Friday, April 15, 2011

Crash-scene analysis -- the Vikings

I wrote yesterday about the story state of the local sports scene. While I don't have a lot of time this morning, I thought I'd start a discussion each morning about what ails each team. We'll start with the team that has the largest emotional purchase on the local fan base, the Vikings.

As a Packer fan, I'm hardly a disinterested observer, but here's what I see:
  • One bad hire can hurt. You can never know it until later on, but it turned out that Brad Childress was the wrong guy. He didn't seem to have the skill set to manage a team. Leslie Frazier might be better that way.
  • The so-called "Triangle of Authority" is a poor idea. You need to hold someone accountable for things, beyond the coach. Who do you hold accountable at Winter Park? Everyone in the front office has some accountability, but when a decision needs to be made, there's no clear vision for what should happen.
  • You need to develop a quarterback in your system. Drew Brees won a Super Bowl in New Orleans, but generally speaking it works a lot better if it's your own guy. Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning and Aaron Rodgers are all homegrown quarterbacks. The Vikings had a pretty good homegrown quarterback in Daunte Culpepper, but they haven't since. They really need to find a guy in the upcoming draft.
What do you think?


First Ringer said...

Great analysis, D.

You're right about the effects of "one bad hire" - especially as that effect trickled down to influence the other problems.

That "one bad hire" maximized his power in the triangle to the point that he was cutting Randy Moss without any other prior approval. That "one bad hire" played a huge role in drafting Travaris Jackson and grooming him to be the Vikes' future starter - despite the league-wide consensus that Jackson was 6th or 7th round draft material at best, and not worth a 2nd round pick.

Of course, that "one bad hire" is the result of Wilf's ownership - meaning we'll probably see many more "one bad hires" in the future. No wonder one of my legislative buddies at the capitol said that the NFL (when they were in town lobbying for a new stadium) were candid about disliking Wilf's continued ownership of the team.

Night Writer said...

The Vikes are in the crash part of the cycle right now, but let's not forget that - despite bad hires, triangles of authority and a brief term by a GM that I can only remember as "Fran Ugly-Sweater" - the team still was on the very brink of a Super Bowl appearance.

Most Super Bowl caliber teams have a fleeting window of opportunity due to age, injury and luck. '09 was the Vikings best chance and they tried to force the window open one more year and it didn't work. Where the bad hires have really cost them is that they probably have a longer row to hoe in rebuilding (the more I look at the mock drafts, the more that missing third-round pick hurts).

The QB position is always a crapshoot for every team. Beyond the top 3 or 4 QBs, few teams are really satisfied. For all the "homegrown" success stories there are two or three times as many bodies buried behind the garden shed. GB was spared a lot of this anguish through the prolonged Favre era and the extended incubation period for Rogers, but the line of succession between Bart Starr and Favre was - with a brief bit of "majik" - pretty forgettable.

As desperate as the Vikes' QB situation is, their needs go well beyond getting a stud QB, especially since none come with any guarantees. If I were the GM, I'd trade back in the first round to about 20-22 to get an extra draft pick and then take a Locker or Dalton (they'll be gone before MN's second round turn) and then try to restock the OL and DL. If they stay put, a case could be made that taking a Nick Fairly would improve the team more than a QB.

CousinDan 54915 said...

Vikings need the Jaws of Life to get out of that car wreck.