The dust has settled from the 2014 NFL Draft, and it appears that coach Zimmer thinks like I do. Or vise versa. He noticed that the Vikings could have easily been a playoff team in 2013 IF the defense could have stopped ANYONE!!
The Vikings yielded a league high average of 30 points (ranked 31st overall) against in 2013 while averaging 24.4 points (ranked 14th overall, tied with Indy) on offense. Just using these numbers, it’s very easy to spot where the problem lies. Not sure if it was the defensive scheme or the players. I think it was both, the players didn’t buy into the Alan Williams style of defense and the team had players like Chris Cook who don’t deserve to wear an NFL jersey.
Zimmer, previously a defensive coordinator with Cincinnati, used this years draft to try and build a stout defense. Taking defensive players with 7 of their 10 picks. The emphasis being on Linebackers and Defensive backs. The consensus around the NFL (except for Mel Kiper) is that the Vikings had a darn good 2014 draft.
I don’t grade the draft until I watch 2 or 3 pre-season games. I watch each game and take note on how far the quality of play drops once the starters and #2’s leave the game. Denny Green’s teams did fairly well with the #3’s and 4’s. Mike Tice’s teams did poorly and Brad Childress’s teams improved every year. Leslie Frazier’s 3’s and 4’s were about as good as Tice’s. A noticeable drop in quality when they entered the game. Not very scientific, but that’s how I grade drafts.
Character was an obvious deciding factor, which left me scratching my head on why they tried to move up to draft Johnny Manziel. It just didn’t make sense. Unless all the comments by Zimmer was a smoke screen, and that could very well be the case. But, taking Teddy Bridgewater kinda falls in the area if a high character player.
Now, place a guy like Norv Turner at the helm of the offense, an offense that did struggle at times in 2013, but that was because of Bill Musgrave’s ability to use the same play over and over, making it easy on opposing defenses. I can see the Viking offense scoring and average of 25-28 points per game. If Zimmer can get the defensive side of the ball squared away, you have a combination that can produce a Super Bowl contender rather quickly.
The fact that Turner was a head coach with Washington, Oakland and San Diego will free up Zimmer to work with defensive coordinator George Edwards and implement the defense he wants. He won’t have to babysit or micromanage the offense.
I for one cannot wait until the first pre-season game. But, Winters are long enough in Northern Minnesota, so I try and keep my enthusiasm under control.