Days of Future Past – To Throw or Not to Throw

Compare the 98 Vikings with our team this year.

Using a devastating passing attack, the 98 Vikings set the season record for scoring 556 points that season.  They never scored fewer than 24, had 52 plays of 25+ yards (22 of them longer than 40 yards),   Cunningham and Johnson combined for 41 passing TDs.  Randy Moss alone caught 17 TDs, Leroy Hoard ran for 9. We had the 1st ranked pass offense, the 11th ranked run offense, the 13th ranked defense.  We went 15-1, only losing to Tampa by 3 points, then got beat out of the playoffs by Atlanta when Gary Anderson decided perfection was a stupid concept.

randy-moss-cris-carter

Now, let’s see how a run-first offense has treated us.

We may have the league leading rusher, but our run game ranks 5th.  Our passing (non)attack is ranked 30th.  Our QB has 8 TDs and 8 INTs through 12 games.  Our league-leading MVP rusher has amassed 8 TDs in our “run-first” offense.  Wow.  We’ve managed to squeak out wins on several losing teams, only have 2 wins against teams with a winning record, and gotten blown out by 2 of 3 marquis teams on our schedule thus far.  Run-first is not working for us, because when the run fails, we have NOTHING to fall back on right now.

I know this does nothing to compare OLine protection, but the stats lean decisively toward higher success with a better passing game than a better running game.  Focusing on AP has stunted Teddy’s growth.  He threw 14 TDs as a rookie over the same number of games last year without AP on the field, and the OLine was just as messed up.

Vikings’ brass better invest a couple higher picks into the OLine next draft.  Hoping for Sullivan and Loadholt to come back 100% is a risky prospect, and people are already forgetting how much they hated on Loadsofholds.  If Bridgewater still can’t get it done with better protection, then the blame falls on the receivers.

A high-powered passing offense coupled with a dangerous running back, anchored by Zimmer’s powerful defense is the recipe the Vikings need to take their place among the NFL elite.

By northwoodsv2

113 comments on “Days of Future Past – To Throw or Not to Throw

  1. The lack of success hinges on the Air Coryell system as much as anything else. That’s a scheme that relies heavily on deep throws for success. It conflicts with the mantra that the coaches seem to be instilling in Teddy to protect the ball, and not try risky throws. The further you throw the ball, the more time you give the defense to react while it’s in the air.

    The scheme also requires WRs who can get good separation and win contested throws. Our guys really don’t have the tools to expect that to be successful. The skills of this team would benefit greatly by a bunch of quick throws, with potential for YAC.

    A strong defense encourages a patient offense that takes what the opposition will give them, but Norv refuses to do anything but call for game changing plays on every down. Against respectable defenses with our suspect protection, it leads to a lot of pathetic 3-and-outs, and overworks the defense until the game is out of reach.

    Norv needs to stop trying to force his scheme on players that don’t fit the mold. Start trying to take advantage of the skills they have. It would lead to many more of our wins having been dominating, and given us a much better chance in the losses. Norv just may be too old to accept that he needs to change.

    • good view on that as far as Norv’s system. talk about AD slowing Teddy’s progress is bullshit to me. i think if you put AD on any other team, that team is instantly upgraded to a playoff or SB contender. so many so-called experts always say it takes a good defense and a running game to get deep in the playoffs or to the SB. well we have that, so why the problem ?? i think it’s this atrocious O-line (in pass protection). i’ve noticed this season when AD gets 20 or more carries a game (not out of shotgun), we’ve won, except the Denver game. less than 15 carries, we’ve lost, badly. even those losses weren’t totally on the offense. the defense have done horribly against mobile or running QB’s (Kaepernick, Rodgers, and Wilson). many say Teddy’s job should be so easy with AD in the backfield, and i totally agree. yes his 1st year was impressive considering the circumstances, but now the book is out on him in year 2. i think he needs a running game to help him…

      • I think the 20+ carries stat is misleading. AD gets those carries when the team is milking the lead. When we’re playing from behind, Norv gives up on the running game and tries for the highlight reel passes on every down. Balance, patience and persistence are much more valuable than trying to get to a phantom stat number.

        Teddy’s job would get a lot easier if he started to read defenses pre-snap, recognize where the opening in coverage is going to be left by the overloaded blitz (seems to come more often than not), and throw to the guy who is going to be there – or reroute a receiver to get there.

