 7 and Kirk throws the ball 6 yards past the LOS, that is a net air yard of -1, regardless of the outcome of the play. Averaging that across all 167 pass plays the Vikings have had so far, Kirk is throwing just 0.635 yards short per play (106 total yards). This ranks 5th in the entire league with only 1 team being positive. That team would be Green bay at +0.599 per play. For comparison, the Vikings were 18th last season at -1.11 net air yards when throwing for an average of 7.49 air yards per pass play.


Below is a breakdown of this stat by down to help explain what is happening. Overall, the team is doing a good job of pushing the ball down the field. They are even better at it on 3rd downs this year compared to last. Last year Kirk threw the ball 7.92 yards in the air on 3rd downs when they needed 7.44 on average (+0.48). This year, he is throwing the ball 9.44 yards in the air compared to needing just 6.2 (+3.24, 3rd best in the league). As you can see in the chart below, the net air yards per attempt is pretty low on 1st and 2nd down. This is not surprising, and is actually expected. On average, a team is rarely going to air it out on those 2 downs because they know they still have more plays to get the 1st down. The big thing is making sure on 3rd and 4th down you are at least giving your receivers a chance to get the 1st down by just catching the ball. You don’t want to have to rely on them getting an extra 3 or 4 yards after the catch to get the 1st down (i.e. 4th and 8 in the playoffs and throwing 5 yards short).





Will the real Vikings please stand up?


The more and more I dig through these metrics and watch the games, the more confused I am about what this team is. There are times the offense is hitting on all cylinders and they look like nothing can stand in their way. Then other times they go what feels like an eternity without getting a single 1st down. Same could be said about the defense, in it has some really really good moments and stretches, and then some times where they look like toddlers playing against grown-ups. The turnovers, in-particular on the goal line, have played a big part in the losses. After all, if you take away the 4 goal line turnovers and make them all touchdowns, this Vikings offense moves from 16th in PPG (22.5) to tied for 5th with 29.5 PPG. We can’t go back and change history like that, but it shows this offense can compete with anyone if they show up and stay focused. These next 4 games are a big test with 2 Super Bowl favorites and 2 division games.


What’s next?


Here is a quick look at the current EPA and Success Rates for the next 4 opponents on the Vikings schedule. Some obviously better teams in KC and SF, a fairly even team in GB, and a vastly inferior team in CHI.





Home Against Kansas City | 10/8/2023 | 3:25pm


Of the next 4 games, this is the one I have a weird feeling about. Something in me is saying the Vikings might just pull off the upset and shock the NFL. The Chiefs aren’t playing like the Super Bowl winning Chiefs just yet, but they are still pretty dang good. The Vikings defense has played well overall, outside some rough run defense against Philly and forgetting Keenan Allen is pretty good. I just have no clue what to expect. I am going to assume KC and Mahomes show up to play, and win this one by taking an early lead and holding off the Vikings surge late.

Bold Prediction: Addison is the leading receiver for the Vikings.


LOSS KC 27 – MIN 21


At Chicago | 10/15/2023 | 12:00pm


If the Vikings cannot win this game, just waive the white flag now and we can all go home. This Chicago team has no direction and is really struggling on both sides of the ball. Barring injury, if the Vikings don’t win this game by double digits there needs to be a serious conversation about what isn’t working.

Bold Prediction: Justin Fields is sacked 4+ times.


WIN MIN 28 – CHI 13

Home Against San Francisco | 10/23/2023 | 7:15pm


Why did I pick this game as the first game I am going to attend in person? This one will be a beating by the 49ers. This 49ers team is stacked and built to beat up on teams like the Vikings. They have the DL to make any offense screech to a halt in the run game and pass game. It will take an otherworldly performance by the OL and Kirk to beat this SF team. I hope beyond all hope I am wrong on this, but of all the games left on the Vikings schedule this is the one I feel most confident in my pick.

Bold Prediction: Kirk throws for less than 200 yards, and has multiple turnovers.


LOSS SF 28 – MIN 17


At Green Bay | 10/29/2023 | 12:00pm


This is the true litmus test of this quarter of the season. Green Bay and Minnesota have similar feels about them. Both have middle of the pack defenses from an EPA standpoint, while they have solid offenses, albeit a bit hit or miss from time to time. If this one was in Minnesota, it is an easy win for the Vikings. This being in GB has me questioning if the Vikes can pull it off. It should be a close game, and I won’t be shocked if it becomes a shootout.

Bold Prediction: JJ goes off for 175+ yards


WIN MIN 27 – GB 24



With all of this I have the Vikings at 3-5 after 8 weeks. Not great, but also could be a lot worse. If the team solves some of its RedZone issues on offense, they could easily win 3 of these 4 games. However, if the offense still disappears from time to time and the defense struggles again, they might only win 1 of these games. There is a lot to be determined for this season, but these next 4 games will tell us a lot of what we can expect in the second half of the season. I will be back after the Green Bay game (or sooner if something truly crazy happens) for another breakdown. As always, if you have any metrics you would like me to look into more, send them along. I love doing these deep dives, and am always open to new ideas. Hopefully, next time I can dig into the defense a bit more and give them some love (hopefully not hate). TF


All data exported from the NFLVerse in RStudio.

We are not allowed to have nice things! I know they finally got a win on Sunday, but I still do not feel good about this team (maybe that will change after this breakdown?). The defense played really
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Oct 6, 2023 12:01:33 GMT -6 0 Replies
We preview the Chiefs game...and our predictions might surprise you!

We preview the Chiefs game...and our predictions might surprise you! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwNuKWll9Sg
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Sept 30, 2023 12:04:01 GMT -6 3 Replies
I was recently reading Tex Maule's The Game. It's a fun, interesting look at the NFL's history up to the time that the book was published. The Game was published following the 1962 season. So all league, team, and game histories were through the 1962 season. I get a kick out of looking at NFL history from such a snapshot perspective. Nestled between a league chronology and an author's note in The Game, Maule included the career leaders of some of the major statistical categories. Most of the career leaders in 1962 played 12-game seasons. In 1961, the league bumped the schedule to 14 games. The passing numbers, in particular, are tiny compared to today. It was a very different game. There were significantly fewer games and the games were much more violent. Both were reflected in the passing numbers. Even the league’s best quarterbacks completed just over 50% of their passes and they often threw as many interceptions as touchdowns. The only protection provided the quarterbacks was from those blocking for him. Unlike today, there was no assistance from the rules or the officials. One might even argue that today’s pampered quarterbacks wouldn’t even attempt to play a game under the conditions of those long gone days. They certainly wouldn’t do so under the pay scale of the day. The Game is an interesting look at the NFL’s first 43 years.

A 1962 Snapshot Of The Career Statistical Leaders:

Most Yards Rushing, Lifetime
1. Joe Perry, 49ers, Colts, 1950-62: 8,280
2. Jim Brown, Browns, 1957-62: 7,459
3. Steve Van Buren, 1944-51: 5,860

Joe Perry’s numbers (wrongly) do not include the two years that he played in the All-America Football Conference. He retired after the 1963 season with 9,723 yards (that’s rightly including his AAFC numbers). Jim Brown kept running for another three years. He retired after the 1965 season with 12,312 yards. That number stood as the league record until Walter Payton chased it down in the 1980s.

Current Leader:
Emmitt Smith: 18,355

Most Passes Attempted, Lifetime
1. Bobby Layne, Bears, Bulldogs, Lions, Steelers, 1948-62: 3,700
2. Y.A. Tittle, Colts, 49ers, Giants, 1950-62: 3,169
3. Sammy Baugh, Redskins, 1937-52: 3,016

Bobby Layne retired after the 1962 season. Y.A. Tittle had one more All-Pro season in him and retired after the 1964 season.

Current Leader:
Tom Brady: 12,050

Most Passes Completed, Lifetime
1. Bobby Layne, Bears, Bulldogs, Lions, Steelers, 1948-62: 1,814
2. Y.A. Tittle, Colts, 49ers, Giants, 1950-62: 1,750
3. Sammy Baugh, Redskins, 1937-52: 1,709

Current Leader:
Tom Brady: 7,753

Most Yards Gained Passing, Lifetime
1. Bobby Layne, Bears, Bulldogs, Lions, Steelers, 1948-62: 26,768
2. Norm Van Brocklin, Rams, Eagles, 1949-60: 23,611
3. Y.A. Tittle, Colts, 49ers, Giants, 1950-62: 23,396

Norm Van Brocklin was the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings in 1962.

Current Leader:
Tom Brady: 89,214

Most Touchdown Passes, Lifetime
1. Bobby Layne, Bears, Bulldogs, Lions, Steelers, 1948-62: 196
2. Sammy Baugh, Redskins, 1937-52: 186
3. Norm Van Brocklin, Rams, Eagles, 1949-60: 173
3. Charles Conerly, Giants, 1948-61: 173

Current Leader:
Tom Brady: 649

Fran Tarkenton held all of the above passing records for about 20 years. That’s longer, by a wide margin, than any quarterback has ever held those records.

Completion Percentage, Lifetime
1. Milt Plum, Browns, Lions, 1957-62: 57.2
2. Sammy Baugh, Redskins, 1937-52: 56.7
3. Bart Starr, Packers, 1956-62: 56.6

Milt Plum played through the 1960s but his best years were in this time frame. Bart Starr was just getting started.

Current Leader:
Drew Brees: 67.7
(5. Kirk Cousins: 66.8)

Most Passes Caught, Lifetime
1. Don Hutson, Packers, 1935-45: 488
2. Billy Howton, Packers, Browns, Cowboys, 1952-62: 470
3. Raymond Berry, Colts, 1955-62: 419

Raymond Berry finished his great career in 1967 with 631 catches.

Current Leader:
Jerry Rice: 1,549

Most Touchdown Passes Caught, Lifetime
1. Don Hutson, Packers, 1935-45: 101
2. Pete Pihos, Eagles, 1945-55: 61
3. Hugh Taylor, Redskins, 1947-54: 58

Current Leader:
Jerry Rice: 197

Most Points Scored, Lifetime
1. Lou Groza, Browns, 1950-62: 902
2. Bobby Walston, Eagles, 1951-62: 881
3. Don Hutson, Packers, 1935-45: 825

It felt like Lou Groza played forever (22 years). He retired after the 1967 season with 1,608 points scored.

Current Leader:
Adam Vinatieri: 2,673

Most Touchdowns Scored, Lifetime
1. Don Hutson, Packers, 1935-45: 105
2. Jim Brown, Browns, 1957-62: 81
3. Steve Van Buren, 1944-51: 77

Current Leader:
Jerry Rice: 208

Jim Brown retired with 126 touchdowns.

Don Hutson’s touchdown numbers are probably the only numbers in this snapshot that aren’t tiny. His 105 touchdowns are nearly half of Jerry Rice’s 208. Hutson played 11 years. Rice played 21 years.

Today's game is a very different game.


I was recently reading Tex Maule's The Game. It's a fun, interesting look at the NFL's history up to the time that the book was published. The Game was published following the 1962 seaso
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Sept 23, 2023 7:07:28 GMT -6 0 Replies
The latest Vikings Report is out. Drew and Ted talk the Risner signing (we recorded before the Cam Akers trade), preview the Chargers game, and don't forget to make your 'Nobody Cares About Your Fantasy Team' pick. At the end of the year a winner gets an Antoine Winfield jersey! 


The latest Vikings Report is out. Drew and Ted talk the Risner signing (we recorded before the Cam Akers trade), preview the Chargers game, and don't forget to make your 'Nobody Cares About Your
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Sept 13, 2023 16:36:22 GMT -6 2 Replies
Someone please tell me about how great the Eagles defense is, I haven’t heard gushing platitudes about them in at least 15 seconds. Yeah, the Eagles D-Line is good and generated a lot of pressure (37.7% pressure rate, 4th highest in week 1), and stuffed the Patriots run game.  And while they were being good and generating all that pressure, Mac Jones threw for 316 yards (3rd highest of his career) and 3 TDs (tied career high) while the Patriots offense outscored the Eagles offense 20-18.  

The 2023 Vikings defense matches up better against Hurts than the 2022 defense and the Eagles can be beaten over the top. To win, the Vikings will need to make some strategic changes, but they have the personnel to do so.


Eagles Offense vs Vikings Defense
The Eagles only scored 18 points on offense in week 1. They weren’t exactly a juggernaut.

But the Eagles offense is intimidating because they have two great receivers and an QB who was in the MVP conversation. The Patriots neutralized both of those advantages with the same strategy. In 2022, Hurts looked like he was playing loose and easy, he never seemed to force a throw because he always had a running lane to take. I did not see those same running lanes against the Patriots.

