Looking Forward

 

As a football fan, I love the offseason drama almost as much as I love watching the actual games played.  I love scouting college prospects, keeping an eye on potential free agents, and wondering what types of moves my favorite team is going to make.

So even though the season is only a third of the way over, I want to take a look at what some of the Vikings top needs appear to be heading into the 2010 offseason, and also present some possible solutions.

TOP NEED:  Quarterback

The Problem:  Quarterback is the most important position to a football team.  With an offseason that will surely be filled with more Favre waffling and wondering if Tarvaris Jackson will be re-signed with the team there are more question marks here than anywhere else.

Free Agency Solution:  Right now Kyle Orton is playing like a Pro Bowler, but even with that being the case is probably not going to get many teams real excited to obtain his services.  He is however, the best quarterback left that is due to become a free agent in 2010.  I find it highly unlikely that the Broncoes don’t re-sign him anyways.  After Orton, however, there is little to be excited about as far as free agent quarterbacks are concerned.

Draft Solution:  Take your pick.  There are possibly up to 10 first-day quarterbacks ready to declare for the 2010 draft.  If I had my pick, I would like to see the Vikings aim for Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen.  If Clausen keeps playing the way he is, however, he may be the #1 overall selection of the draft.  I like Clausen because he takes snaps from under center, has better arm strength than Sam Bradford or Tim Tebow, and makes solid reads.

SECOND NEED:  Cornerback

The Problem:  The problem is obvious this week more than any.  Without Antoine Winfield the Vikings corners are not very scary.  Griffin is proving capable, but still has some room to improve.  The rest seem interchangeable and generally run-of-the-mill.  The Vikings have some incentive to bring in a top flight corner.  If Antoine Winfield is relegated to a nickel corner by 2011, then his salary (and cap hit) gets cut in half.  The best case scenario would be if Griffin continues to improve, the Vikings bring in a capable #1 corner, and move Winfield to the slot where he would be less costly and is widely thought to be at his best.

Free Agency Solution:  As in most positions, the cornerback position is not going to offer much in the 2010 free agency class.  My favorite option would be Texan’s cornerback Dunta Robinson.  The Texans thought enough of him to place the franchise tag on him last year.  Dunta may or may not actually be a good enough player to deserve being franchised, but he is a top 20 cornerback in this league and would be a nice addition to the Vikings secondary.

Draft Solution:  Trevard Lindley out of Kentucky is easily the best senior prospect in the upcoming draft.  At 6’ 0” Lindley would offer some size to the Vikings secondary.  His best known for his tackling ability and playing in man coverage.  While he may slip to the latter part of round one because of some questionable speed, he’s got serious potential to be a #1 corner in the NFL.  He would fit very well into Frazier’s defense.

Third Need:  Safety

The Problem:  Madieu Williams and Tyrell Johnson are not terrible, but their missed tackles and lack of play making would lend to this being the easiest position on the roster to upgrade.  At the very least, the Vikings should provide some serious competition in order to light a fire under these guys.  Abdullah, Sanford, and Frampton are not making Williams and Johnson worry about job security, that’s for sure.

Free Agency Solution:  This is hard to say after seeing Brett Favre pump fake Dawan Landry into another universe on Sunday, but Landry is going to be the top safety in the upcoming free agency class.  Landry would provide some serious competition and much needed depth at safety.

Draft Solution:  The Vikings will probably have to trade up in round one to get their hands on either Eric Berry or Taylor Mays.  I prefer Berry, as the guy seems like he could turn into an Ed Reed clone.  The guy is amazing, fast, strong, solid tackler, always making plays on the ball.  To me he is the most likely prospect to succeed in the NFL and the Vikings would be darn lucky if they found a way to obtain this kid.

 

So there are my thoughts.  Any opinion?  Have I overlooked a need?  Did I overlook a better solution?

Chime in.  Let me have it.

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12 Responses to “Looking Forward”

  1. bigjohnny84 says:

    Welcome back Adam. Hope your vacation went well. Great analysis, but I would add o-line to the mix. Seems you can never have enough good o-linemen. One injury on the line can be huge, best example, Hutch’s back problems.

  2. Adam Warwas says:

    Hey Johnny, thanks!

    I too am huge on making sure the O-Line stays intact or continues to improve. However, if they re-sign Artis Hicks, then Ryan Cook is the only O-Lineman they’ll really need to replace, and I wouldn’t put that as a higher priority as the three positions mentioned above…

    If they could get a really great left tackle and be rid of that overpaid, overrated McKinnie guy then I wouldn’t shed a tear.

    Also, running back could become a priority. Not only if Chester leaves in free agency, but also to try and find another return man. Harvin is becomming too important to this offense to not at least try to find a comparable returner to keep Harvin out of harm’s way.

  3. bigjohnny84 says:

    Adam in a way I was hinting about McKinnie but didnt want to say it, thanks for saying it. Everthing I’ve heard on Taylor is he likes his role and would like to stay and they would be stupid to let him go. I also like Albert Young, but have to admit I’m a Hawkeyes fan.

    • Adam Warwas says:

      yeah, if Taylor stays then I think we’re set at running back. I have faith in both Albert Young and Ian Johnson as #3.

      Though, a late round pick in Noel Devine from West Virginia might be worth a look. He’ll fall late in the draft becuase he is tiny, but his speed, catching ability and return ability make him an interesting change of pace option.

