Season in Review – Minnesota Vikings

By Tim Monk (@Tim_MonkF10Y)

Next in our series, we take a look at Captain Kirk and the Minnesota Vikings. Was this season a success? Vikings fans, let us know your thoughts – @full10yards on the Social!


Entering the Season


The Vikings have always had the end goal of reaching a Super Bowl the moment they signed Kirk Cousins to that huge fully guaranteed contract. With pretty much the same pieces on the team, the pressure was the same as last year, the expectations were the same as last year, get to the big one.

Garrett Bradbury was the new anchor at Center and they also brought in Irv Smith to deploy some 2 tight end sets to help #establishtherun.

Kirk Cousins was entering his 2nd season as a Viking with no more excuses, no more mulligans and certainly nowhere to hide. The team was built to reach a Super Bowl and Kirk Cousins was assigned the role to lead them there. Simple.


DURING THE SEASON


If you put the last 2 seasons of the Vikings back to back, it pretty much was groundhog day;

Struggled in the division, with 3 of their 6 losses coming in the division and swept by the Bears for the 2nd straight season. A top 10 defence in terms of points per game and Kirk Cousins stinking it up on Prime Time/island games when it matters. Oh and Dalvin Cook not being fully healthy for a stretch.

They kicked off their season with home wins against the Falcons and Raiders, but away losses in Lambeau and Soldier Field.

Adam Thielen, who would later go on an miss some time through injury, along with Stefon Diggs kicked up a fuss about the offence and their involvement in it led to a lot of unrest in the VIkings camp, including Diggs being fined for missing practice.

Image result for stefon diggs unhappy
Image Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

They seemingly managed to kiss and make up as Kirk Cousins then went hell for leather with the rock and a relatively easy stretch saw them improve to 8-3 with their only loss before the bye coming to the Kansas City Chiefs (the Matt Moore led one, not the Patrick Mahomes one).

Losses against Green Bay and Chicago meant that they entered the playoffs as a wildcard and a 10-3 record.

Perhaps their most dominant display of the season came in the wildcard round, where they absolutely dominated the red hot Saints andVikings fans thinking maybe, just maybe, Kirk Cousins has turned a corner.

Unfortunately, around that corner was step 1 as a dismal performance against the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round saw them go out with a whimper amidst more rumours of unrest with Stefon Diggs, who visibly threw his helmet to the ground during that Wildcard game.

Image result for minnesota vs san francisco
Image Credit: Adam Bettcher/Getty

With no NFC title game being played, you have to grade the season as that the Vikings underachieved and Kirk Cousins really hasn’t gone to prove that he was worth that guaranteed contract or that he is the guy to take this team to the holy land.


offseason outlook


Kevin Stefanski has agreed to become the head coach of the Cleveland Browns and Mike Zimmer is likely to be retained by the Vikings.

It’s hard to put a finger on what to do with Minnesota to help them take the next step, though many will still point to the Quarterback position, as they have done for the past several years. There are a lot of well paid players on both sides of the ball and some creativity with the salary cap will be required. It’s hard to pinpoint where they’ll bolster in the draft as one week they look complete and another they have more holes than a cheese grater (NFC North Green Bay Packers joke there). You have to feel that they’ll add something to the offensive line due to the way they want to run their offence, and they’ll probably focus on defence, Xavier Rhodes did not have a pro bowl worthy season.

Come next season, will it be Groundhog day once again for the Vikings in 2020? Probably.

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NFC North Breakdown

by Trevor Griswold – 7/8/2019

Last Season

Chicago 12-4

Minnesota 8-7-1

Green Bay 6-9-1

Detroit 6-10

Chicago:

Draft selections: David Montgomery (3.9), Riley Ridley (4.24), Duke Shelley (6.32), Kerrith Whyte Jr. (7.8), Stephan Denmark (7.24)

Offseason key additions: CB Buster Skrine, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson, RB Mike Davis

Offseason key departures: CB Bryce Callahan, S Adrian Amos, RB Jordan Howard, K Cody Parkey

Super Bowl odds: 14/1

Analysis:

The Bears had a breakout season last year led by the addition of Khalil Mack. The defence rocked opponents to the tune of a divisional crown. After a successful season the DC Vic Fangio departed for a head coaching position in Denver. Chicago did a wonderful job in replacing him and the rest of the players lost in free agency. Chuck Pagano will have reinforcements in the names of Buster Skrine and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. The key to defending the North will be to continue shutting down opponents and grinding out the clock on offense. If David Montgomery has a fast start it will be a long year for the rest of the division.

Look out for:

Mitch Trubisky. He must continue to improve as this team is beginning to look like the Jaguars of a couple seasons ago. In order for this team to be a legitimate super bowl threat Trubisky must progress into a franchise QB.