        • I don’t think those 20 plus carries is that misleading. Not all those runs were milking the lead. Some were keeping us in games this year. When he’s gotten that amount of carries, we’ve won, thanks to the defense also. The game wasn’t on Teddy’s shoulders. He just had to make timely throws in certain situations to keep the chains moving. The way the O-line is in passing situations, with Teddy looking erratic most of time, because of the O-line, I’m not ready to leave a game in his hands, unless its a last resort. Don’t get me wrong, I think Teddy is the future, but #28 is the now, and the offense still runs through him til the other pieces get their act together or Norv & Son get their act together…

      • I always like to hear a countering point of view – keeps me honest in my analysis, and provides more input to consider.

        I agree with Parody, though. We’ve abandoned the run because it was getting us nowhere at the time, and the other team was racking up points. AP leads the league in rushing, but he also leads the league in yardage lost. Many of his big gains have come at times when we’ve already got the game sewn up and we’re trying to kill the clock.

        I agree that the experts say you need a good defense and a good running game to make it deep in the playoffs, but nobody says that is ALL you need. Without a complimentary pass game a run game means nothing against a good team.

        I also agree with you that we need one helluva upgrade on the OLine, and that will mitigate a lot of our problems with both the run and the pass.

        We drafted heavy on D this year. Perhaps it was planned that way, and we’re going to address the OLine next spring????

        • I hope you’re right. In this year’s draft, it seemed that we needed to focus on offense much more than defense (coming from a year where the team ranked 13th in defense and around 30th in offense). Supposedly Teddy’s experience and getting back AD was going to make a big difference for the offense though. That didn’t happen. Trading Jennings for Wallace seemed like a big downgrade too.

          Now we have a top-10 defense, and we’d be nit-picking to find holes (before you start adding up the injuries). This offense needs a serious overhaul in order to get the Vikings to the next level. That overhaul starts with the offensive line, and could use plenty of help with receivers after the line gets straightened out.

        • True. I think he does abandons the run way too early in games if AD doesn’t start off strong. I think he’s gonna get a shitload of carries tonight. That may be the only way the game can stay close. Parody was right on with Teddy not reading blitzes or overloads. Its not good when trying to establish the run by throwing, the O-line can’t block. Or trying to get the passing game going by running, there’s 10-11 guys in the box waiting because they know we can’t connect with Teddy or the WRs for some reason. True, it’s not all about the run game, a decent passing game is needed, but when the QB is getting beat up every week, looking erratic on throws, WRs looking shaky, etc. we ride our best weapon til then. He’s carried the team before when the QB play was even worse….

  2. Good points. A few other observations are that I’ve never seen TB throw a true back-shoulder pass, he’s stopped throwing corner fades in the endzone, and it seems he doesn’t make the throw unless the receiver has at least 5 yards separation at the time of release.

    Frustrating.

  3. The Vikings will be in for a bloody fight and it could get out of hand if the Defense and the passing game doesn’t step it up. Hopefully atleast one of these guys Joseph, Barr, or Smith can return to the field this Thursday, with Joseph being the most likely to.
    I still believe in Teddy, Vikings win 26 – 21.

  4. I’ve had a good feeling about this game for a while. Maybe it’s the Vikings’ past success against them, maybe the possibility that AZ will feel they have little reason to try hard and get hurt in this game, maybe the fact that the more primetime games we lose just brings us another game closer to finally winning one.

    Teddy will finally connect on a deep one to Wallace, and he’ll hit Rudy for one in the Red Zone. Diggs will do more than catch the ball and fall to the ground, and he’ll find the endzone again.

    AP will pad his stats in the 4th and bust another long run to the house. Walsh kicks the game-ending winner in true nail-biting fashion after missing one earlier in the game.

    Vikings win 31 – 30.

    • i don’t like the looks of things either, but it would be ironic. bad O-line, best 3 defensive players out, Teddy looking erratic, WRs playing poorly, Arizona probably bringing 9-10 guys in the box every play to stop our best weapon. Arizona on top of their game now. oh, and by the way, it’s a primetime game, which in recent years the guys have done horribly. based on those facts, i say we win tonight…just going against the grain of public opinion for the game….