      Check out this video and let me know what you think:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp9MuxAszEM

  4. bigjohnny84 says:

    Geesh Adam, this guy is a cross between AD, Percy and maybe Darren Sproles. I think Rick Speilman needs to hire you ASAP.

  5. Adam Warwas says:

    Haha, I’d love to go to work for Zygi!

    Devine reminds me a lot of Sproles (Sproles is another option in free agency as well, if the Chargers cannot resign him). Though one has to watch these highlights knowing that he’s playing against much slower, smaller, and less talented players than he would in the NFL.

    Regardless, I do think Devine will become the next back to shed the “too small” label just like Sproles, Jones-Drew, or Tashard Choice.

  6. bigjohnny84 says:

    I compared him to AD also because of the way he can break off the play when it’s not there and come back the other way and block, as a small guy, the way Percy does. PS I think Ziggy would be glad to have ya.

  7. c.carterhof says:

    The 1st thing that comes to mind is Barry Sanders.

    Welcome back Adam!
    I have a feeling old man Bart will be back. You guys dont think Asher Allen will be good?

    • Adam Warwas says:

      Thanks CC, it’s good to be back.

      Asher will be interesting. They raved about him through camp, and then he hasn’t been activated… not sure what to think of him.

      I wasn’t too high on them selcting him in the 3rd, felt that was a reach. But then I received a lot of flak from some readers… so maybe they see something i don’t.

  8. bigjohnny84 says:

    CC I really want to see what Asher can do. There’s no better time than the present to find out. Cant be much worse than Paymah.

  9. Christopher Slinde says:

    Dear A-Dubs:

    Sir: Off season? We can’t look too far ahead!

    I’ll start off by saying very strong analysis of our Favre-orite team! Also, I love your pre-game analyses for the upcoming games which, more often than not, provide to be scarily pinpoint accurate.

    What a game last week! I was ready to text a co-worker that I made a bet with when the Vikes went up 27-10. I had told him we would win 27-14. Needless to say, I was feeling pretty good about my predictive skills at the time but, am glad I held off on boasting about my Favre-orite team’s heroics.

    The one thing going into this season, Favre or not, we thought we could hang our hats on was the dominance our defense. I remember last year when we played the Colts at home. If my memory, which has faltered do to excessively Butkowskying myself over the years, hasn’t betrayed me I believe we were up 18-0 (5 FGs).
    There were numerous drives when we obtained short fields do to three and outs and turnovers. We ended up having to settle for too many field goals which let the Colts and Peyton Manning pick away and get into position to make a comeback.
    It was clearly a lack of offensive vitality which lead to our demise in that game. The defense had pressured Manning and turned him over multiple times. I can’t remember the last time our defense had stifled such an amazing offense and it was wasted by not being able to score TDs.
    This year seems very different. I agree: the coaches are very lucky to have Paymah to blame for the ease of which the Raven’s were able to put points on us. Granted, this year the Raven’s have a top ten offense, but nowhere near that of the Colt’s. This year we finally have a QB who can convert on third down and NOT put the defense in bad spots. So what’s the deal?!
    I think the biggest need on this team, save cornerback DEPTH, is at the safety position.
    The plays that have been allowed up the seam and along the sidelines of 20 yards plus are ridiculous (see j. finley TD in GB game, m. clayton and d. mason last week). The free safety, specifically Madieu Williams, needs to make those reads. On the plays up the seam he needs to help out the LBs and on the plays to the sidelines he needs to help the CBs over the top. That, along with the poor tackling on the running plays really worries me.
    We should have made more of an effort to keep Daren Sharper, who some thought was washed-up. If you look at Lesley Frazier’s history his FSs are not known for INTs (lack of production is why some assume sharper was let go). Bob Sanders, who is one of the highest respected FS in the game, does not get that many picks. But, his leadership and ability to read plays and help out against the run are priceless. I think Sharper provides maybe a little less during the run, but more in striking fear in opposing QBs that a mistake can be fatal.
    At worst we should have Winfield back after the bye week, but even with him healthy I’m scared of teams with better than average passing attacks.
    The one thing that bodes well this week for the Vikes, in my mind, is our pass rush against Roethlisberger’s tendency to get sacked more than he should. Also, a running game not up to Steeler’s standards.

    Nice seeing you and the wife last weekend! Skol Vikes!

    • Adam Warwas says:

      It was awesome seeing you as well! Wish we could’ve stuck around a little longer.

      Good sound comments… I agree with just about everything.

      I will say this, though, Sharper may be proving he can still play… but for how long? The old saying “better to get rid of them a year early than a year late” comes to mind. Bailing on Sharper freed up cap space to allow Favre to sign and allowed us to extend Winfield’s contract. It also should provide us with a compensatory draft pick in the area of the 5th or 6th round in this upcoming draft.

      Sharper was a case of the player being too set in his ways to truly fit into a new scheme, he always resited the switch to Cover-2. He may be more talented but I am not sour about how things turned out with him.

      I do, however, think that safety is a HUGE need heading into next season. We know that Madieu can play even if he’s not playing his best right now, and that light bulb might go on for Tyrell any day now, we’ll see… but competition and depth at safety is a must.

      I’d be willing to trade our 1st, 2nd, and another late rounder to move up and snag Eric Berry… that’s how much I like this prospect.

      If some of you folks don’t follow prospects much, here is a taste of what Berry has to offer:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_r8q8aYIyFc

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