The knock on Jalen Hurts in 2022 was that the Eagles were giving him extremely simple reads and there were questions on if he could handle more complexity. The 2022 Vikings were exhibit A in giving Hurts simple reads, this 2023 team should present him with more complexity. This is where I think the Vikings approach I saw against the Bucs will carry over. Despite all their aggression and movement, they were able to react to screens and QB runs pretty quickly; they weren’t over pursuing or leaving large chunks of the field undefended.

A major difference between 2022 and 2023 that I’m looking at is which WR should I be watching. In 2022, Devonta Smith was the bigger threat. The Vikings weren’t great against slot routes where Smith excels. With the change in defensive approach, AJ Brown is much more dangerous – I’m sure he’ll get a few 1:1 chances. The Patriots didn’t shut down AJ Brown, but they did hold him to 7 catches with a long of 23 yards by forcing fast decisions from Hurts; if the Vikings can follow that template, the Vikings Defense vs Eagles offense can at least be a close matchup. Even if this matchup tilts slightly in favor of the Eagles, I still think the Vikings can win because…


Vikings Offense vs Eagles Defense
Is change good or bad?

Quick level set: which team experienced more defensive turnover: the Eagles or Vikings?

The Vikings returned 5 starters: Harrison Phillips, Danielle Hunter, Jordan Hicks, Harrison Smith, Cam Bynum. And, Akayleb Evans was almost the 6th starter; he took over as a starter from Dantzler before his season was derailed by concussions.

The Eagles Lost: both Safeties (Marcus Epps and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson), both starting LBs (TJ Edwards and Kyzir White), DT Jason Hargrave. They also lost both coordinators to head coaching positions.

BUT! Don’t the Eagles have a lot of draft picks? Here to talk about how all high draft picks are immediately great is Lewis Cine. Lewis?

[Lewis Cine] Did you know not all 1st rounders are immediate impact players? Even players from Georgia? The Eagles relied more on 33-year-old Fletcher Cox than recent high picks Jalen carter or Jordan Davis. Just because they might have great careers doesn’t mean they are fully ready for this one early game.

Also, Nakobe Dean and Reed Blankenship were injured week 1, so their LB and Safety positions are even thinner. Their most used DT, Fletcher Cox was hurt too.

I bring up all this change because I asked if change is good or bad. It depends where you start. By yardage, the Vikings were the #31 defense last year; the Eagles were #3. Change is great when you need to get better, but the Eagles were already pretty good before they changed a bunch of things, so they have a huge risk for negative regression.

The one position on defense the Eagles didn’t turn over is CB; where both Darius Slay and James Bradbury are over 30. Also, in the secondary, Patriots WR Kendrick Bourne was manipulating new Eagle’s safety Reed Blankenship all game long. Hunter Henry was getting free down the field.

This entire recap of the Eagles defense is to highlight one simple point: they have a lot of chaos on defense… and to organize all this chaos, they brought in new senior defensive assistant: Matt Patricia, who turned the Lions to sh*t as soon as he took over, then turned Mac Jones to sh*t as soon as he took over (both improved after he left). They are paying Patricia actual money to enter their facility and tell players what to do… and they have to listen to him.  The 2022 Vikings should be a warning that a good D Line + bad back end = a bad defense.

How the Vikings Can Win vs the Eagles
Hockenson needs to impact the Eagles pass rush and run defense. However, he doesn’t open up the run game by blocking, he opens it up by moving defenders away from the line of scrimmage.

In Week 1, Hockenson had an average yards before reception of 2.8.  The 2023 Vikings strategy was supposed to be based on forcing defenses into a terrible choice. We're going to put Oliver and Hockenson on the field: if you play off Oliver will block your toughest guy and let Mattison run directly at your worst tackler; if you play up, Hockenson will run behind your slowest LB for a chunk play that's basically a long hand off.
BUT
When Hockenson averages 2.8 air yards per reception, there is no terrible choice. The defense can just sit on the run with no extra fear of getting beat over the top.

Compare that to Hunter Henry’s week 1 yards before catch against the Eagles: 10.2. Henry successfully opened up the Eagles defense despite them getting a lot of pressure on Mac Jones.

To exploit the vulnerability in the Eagles secondary, the Vikings should throw away any play that has Hockenson targeted less than 10 yards down field; anything less than that is not a good use of a $66M TE. Jefferson (and to a lesser extent Addison and Osborn), are great deep threats, but the Vikings passing game has to use Hockenson to open up space. If the Vikings make a specific effort to get Hockenson going downfield, other things can work; and if they do, I think the Vikings offense can carry the defense this week.

If Hockenson has another game where he averages less than 5 air yards per catch, the Vikings offense won’t be able to keep pace. Get him over 10 air yards and the Vikings can carve up the Eagles D.

Someone please tell me about how great the Eagles defense is, I haven’t heard gushing platitudes about them in at least 15 seconds. Yeah, the Eagles D-Line is good and generated a lot of pressure
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Sept 13, 2023 11:18:25 GMT -6 0 Replies
Due to the short week, Episode 105 is out today! We preview the Eagles game, and hey, go play our season long Nobody Cares About Your Fantasy Team contest. You could win an Antoine Winfield jersey!



And it's the last week to enter the Rook Dog Challenge, you have until Noon CT Sunday to enter your picks for a chance to win a $125 gift card!


Due to the short week, Episode 105 is out today! We preview the Eagles game, and hey, go play our season long Nobody Cares About Your Fantasy Team contest. You could win an Antoine Winfield jersey
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Sept 6, 2023 13:04:18 GMT -6 11 Replies
I think Alexander Mattison needs to dominate this game.

I don’t mean in a run out the clock with the lead sort of way, he actually has to impact the game. Look at it this way, which combination of 2 players are more threatening to a defense?
Justin Jefferson + TJ Hockenson
OR
Alexander Mattison + Josh Oliver

This isn’t a trick question or anything, it’s obviously Jefferson and Hockenson. Every team knows this and will game plan for it. If I were the Bucs, and the Vikings came out with Hockenson, Oliver and Mattison, I’m staying in nickel defense. Cousins to Jefferson, Hockenson, and either Osborn or Addison looks like a far more dangerous threat than any ground game in the NFL.

Bucs Defense vs Vikings Offense
I view the safety position as their biggest strength with Antoine Winfield Jr and Ryan Neal coming off a good year. Their corners are passable, but it’s the safeties that will need to be in the right place to cover multiple WR route combos.

If safety is their strongest position, LB Levonta David is the most interesting, PFF says David was their best player last year. But David is just one guy and he’s 33 years old, he’s not going to defend the entire defensive front himself, especially if he’s facing Josh Oliver or a guard coming to the second level on a regular basis. The Bucs D line doesn’t move the needle much putting eve more pressure on the LBs in run defense, so they don’t change this balance.

The entire Vikings offseason offense seemed to revolve around using Josh Oliver to bully teams out of nickel defense.

The Bucs have: veteran safeties that could function in base defense and a defensive front that could use the support. If the Vikings can’t bully this Bucs team out of their nickel coverage, who can they threaten?

This brings me back to why Mattison has to dominate. You, me, the Bucs and everybody know Cousins to Jefferson is the engine that drives the offense, they have to take that seriously. Even though I just said the Bucs might have the personnel to try base defense, that doesn’t mean they HAVE to. Defending Jefferson first and seeing if David can hold up in the run game seems the their best path to victory - then, only change things up if they start to get gashed.

Against this middle of the road defensive line and so much focus on the passing game, my benchmark for Mattison is 5.0 yards per carry. Better would be 5.6 yards per carry, matching his efficiency in a 20 carry, 112 yard performance against a much better 2020 Seahawks defense. (Note, I’m looking at YPC, 13 carries for 70 yards would be just fine).  

Note: if the Vikings plan to keep the Bucs in base defense works, and Cousins eviscerates the Bucs in the passing game I will ignore Mattison’s stats count that as dominating. But that would be a different kind of surprise.


Bucs Offense vs Vikings Defense
I think the Vikings defense needs to make the Bucs run game look bad.

When I look at the Buccaneers offense, there are holes all over the place. In 2022 they had the most passing attempts in the league, 40 more pass attempts than 2nd place. That approach makes sense when their plan was ride or die with Tom Brady’s last season. That plan can’t translate because giving the most pass attempts in the league to Baker Mayfield (or Kyle Trask) is not a good idea; a QB starting for his 4th team in 20 games with a handful of DNPs is not an recipe for success.

The problem is, they can’t rely on the run because, in 2022 they were worst in the league in terms of both total rush yards and yards per carry. Normally I don’t care much about last year, but with over 1/3 of their salary cap tied up in dead money (most in the league), the Bucs didn’t have the resources to upgrade their offense. So it’s still Rachaad White and his 3.7 ypc leading the way – this time without the thread of the best QB of all time helping open up running lanes. One rookie guard from North Dakota doesn’t change much.

The Bucs offensive line doesn’t look good. Even if the Vikings pass rush looks great, I’m not going to get excited until week 2. And scheme driven pressure doesn’t rely on one athlete beating another, so the athlete advantage the Vikings have with Hunter and Davenport might be modest. And if the Vikings do bring pressure, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are good enough WRs to exploit holes in the secondary.

Since Evans and Godwin are legit, it seems logical to take them away and make the Bucs rely on their run game. Normally I am fine with giving up some yards on the ground in favor of taking away a team’s top receiver(s), but I’d be less happy with that trade off in this game. The Bucs rushing offense looks so anemic that if they start breaking off some chunk runs, it will be alarming no matter the final score. Even if the Vikings win, if the Bucs do better than 90 yards on 20 carries on the ground, I’ll consider that a bad omen.

Bottom Line
The Vikings are one of the biggest favorites in the league for week 1, and the Bucs have all the hallmarks of a team that’s tanking the season for a high pick to get a new QB. No game in the NFL is ever a gimmie, number say the Bucs still have a 1/3 shot to win, but there are multiple paths to victory for the Vikings.

I think Alexander Mattison needs to dominate this game. I don’t mean in a run out the clock with the lead sort of way, he actually has to impact the game. Look at it this way, which
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Sept 9, 2023 21:30:46 GMT -6 0 Replies
Sorry for the late post, but ep 104 is out. We preview the Bucs game, and hey, go play our season long Nobody Cares About Your Fantasy Team contest. You could win an Antoine Winfield jersey!

And it's the last week to enter the Rook Dog Challenge, you have until Noon CT Sunday to enter your picks for a chance to win a $125 gift card!


Sorry for the late post, but ep 104 is out. We preview the Bucs game, and hey, go play our season long Nobody Cares About Your Fantasy Team contest. You could win an Antoine Winfield jersey
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Sept 2, 2023 13:06:52 GMT -6 1 Replies
With the Minnesota Vikings getting down to this year’s 53-man roster, I was thinking about an all-time Vikings 53-man roster.

Minnesota Vikings All-Time 53-Man Roster

Offense

Quarterbacks
Fran Tarkenton
Daunte Culpepper
Kirk Cousins

I feel like Tommy Kramer should be on this roster but I have to go with Kirk Cousins. If for no other reason, he’s always on the field. Kramer wasn’t.

Halfbacks
Adrian Peterson
Chuck Foreman
Robert Smith

Dalvin Cook was challenging Robert Smith for that final roster spot.

Fullback
Bill Brown

Bill Brown’s career was winding down when I fell for the Vikings. He might be the player that I most wish I’d seen in his prime.

Receivers
Cris Carter
Randy Moss
Justin Jefferson
Ahmad Rashad
Anthony Carter
Adam Thielen

I can’t think of a team with a better receiver tradition. Paul Flatley, Gene Washington, John Gilliam, Sammy White, Jake Reed, Stefon Diggs further add to the Vikings great receiver tradition.

Tight Ends
Steve Jordan
Kyle Rudolph
Jim Kleinsasser

All three were favorites of mine during the time that they played. Maybe (hopefully) in five years or so, T.J. Hockenson challenges for a spot on this roster. He was certainly paid to do so.

Tackles
Ron Yary
Gary Zimmerman
Grady Alderman

This is pretty straightforward. If Christian Darrisaw continues to progress, he should bump Grady Alderman.

Guards
Randall McDaniel
Steve Hutchinson
Ed White

This is as straightforward as the tackles.

Centers
Mick Tingelhoff
Matt Birk

It was not difficult to fill the offensive line spots on this roster.

Defense

Defensive Ends
Carl Eller
Chris Doleman
Jim Marshall
Jared Allen
Danielle Hunter

HOF, HOF, should be HOF, will be HOF, could be HOF. The Vikings have a great receiver tradition. The defensive end tradition is nearly as great.

