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Sudden Question Marks In The Starting Lineup

It is amazing what a loss can do to the morale of a fan base.  Childress mentioned in his presser on Monday that the mood in the locker room was more that of a 3-11 team rather than an 11-3 team.  Judging from how I feel, and from reading comments on this site and others, the fans are in a similar mood.

Whether or not any real questions about the starting lineup exist in the minds of the coaching staff, I know fans have their fair share of questions.  Let’s take a minute to examine some questions, their effect, and some possible solutions.

BRYANT MCKINNIE

The Problem:  Bryant McKinnie is known in some circles as one of the most overrated and overpaid left tackles in football.  In the midst of his worst performance ever against the Panthers on Sunday, he was benched in favor of backup tackle Artis Hicks.  Considering that Hicks himself lose his starting gig a few years back after being outplayed by Ryan Cook of all people, it may be conceivable to think that McKinnie’s starting position may be in jeopardy.

The Effect:  I don’t see any scenario in which McKinnie gets benched for the long haul this late in the year.  All of the blame cannot be placed squarely on Big Mac for his performance on Sunday as the Vikings scheme against the Panthers was so stubborn that McKinnie nor Hicks ever received any help in pass protection, despite the fact that they were getting pummeled play after play.  Despite some hack blogger being able to predict McKinnie’s struggles, the coaching staff seemed miffed and ignorant as to how to give Brett Favre time to throw the ball.

The Solution:  They cannot sit McKinnie now.  He may be overpaid, and he is definitely overrated, but he is the best option that the Vikings have.  Loadholt would probably fare even worse on the left side and Hicks is too valuable as a utility backup.  Besides, McKinnie needs to save some face for the remainder of the season so that the Vikings can drive up his trade value should they decide to go that route after the season ends.  Something tells me that McKinnie would be twice as good in a system that did not force unusually large players to zone-block… forcing players to fit into the scheme instead of scheming to fit your players’ talents.

JOHN SULLIVAN

The Problem:  Almost a year after Matt Birk refused to re-sign for a team coached by a man whose first name rhymes with “Bad” the Vikings bestowed their confidence in Notre Dame product John Sullivan in the center position.  Sullivan has been serviceable, but I am convinced that the downgrade from Birk to Sullivan is responsible for about 300 more yards from Adrian Peterson this year.  Sullivan has been man handled in a way that should make any decent human feel sympathy for him.  His pass protection in blitz situations is also suspect.

The Effect:  I honestly don’t think that Sully is in any danger of losing his job, but perhaps he should be.  Benching him would require someone to step up, be able to read defenses, make line calls and adjustments, and be on the same page as Brett Favre.  Sullivan’s knock coming out of college was that he may be too small for the NFL, and so far that appears to be a pretty valid concern.  If I am accurate in thinking that Sullivan is the worst run blocker on our O-Line, then a change made to help Peterson have some running lanes could make a profound difference in the success of this offense.

The Solution:  None of us really know what we have in undrafted free agent Jon Cooper, though it is obvious that the coaching staff thinks highly of him.  What I would recommend, however, is putting Anthony Herrera at the center position (he can play it), and put Artis Hicks or Ryan Cook in at right guard.  This will not happen, I am certain of it, but Sullivan is causing breakdowns in the middle of our offensive line which is causing Peterson to fail at being a north-south runner.

TYRELL JOHNSON

The Problem:  The problem is that he decided to pursue a career as an NFL safety despite being unable to cover or tackle.  That’s like someone deciding to become a pilot despite the fact that they have no eye balls.  Geesh.  Johnson was awful on Sunday, missing tackle after tackle just like he has all season long. 

The Effect:  When Johnson suffered a concussion, Jamarca Sanford stepped into the Arizona game and played terribly… not to mention took out E.J. Henderson’s knee.  However, previous to that game Sanford had shown some promise.  Then, when he replaced the still injured Johnson in the game against the Bengals, he did very well.  In fact, he played better than Johnson normally does.  Johnson then returned against the Panthers and missed (and this might be a gross over-estimation, but maybe not) roughly 6,453 tackles.  A quality safety would have stopped multiple big plays that the Panthers had on Sunday.

The Solution:  I have been critical of both Madieu Williams and Tyrell Johnson on this blog, but at least Williams is bale to have a good game from time to time.  Johnson does not appear to be there yet.  Sanford appears eager to step in and has shown enough flashes to make me think he deserves the starting gig over Johnson. 

 

Now, I don’t believe that any of these scenarios will play out.  After all, this is an 11 – 3 football team, and now may not be the time to start screwing around with the starting lineup.  However, I think Childress needs to bench Tyrell Johnson at the very least.

If nothing else, benching Johnson may at least show the McKinnies, Sullivans, Berrians, and Madieus of the world that there are consequences for poor play and that they need to step up or sit down.


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22 Responses to “Sudden Question Marks In The Starting Lineup”

  1. c.carterhof says:

    Adam, I didnt really notice, but heard on sirius radio today a caller said that Berrian had been doggin it lately.
    Have you?

    I just dont get this O-line thing. It looked earlier in the year that BMac was doin a pretty good job at pass blocking. And Favre had plenty of time, for the most part.
    Also we were doing a decent job of opening holes for AD. I dont know, are they tired? Hurtin? Thats what it looks like. That or just plain goin thru the motions.

    And I agree that Sanford should be startin.

    • Adam Warwas says:

      Yup, as far as I am concerned, Berrian has nothing on Reynaud or Jaymar at this point. Plus either one in and you do not see a drop off.

