The Numbers Game! Leading up to Vikings Training Camp and preseason games, 92Noon decided to break down each and every player on the Vikings roster. What better way to do that than to simply go number by number? Get it? The Numbers Game? Brilliant, I know.
This entry looks at jersey numbers 1 thru 10.
1 - Kyle Sloter -- The Vikings offered him a lot of cash to secure him on the practice squad in 2017. Most recently, we've heard about him needing to be better in practice, and Sloter himself stated that coaches have been asking him to be less improvisational and work within the offense more. Weird, the team wants him to be more "on schedule" like Kirk, and they want Kirk to be a bit more "off-schedule" like Sloter....Anyway, his odds are long as he hasn't yet thrown a pass in the NFL, while the team brought in Sean Mannion to compete for the back-up QB job.
3 - Jake Browning -- Undrafted free agent Browning lit up the Pac-12 for the Washington Huskies (we were probably asleep by the time any of their games aired on TV, but I've heard a lot about him...). Even played in the CFP against Alabama following his sophomore year. A shoulder injury that required surgery after that season, however, is speculated to be the cause of a significant statistical drop for Jake in his final 2 years at Washington. He's been heavily ripped for a lack of arm strength and, frankly, his critics appear to be mostly correct. The question at this stage for the Vikings would be...keeping two QBs active every week, and placing a third on the practice squad...would that third QB be Sloter(assuming Mannion beats him for backup gig) or Browning?
4 - Sean Mannion -- 2015 3rd round pick from Oregon State, he had spent his entire time with the Rams until joining the Vikings into 2019. He's accumulated 258 yards and an interception for the Rams in minimal opportunities to take the field in games that count. He's here to take the back-up QB job. That's it. I would make him favored at this stage to get it, unless Kyle Sloter really takes a leap in camp.
5 - Dan Bailey -- Make all your kicks! Bailey made 21 of 28 FGs after he replaced Daniel Carlson early last season. I can look at stats and tell you he had quite an impressive run with the Cowboys, but as we Vikings fans know too well, history is only reassuring until you watch a guy duff one from 27 yards in a playoff game. Bailey was 30-31 on extra points, so we're all good there. And, technically, 5 of his 7 misses were in wins, so it cannot be said that Bailey "cost us a game." There's no competition for Bailey at camp, so he's our guy and we're left to trust that he finds his previous form and reliability.
6 - Matt Wile -- Similarly to Bailey, there's no competition here. He was serviceable in 2018 with the 2nd fewest touchbacks among punters. Statistically, overall, he's basically middle of the pack across the board. Part of that is a function of the offensive problems last season, where it's tough to be better than 15th with "inside the 20" kicks when you're offense is going 3-and-out deep in their own end. He had the one punt blocked week 2 in Green Bay, but that was Devante Downs' fault, not his. He's not the greatest, he's not the worst.
8 - Kirk Cousins -- Year 2! Whether it be on 92noon, twitter, newspapers, happy hour chats with your arms rested on the bar top...we've exhausted every possible talker for Kirk and the need for improvement of tweaking into 2019. The OLine was awful, the run game was awful, we know that. His record in primetime isn't great and his record against teams with winning records might be worse.....LISTEN BELOW to PA & Charch breaking down Kirk and all these guys on the Feast a few weeks ago!