Defensive Tackles
Alan Page
John Randle
Keith Millard
Kevin Williams

HOF, HOF, would’ve been HOF if injuries hadn’t whittled away at his talents, will be HOF. The defensive tackle tradition in Minnesota is nearly as great as the defensive end tradition.

Linebackers
Matt Blair
Eric Kendricks
Anthony Barr
Chad Greenway
Scott Studwell
Jeff Siemon

Most of the position groups on this roster are pretty easy to put together. Linebacker isn’t. The Vikings have had several good linebackers. I wouldn’t say that they have had any great linebackers. Matt Blair is arguably the best linebacker to have played for the Vikings. Many might have Scott Studwell starting in the middle. I’m partial to Eric Kendricks. Jeff Siemon had a more decorated middle linebacker career than both. It’s tough to leave off any of the team’s first “very good” linebacker trio of Wally Hilgenberg, Lonnie Warwick, and Roy Winston. Ed McDaniel, Ben Leber, Fred McNeil, E. J. Henderson. The Vikings have had a lot of good linebackers. They just haven’t had the great players like those that played on the line in front of them. Mike Merriweather might’ve been the most talented linebacker to play for the Vikings but his career was winding down when he was in Minnesota.

Cornerbacks
Antoine Winfield
Xavier Rhodes
Carl Lee
Bobby Bryant
Nate Wright

Antoine Winfield was a great football player. He’ll forever rank as one of my favorites. Xavier Rhodes was great for a few years. I just wish that it was for more than just a few years. Carl Lee was sneaky good for several years. Bobby Bryant and Nate Wright were the corners of my youth. Bryant always seemed to make big plays in big moments. Wright will always be known for being shoved to the ground by Drew Pearson. He was a much better player than that one notorious moment.

Safeties
Paul Krause
Harrison Smith
Joey Browner
Robert Griffith

HOF, could be HOF, should be HOF, very good. I’d like to have Karl Kassulke on this roster but I went with Robert Griffith. Orlando Thomas was on his way to a great career but injuries sadly derailed his career.

Special Teams

Kicker
Ryan Longwell

Except for a couple years from Blair Walsh, I’ve been terrified of the Vikings place kicks since the Ryan Longwell years.

Punter
Chris Kluwe

It’s only been a single year but Ryan Wright is hopefully on his way to taking this roster spot. Bobby Walden was really good for a few years in the 1960s. Greg Coleman was good for a long time in the 1970s and 1980s. For this roster, it came down to Mitch Berger vs Chris Kluwe. I went with Kluwe.

Long Snapper
Cullen Loeffler

Cullen Loeffler vs Andrew DePaola? I went with Loeffler. Mike Morris was a consideration. So was Mick Tingelhoff but he’s already the team’s center. He doesn’t have to do special teams as well in this era.

Kick Returner
Cordarrelle Patterson

Cordarrelle Patterson is arguably the greatest kick returner in league history. It all started in Minnesota. Throw in a few years from Percy Harvin and the Vikings were dynamite on kick returns for nearly a decade.

Punt Returner
Marcus Sherels

Marcus Sherels was on the roster bubble every training camp of his career. He always made the team because he was simply one of the best punt returners in the league.



With the Minnesota Vikings getting down to this year’s 53-man roster, I was thinking about an all-time Vikings 53-man roster. Minnesota Vikings All-Time 53-Man Roster O
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Aug 27, 2023 7:16:12 GMT -6 0 Replies
Hey, ep 103 of Vikings Report is out! I was super busy yesterday so I couldn't post. We announce a couple of great contests returning for 2023. The first, and original, is our Nobody Cares About Your Fantasy Team contest. We explain it in the video, so join us, play along, and you could win an Antoine Winfield jersey. Our second contest it the Rook Dog Challenge--predict who you think the NFL Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year will be, and you can win a $125 gift card.

For the show itself, we talk about the preseason in general, roll out the big board because it's preseason for us too, and of course, trivia! Join us!


Hey, ep 103 of Vikings Report is out! I was super busy yesterday so I couldn't post. We announce a couple of great contests returning for 2023. The first, and original, is our Nobody Cares About Your
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Jun 23, 2023 18:08:55 GMT -6 13 Replies
Whether it be dabbling in the stock market, flipping real estate or something as simple as sports memorabilia, people invest their time, money and resources into ventures with the intention they yield a high return. A $1k investment in Tesla stock just 5 years ago - when the shares were worth around $23/share - would now be worth over $11k. And on the flipside, that $100+ you plunked down in 2021 for an authentic Kellen Mond jersey is worth whatever reduced price TJ Maxx can sell them for on the clearance rack. 

When it comes to investments into players that NFL teams make, the goal is always to win a Super Bowl. But only one team can win the Lombardi Trophy each year and every team is constrained of how much investment they can make into players by a little thing called the Salary Cap. Teams need good football players to help them win, but they don't come cheap and teams that can manage to extract maximum value for what they spend on them will often times be contending not just for their Division and Conference, but ultimately the Super Bowl. 

To help illustrate that, below are the Top 10 NFL teams from the 2022 season in terms of Spotrac's "Value Rankings" (link). Their "Value Rankings" consist of a sum of a team's individual qualifying player "TVS" (True Value Score), which is made up of their current avg salary against production points, which are made up of statistical categories relevant to their position (players need to have played 60% of available snaps to qualify); in a nutshell, it's trying to measure how well a player - and ultimately the team - is producing relative to their salary (ie, managing the cap):



All of the teams (except one, the Browns) that made the Top 10 in terms of "Value Rankings", or producing relative their salaries, made the playoffs in 2022. Further, 4 out of the Top 5 teams were all playing in their Conference Championships: 49ers, Eagles, Chiefs and Bengals. If you want to win, you not only need good football players, but you can't pay out the nose for all of them - teams need to be able to allocate their cap efficiently and maximize the value of good players where they can. 

Notice who's #6 on that list? Per Spotrac, the Vikings are doing a good job of allocating their cap resources relative to the on-field production they're getting from their players. But which players are they getting value from relative their cap investment and which players need to produce more? Let's take a deeper look. 

2022 OTC Valuation
While Spotrac does assign individual scores to players, they don't provide an individual dollar figure of a player's "value" to compare against their invested cap hit. That's where OTC (Over The Cap) comes in. 

OTC has their "OTC Valuation", which calculates the dollar-value being provided by a player based on his on-field performance relative to the current market for his position. OTC primarily uses PFF grades and snap counts, as their article on their "OTC Valuation" states (link): "While snap counts do not tell us much about a player’s performance they are telling us that the coaching staff must see something in that player to keep trotting him out there week after week. Even if the coach is simply forced by circumstance to play someone, there is value to just taking a snap."

I bet most Vikings fans have used OTC a few times to look up a player's contract or cap hit(s), but you may have overlooked their prior season's OTC Valuation figure. Below is Justin Jefferson's profile on OTC - notice the 2022 OTC Valuation figure right underneath the header information:



That 2022 OTC Valuation figure for Jefferson is saying that given his production in 2022 (PFF grades, snap counts, etc.) relative to the current market, Jefferson's 2022 on-field production was valued at $26.7m per OTC. Now compare that to his 2022 cap number of $3.6m and it becomes obvious that Jefferson is yielding just as good of a return relative to his cap investment as Tesla stock would be if you had purchased it 5 years ago. 

While we don't need Spotrac or OTC to tell us Jefferson is out-producing what he's costing the Vikings on his rookie contract, how about the rest of the roster? What was their 2022 on-field "value" vs their 2022 cap hit? How does that 2022 on-field "value" compare to their upcoming 2023 cap hit? Let's take a look.

2022 OTC Valuation vs 2022/2023 Cap: Offense
To illustrate this, I took a stab at estimating the 2023 53-man roster and broke it down by Offense, Defense & ST. I then compared each player's 2022 OTC Valuation figure to their 2022 & 2023 cap numbers and calculated the gain or loss. Even though the 2023 rookies have a 2023 cap, they didn't have a 2022 OTC Valuation so I just left their lines blank. I also included total dead cap when totaling up everything at the bottom, mainly because I wanted to see how much value was generated even when figuring in cap dollars that don't generate any value.



Takeaways:
- No wonder the Vikings were 6th in Spotrac's 2022 team value rankings: their offense generated $148.6m of on-field value and it only cost them an investment of $78m, and that's including $6.6m of dead cap. 
- Even with a big offensive dead cap figure in 2023 of $20.7m (primarily from Thielen & Cook rekeases), they're still generating $38.6m of add'l value above their 2023 cap costs. A big part of that is deferring a chunk of Kirk's cap to 2024+. 
- Outside of Jefferson, Osborn and Hockenson gave the Vikings maximum value relative to their cap hits in 2022. Hockenson won't generate that kind of gain in 2023 as his 5th yr option kicks-in (I believe they can reduce his 2023 cap if they extend him, BTW) but if Osborn, Nailor and Addison play and produce in 2023, they could make up for any slowdown of Jefferson's production given they are all on rookie contracts. 
- The outliers in 2022 were Ham and Reagor. While neither is a surprise, if Ham doesn't produce more than he did in 2022, he'll be generating negative value in terms of his cap cost to the Vikings. As far as Reagor, since his 2023 # is guaranteed, the only way to get any value from him is either to trade him or he produces somewhat in 2023 - both seem unlikely at this point. 
- The OL #'s are definitely somewhat head-scratching: Oli Udoh and Ed Ingram giving great "value" while Bradbury generated negative value? I think this is where the weighing of snap counts comes into play for OTC's Valuation: even though Bradbury's PFF scores were obviously higher than Ingram, Bradbury missed a considerable amount of games/snaps in 2022 while Ingram played every snap and I'm guessing OTC really does weight availability pretty heavily into their Valuations. I can see snap counts definitely having some value and being part of the formula, but I would weigh the performance more heavily than the snap count. 

Overall, with much of the 2022 offense returning in 2023 under the same coaching staff, they should perform better than they did in 2022 and it's possible the total offensive value gained in 2023 ends up pretty close to where it was in 2022. 

2022 OTC Valuation vs 2022/2023 Cap: Defense
I think it's obvious without looking at the numbers that the 2022 Vikings defense didn't generate the kind of value the offense did. And since the rookies on defense have a $0 value now, they key is to look at the 2022 rookies who should improve in 2023 and then the defensive free agents they brought in and see what kind of value they generated for their prior teams. 



Takeaways:
- If you take away the $20.5m in dead cap in 2022 (primarily from Barr & Pierce), they would have generated more value over their cap cost in total. 
- Interior DL is a sore spot: Dean Lowry generated negative value for the Packers last year since his play was only valued at $2.8m but his 2022 cap hit with Green Bay was nearly $7m. While his 2023 cap his lower for the Vikings, you'd still like to see more productive value out of this group as a whole. I do think Tonga was criminally under-valued here, again, probably due to OTC weighing snap-count more heavily as Tonga didn't play a bunch of snaps until the 2nd half of the season. 
- Davenport's availability (or lack of it) has hurt his on-field value which is the reason for the negative value for the Vikes in 2023. If he can stay healthy, it will be a gain for the Vikings. 
- Outside of Metellus and Bynum, the secondary didn't generate much value in 2022 at all. Luckily, the "Donattell shell" is gone and the hope is Flores - even when giving snaps to rookies and 2nd yr players - can turn this unit's value around in 2023. 

Thor Nystrom recently stated on Dustin Baker's VikesNow podcast (link to that here: link), that the Vikings retaining Danielle Hunter could be the key for Minnesota in 2023: if they're able to keep him, the Vikings could compete for the Division again and possibly get to 10 wins, and if they can't, it's probably a bit closer to a straight-up "rebuild" than a "competitive rebuild"...and the numbers above sort of bear that out. The biggest value gain for the Vikings in 2022 and in 2023 is coming from Hunter and if you take that away, they'll be even more in the red than they already are. Even if Hunter is back in 2023+, Flores has to coach-up this unit to a better level than they were in 2022. And Kwesi's 2022 DB draft picks (Cine, Booth, Evans) better stay on the field, or else their cap - even if it's just rookie cap dollars - will be just like that Kellen Mond jersey you purchased in 2021: a sunk cost that'll end up in a heap on the closet floor. 

2022 OTC Valuation vs 2022/2023 Cap: Special Teams



There's not too much to say here: yeah, DePaola's cap hit increases in 2023, but the ST unit as a whole doesn't cost much and they generate more on-field value than their cap hits. If they can bring in another K that can generate more than Joseph's $2.6m 2022 value - whether that's Podlesny or someone else - that'll just be all that much better. 

