Vikings 2015 preseason out look by Joel Schafer

 

I want to take the time to thank Tom Murphy  for taking a chance on me to cover one of my favorite sports teams, The Minnesota Vikings. For me to even consider writing about a team I dearly love I may have to refrain from writing directly before or after a game to keep some semblance of objectivity. I do believe that  I can  do that and hopefully my post will be different from most of the drones that are simply writing the same thing over and over again.  With that being said it is time to look into the future of the Team by positions. Let’s start this week out with the Wide receivers and tight ends.

To say that many of Skol Nation was disappointed with the way Greg Jennings performed as a Viking would be an understatement. Greg was the best thing we had at the position when it comes down to it. The biggest problem was he didn’t have a future Hall of Fame quarterback throwing him the ball and making him look excellent for all those years as a Packer. With a stacked receiving corps in Green Bay and Green bay not willing to offer the type of money Greg could get on the open market he moved on to Minnesota and had to deal with the mix of Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, Josh Freeman, and Teddy Bridgewater  as his Quarterback. This off-season the Vikings made a mistake and let him go. Out went an excellent skilled route runner that did the little things right. In come Mike Wallace a deep threat and a guy that needs more than 3 seconds to get open. Mike is at his best when the play breaks down and the Quarterback couldn’t find him open  because he lacks in route running ability. Ben Rothlisberger had a hay day with Wallace getting open after the pocket broke down. Mike and Greg had  basically the same year the past 2 years with Jennings being more effective with catching his targets. Expect Wallace to have  roughly the same  production as Jennings did 57-70 catches with 110-121 targets.

To say Cordarrelle Patterson had a bad year is an understatement in itself. Things looked real promising against the Rams in whom he torched on the ground for 102 rushing yards on 3 attempts and he reeled in 3 catches for 26 yards. Patterson had only 67 targets all year, in which he hauled in 33 balls. Cordarrelle rushed for 15 yards in the next 15 weeks of the season. No that is not a misprint. CP Flash was brutal. He was in Zimmer’s doghouse with a short chain attached.  The last 5 weeks of the season minus not so special teams appearance he had a total of 5 touches 3 catches for 34 yards and 2 rushes for 4 yards  1 fumble lost.  We can’t afford to wait for another 30 for 30 story to come out of Minnesota. In 2013  Patterson was special teams threat with a 32.4 yard return average while house 2 of those attempts compared to the paltry  25.6 yards per return with only on return of over 50 yards all season.

When Corarrelle Patterson was put in the dog house vs Carolina Charles Johnson came in ran excellent routes was targeted 4 times and came up with 2 big first downs. The last 5 games of the season he had 29 targets, 2 of those games he was targeted 4 times a piece and 21 times in the other 3 games  with 2 games over 70 yards. I would expect Johnson to get plenty of time on the outside getting the lion’s share of the work load and leading the team in targets and receptions. Teddy went to Johnson often, averaging 4.8 targets a game the final 12 games of the season.

Jarius Wright is the definition of the Vikings lacking good receiver last year he had only 62 targets in 16 games  and was the slot guy.  I expect much of the same, he is just another guy. The vikings drafted Stefon Diggs in the late rounds hoping to get a slot guy. Diggs may just be another guy, the Vikings tend to find a lot of them at receiver. There is some intrigue in signing Davaris Daniels, who was a knucklehead for the Golden Domers and didn’t play in 2014 because of suspension. He does have NFL pedigree which means a lot to some and not so much to others.

Moving on to Tight ends there is very little to say besides will Kyle Rudolph finally stay healthy. Norv Turner needs a Tight end to make the offense effective. The Vikings took a flyer on Mycole Pruitt. He seems to play when he wants to play.  Yes I said that. The problem with Pruitt is there isn’t nearly that type of talent level to play when you want to play. Management is hoping for boom not bust with that pick. Hopefully they are able to light a fire under him and he is able to be a play-maker and insurance policy for the oft injured and frail Rudolph.