      The O-Line is simply facing tougher D-Lines now. Look at the schedule… do the Browns, Lions, Niners, Packers, Rams, Packers, Lions, Seahawks, injured Bengals or Bears have D-Lines that scare you?

      Now look at the quality of D-Line for the Ravens (almost lost), Steelers (lost), Cardinals (lost), Panthers (lost) and you’ll see names like Ngati, Suggs, Harrison, Keisel, Berry, Peppers, and others that are actually good football players.

      When the opponents have good D-Linemen, our O-Line doesn’t matchup.

  2. bigjohnny84 says:

    Ya Adam, Totally agee with ya

  3. Cslinde says:

    I agree A-Dubs. Jamarca, after having a full week’s practice, looked very good against the Bengals. Holding players accountable is a big thing as a coach. Having Jamarca usurp Johnson would definitely send a message that needs to be sent.
    I think benching Favre against the Bears wouldn’t be too outlandish. Chilly has his extension, if he disciplines he doesn’t have to worry about players tanking, because the owners are behind him. It’s not a situation where the players can quit to get the coach fired.
    Alot happens behind closed doors. The one thing Brett did wrong was talk about it publicly. Usually teams keep that stuff ‘in house’. This makes Brett a hipocrate because of the ramblings that leaked from the locker room about him in NY last year. I know he didn’t agree with that.

  4. CO Vike Fan says:

    Great post, have to agree on all points. BMac isn’t going to get benched and Sully is here to stay, but can the coaching staff at least do their job and put in a scheme that works? With Sully being a bit undersized they need to utilize him with traps for runs between the tackles, or use a fullback or Jimmy K to lead block on runs up the middle. Single back sets with zone blocking ain’t working against the big bulldozer type d-tackles.

    Also, how many of us were screaming for a draw or screen sunday night? You saw Carolina scheme around Jared with screens and rolling the qb away from him, is that too much to ask from our offense? Made me sick watching them stubbornly run the same crap that other teams have figured out how to stop.

  5. Fragile Freds says:

    Maybe Childo was calling screens and draws from the sidelines and Banjo Brent kept changing the play? Maybe this isn’t a coaching problem, rather a QB problem? Put in Tjax!

  6. Fragile Freds says:

    Go back to the “jump pass offense”.

  7. vikings fan says:

    Who gets the number 2 seed if the vikings and eagles have same record?

  8. Fragile Freds says:

    Your old pal Fragile knows a guy who knows a guy who, knows a guy who has a copy of Chilly’s wedding proposal to his bride:

    Chilly:

    “Will you uuuh, contemplate spending the uuuh, perpetuity of your verve with this uhhh, man who, uhhh, loves you with all of his sensitivity as a river runs north, uuuh from the channels of uuuh time and reflection as a bee flies east during the uhhh, thawing of the uhhh winding road in perpetuity ?”

  9. Viking John says:

    Come on Freds, don’t be bad mouthing our coach, he just got an extension. Just because he can’t make adjustments to the game plan, doesn’t mean he is a bad coach, just not a good coach. By the Way Freddie, your ole pal johns made the Championship again in FF’s. I beat the Bones Man. That should be worth some Colt’s from you????
    Go Vikes

  10. Fragile Freds says:

    Johns,

    Your old pal Freds is one of the few here that loves coach. Freds thinks Chilly should have a life time personal contract to coach the purple. Freds loves coach Jibber Jabber. Why do you think Banjo Brent changes all the plays after they come in from the side lines? Brent can’t understand a darn think Childo is trying to say.

    Call coming in from the sideline inside Bretts helmet : uhhh Brett, uhhh let’s uhhh run the 533 sidewinder uhhh, toss left, uhhh, wiggle right, frozen biscut uhhh, block down pitch toss belly uhhh, waggle run.

    Call coming out of Brents mouth inside the huddle: 4 wide, corn bread bomberuski ‘yall. Readdyyy break!

    Freds love his coach!

    Good luck in the finals Johns!

    • Fran the Man says:

      That’s not the way I heard the play called Freds;

      Uh…umm…Brett, can you hear me? Brett, can you hear me, over.
      Wait, what’s that bevell? Oh, sorry about that Brett, didn’t know we couldn’t. . you know, uh, stream some consciousness back and forth.
      Forgot you don’t have a mike. . .anyway,
      just had a uh, stream of consciousness . . .um lets run uh and by the way, I mean RUN a um…um DAMIT BEVELL!! where’s the play??!!
      oh. . .sorry about that, didn’t see it there on my chart.
      Anyway, Brett? Brett??
      Will somebody get him a dam microphone!!

      Ok, run a trap blast 52, sideline fadeout, with stream, and uh blend in some consciousness.

      OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!! HE THREW THE DAM BALL!! ANOTHER FREAKING TOUCHDOWN!
      BEVELL!!! GET THE BUM OUT OF THERE!

  11. CO Vike Fan says:

    Good points Freds, KAO is meant to run a certain way dammit! There might need to be an “understanding” on what’s acceptable as far as changing plays. Giving Brett run/pass option might be kind of like asking phat pat if he wants another steak.

  12. Fran the Man says:

    By the way Freds, I added “freds” to my dictionary here at work so it doesn’t keep asking to correct it to “Fred”

    Stupid dictionary.

    And speaking of dictionary’s, how many of you, when you type in Obama, corrects it to Osama?

    Now that’s spooky. . .

  13. Fragile Freds says:

    That last comment by Freds is like the bat phone for a response from Tombs!

  14. CO Vike Fan says:

    I see next year’s opponents are set…looks like a tough schedule. We play NFC and AFC East, division games, Arizona, and New Orleans.

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