Conclusion: "Moneyball"
When the Vikings released Kendricks, Thielen and Cook this offseason and took on that dead cap, there was some concern that perhaps they don't have the on-field production / value to replace that veteran talent. Take Kendricks for example: his 2022 OTC Valuation was $8.1m; no ILB on the Vikings projected 2023 53-man roster generated that kind of value. But when you take into account that his 2022 cap number was $13.5m and he was eating up the lion's share of the snaps, you realize that every snap he took, the Vikings as a whole were "losing" value, and the hope is that when those snaps go to Asamoah and others, they'll be able to generate the same rate of return as they did in 2022, just at a higher scale since they'll be taking more snaps. Asamoah generated $0.9m of net value on 121 snaps in 2022, and if he continues to produce that value of on-field net value with 900 snaps, you've made up the difference of what Kendricks generated in 2022. 

When you put it like that, it starts sounding more and more like saebermetics and what Billy Beane implemented in Oakland in 2001 that was the basis for the popular book and smash-hit film, "Moneyball". Beane and then A's Asst GM Paul DePodesta (now the Browns Chief Strategy Officer) used saebermetics to find find low-cost players than generated on-field value. That's basically what Kwesi is doing now in Minnesota - finding low-cost players (relative to the market anyway) who hopefully generate just as much on-field value as other players who costs twice as much. 


Image was taken from a Purple FTW Video: link

So, how did the story end for the Oakland A's during their "Moneyball" era? From 2001-2007, they made the postseason 4 times in those 6 seasons, won 3 division titles and made one appearance in the ALCS, but they generally couldn't get out of the ALDS and couldn't get over that proverbial hump from just a playoff contender to World Series contender. Sound familiar?

Let's hope that Kwesi's time on Wall Street and with DePodesta in Cleveland, combined with a strong coaching staff between O'Connell, Flores and the Asst Staff, can combine into a successful formula that ultimately yields the biggest return of them all: the Lombardi Trophy...Whether it be dabbling in the stock market, flipping real estate or something as simple as sports memorabilia, people invest their time, money and resources into ventures with the intention they
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Aug 12, 2023 13:04:22 GMT -6 2 Replies

The National Football League and the American Football League agreed to merge on June 8, 1966. The immediate result of that agreement was a unifying championship game at the end of each season and an end to the bidding war over players. In 1970, the two rival leagues fully merged into one professional football league. One often overlooked result of the merger was the introduction of divisions into the NFL's traditional Eastern-Western alignment. Since 1933, the NFL had separated the teams into Eastern or Western Divisions/Conferences. From 1933-49 it was Divisions. From 1953-66 it was Conferences. From 1950-52, the three seasons following the absorption of the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, and Baltimore Colts from the All-America Football Conference, the teams were split into American and National Conferences. That bit of nomenclature was foreshadowing of what was to come about 20 years later. After the 1966 merger, the NFL got a little squirrelly with the separation of their teams. Probably due to the lateness of the merger announcement, the 1966 season was more of the same. 15 teams divided into Eastern and Western Conferences:

Eastern Conference
Dallas Cowboys
Cleveland Browns
Philadelphia Eagles
St. Louis Cardinals
Washington Redskins
Pittsburgh Steelers
Atlanta Falcons
New York Giants

Western Conference
Green Bay Packers
Baltimore Colts
Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ers
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Minnesota Vikings

It was in 1967 that the NFL got squirrelly:

Eastern Conference

Capitol Division
Dallas Cowboys
Philadelphia Eagles
Washington Redskins
New Orleans Saints

Century Division
Cleveland Browns
New York Giants
St. Louis Cardinals
Pittsburgh Steelers

Western Conference

Coastal Division
Los Angeles Rams
Baltimore Colts
San Francisco 49ers
Atlanta Falcons

Central Division
Minnesota Vikings
Green Bay Packers
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions

This was the NFL from 1967-69. The most surprising aspect of this alignment for me has always been it's delightful alliteration. Four divisions with the names Capitol, Century, Coastal, and Central. Who would've thought that Pete Rozelle and his pals had that sort of whimsy in them? The Central Division is the only division that survived the complete NFL-AFL merger. The good old Central continued until the NFL's most recent realignment in 2002. The four teams of the Central make up the NFC North today. They are the only four teams that have stayed together since the NFL got squirrelly in 1967.

A couple things.

I sure do miss seeing the Colts as the Baltimore Colts. I also like seeing them on the National Football side of the ledger. The same is true for the Steelers and the Browns.

The NFL has rarely been very good with geography. They have gotten better in recent years but how can anyone ever seriously place teams from Atlanta and Baltimore in the West? The Cowboys have terrific rivalries with the Redskins, Giants, and Eagles but they aren't geographical rivals.

The National Football League and the American Football League agreed to merge on June 8, 1966. The immediate result of that agreement was a unifying championship game at the end of each season
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Aug 20, 2023 8:46:32 GMT -6 0 Replies
Drew, Ruby, and I had a ton of fun making this show, with the Wizard of Oz as the backdrop. We discuss the Vikings preseason to date, hand out some heart, courage, and brains awards, and as always we wrap the show up with trivia.


Drew, Ruby, and I had a ton of fun making this show, with the Wizard of Oz as the backdrop. We discuss the Vikings preseason to date, hand out some heart, courage, and brains awards, and as always we
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Jul 29, 2023 13:00:44 GMT -6 2 Replies
Minnesota Vikings legendary defensive end Jim Marshall has been waiting for a Pro Football Hall of Fame call (knock) for decades. With Wednesday’s announcement that he’d missed the cut to 12 Senior finalists, his long Hall wait grows to another year. Marshall has been eligible since 1985. His only year as a finalist (2004) was his final year as a modern-era candidate. Now, he’s stuck in the very deep Senior pool of candidates. Marshall is the former Vikings player many fans point to as most deserving of a Hall of Fame bust. While I’d love to see Marshall in Canton, I see Chuck Foreman and Joey Browner as bigger Hall snubs. Foreman has been waiting since 1986. Browner has been waiting since 1998. Neither has received even Marshall-level attention from the Hall of Fame voters.

Every NFL team fanbase has a player snubbed by the Hall of Fame voters. Every NFL team fanbase feels that the voters hate them. Picking the Hall of Famers is a tough job. The league has been around since 1920. Every decade of it’s existence has players that are deserving of a bust in Canton. Personally, I think that the voters should start with the 1920s, work their way through the years and begin cleaning up the mess that they’ve made. There are many deserving players that have been waiting 20 years longer than Marshall. Anyway, this is about the Hall of Fame waits of Minnesota Vikings players.

Hall of Fame Waits: Years as a Finalist

1st year:
Randy Moss (2018)

2nd year:
Alan Page (1988)
Randall McDaniel (2009)
John Randle (2010)
Chris Doleman (2012)

3rd year:
Fran Tarkenton (1986)
Paul Krause (1998)
Steve Hutchinson (2020)

4th year:
Bud Grant (1994)

5th year:
Gary Zimmerman (2008)

6th year:
Ron Yary (2001)
Cris Carter (2013)

13th year:
Carl Eller (2004)

Jim Finks made the Hall of Fame in his only year as a finalist (1995). While deserving as an impactful general manager for turning around three teams, the Hall voters might’ve been feeling a bit sentimental after his passing in 1994. His immediate induction felt a little early.

Mick Tingelhoff made the Hall of Fame in his only year as a finalist (2015). He made it as a senior player 37 years after he retired. It’s ridiculous that he’d never even been a finalist before 2015. His long wait was a true injustice. He should’ve stood on the Canton stage long before his health started fading.

Randy Moss is the only Vikings player that made it in his first year of eligibility. Adrian Peterson should be the second in 2027. I’m sure that Fran Tarkenton and Alan Page would’ve made it in their first year with the current quick-twitch voters. Still, it’s more than a little surprising that the league’s all-time leading passer had to wait two years and one of only two defensive players to take home an MVP had to wait one year.

Hall of Fame Waits: Years after Retirement:

Three Years:
Jim Finks

Six Years:
Randy Moss

Seven Years:
Alan Page
John Randle

Eight Years:
Randall McDaniel
Fran Tarkenton
Steve Hutchinson

Nine Years:
Bud Grant
Gary Zimmerman

Eleven Years:
Cris Carter

Thirteen Years:
Chris Doleman

Nineteen Years:
Paul Krause
Ron Yary

Twenty-five Years:
Carl Eller

Thirty-seven Years:
Mick Tingelhoff

37 years!

Cris Carter, Chris Doleman, Paul Krause, Ron Yary, Carl Eller, and Mick Tingelhoff should not have seen double-digit year waits. I get that Carter was stuck in a receiver logjam that still exists but no receiver ever caught a football as well. Catching a football is pretty important for a receiver and he was the best to ever do it. His six-year wait was excruciating. It felt like 20 to me. It probably felt like 50 to him. I still can’t believe the ridiculously long waits of Krause, Yary, Eller, and Tingelhoff. Krause’s 81 career interceptions is as near an unbeatable record as there is. Yary and Eller have the All-Pro and All-Decade honors of peers that had Hall waits about a quarter as long. If Eller hadn’t made it in his final year as a modern-era candidate, he might still be waiting in the endless Senior pool. It’s crazy that he was a finalist 13 of his 25 years as a modern-era candidate and didn’t make it until his final year of eligibility. Tingelhoff was the center equal of peers Jim Ringo and Jim Otto. Ringo was inducted in 1981. Otto was inducted in 1980. 35 years later, Tingelhoff joined them.

If the Vikings had won even one of their four Super Bowls, Tarkenton, Page, and Grant are in Canton in their first year of eligibility. The waits of Krause, Yary, Eller, and Tingelhoff are cut considerably. Jim Marshall and Chuck Foreman probably aren’t still waiting. Winning titles do matter to voters.

The Hall of Fame Wait continues for:
Jim Marshall
Chuck Foreman
Jared Allen
Kevin Williams




Minnesota Vikings legendary defensive end Jim Marshall has been waiting for a Pro Football Hall of Fame call (knock) for decades. With Wednesday’s announcement that he’d missed the cut to 12 Senior
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Aug 6, 2023 1:41:33 GMT -6 1 Replies
I find the history of the NFL fascinating. It’s the people that filled and made that history. It’s the happenings between the games. And it’s definitely the games. One of the many things about the league’s history that fascinates me is the number of things that happened back then that could never happen now. These aren’t things that have been legislated out of the game like the “tuck rule,” the clothes-line tackle, and mass-momentum plays. Oh wait, the Philadelphia Eagles are somehow being allowed to do that last one. These are things that could only have happened in simpler times. For example, in the 1970s, Washington Redskins head coach George Allen had a tremendous aversion to and distrust of rookies. His feelings against the youngsters were so strong that he traded away many of his team’s draft picks for veteran players, often very seasoned veteran players. He traded so many draft picks that he even traded some of the picks more than once. Come draft day, multiple teams were on the clock for the same pick. That would never happen today. The draft order, and which team owns each pick, is well known and well documented. There’s no way today that some maniac could trade a draft pick more than once. I recently came across another bit of league history that could never happen today while reading When The Colts Belonged To Baltimore by William Gildea. It involved Y.A. Tittle, Bill “Tiger” Johnson, and an official in a game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears.

In the words of former 49ers quarterback Y.A. Tittle as told to William Gildea:

“Here’s another common, little ol’ anecdote,” he related a few minutes into our conversation, speaking animatedly with those thick hands. On October 13, 1957, the 49ers were playing the Bears at Chicago’s Wrigley Field. The clock was running out, and the 49ers had just been pushed back from scoring position by a fifteen-yard penalty against an assistant coach, Tiger Johnson, for berating the officials. “I’ve known Tiger all my life,” recounted Tittle. “Played against him in junior high school. Played against him three years in high school when he was at Tyler and I was at Marshall. Played against him when I was with Baltimore and he was in San Francisco. Then we became teammates on the 49ers for six years. Then he was my coach for three years — my head offensive coordinator. Now the referee says Tiger’s calling the officials all these filthy names. I say to the referee, ‘I don’t know who that big son-a-b*tch is, I never seen him before.’ The referee says, ‘You mean that’s not one of your coaches? What’s he doin’ on the sideline?’ I said, ‘I don’t know, but I don’t know that guy.’ So he goes over to Albert — Frank’s our head coach, and he’d heard us arguing — and he asks Frank, ‘Who is this guy?’ Frank says, ‘I don’t know who that drunk son-a-b*tch is, get him out of here, he’s been annoyin’ the hell out of us.’ So two policemen took ol Tiger out of Wrigley Field, and the referee gave me my fifteen yards back. He walked them back, the fifteen yards! Those yards were important and I wanted ‘em. But Tiger was really upset, he was almost fighting with the policemen. He was so mad, and they kicked him out of the whole Wrigley Field. R.C. Owens won the game with a catch on his knees in the end zone with twenty-seven seconds left. And so, man, we were happy. Meantime, Tiger had talked his way back into the locker room and he’s sitting there and we’re all celebrating and cheering R.C.’s great catch. Tiger says, ‘Don’t touch me.’ I went over and hugged him. He says, ‘Don’t put your hands on me.’ He says, ‘I centered that ball to you all those years. I can’t see out of my left eye from a forearm I took blocking for you. I can’t move on my left knee — I’ve had three operations blocking for you. But I’m not worth a fifteen-yard penalty, that’s what you think of me.’ ‘No Tiger…’”

That could never happen in today’s NFL.

