Generally speaking I'm a pretty positive guy. I'm not perfect, but I do prefer to see the brighter side of things. That said, even I have a limit. It's a point where I am pushed so far against my natural tendencies that only negativity starts to spew out of me and in one fell swoop it all gets dumped...That's what this article is going to be and I'm sure all of you share these thoughts and would right the same things down if you had the opportunity.
Brace yourself...here we go!
Anybody still wondering why Anthony Barr didn't get his contract extension?
There was once a time where we all thought that the Minnesota Vikings had gotten the steal of the draft. It was 2014 and the Vikings had just selected a relatively unknown linebacker out of UCLA named Anthony Barr. He was the 9th overall pick and seemed to have potential but was sort of unproven in college. Then he took some games over, showcased how his unique talent set fit into Mike Zimmer's defense and gave a push for the defensive rookie of the year attention.
Fast forward to Sunday and it looked like he wasn't quite sure how to play football? There was one point in the first half when Anthony Barr had 30 yards in penalties and the Vikings offense had 26 yards total. That's a quick overview of how poorly it was going but look back at the tape and Anthony's poor performance will stand out like a sore thumb. He got beat by Josh Allen to the corner of the endzone, was flagged for multiple infractions, was beaten terribly on that 55-yard Ivory get and then he got hurdled by a rookie QB.
I'm trying to remember the last time we felt like he was that "special" player we saw his rookie season.
The Vikings saw something in Barr that scared them away from offering him that 5th year option when they literally optioned or extended everybody else. Maybe it was effort, maybe it was some sort of regression, I'm not sure. What I do know is that he's not worth it anymore and this might be his last season with the Vikings.
What in the world was going on with Riley Reiff?
Headed into yesterday, with more than a full season of work already put on tape, Riley Reiff was our best offensive lineman. That may not be saying a whole lot given the thin nature of the rest of the line, but it was still an accurate statement....not yesterday. Jimmy Hughes ran around Riley Reiff all. day. long. and it ended up with Hughes getting to the quarterback, hitting the quarterback or hurrying the quarterback all game.
Reiff even admitted it after the game saying, "I didn't have a game at all. I'll admit it. Get back to work and get it done....I have to play better."
If he doesn't play better on Thursday against the Rams, then Kirk Cousins is going to get clobbered!
The offensive play calling needs to change...somehow...
Last week in the Buffalo Bills game head coach Sean McDermott stripped the defensive play calling from defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. Frazier reassumed those duties against the Vikings this weekend but it was clear that the coaches message was felt. Are we getting close to needing to pull a similar tactic with John DeFilippo?
Now, let's give him the benefit of the doubt quickly. Maybe he had THE PERFECT game plan drawn up for the Bills before the team found itself down 17-0 halfway through the first quarter. At that point, it all gets thrown out the window and you need to adjust, that's where the struggle was felt.
Remember a few years back when Sam Bradford was getting crushed in the backfield because the Vikings had suffered every injury under the sun and couldn't block defenders up front? The team changed the offense and added in a quicker passing structure with bubble screens, slants and screen passes. They couldn't run the ball but they were going to provide an extension to the run game with the short passing offense. That in turn kept the defenses *a little* more honest despite the fact that they couldn't run the ball and things began to open up over the top. Flip needs to do something like that, or he needs to sprinkle in more RPOs or he needs to get more aggressive like the Buccaneers are doing this year. Whatever it is, something needs to change because what was called yesterday didn't work.
These defensive miscommunications need to stop...
This defense is supposed to be elite. They're supposed to be one of the top units in the league...still week-to-week we're seeing players running free, wide open in the flats for big gains and yards after the catch. First it was George Kittle, then Jimmy Graham, yesterday it was Jonathan Croom and Chris Ivory.
After the game, Zimmer chalked it up to miscommunications rather than a schematic flaw.
There's clearly much more that we could cover in this critical review but I can't handle all of this negativity and have other things to do. So please, I implore you to continue this conversation in the comments section below, that should be fun!