  5. The Vikings could win this game if they all play as a team and do these 4 things:
    1. Extend drives by staying within themselves and being aggressive on 4th down;
    2. Eliminate the mistakes that have plagued them recently – penalties, negative plays, missed tackles, missed assignments;
    3. Win the turnover game. The defense must get at least 2 turnovers more than the offense makes; and
    4. They must be extremely aggressive with the play calling. Not by doing things that they don’t do well, but by choosing plays that are unexpected.

    I do not see how they can achieve a victory under the circumstances. I believe that they will play very well but it won’t be enough.
    Cards 30 Vikes 20

  6. looking at the pre-game. got us being blown out by most. expect Arizona to stack the box heavy and play man coverage all game because they believe Teddy and the WRs can’t beat ’em downfield. with that we still run the ball because AD likes to run against stacked boxes. he says he can read the blocking better and if those guys don’t play their gaps, it’s off to the races. i honestly think our WRs can beat their DBs on deep routes, if given the time and opportunity. defensively i say we blitz, blitz, blitz, blitz. Carson’s not gonna run, which may suit to our defensive scheme of LB and A-B gap blitzes. they may go 4-5 WR most of the game because of our depleted secondary and force these backups to play some ball. nice time for Diggs to have another breakout game tonight. Patrick Peterson said he is going to cover him all game. and with that…SKOL…

  7. The one thing I like about Arizona is that it’s like a home away from home. I’m not sure about how well represented other teams are, but it’s a very popular place for Minnesotans to spend the latter days of their life, and as you can see today, it doesn’t matter how well the Cardinals play, our fans are always well represented in the desert.

  8. now a busted coverage on defense. Zimmer must be frying an egg on his head. totally undisciplined on that drive. Kendricks looked lost a couple plays before that, now 2 fucking WRs standing all by theyselves on the sideline…

  9. Arizona starting to expect run on 1st down. need to mix it up a bit. seems like Teddy rarely sees that safety creeping up. if he ever notices that, then he could audible out of the run. it would help to get out of the huddle with some time on the clock to make adjustments…

  10. Looks like a tie today. Cariboo and myself were both off by 7. Roger, being a tad too optimistic lands 3rd place with 8.

    Actual Score: Vikings-20 Cardinals-23
    Person:WinTeam~VikesPred-CardsPred[DifVikes+DifOpp](TotalDif)
    roger:Vikings~26-21[6+2](8)
    Titus:Vikings~31-28[11+5](16)
    northwoods:Vikings~31-30[11+7](18)
    GoldVike:Vikings~28-27[8+4](12)
    iaVike:Cardinals~26-33[6+10](16)
    tampavike:Cardinals~10-44[10+21](31)
    Parody:Cardinals~18-28[2+5](7)
    Cariboo:Cardinals~20-30[0+7](7)

  11. Even though I didn’t think we’d win, I’m crushed by this loss. God damn it. I’m going to mention some positives from the game though.
    Trae Waynes
    Anthony Harris
    Teddy Bridgewater
    Danielle Hunter
    Sherrif Floyd

    Thought these guys really stepped up and played well.

  12. I went back through the posts and added up the announced winners. Can anybody confirm this?

    WEEK WINNER DIFFERFENCE
    Week1 Parody 19
    Week2 Roger 3
    Week3 viking-ology 1
    Week5 viking-ology 4
    Week6 Tampa 13
    Week7 Roger 4
    Week8 Cariboo+iaVike 2
    Week9 GoldVike 1
    Week10 Cariboo 3
    Week11 Cariboo+iaVike 20
    Week12 Tampa 5
    Week13 Parody 23
    Week14 Cariboo+Parody 7

    Parody 3
    Roger 2
    viking-ology 2
    Tampa 2
    Cariboo 4
    iaVike 2
    GoldVike 1

  13. Former 1st Rd pick DT Phil Taylor is working out with the Vikes today. Does anyone know what happened to him and how bad his injury was? He was a beast his first two seasons with the Browns.

  14. After years of escalating prices and diminishing returns coupled with crappy-ass customer service, we are ready to tell Dish Network to shove it up their ass.

    Does anyone know offhand of any internet based sports packages that would show the Vikings and Twins games and cost much less than Dish/cable/Direct?

    • For Twins games, I am not sure. However, having a cell plan with Verizon has included access to stream all NFL games live via their NFL app. The quality is a bit lacking, having to stream it to my phone and then to my TV via Chromecast. But it beats not being able to watch the games I want to watch. I think that Verizon includes this feature for anyone who has a data plan with them.

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