A couple decades after that 1957 49ers-Bears game, Bill “Tiger” Johnson was in the middle of a decision that would change the league. From 1968-75, Johnson and Bill Walsh were assistant coaches for Paul Brown with the Cincinnati Bengals. Johnson coached the offensive line. Walsh was essentially the offensive coordinator. He didn’t have the title as there’s no way a coach other than Paul Brown is calling the offensive shots for a team coached by Paul Brown. After the 1975 season, Brown decided to step away from the sideline and run the team from the front office. He surprised everyone when he tapped Johnson to replace him as head coach of the Bengals. The most surprised, and hurt, was Walsh. It was a hurt that never eased. Brown wanted Walsh to stay on as offensive coordinator but Walsh couldn’t accept the snub. He bolted to the west coast and a couple years later was named the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. If Brown had made the right decision in 1976, the dynasty that Walsh created in San Francisco might’ve been created in Cincinnati. Ken Anderson might’ve become what Joe Montana was. It’s a whole different NFL history if Brown had tapped the more deserving Walsh rather than Tiger in 1976.

Neither of these historic anecdotes should be considered a condemnation of Bill “Tiger” Johnson. He was a terrific football player and coach. It just happens to be that his most notable, or humorous, moments weren’t necessarily his best moments.



I find the history of the NFL fascinating. It’s the people that filled and made that history. It’s the happenings between the games. And it’s definitely the games. One of the many things about the
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Aug 1, 2023 19:35:06 GMT -6 0 Replies
We just wrapped up a live show with Drew, Ted, Chris Gates, and special guest Sally Spice. Had a great show talking about training camp and expectations for the Vikings as we approach the preseason and regular season.


We just wrapped up a live show with Drew, Ted, Chris Gates, and special guest Sally Spice. Had a great show talking about training camp and expectations for the Vikings as we approach the preseason
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Jul 24, 2023 12:35:47 GMT -6 2 Replies
Vikings Report has hit the century mark with episode 100. We discuss Jim Marshall making the semifinalist list for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the throwback jerseys for week one, the Netflix show 'Quarterback' with Kirk Cousins, and look at some training camp battles for the offense.

So glad to be back in studio, and back here on Purple Pain Forums!


Vikings Report has hit the century mark with episode 100. We discuss Jim Marshall making the semifinalist list for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the throwback jerseys for week one, the Netflix show
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Jul 30, 2023 13:02:33 GMT -6 0 Replies
Drew, Ted, and Ruby are back! We talk Training Camp and roster news, Danielle Hunter (and someone made a spooky good prediction), go over the defensive side of the ball and try to figure out who is actually going to make the roster, trivia, and some Bad News Bears along the way! And we'll be live on Tuesday, July 1st at 7 PM CT with a special guest to talk all the latest and greatest news from Eagan!




Drew, Ted, and Ruby are back! We talk Training Camp and roster news, Danielle Hunter (and someone made a spooky good prediction), go over the defensive side of the ball and try to figure out who is
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Jul 10, 2023 11:09:58 GMT -6 20 Replies
I hope you are ready for another long and engaging read! This time I'm combining my usual Draft Analysis with a new component we'll examine Draft Grading. There has been some amount of debate about the validity of grading draft picks right after they are made, so this seems to be the perfect opportunity to research that. I won't conclude with a definitive statement on grading, but this can be the first data point... unless someone out there is researching this.

For this exercise, I have taken the span of 2018 to 2020 and chosen 7 teams - the Vikings, and 3 of the best and worst drafting teams from that stretch. Representing the positive half will be the Eagles, Chiefs, and Bills. Representing the bad half will be the Jets, Cardinals, and Texans.

Hindsight Grade Determination

Like my past articles, I will determine the grade each player will receive by two factors - their AV (Pro Football Reference's Actual Value, a stat that gives players points per playing snaps and recording counting stats) and PFF Rating (Pro Football Focus rating that determines the quality of play). I then use a table that judges the player depending on where they were drafted. They will receive a rating from A to F, and this has been predetermined from the big article I published last year. I will show you an example:



For this example, let's take Alexander Mattison. Over his 4 year span with the Vikings, he totaled 15 AV or 3.75 AV per year, and notched a 6 on the PFF scale (below average). Going by the rubric, his AV grade is a D+ and his PFF grade is a B, and I combined the two grades to make a C as the final hindsight grade.

I did the trouble of going through and giving grades to all 160 players on these 7 teams over 3 years - yup, it was a lot of work! But not even close to the end, because I need to compare Draft Grades from the time right after these grades concluded. I have taken grades from two sources - my own draft board, and Walterfootball.com. I turned my draft board into grades by giving a rating based upon the draft pick number compared to my board's total number. For example, Jalen Reagor was #38 on my board compared to being taken at #20 by the Eagles, earning them a D by my grading. Meanwhile, Justin Jefferson was #18 on my board and went #20, and I gave the Vikings an A. Any player who was taken at a slot above automatically gets an A (it didn't happen that often).

As for Walterfootball, they give out letter grades every year, making it easy to plug in the grades without having to do any conversions. It's still horrid navigating their awfully designed website with no AdBlock, though. If there is another source anyone would like me to examine their grades, please let me know!

Finally, I did an Excel VLOOKUP to assign points to each letter grade and quantify how accurate our grading was. For each pick, I calculated the difference between the points of the hindsight grade and my/Walt grade. For example:

CB Cameron Dantzler - Hindsight grade: C+ (3.33 points)
Danchat's grade: A (5 points, difference of 1.67)
Walt's grade: A- (4.66 points, difference of 1.33)

I averaged out the difference of every pick, though I removed rounds 5 through 7 for several reasons - the majority of those picks are busts and one can easy give an "F" to every pick and be the most accurate, my boards didn't have several of the late players and could not make accurate grades, and finally Walt's grading system doesn't give out anything lower than a C past the 5th round.

Finally, the grading scale for the difference:

0 points would be immaculate
1 point would be heavily correlating with the hindsight pick, being consistently accurate
2 points would be exactly in the middle, having just as much right as wrong
Anything above 2 points would suggest an inverse correlation, meaning the grades are more often wrong

Here are the results:

Danchat Avg Diff: 1.64 points off per pick
Walterfootball Avg Diff: 1.87 points off per pick

So I can conclude that my own draft grades have some correlation with being aligned with the hindsight grade more often than not, but not anything crazy. Walt's grades are less accurate, but are still a bit more often right than wrong. I am confident in saying that my grades are not as pointless as some claim, but the data here is not conclusive and would need to be backed up by a larger dataset.

Now, let's dig into some of the team grades and give out some praise / roast some stupid teams.

First, the Vikings:



I averaged a 1.4 while Walt averaged 2.07, so my grades were considerably more accurate - case in point the 1st round CBs Hughes and Gladney were panned by me, while Walt gave them As.

These classes are rather lackluster as you'd expect with a GM who was one more draft away from getting canned, the primary successes are Jefferson and O'Neill. Defensively only Armon Watts (rotational DL) and Marcus Epps (100% of value gained with Philly) got anything higher than a C, resulting in zero decent starters and leading our defense to be barren of talent from any homegrown talent prior to 2022. The strategy of using late round picks as lottery tickets did not fly, as the only Round 5-7 pick to become a starter was KJ Osborn, with Epps and Carlson thriving elsewhere.


Next let's examine the Eagles:



I've sorted this by hindsight grade, to appreciate how much was accomplished with non-1st round picks. Despite their two 1st rounders being massive flops (Reagor/Dillard), Howie Roseman still found several starters in the mid rounds, including Hurts in the late 2nd round (which Walt declared to be the worst draft pick in Eagles history!), finding an Ertz replacement in Goedert in the 2nd, finding a quality pass rusher in the 4th in Sweat (with one of the Sam Bradford picks!), and even a franchise LT in the 7th round! A team can overcome early busts if they can develop their later round picks well.


Now let's check out the tire fire that is the Cardinals, the current (heavy) favorite to be picking #1 in 2024:



Is it any wonder this team is in such bad shape? Kyler Murray, despite his warts, has been the one thing warding away oblivion. His contract extension might go down as one of the worst contracts in NFL history, but as a #1 pick he is a success in being able to elevate the team as much as he has. Aside from terrible coaching, they refused to fire GM Steve Keim (he was GM for 10 YEARS!!) and they were rewarded with bad draft after bad draft. The classes above are embarrassing despite having high draft capital. Even some "successes" are barely so - RB Eno Benajmin was released despite playing well and is a minor success for a 7th round pick, C Mason Cole was far better with the Vikings and Steelers than he was in Arizona, an "F" does not truly justify how bad Josh Rosen was, and while perhaps Isaiah Simmons could be a very good player, for a top 10 pick he plays like a tweener who can't quite handle linebacker or safety.

It took long enough for the Cardinals to reset the organization, but they have a long ways to go. I feel less confident about them compared to the Dolphins and Bears tank-jobs - at least they didn't have a QB on tab for about $50M per year for the next several years (hilariously, they back-loaded the deal to try and win in 2022, making things even worse for them in the future).


Finally, let us conclude with the Bills:



This is a very strong unit, crafted well by the new regime that entered in 2017. The only true early round flop was G Cody Ford, with every other 1st to 4th round pick being a moderate success at worst. Outside of the smash hit of Josh Allen, they hit on several key positions that allowed them to spend their money on other positions - finding multiple CBs, DTs, RBs. Even a few players who did nothing there like Wyatt Teller, Isaiah Hodgins, and McCloud have ended up providing some value elsewhere, a sign that the Bills were drafting good players.


Alright, that's enough for now! Let me know if you want a rundown of the 3 teams that I didn't cover, or any other classes that I could cover... if it doesn't take me too much time! Thanks for reading and let me know what you think.
I hope you are ready for another long and engaging read! This time I'm combining my usual Draft Analysis with a new component we'll examine Draft Grading. There has been some amount of debate about
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Jul 27, 2020 21:53:39 GMT -6 35 Replies
Analyzing Vikings Trades 2010 to 2017 - How the Vikings turned Matt Cassel into Justin Jefferson


Welcome to my latest article, in which I will go through 8 years of Vikings trades, and examine the careers of the players on each side of the trade, and which team got the better deal. I will conclude with some general thoughts I’ve come up with over the course of writing this article. This is going to be a long one, but by now you should know that's just how I roll.
Without further ado, let’s go!

- Text has been put behind spoiler tags for your viewing pleasure -

{2010 Trades}
Sent 1-30 (HB Best), 4-128 (C Jason Fox) for
2-34 (CB Chris Cook), 4-100 (DE Everson Griffen), and 7-214 (TE Mickey Shuler)

What the Lions got: Best was billed as an explosive playmaker, but injuries forced his career to end after only two seasons of play. Fox was a backup center who lasted 3 seasons with the Lions and started 3 games.

What the Vikings got: The Vikings gained draft capital moving down for Chris Cook, who busted completely due to poor coverage and playmaking skills, constant injuries, and off-the-field issues. Thankfully they landed Everson Griffen, who was able to overcome his character issues and started 88 games, recording 74.5 sacks over 10 years. Shuler failed to make the team.

Who won the trade: The Vikings moved down and reportedly got the guy they wanted, but the real prize was when they swapped 4ths and got Griffen. Perhaps if Best could have stayed healthy this would have been an even deal, but there's no question the Vikings won it.


Traded with Texans
Sent 2-62 (traded), 3-93 (traded) for
2-51 (HB Toby Gerhart)

What the Texans got: Houston moved up with #58, getting HB Ben Tate. They moved down with #93, getting LB Darryl Sharpton in the 4th round and CB Sherrick McManis in the 5th round. Tate was a decent HB for Houston in his 3 years there, running for 1992 yards over that stretch, but immediately fell apart once he hit free agency at age 26. Sharpton ended up starting 19 games over 4 years for Houston, compiling 161 tackles. McManis is still in the NFL at age 32! He lasted two years as a backup for Houston, and has been in Chicago since 2012 as a special teamer.