Detroit:

Draft selections: TJ Hockenson (1.08), Jahlani Tavai (2.11), Will Harris (3.17), Austin Bryant (4.15), Amani Oruwariye (5.8), Travis Fulgham (6.11), Ty Johnson (6.13), Isaac Nauta (7.10), PJ Johnson (7.15)

Offseason key additions: EDGE Trey Flowers, CB Justin Coleman, WR Danny Amendola, TE Jesse James, RB C.J. Anderson, DT Mike Daniels

Offseason key departures: EDGE Ezekiel Ansah, CB Nevin Lawson

Super Bowl odds: 100/1

Analysis:

Head coach Matt Patricia is trying to emulate the New England Patriots, his old employer. By signing several ex-Patriots to the roster this team is equivalent to a New England Patriots B squad. Last season was a disaster in Detroit as it was riddled with injuries and losses. Detroit fans are growing restless with GM Bob Quinn and Matthew Stafford as the team hasn’t won a playoff game since 1992 and has never won the NFC North division. However, some may say Coach Patricia is re-aligning the ship towards calmer seas as this offseason looks promising. Key additions of Trey Flowers and Justin Coleman should help limit opponents scoring opportunities. Jesse James and first round draft pick TJ Hockenson should help in both the run and pass game this Fall.

Look out for:

This season will be the best ground game in Detroit since the great Barry Sanders danced around the field. Wit the addition of two new tight ends and a new offense coordinator that likes to run Kerryon Johnson may put up monster numbers this season.

Green Bay:

Draft selections: Rashan Gary (1.12), Darnell Savage Jr. (1.21), Elgton Jenkins (2.12), Jace Sternerger (3.11), Kingsley Keke (5.12), Ka’dar Hollman (6.12), Dexter Williams (6.21), Ty Summers (7.12)

Offseason key additions: S Adrian Amos, EDGE Za’Darius Smith, EDGE Preston Smith, G Billy Turner

Offseason key departures: EDGE Clay Matthews, LB Jake Ryan, WR Randall Cobb, CB Bashaud Breeland, EDGE Nick Perry, DL Muhammad Wilkerson

Super Bowl odds: 14/1

Analysis:

Green Bay has underperformed the last few seasons and Aaron Rodgers can’t seem to stay healthy. Matt Lefleur is now the man in charge in Green Bay. After an offseason of adding talent and protection for Rodgers there is no excuses to miss out on the playoffs once again. This team is built to win now, only time will tell if they do.

Look out for:the health along the offensive line. There is little depth behind the starting line. If one gets injured Rodgers may have to do a lot of running once again this season.

Minnesota:

Draft selections: Garrett Bradbury (1.18), Irv Smith Jr. (2.18), Alexander Mattison (3.38), Dru Samia (4.12), Cameron Smith (5.24), Armon Watts (6.17), Marcus Epps (6.18), Olisaemeka Udoh (6.20), Kris Boyd (7.3), Dillon Mitchell (7.25), Olabisi Johnson (7.33), Austin Cutting (7.36)

Offseason key additions: G Josh Kline, DT Shamar Stephen

Offseason key departures: DT Sheldon Richardson, C Nick Easton, RB Latavius Murray, RT Mike Remmers, G Tom Compton, S Andrew Sendejo, S George Iloka, CB Marcus Sherels

Super Bowl odds: 25/1

Analysis:

Last year there were incredibly high expectations for the Vikings. After signing Kirk Cousins to a massive deal the Vikings were unable to keep up with the NFC North darlings in Chicago. This offseason Minnesota was unable to resign many of their playmakers who helped them reach the NFC championship game two seasons ago. There is no more pressure than ever on Cousins to live up to his massive contract to fight for the division crown. With many holes left unfilled it will be a hard task.

Look out for:With a lot of losses in the defensive backfield I predict a regression as Harrison Smith struggles to cover the whole field. The defence as a whole will not be as intimidating after losing a lot of depth from a year ago.

2019 Season Prediction

Green Bay 10-6

Detroit 9-7

Minnesota 8-8

Chicago 7-9

Where Do They Go From Here? Vikings

After our divisional season review podcasts, we are now looking to the future and asking where each franchise goes from here. We put ourselves in the chair of being GM or the owner and going over what moves we would make in order to win a Superbowl, make the playoffs or just regain some pride…

Today we take a look at the Minnesota Vikings.

Don’t forget to check out the NFC North podcast where we talked to Paul Berryman who plays for the Dunfermline Kings and asked for his thoughts.

How Did Last Season Go?

Comparing to most recent previous seasons, this season was nothing short of a disaster.

After getting to the Championship game in the 2017 season and “upgrading” at the QB position, the Vikings fell well short of expectations which would’ve been to appear in the Super Bowl. Dalvin Cook could not stay healthy again and there were more holes in the o line than a extra large cheese grater. There were more than eyebrows raised when Buffalo came in to town in week 3 and annihilated them in the first half.

Firing their OC John DeFillippo midway through the season, which showed how happy they were with the way the team were playing on offence.

That said, apart from that, not really any surprising results in the season, with all their other losses coming to teams who made the playoffs so it’s fair to say the winners’s schedule could be as much to blame as any other excuses.

Bottom line is that there was no January football for Minnesota thus, a failure of a season.

Housekeeping

Minnesota pick at 18, 50 and 81 within the top 100 and are 2nd worst in terms of cap space available at the time of writing.

