The View From The Barstool: Vikings Speculation Run Amok

The View From The Barstool: Vikings Speculation Run Amok

Welcome back to the Barroom!  As you can see, there are a few less patrons here than usual.  Yup, everybody headed down to Mankato to cover the Vikings training camp.  Me?  I’m in my usual spot, going through my usual routine. Hey, it’s not that I’m not excited about the season starting, but going down to cover the first few days of practices and trying to figure out what it all means just isn’t for me.  Instead, I’m here to help you make sense of it all.  So grab yourself a drink, you’ll notice there’s no wait today, and sit down and we’ll sort through the rabble to see what’s really going on.

You read it all the time, so much so that you sometimes don’t even realize it. A reminder, training camp is officially FOUR days old:

(Sorry Boss)


You can even tell by the way they huddle: This is the year.

Speculation.  It’s the name of the game at training camp.  Take a small sample of anything and extrapolate what it could mean long-term, and if you happen to throw in a little exaggeration to ruffle some feathers, all the better.  Everybody is excited about the start of the season so all eyes are on every play, every drill and every kerfuffle.  It’s never enough to just know what happened, everyone wants to know what it means for the long-term. Adam Thilen is taking first team snaps instead of Jarius Wright? Mackensie Alexander is getting beat like a rented mule the first few days?? Adrian Peterson is sitting out with a hamstring injury??? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!?!?

Hey, I get it…it’s been a long offseason and fans are eager to get back into the action.

There’s a problem with speculation, though. We tend to attach opinions to the speculation.  If we want the player to do well, we take a good catch and project they’ll catch 100 passes this year.  If we are not fond of the player, we have a tendency to take any failing and bury them before the lights come up on the first preseason game.  Without the camps being filmed, we rely on the writers and the journalists to provide us the impressions of what is happening on the field since we all can’t make the drive to Mankato.

I’m here to help dear readers.  Today I will provide you a translator to sort through the speculation, the hyperbole, and yes a lot of the bullshit.

Example 1

The Play: A post route from Bridgewater to wide receiver Charles Johnson in position drills, completed for 23 yards.

The Description: Bridgewater fires a long pass to CJ who catches it in stride.  CJ is back, and that’s going to be a big difference for the passing game.

Translation: While Bridgewater actually has several options (Jarius Wright, Adam Thielen, among others) who can go across the middle, adding Johnson to that receiving corps definitely won’t hurt.

Example 2

The Play: 7-on-7 drill. Tackle Matt Kalil comes off the line hard and buries his opponent.

The Description: Kalil is absolutely back into his 2012 game. Hard-nosed with a mean streak!

Translation: It’s day 4 and Kalil has had the equivalent of 3/4 of a game’s worth of snaps. He’s had moments of brilliance and moments where he got completely spun around by Everson Griffen.  So….pretty much like last year so far.

Example 3

The Play: Rookie Laquon Treadwell comes in early, stays after practice for extra work.

The Description: This kid has a Hall of Fame work ethic already.  You can tell he just soaks up the game as much as he can.

Translation: Treadwell has A LOT of work ahead of him the next six weeks if he’s going to see the field for head coach Mike Zimmer when the season starts September 11th.  To do so, he needs every bit of practice he can get.  Coming in early and staying late is a great way to start.

Example 4

The Play: Third string QB Joel Stave (more on that later) throws off-line and is intercepted by cornerback Trae Waynes in 11-on-11 drills.

The Description: Waynes makes a great read on the ball and picks off Stave along the sideline!  Waynes is showing immense improvement from last year and could warrant his first round status from the 2015 draft!

Translation: It was a pass thrown by Joel Freaking Stave.  I’d be more concerned if Waynes DIDN’T intercept it.

So there you have it, fans….make sure you have this guide handy for future reading.

Speaking of speculation and projections…

So last week I went out on a limb a bit and put to paper some prognostications when it came to what would become of the 2016 training camp.  A week later, I’m already ready to admit that I’m an idiot.  Like many of my NCAA basketball tournament brackets, by week 2 it’s already crumpled up and in the garbage.  For your own schadenfreude, let’s review some of those predictions from just a week ago:

What I said:

The need for Hill’s veteran presence is no longer a priority.  Watch for third-string quarterback Taylor Heinicke to outplay Hill and earn the backup quarterback role.

Since then?

Hey, how was I supposed to know that Heinicke would be dumb enough to kick through a window to help a friend break into his own apartment and sever tendons in his foot?  I mean, seriously?

Verdict? Unbelievable.

Rating: ☆☆☆

What I said:

Should've expected to not see this too much early on.

Should’ve expected to not see this too much early on.

The biggest story in training camp regarding this group will be that Peterson will actually

participate in preseason games and hope to God he doesn’t get injured.

Since then?

Peterson has sat out most of the first four days with a hamstring injury.  No one seems to be too concerned about it, but it also seems like no one is in a hurry to get him back on the field.

Verdict? I probably should’ve seen this one coming.

Rating: ☆

What I said:

 Re: Offensive Line – Making the waters even murkier, there are two coming off major injuries, two coming in from free agency, and a mid-round draft pick who will be fighting for time on the field.

Since then?

Offensive Tackle Phil Loadholt announced his retirement, ending his comeback attempt.  This un-muddies the water a bit, with one less veteran expecting playing time.

Verdict?  I was probably too high on Loadholt making his return.  I thought his experience and his veteran guile would ensure him a spot on the roster.  I definitely didn’t foresee him retiring before the article got posted.

Rating: ☆☆

What I said:

It seems even Brian Robison sees the writing on the wall.

It seems even Brian Robison sees the writing on the wall.

You’ll see one change from last year, however, and that will be defensive end Danielle Hunter taking over the starting role over Brian Robison, who will still see a ton of playing time thanks to head coach Mike Zimmer’s rotational substitutions.

Since then?

Yup, Hunter is taking snaps with the first team and Robison has already been quoted as saying that the 2nd year defensive end needs to see the field.  Hey, I’ll take it wherever I can get it, folks.

Rating: ☆☆☆☆

A quick word about Coach Zimmer’s Contract Extension

On Thursday, the Vikings announced that they had come to an agreement for a contract extension with head coach Mike Zimmer. Though no terms of the agreement were announced, I have this to say:



Poll of the Week

Last week’s poll:

This week’s poll:

Tweet of the Week

Well that’s my time for today.  Time to head on home and enjoy the last days of summer before my weekends are booked solid.  Until next time, keep your drinks cold and always use a coaster.




Print this entry

Related Articles

Lions, Buccaneers Losses Put Packers in Playoff Position

Following three decent quarters and an atrocious fourth quarter the Green Bay Packers somehow fled single-digit temperatures in Chicago with a

A Toast to the Lions Draft

Kevin Remenap is a life-long Detroit Lions fan who knows the travails of the Honolulu Blue and Silver fandom all

NFCN PFF Grades – Week 5

These grades are for NFC North offensive players for week five and are prepared by the premier player performance

No comments

Write a comment
No Comments Yet! You can be first to comment this post!

Write a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*