What the Vikings got: Likely the league's best backup HB for a few years... but why did Childress & Co. need to move up for a running back when Adrian Peterson was in the prime of his career? Gerhart added a little value to the 2010-2013 squads, but they had needs at other positions, yet decided that replacing Chester Taylor was more important than anything else, save drafting a CB.

Who won the trade: No question the Texans. Not only did they acquire a better HB when they traded down, but they also got to build depth at LB and CB. Why the Vikings felt they needed to get Gerhart in the door with AP already here is baffling.


Traded with Patriots
Sent 2011 3-74 (QB Ryan Mallett) for
WR Randy Moss, 2012 7-223

What the Patriots got: It would have hurt if the Patriots did something with this pick, but Belichick went for Mallett, a tall and strong-armed QB who struggled with accuracy and had leadership concerns. He was not seen as the future there, as in the final year of his rookie deal he was shipped off to Houston for a 7th rounder in 2016. They eventually traded that pick away in a package deal for #225 WR Devin Lucien and a 4th rounder in 2017, DE Deatrich Wise Jr. Lucien did nothing, but Wise Jr. has 11.5 sacks in 3 years with the team.

What the Vikings got: The husk of Randy Moss, who was promptly released about a month after the trade. The 7th rounder was traded in a package deal for 7th rounder DE Trevor Guyton and a 4th rounder that was used in the 2013 trade up for WR Cordarrelle Patterson. Guyton never made the team and Patterson busted outright, but more on that later.

Who won the trade: Technically the Patriots, but they didn't get much out of the trade. Belichick passed up some better prospects (DT Jurrell Casey, LB K. J. Wright were available) and took the mercurial Mallett. The Vikings really could have used that 3rd rounder for building up the roster.


{2011 Trades}

Traded with Browns
Sent 5-150 (G Jason Pinkston) for
6-168 (T Demarcus Love) and 6-170 (S Mistral Raymond)

What the Browns got: Pinkston started at LG for all 16 games over his rookie year, but clearly they didn't like his play as he only started 8 more games over his Browns career. He lasted only 3 years.

What the Vikings got: Love never made it into a game for the Vikings or any other team. Raymond lasted four seasons with the team and notched 10 starts, ending up with 1 interception and 53 tackles.

Who won the trade: Neither team got much out of the deal.


Traded with Redskins
Sent 2012 6th (HB Alfred Morris) for
QB Donovan McNabb

What the Redskins got: Morris wasn't considered much of a HB prospect, but the Redskins immediately plugged him in as their freature back and he broke loose for an incredible 1,613 yard rookie season, finishing his four year career with 4713 yards for Washington. Yet another reason why teams shouldn't draft HBs early!

What the Vikings got: The rotting remains of a Pro Bowl caliber QB. McNabb started 6 games and looked thoroughly cooked, putting up a 1026/4/2 60.3% line with a 6.6 Y/A and 9.3% sack rate. He was benched for Christian Ponder by Week 7.

Who won the trade: Undoubtedly Washington, as they were able to identify Morris as a top-tier HB right out of the gate. It's a shame he was never given a starting job elsewhere once his deal ran out, but likely that was due to him entering the NFL at age 24.


{2012 Trades}
Traded with Ravens
Sent 2-35 (LB Courtney Upshaw) and 4-98 (G Gino Gradkowski) for
1-29 (S Harrison Smith)

What the Ravens got: Upshaw ended up starting for Baltimore for 4 seasons, totaling 51 starts, 216 tackles, and 5 sacks. Gradkowski lasted only3 seasons with the team and started a 16 game season in 2013, but was only a backup the other two years.

What the Vikings got: An All-Pro safety is all. Smith quickly became one of the best safeties in the league and is still one of the best at age 31.

Who won the trade: The Vikings definitely won this one, although the Ravens acquired a couple of decent players. I believe that trading down is usually a better idea than trading up, but this time the Vikings hit a home run and were able to draft a stud who fell further in the draft than expected. It's one of Spielman's best moves as a GM, and it happened in his first official year as GM.


Traded with Browns
Sent 1-3 (HB Trent Richardson) for
Pick 1-4 (LT Matt Kalil), 4-118 (WR Jarius Wright), 5-139 (S Robert Blanton), and 7-211 (Traded away).

What the Browns got: Paranoid another team was going to move up and snatch HB Trent Richardson, the Browns gave the Vikings a bunch of picks to move up a single spot. Richardson wasn't very good, but they were able to trade him for a 1st round pick midway through his second season. The Colts got nothing out of him as he proved to be a massive bust. With that 1st round pick in 2014, Cleveland moved up with it and selected QB Johnny Manziel... whoops! The Browns were wise to move Richardson so quickly, but they squandered the pick regardless.

What the Vikings got: Kalil was thought to be a franchise LT, but the Vikings only got about two years of good play from. They were going to take him at #3 anyways, so getting Wright (153/2039/10 catches/yards/TDs), Blanton (17 starts, 214 tackles, 1 interception), and a pick that they eventually moved for CB A.J. Jefferson (7 starts over 2 years, 1 interception) was a nice haul.

Who won the trade: The Vikings clearly did, though Kalil didn't pan out as hoped. Getting Wright, Blanton, and Jefferson practically for free was a nice gain.


Traded with Titans
Sent 7-211 (DE Scott Solomon) for
2013 6th (eventually traded for CB A. J. Jefferson)

What the Titans got: Solomon made the team in 2012, but notched only 4 tackles. He failed to make the team in 2013.

What the Vikings got: They moved the 6th rounder for some CB depth, but Jefferson didn't end up doing anything here.

Who won the trade: It ended up as a wash.


Traded with Lions
Sent 5-138 (LB Tahir Whitehead), 7-223 (LB Travis Lewis) for
7-219 (DE Trevor Guyton) and 2013 4th (traded)

What the Lions got: Whitehead broke out in his third year as a starting linebacker for the Lions and continued through 2017, where he then hit free agency and signed a 3 year deal with the Raiders. He turned into a quality starting linebacker. Lewis started 4 games over 4 years for Detroit.

What the Vikings got: We already know Guyton didn't end up doing anything for the Vikings, but they traded that 4th rounder with other picks to move up for Cordarrelle Patterson in 2013.

Who won the trade: The Lions were smart to jump up for Whitehead and dip into their 2013 draft capital. The Vikings got nothing out of this trade, since moving up for Patterson was not a wise move.


Traded with Cardinals
Sent 2013 6th (traded) for
CB A. J. Jefferson and 2013 7th (LB Michael Mauti)

What the Cardinals got: Arizona sent the 6th rounder and a conditional 2014 draft pick for QB Carson Palmer. Bruce Arians was able to get Palmer's career back on track, and the deal proved to be a great move for Arizona.

What the Vikings got: A backup CB and a backup LB.



{2013 Trades}
Traded with the Seahawks
Sent WR Percy Harvin for
1-25 (CB Xavier Rhodes), 7-214 (G Travis Bond), and 2014 3rd (HB Jerick McKinnon)

What the Seahawks got: Basically nothing! Harvin signed a large deal and spent his first season hurt all season, managing a single catch in the regular season, and a kick return touchdown in the Super Bowl. He then wore out his welcome as a locker room cancer, forcing a trade midseason 2014.They paid a ton of money and draft capital for almost nothing.

What the Vikings got: A CB who developed into a Pro Bowler, a offensive lineman who didn't make the team, and a good HB. Quite a nice haul for a single player!

Who won the trade: Spielman got away with armed robbery! A 1st and next year 3rd as a return for Harvin was considered an overpay at the time, and in retrospect it looks even worse. While Rhodes' span of quality play wasn't as long as hoped and McKinnon left in free agency, they still got plenty of value from the two, especially in their 2017 playoff run.


Traded with the Patriots
Sent 2-52 (LB Jamie Collins), 3-83 (CB Logan Ryan), 4-102 (WR Josh Boyce), and 7-229 (traded) for
1-29 (WR Cordarrelle Patterson)

What the Patriots got: The Patriots were able to take Jamie Collins, a prospect who fell much further than anticipated, with the second rounder and were rewarded with some high-level play. They ended up trading him to the Browns mid 2016 for a 3rd rounder. Logan Ryan quickly jumped into the Patriots' CB rotation and picked off 13 passes over his 4 years there, and left for some good money in free agency. Boyce busted with just 9 catches (Belichick has always stunk when drafting WRs). But wait, there's more! The Patriots traded the 7th rounder they received and acquired HB LeGarrette Blount - who became one of their rotational backs and was an effective short yardage option.
For those wondering what happened to the 3rd rounder they got for Collins - that pick was traded to Detroit. The Patriots moved up and picked T Antonio Garcia, and the Lions took WR Kenny Golladay and LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin. Garcia is still on the Patriots' roster, but has yet to play a game. Golladay, meanwhile, has become the Lions' #1 WR.

What the Vikings got: Patterson turned out to be a bust of a WR, but he was one of the league's best kick returners, and did add some value as a special teamer. He was effective as a offensive wildcard, doing jet sweeps and the like, but never learned to run routes and ran chemistry with a QB.

Who won the trade: Seeing that the Patriots have a couple paragraphs of text, they won this trade by a mile. Belichick happily moved down and took a better prospect in the 2nd round, and found a quality CB in the 3rd.


Traded with the Bucs
Sent 6-189 (HB Mike James) for
6-196 (G Jeff Baca) and 7-229 (DT Everett Dawkins)

What the Bucs got: James was a decent backup HB who ran for 351 yards over 3 seasons, with 4.2 yards a carry and 15 receptions.

What the Vikings got: Baca made the team for a single season but never started, Dawkins didn't make the team.

Who won the trade: The Bucs by default, but even then the gains from this trade was minimal.


{2014 Trades}
Traded with Seahawks
Sent 2-40 (traded), 4-108 (DE Cassius Marsh) for
1-32 (QB Teddy Bridgewater)

What the Seahawks got: Seattle traded down again with the 40th pick, getting the 45th pick. They took WR Paul Richardson, but didn't get a whole lot from him. It took him until his 4th season in Seattle to become a starter and posted a 44/703/6 line, and immediately left in free agency. They also received pick 4-111,but traded it away for another 4th (WR Kevin Norwood) and a 6th (T Garrett Scott). Norwood caught 9 passes over his whole career, and Scott was cut the day after he signed his rookie deal since he was diagnosed with a rare heart condition. They also drafted FB Kiero Small, but he didn't make the team. Finally, they also took Marsh, a rotational pass rusher who notched 3 sacks for Seattle over 3 years.

What the Vikings got: They should have got a franchise QB from Bridgewater, but a freak injury a couple weeks before the 2016 season started prevented him from becoming what the Vikings were hoping to get.

Who won the trade: Hmmm... I'd say this was an even trade. The Vikings paid a 4th rounder to jump up 8 spots for a QB they liked, which was a fair price, and despite Seattle's best attempts to acquire as much draft capital as they wanted, none of their guys panned out as they hoped. Only Richardson ever cracked the starting lineup, and that was for a single year.


Traded with the Browns
Sent 1-8 (CB Justin Gilbert) for
1-9 (OLB Anthony Barr) and 5-145 (T David Yankey)

What the Browns got: Once again, Cleveland felt like they had to move up for a prospect, and once again the player was a massive bust. Gilbert started only 3 games for the Browns over 2 seasons, with many attributing his poor play due to a lack of effort and maturity problems.

What the Vikings got: Barr never lived up to his billing as the 9th overall pick in the 2014 draft, but he's been an above average starter for several seasons. Yankey was thought to be a steal in the 5th round, but never got a chance after spending a year on the roster.

Who won the trade: The Vikings, only by default since they once again gained draft capital and still took the guy they wanted.


Traded with the Panthers
Sent 5-148 (CB Bene Bewikere) for
5-168 (traded) and 7-225 (Jabari Price)

What the Panthers got: Benwikere ended up as a quality backup who started 14 games over 3 seasons and recorded 2 interceptions.

What the Vikings got: They traded down again (see below). CB Jabari Price made the team his rookie year and played special teams, but didn't make the team in 2015.

I'll wrap in the following trade with this one:

Traded with the Falcons
Sent 5-168 (LB Marquis Spruill) for
6-182 (SS Antone Exum) and 7-220 (DT Shamar Stephen)

What the Falcons got: Spruill never made the field as a Falcon.

