I don’t know who needs to hear this, but the Minnesota Vikings are not a good team. I’ll go one step further. They will finish at the bottom of the division and have one of the worst records in football. The Minnesota Vikings have messed up royally. I’ll go one step further again, heads will roll of the team has another bad year. Let’s break it all down.
The Offense Will Struggle
Dalvin Cook is going to break his back from carrying the team. That is not a knock on the pass catchers, it’s a knock on the quarterbacks. Kirk Cousins has not played up to his contract. He is insanely overrated, and so is Kellen Mond. This is not an issue that a QB switch can fix. Mond was drafted in round three from Texas Tech. if we go back years ago, they thought Sam Bradford was the answer. The Vikings seem to really like investing in overrated quarterbacks. Nice to know they have a type. To be fair, nobody knew the Bears were going to leapfrog over the Vikings to get Justin Fields, who Minnesota wanted to draft.
But Cousins has not been sharp throwing the ball. With great receivers like Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, you need a competent quarterback to get them the ball. Jefferson was even caught on a hot mic showing frustration with him saying “throw the bleeping ball Kirk” and Cousins not that long ago signed an extension. However, Jefferson and Thielen are reasons to be optimistic about the team. Sadly, Bisi Johnson was lost to a torn ACL, so Chad Bebe is the third receiver right now. Additionally, Irv Smith will get his chance as the fulltime starter at tight end with Kyle Rudolph moving on to the Giants.
Offensive Draft Picks and Offensive Line
Running back Kenwe Nuwangu was drafted in round four from Iowa State. There is no chance he gets on the field right away. Next up, receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette was taken in round five from Iowa. Head coach Mike Zimmer pretty much confirmed he is not a lock to make the team and will need to play special teams. Last from the offensive draft picks was Zach Davidson in round six from Central Missouri. He is another one likely heading to special teams duty.
Now, let’s talk about the offensive line. Left tackle Christian Darrisaw was the first round pick from Virginia Tech. Great pick. The rest of the line from left to right is made up of Oli Udoh, Garrett Bradbury, Ezra Cleveland, and Brain O’Neil. The starting line is pretty much all young faces. Wyatt Davis was drafted in round three from Ohio State. Dakota Dozier was listed as a starter. That has since changed.
Zimmer prides himself with his defense, so why hasn’t it performed? If the Vikings have another bad year and the defense can’t keep up, it may be time for a coaching change. First, lets talk about the defensive line. If Danielle Hunter can return to 2019 form, watch out. He did not play in 2020. Michael Pierce is also questionable right now due to injuries. The rest of the line is made up of Dalvin Tomlinson and Stephen Weatherly. Three draft picks were also spent on the line. Here they are:
Patrick Jones II- DE, Pittsburgh, round three
Janarius Robinson – DE, Florida State, round five
Jalen Twyman – DT, Pittsburgh, round six
We will not see Twyman this year. He was shot four times. He will make a full recovery. However, the Vikings waived him and he will likely revert to the teams injured list with the hope of playing him next year. Next up, the linebackers. Zimmer’s signature 4-3 features Nick Vigil, Eric Kendricks, and Anthony Barr. Chazz Surratt was the was the best draft pick on defense. He was selected from North Carolina in round three. He became a linebacker after switching from quarterback. Surratt brings a lot to the table. But, he probably won’t get on the field right away.
Finally, the secondary. 2020 first round pick Jeff Gladney was released after an assault indictment. Bashaud Breeland and Patrick Peterson now become the starting corner pairing. Xavier Woods comes over to join Harrison Smith to make up the new safety duo. The only pick on the secondary was in round four. That came in the form of safety Camryn Bynum from Cal-Berkeley. The clock is ticking for the Minnesota Vikings and for coach Zimmer. He must get something out of this team this year.
Here is my problem with what the Vikings have been doing over the last few years. I mentioned at the beginning of this article that they brought in Bradford a few years back. Case Keenum was in between him and Cousins. Keenum played well but they chose not to resign him. I know he fizzled out when he signed with Denver. However, the system in Minnesota seemed to help him. Now they are stuck with Cousins. If they truly wanted to win now, the would make a young quarterback the priority and develop him.
The upcoming QB class is solid, but not as lucrative as Lawrence and company. Players like Spencer Rattler, Brock Purdy, D’Eriq King, even Desmond Ridder could be first round picks. If the Vikings are not in position to draft one, trade up and make a sacrifice to improve the franchise. Because I hate to break it to you Minnesota, but Kirk Cousins has not gotten any better. The person standing in the way of bringing in a young QB needs to be fired.
The Vikings have a young offensive line, up and coming receivers, and a really solid tight end. What more can you ask for? Furthermore, young players are being brought in on defense to create a youth movement. There is a window of opportunity here. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t look like anyone in the organization see it. Brett Favre, Randall Cunningham, or Daunte Culpepper are not walking through that door anytime soon.
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