Outgoings

Anthony Barr, Sheldon Richardson and Latavius Murray are the most notable names on the Free Agency market. Oh, and Trevor Siemian. Silly me.

Incomings

Due to the lack of cap space, I’m not sure we’ll be troubled too much by the Entrance door apart from the draft. Depth on the offensive line is an obvious need as well as a bit or two on defence to cover the departures. They will need to replace Latavius Murray due to Cook’s unreliability in terms of staying on the field too.

Wouldn’t be surprised to see Minnesota take a Tight End in the draft considering the talent in the 2019 class.

Outlook for Next Year

Looking at the landscape of the division, the outlook is a murky one.

The schedule will ease up slightly but have a difficult away schedule including visits to Dallas, Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City and Seattle to add on top to their divisional away trips to Lambeau and Soldier Field. As always, a lot will come down to the divisional games, where the Vikings went 3-2-1 last season.

I’m not sure how much more Cousins can improve from last season after passing for over 4000 yards, 30 TDs and 10INT.

Prediction

They will need to be more effective on the ground behind an improved Offensive line and have a healthy Dalvin Cook to play January football next season. That said, I’m not convinced Green Bay are totally right at the moment so the chances are there for 2 teams to come from the North for the playoffs next season. Minnesota Vikings to be one of those teams. If they can sort out their line issues, they could quite easily take the division title back.

Fantasy Football

Kirk Cousins – later round QB, low QB 1/QB2

Dalvin Cook – 2nd Round , mid/low RB1

Adam Thielen – 3rd Round, WR2/ WR1 upside

Stefon Diggs – 3rd Round, WR2 / WR1 upside

Kyle Rudolph – just no.

Podcast 46 – Week 5 Preview

Lee is away this week so step in, Rob Grimwood (@FFBritballer) of acrossthefantasypond!

We preview every game and look at the main storylines of the week 5 matchups but we also look at players we have changed our opinions of after the first 4 weeks.

Adam joins us as we give you the best bets for week 5 and of course, kickers corner!

2018 Fantasy Football Industry Mockstravaganza – 3.01

After our last pick of Mike Evans, we are up again with the same players to choose from.

Before we make our pick, remember that when picking on the turn, Average Draft Position (ADP) value kind of goes out the window.

We wont have another pick now for 22 picks after this, so the landscape of the player pool will change dramatically. The one thing in our favour though at this point is that we could start seeing some Quarterbacks  or Tight Ends come off the board. Hopefully this means for us that we are able to nab a WR/RB at the 4.12 that is at the end of a tier break. By tier break we mean where there is a drop off in level at a position.

The good thing about picking on the turn is that you can address multiple positions in one go or bolster a whole skills position in the 2 picks so it has it’s advantages.

Take this turn for example, we took Todd Gurley first up and now have the opportunity to take 2 WR or bolster our RB duo and take a decent WR. Taking Mike Evans gives us a solid RB1 and shall we say a tier 2 WR with tier 1 upside.

With this being the case I think it’s best to go WR again to ensure we have a decent duo to start each week.

With the 1st pick of the 3rd round, The Full10Yards podcast select….Stefon Diggs

diggs

This may be considered a reach considering injuries history for Diggs and that over his career in the NFL is very much a boom or bust guy.

However, I am all in on Diggs this year.

One of the cleanest route runners in the game today, great speed and elusivity along with great catching ability, we expect Diggs to take off this year and be the No.1 in Minnesota. Adam Thielen’s breakout year last year was mainly because Diggs wasnt there and let’s not forget it took Thielen a while to get in amongst the Touchdowns. Despite injury niggles, Diggs still scored 8TDs from 64 receptions totalling 849 yards. I put the case forward that the Keenum to Thielen combination was an anomaly and it’s no guarantee that Cousins has the same rapport with Thielen. Yes Thielen is as good as the best at getting open (kind of reminds me of Doug Baldwin) and will likely see his fair share of targets too, I’m just not willing to reinvest that last season is replicated for Thielen.

You could call Diggs a Tyreek Hill lite but with Cousins there now at Quarterback, I think the signs all point to Diggs having a 1000 yard season (which would be his first), potential for 10+ TDs in what could be a high scoring offence (debate as to whether it needs to be is for another time).

It can be debated whether both WR can be supported as WR1/2 this year with the defence being as good as it is and Dalvin Cook coming back. The offensive line is not the greatest so Diggs, who thrives on post routes (88% success rate in 2017 according to Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception) will be relying on Cousins being upright for long enough to make those deeper throws.

You’ll see both Thielen and Diggs go in the same rounds in drafts this year as Thielen’s ADP has risen from last year (was around a 6th/7th/8th round pick last year) and if you want a piece of this offence, you’ll have to pick the splinters off and get up off of that fence you’ve been sitting on because the likelihood is that you’ll only be able to get one piece of this offence.

We are taking a stand and going Diggs with our 3rd round pick, giving us a roster so far of Todd Gurley at RB, Mike Evans and Stefon Diggs at WR.

Very happy. Over to Van Buren’s Boys at 3.02…