What the Vikings got: Exum was a decent backup who started 2 games over 2 seasons, and then played the next 3 years for the 49ers as a backup, starting 8 games. Stephen developed into a decent run stuffer and has become a starting DT, though a rather weak one due to having no pass rush capabilities.

Who won the two trades: I think the Panthers made off well with the first trade, as Benwikere was a nice pickup. Meanwhile, the Falcons got nothing out of Spruill, so they certainly lost their trade. As for the Vikings, getting Stephen in the 7th round was a nice find, so they didn't lose either trade, but didn't get much from them either.



{2015 Trades}
Traded with Bills
Sent QB Matt Cassel, 6-188 (LB Tony Steward) for
5-137 (traded) and 2016 7th (traded)

What the Bills got: Cassel played backup QB to Tyrod Taylor for part of 2015, but then cut him midseason. He started one game for the Bills, but did not throw a pass in it (it was a bluff start, as Taylor was the real starter). Steward made the team, but recorded 2 tackles and failed to make any team in 2016.

What the Vikings got: Let's move onto the trades where they moved their two picks:

Traded with the Falcons
Sent 5-137 (DT Grady Jarrett) for
5-146 (WR Stefon Diggs) and 6-185 (G Tyrus Thompson)

What the Falcons got: One of the best pass rushing DTs in the NFL. Jarrett has recorded 21.5 sacks and has been a great pressure-generating machine and is also no slouch in the run stopping department. Getting Jarrett here was an absolute steal.

What the Vikings got: Another absolute steal! Diggs fell due to injury concerns, but he shed those as he quickly seized a starting job in his rookie year and has improved his game every year since. He's become a #1 WR, but has since been traded - we'll get to that later. Thompson never made an NFL roster.

Who won the trades: The Bills clearly lost their trade, as Cassel was no help to them and Steward did nothing with the team. With both Jarrett and Diggs on the board for their 5th round pick, they missed out big time.

Meanwhile, the Vikings and Falcons had a rare win-win trade where both teams made great moves. The Falcons were wise to jump up and grab Jarrett as he was inexplicably still available in the 5th round (at the time, PFF was saying he should have been a late 1st-2nd round pick). The Vikings were also able to sit back and let Diggs fall to them, though they got nothing from Thompson. Still, a great move for both teams.


Traded with the Chiefs
Sent 3-76 (WR Chris Conley) for
3-80 (traded) and 6-193 (DT B.J. Dubose)

What the Chiefs got: Kansas City moved up for a receiver who nailed the combine, but was a mediocre player through and though. His best year in KC ended with a 44/530/0 line.

What the Vikings got: We'll talk about pick 3-80 on the next trade. Dubose was a bust who seemed to be a better fit for a 3-4 defense. He played in one game, the playoff game against Seattle. He then tore his ACL in 2016 and never resurfaced.


Traded with the Lions
Sent 3-80 (CB Alex Carter) for
3-88 (DE Danielle Hunter) and 5-143 (TE MyCole Pruitt)

What the Lions got: Nothing! Carter played just a single game for the Lions and did not record any stats. A complete and total bust for a 3rd rounder they felt the need to trade up for!

What the Vikings got: Just one of the best DEs in the NFL, that's all. Hunter has already piled up 54.5 sacks in 5 seasons, and only 3 seasons as a full-time starter. It's debatable to say that "the Vikings waited for their guy to drop", but Hunter was clearly not near the top of anyone else's boards after a lackluster college career. As for the 5th rounder, Pruitt made just 11 catches as a Viking and was released mid-2016. He's developed into a quality backup TE and has helped the Titans the past couple seasons, with 11 starts. They probably should have given Pruitt more time on the roster before axing him.

Who won the trades: The Vikings clearly won them both. The Chiefs and Lions jumped at mediocre players, while the Vikings sat back and took Hunter. It's too bad they got little to nothing from the two late rounders gained from these trades, though.


Traded with the Chargers
Sent 2016 6th (FB Derek Watt) for
G/T Jeremiah Sirles

What the Chargers got: Watt has been the Chargers' starting fullback for 4 seasons now. The Chargers don't use him all that often (125 snaps in 2019), but he's a fine role player.

What the Vikings got: A decent backup O-lineman who started 15 games for the Vikings over two seasons.

Who won the trade: It's mostly a wash in my opinion, as the Vikings got a capable backup and the Chargers got a rotational player.


Traded with the 49ers
Sent LB Gerald Hodges for
C Nick Easton and 2016 6th (WR Moritz Boehringer)

What the 49ers got: Hodges started 4 games for them in 2015 and 12 in 2016 and was a highly rated player by PFF. However, he hit free agency with zero fanfare and only was given backup gigs. In 2016 Hodges had 83 tackles, 3 sacks, and 2 interceptions, so I'm not sure why the 49ers didn't try to bring him back.

What the Vikings got: Easton was just a UDFA at the time, but he ended up as the Vikings' starting LG in 2017 as he pushed Alex Boone out of the role. He started 17 games in Minnesota, but missed the entire 2018 season with a herniated disc. Boehringer gave the team nothing as he wasn't even worth putting on the practice squad. He wasn't ready for American football.

Who won the trade: I'd say the 49ers won by a slight margin, but the Vikings needed O-line help and Hodges was effectively replaced by Kendricks. The Vikings may have won the trade if Easton were to stay healthy and not bolt in free agency.


{2016 Trades}
Traded with the Dolphins
Sent 3-86 (WR Leonte Carroo) for
6-186 (traded), 2017 3rd (traded), and 2017 4th (traded)

What the Dolphins got: A receiver who was not good at playing football. Carroo played 3 seasons for Miami and caught 12 passes. Why the Fins traded so much draft capital for the Rutgers product confused me at the time, and still does now.

What the Vikings got: Oh great, I don't even have a name to give you since Spielman was busy swapping so many picks. I'll get back to you on these, but fun fact: the 2017 3rd we got turned into HB Kareem Hunt.


Traded with Dolphins again
Sent 6-186 (WR Jakeem Grant) back to Miami for
6-196 (traded) and 7-227 (DE Stephen Weatherly)

What the Dolphins got: Apparently they wanted to get pick 6-186 back, so they traded up again to get it. This one was more wisely spent on Grant, a quality returner (2 KR TDs and 2 PR TDs) and a decent receiver (53/635/4 over four years). This was a much better pick than their 3rd rounder.

What the Vikings got: The new 6th was traded again, so I'll get to that in the next acquisition. Weatherly provided 6 sacks as a rotational pass rusher.

Traded with the Eagles
Sent 6-196 (S Blake Countess) and 7-240 (DE Alex McCalister) for
6-188 (TE David Morgan)

What the Eagles got: Both Countess and McCalister failed to make the Eagles' roster. Countess has become a special teamer for the Rams and Jets, while McCalister has never played a down in the NFL.

What the Vikings got: A solid blocking TE. Morgan did well as a part-timer, but he suffered a knee dislocation in 2018 and couldn't play in 2019, and it appears his career may be over due to the injury.

Who won the trades: The Dolphins made a solid trade moving up for Grant, and the Vikings benefitted from getting some quality backups in Weatherly and Morgan. The Eagles got nothing out of their trade down.


Traded with the Eagles again
Sent 2017 1st (DE Derek Barnett) and 2018 4th (DE Josh Sweat) for
QB Sam Bradford

What the Eagles got: Not needing Bradford with Carson Wentz in the fold, the Eagles were able to get one of the best pass rushers in the 2017 class, Derek Barnett. He has since started 20 games and recorded 14 sacks over 3 years, but is most known for his well-timed strip sack of Tom Brady in Super Bowl 52. Sweat has been a rotational pass rusher for Philly, with 4 sacks over 2 seasons.

What the Vikings got: With Bridgewater's knee gone kaput, Bradford was supposed to salvage the season and also provide the team with a starting QB in 2017, since it was unlikely Teddy would play at all in 2017. After a hot start to 2016, the offense slumped and Bradford didn't have what it took to elevate the team with a dumpster fire of an offensive line. He started the 2017 season as the starting QB, had a great Week 1, but then suffered a mysterious knee bruise that wouldn't go away. He lost his starting job to Keenum and was healthy for just 3 games out of 19 in 2017. The Vikings did net a 3rd rounder in compensation (the pick was eventually turned into HB Alexander Mattison).

Who won the trade: The Eagles, by a landslide. Barnett looks to be a league average DE, but his Super Bowl-winning play puts a cherry on the top of this cake. That's not even including that Barnett & Sweat have 2 years of control on their rookie deals. The Vikings were desperate to pay for a QB, and the Eagles were smart to play the long game and give Wentz a chance as a rookie, and save some money by moving on from Bradford. The Vikes really could have used this draft capital to support their 2018 and 2019 seasons.


{2017 Trades}
7 trades over 2 days... oof. Here we go:

Traded with Bengals
Sent 2-48 (HB Joe Mixon) and 4-128 (WR Josh Malone) for
2-41 (HB Dalvin Cook)

What the Bengals got: Despite his off-the-field issues, Mixon has proven to be a capable HB. The Bengals' problem on offense has stemmed from their terrible O-lines, and I think Mixon would truly explode with a better team. Malone has already flamed out, released from the Bengals and is now a Jet.

What the Vikings got: An explosive HB, but a fragile one. When healthy, Cook is a step above Mixon, but he's missed 19 games to Mixon's 4.

Who won the trade: The Bengals win this trade by a little bit, but they wasted the 4th rounder. I like the move to trade up for Cook, but he hasn't stayed healthy enough to prove that he is indeed the better player than Mixon.


Traded with the Jets
Sent 3-79 (WR ArDarius Stewart) and 5-160 (traded) for
3-70 (G/C Pat Elflein)

What the Jets got: Almost nothing - Stewart has touched the ball 13 times in 3 full seasons, spending time on the IR, and while he remains on their roster, he's not likely going to make the team. They traded back with the 5th rounder and got HB Elijah McGuire, a sub-replacement level HB, and DT Dylan Donahue, who made 5 tackles in his rookie year and then was released.

What the Vikings got: It would seem getting an offensive lineman in the 3rd round to start 42 games in his first 3 seasons would be a good thing, but he's become a constant liability in the Vikings' O-line. His best play came from his rookie season at center, but since breaking his leg in the 2017 playoffs, he has been a sieve.

Who won the trade: The Vikings certainly did since the Jets got virtually nothing, but Elflein's recent poor play taints this trade's value.


Traded with the Chiefs
Sent 3-86 (HB Kareem Hunt) for
Pick 3-104 (traded), 4-132 (traded), and 7-245 (DB Jack Tocho)

What the Chiefs got: Initially this move seemed to be a home run - Hunt had a phenomenal rookie season with 1782 yards from scrimmage and 11 TDs and was rolling in 2018 when his off-the-field issues caught up to him. The Chiefs immediately released him when video footage was released.

What the Vikings got: They quickly traded away two of the picks, so we'll get to those. Tocho was a practice squad body who never played a down for the Vikings.


Traded with the 49ers
Sent 3-104 (QB C.J. Beathard) for
4-109 (DT Jaleel Johnson) and 7-219 (WR Stacy Coley)

What the 49ers got: I considered Beathard a 7th round prospect at the time, so it was baffling to see the 49ers jump up for him. Beathard went 1-9 filling in for Garoppolo over 2017-18, with a disgusting 2682/12/13 57.3% line. He's since been passed up by Nick Mullens as the 49ers' backup QB. This is not a wise way to use draft capital.

What the Vikings got: While Johnson hasn't been able to break into the starting lineup, he's become a decent rotational interior lineman. Coley was released in his second season after dropping a critical pass in the Week 2 matchup against Green Bay and did not play in 2019.

Who won the trades: I'll give the Chiefs a win despite needing to release Hunt in his second season, as his play over 2017-18 was 1st round quality for a 3rd round pick. The 49ers were foolish to move up for a pedestrian QB prospect. The Vikings got nothing out of Tocho and Coley, but it's not like they were going to draft Hunt.


Traded with the Eagles
Sent 4-132 (HB Donnel Pumphrey) for
4-139 (traded) and 7-230 (traded)

What the Eagles got: A lightweight HB at 5'9" 176 lbs, Pumphrey was billed as the next Darren Sproles, but spent his rookie year on the IR and then 2018 on Philly's practice squad, just to be cut from the PS midseason. He never played a down for any team.

What the Vikings got: More trades!! Spielman made sure to re-stock the shelves after trading up in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Let's see what happened to these picks:

Traded with the Chiefs again
Sent 4-139 (WR Jehu Chesson) for
5-170 (WR Rodney Adams) and 5-180 (G Danny Isidora)

What the Chiefs got: A receiver who caught 2 passes in his rookie season, and promptly failed to make the team in 2018. He caught 1 pass with the Redskins. He is currently a Jet,
but is unlikely to develop as he's already 27.

What the Vikings got: A return-only specialist, Adams had a terrible 2017 preseason as he couldn't catch or handle the football. A scouting report on him once said that he had "bricks for hands". He was cut a few weeks into the season. Isidora was able to hang around as a backup guard and started 3 games, but he was traded away right before the 2019 season for a 7th rounder, as he wasn't going to make the team. The Dolphins immediately plugged him in as a starter, but in Week 3 he was injured and hit the IR. The Vikings traded down with this 7th round pick again and took DE Kenny Willekes in the 7th round of the 2020 draft, and have a 5th rounder for the 2021 draft.

Who won the trades: Both the Eagles and Chiefs jumped up for position players who offered nothing as NFL players. The Vikings eeked some value out of Isidora... but let's see what they did with that 7th rounder.


Traded with the Redskins
Sent 6-199 (C Chase Roullier) and 7-230 (LB Josh Harvey-Clemons) for
6-201 (TE Bucky Hodges) and 7-220 (DE Ifeadi Odenigbo)

What the Redskins got: Roullier took over the center job midway through his rookie season, and has started 47 games in his first 3 seasons and has been a quality center. JHC is a special teamer linebacker/safety who has yet to start a game, but has contributed 41 tackles (29 solo).

What the Vikings got: Hodges was hyped up as a 3rd/4th round prospect with a great speed and size combo, but he quickly flamed out and couldn't make the opening day roster. Odenigbo failed to make the team in 2017 & 2018 and bounced around with a few teams in 2018. He returned to Minnesota in 2019, however, and beat the odds to become a key rotational DE and recorded a whopping 7 sacks. Very few players ever rebound like this - and now Odenigbo is in line to be a starter in 2020.

Who won the trade: The Skins win this thanks to the play of Roullier. However, with another 2 years of control of Odenigbo, you can't say the Vikings lost this trade yet. It would have been nice to get Roullier over a bust like Hodges, though.


I’ve opted not to cover the 2018 through 2020 trades since they’ve happened too soon to be fully examined.


{Summary of Trade Types}
Trading Up:
Success
Trading up for Harrison Smith – This was a fantastic move that only cost the Vikings a 4th, and allowed them to find a top 5 safety at the end of the 1st round.
The only other trade up I would consider a success would possibly be for Pat Elflein in 2017. While he hasn’t lived up to our expectations, coming away with a starting O-lineman in the 3rd round is not a bad move.

Failure
Trading up for Toby Gerhart – Why?! Just why? I understand the concept of drafting the best player available, but how could the Vikings spend a 2nd and a 3rd to move up for a backup running back?! Peterson was in his prime and there was no need to spend such draft capital on a change of pace back. The thought process on this move was completely backwards.
Trading up for Cordarrelle Patterson – I understand the thought process behind this move very well, and I was lobbying for Patterson to be drafted by the Vikings. In hindsight, he was a very raw player and had a long way to go just to learn how to play WR. Meanwhile, the Patriots moved back and gained 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 7th round picks and drafted a superior player in the 2nd round and another starter in the 3rd. The Vikings could have used those picks to build up the team, instead of use them on a good kick returner.
Not in the article, but the Vikings moved up in the 2018 class for K Daniel Carlson, and he ended up as a bust very quickly.

Summary – The Vikings haven’t moved up for prospects in the draft often, and the Patterson trade highlights the downside of failing at a trade up.

Trading Down:
Success
There’s quite a lot off success stories here. We have the 2012 and 2014 trade downs with Cleveland that had the Vikings gain picks just to slide down a single spot and select the player they wanted.
Moving down in 2010 to grab CB Chris Cook was a success, since it added the 4th rounder that landed Everson Griffen.
In 2014, the Vikings moved down in the late rounds and were able to snag SS Antone Exum and DT Shamar Stephen.
In 2015, the Vikings moved down and selected Danielle Hunter, though they didn’t get anything from the pick they gained from it.
The 2016 trade that turned a 3rd into 2017 3rd and 4ths turned out to be a great move. That move has helped power the 2018-2019 squads and is still impacting the team to this day.

Failure
The only true failure I see in these 8 years was missing out on drafting C Chase Roullier in the 6th round in 2017. It wasn’t a total loss as the Vikings drafted DE Ifeadi Odenigbo with the pick gained from the trade, but a quality starting center is something the Vikings needed and could have seen the Vikings spend their 2019 1st on another position instead of Garrett Bradbury.
I considered putting the 2017 move-down where the Chiefs picked Kareem Hunt as a failure, but Hunt’s off-the-field issues nullified their gains.

Player Trades
Success
Trading Percy Harvin for picks – This move was a perfect storm for the Vikings, moving on from a guy at the end of his prime and who had no interest in playing with the team anymore and receiving a load of picks. Even just a 1st rounder for him would have been a win.
Trading Cassel to Bills for picks – This was basically a throwaway trade. The Vikings were able to turn the 5th rounder into WR Stefon Diggs, who, ironically, the Bills traded a bunch of picks to get in 2020.

Failure
The Randy Moss trade was a failure when he was sent out of town, and a failure on the reacquisition. The Patriots were happy to accept a 3rd rounder for the WR who was no longer in his prime, and still not interested in playing for the Vikings.
The Donovan McNabb trade is a failure simply due to Washington turning HB Alfred Morris into a top 10 HB out of nowhere. Meanwhile, the Vikings received a shell of a Pro Bowl-caliber QB.
The Sam Bradford trade was a stunning move and was clearly advantageous from the start for the Eagles. The Vikings were desperate and had to find a substitute QB, so they felt they had no choice put to overpay. This helped power the Eagles’ 2017 Super Bowl run and left the Vikings a few pieces short while also contending in that same season.


{Trades That Are Still Alive}
With 8 years of trades compiled, let's go over two categories - trades that are still alive, and what type of trades have the best results for the Vikings.

2012 - Trading up for Harrison Smith
Smith is still with the team, so the trade endures. Both of the players the Ravens got are long gone.

2014 - Trading down for Anthony Barr
Another simple trade, Barr is still with the team, so the trade endures.

2015 - Matt Cassel trade - by extension the Jarrett/Diggs trade
This is where things get complicated, and for me, exciting. Here's a look at the entire haul from the Cassel trade:


That’s right folks – the Matt Cassel trade has led us to a 1st round pick in Justin Jefferson and a whole bunch of draft picks that haven’t even been made yet!

Trading down for Danielle Hunter
Another simple trade, as Hunter remains with the team.

2016 - Dolphins trade up for WR Leonte Carroo
Things get way more complicated here, as the Fins sent the Vikings a 6th and future 3rd and 4ths to take a receiver who quickly flamed out in the NFL. Here's a look at the massive haul resulting from this single trade:

Man, the Dolphins could have a whole lot more talent on their team right now if they just resisted the urge to trade up for a mediocre WR. There isn’t any home run picks on the Vikings’ side, but the sheer number of picks that have branched out from it is insane. With the Isidora trade to the Dolphins, the trade lives on into 2021 and even further.

A trade could conceivably stay alive forever if the team consistently trades the player/draft picks towards the future… so I think it would be fun to revisit this a few years in the future and see what else has branched off these moves.


{Conclusion}
Point 1: Spielman’s love to trade down may irritate the fans, but the odds favor trading down
If this article has pointed out one thing, it’s that trading down has been a successful endeavor for Spielman and the Vikings. It’s hard to know if the Vikings really are getting “their guy” after moving down, but they’re clearly doing something right, as they’ve traded down for Stefon Diggs, Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen, Ifeadi Odenigbo, and Jaleel Johnson. I had to cherry-pick just to find any trade-downs that were clear failures. Moving down has also powered up their trades moving up (Dalvin Cook, C. Patterson). It would be nice to see Spielman stop trading out of Day 2 right as the draft ends… but with the way things have played out in the past, I can’t blame him for his addiction to trading down.

Point 2: Trading up and trading for a player are very risky moves
In all five of the “player trades” I mentioned above, the team that acquired draft pick(s) for the player won. Harvin and Moss had their own issues, McNabb and Cassel were no longer NFL caliber QBs, and Sam Bradford’s passable play and poor health made the trade an easy fail. It’s fair to say that drafting players is risky, but acquiring veteran players and expecting them to continue to play at the level they were at with their original team is just as risky, in my humble opinion. Players on rookie deals hold even more value since teams can own them for 4-5 years on cheap salaries, while veterans getting traded typically hold large salaries.
So in this small sample size, it may seem that trading Stefon Diggs to the Bills for picks was a good move. In the long run, getting a 1st, 7th, and after more trades two 4ths and a 5th seems like a big haul. I don’t expect Diggs’ play to fall off for the Bills, though, as he’s only 27 and has mostly left his injury concerns in the past. The Bills seem to be trying to win now and opted to bring in an experienced player rather than develop a rookie, and I think this was a wise move on their part since their roster has very few holes on it, and the Patriots’ run of dominance is in question for the first time in over 20 years. My prediction is that this move ends up as a win-win for both sides.

Leave a comment about what you think about this article!



Analyzing Vikings Trades 2010 to 2017 - How the Vikings turned Matt Cassel into Justin Jefferson Welcome to my latest article, in which I will go through 8 years of Vi
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Purple Pain: Pick 6 for Week 14: purplepainforums.com/thread/7407/purple-pains-pick-week-14 Dec 6, 2023 0:05:48 GMT -6
Purple Pain: Pick 6 for Week 15: purplepainforums.com/thread/7434/purple-pains-pick-week-15 Dec 12, 2023 22:35:11 GMT -6
oldman: nope Dec 16, 2023 13:47:42 GMT -6
Ballhunter: I just wish i had the courage to not watch . Years and years of misery and cant break away. Their not going anywhere so not making the playoffs would allow me to relax and enjoy the postseason. Dec 17, 2023 10:42:01 GMT -6
Reignman: Welcome to the Pain Ballhunter, sounds like you're in the right place xD. Dec 17, 2023 17:08:44 GMT -6
Purple Pain: Pick 6 for Week 16: purplepainforums.com/thread/7452/purple-pains-pick-week-16 Dec 19, 2023 23:44:15 GMT -6
blindguy: Merry Christmas to all. And just so you know, going blind isn't the worst thing. I could have been born a Packers fan! LOL *vikeshield* Dec 23, 2023 12:35:26 GMT -6
Reignman: So you're an actual blind guy? I hear the league is looking for officiating help. *whistle* Dec 25, 2023 21:23:49 GMT -6
blindguy: I've been looking for that application! Dec 26, 2023 19:11:42 GMT -6
Purple Pain: Pick 6 for Week 17: purplepainforums.com/thread/7469/purple-pains-pick-week-17 Dec 26, 2023 22:14:03 GMT -6
oldman: Happy New Year everyone Jan 1, 2024 16:51:11 GMT -6
Purple Pain: Pick 6 for Week 18: purplepainforums.com/thread/7499/purple-pains-pick-week-18 Jan 3, 2024 11:10:25 GMT -6
Purple Pain: PSA: All Twitter and X links should work now. Just copy and paste the link; it'll display correctly now. Jan 6, 2024 17:35:55 GMT -6
Purple Pain: I'll have the Pick 6 thread up tonight for Wild Card Weekend! Jan 10, 2024 12:08:58 GMT -6
Purple Pain: Pick 6 Playoffs Edition for Wild Card Weekend is up: purplepainforums.com/thread/7532/pick-playoffs-edition-wild-weekend Jan 11, 2024 1:30:16 GMT -6
Purple Pain: Pick 6 Playoffs Edition for the Divisional Round: purplepainforums.com/thread/7549/pick-playoffs-edition-divisional-round Jan 17, 2024 23:09:56 GMT -6
beckmt: Where are the totals for the wild card weekend. Jan 18, 2024 20:49:24 GMT -6
Purple Pain: Pick 6 Playoffs Edition for Championship Weekend: purplepainforums.com/thread/7572/pick-playoffs-edition-championship-weekend Jan 25, 2024 11:02:04 GMT -6
Purple Pain: Pick 6 Playoffs Edition for the Super Bowl is up: purplepainforums.com/thread/7585/pick-playoffs-edition-super-lviii Jan 31, 2024 11:33:55 GMT -6
salamander: Not feeling good unless we can find a QB. Haven't had a great one in a looooooong time. Feb 22, 2024 13:43:06 GMT -6
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