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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Explaining the Vikings' 3-1 start


    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

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    NodakPaul's Avatar
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    That is a really, really good podcast.

    I like how they refer to Musgrave's offense as high efficiency, low octane. I agree, and I think it is helping to redefine the pass happy template that so many teams are following. The offense isn't complete yet, but I LOVE how it is coming along.
    Zeus wrote:
    When are you going to realize that picking out the 20 bad throws this year and ignoring the 300 good ones does not make your point?

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    Minnesota Vikings: The Good, Bad and Ugly of the First 4 Games of the Season

    Another summary of the Vikings play through the first 4 games. Warning, it's a Bleacher Report article. But it's beyond the casual observer comments that fill so many of these articles.

    The Good: AD (#1 rated RB by PFF), PH (duh!) and the defense.
    Their last three opponents had averaged 27 points a game when playing other teams, but could not rack up more than 20 to the Minnesota defense. Overall, they have made sure that no team has scored more than 23 points on them. That mark exceeds the average amount of points allowed by 0.7 points and puts Minnesota at seventh overall in points allowed.

    Further, their last three opponents were held to their fewest yards per play when up against the Vikings, and they rank third overall in this metricójust ahead of the Texans, at fourth, and behind the Seahawks and 49ers.
    The Bad: The TE's and WR's outside of PH, bags heavily on Rudolph and Carlson.
    Some may blame Christian Ponder for the fact that he's only thrown six passes over 20 yards (only Matt Ryan and Alex Smith have done it fewer), but there seems to be a consensus that his receivers simply aren't getting open downfield.
    The Ugly: The offense. Ugly, but efficient.
    It gets the job done.

    Despite the aesthetic drawbacks to Minnesota's brand of ball control, the Vikings have produced an efficient (although, its efficiency has been waning over time) offense that can move the chains and make plays at critical junctures.
    Offensive Line:
    Overall, the blocking is spotty and inconsistent. There aren't always clear running lanes and the pass protection is still suspect in many ways. Most of the blocking provided by Vikings players is either quite good or quite bad. There isn't a middle ground, and that sort of ambiguity spells "ugly" to most observers.
    Run blocking: Good with the interior, not so good from the tackles. Really bags on Rudolph. Likes Felton a lot.
    Pass blocking: Good on the left including center, bad on the right.

  4. #4
    Caine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NodakPaul View Post
    That is a really, really good podcast.

    I like how they refer to Musgrave's offense as high efficiency, low octane. I agree, and I think it is helping to redefine the pass happy template that so many teams are following. The offense isn't complete yet, but I LOVE how it is coming along.
    And, in contrast, I hate it. It seems to be a hyper-conservative short field offense that relies upon the Defense to contain the opposing team and push them into bad field position (which translates to good field position for us - hopefully).

    From where I sit, it's frighteningly similar to the KAO that Childress tried to run for so many years in that we depend on AP to carry the bulk of the Offense while the passing game is "throw short and pray"...something I've never been a fan of.

    What is missing form the whole thing (aside from quality outside receivers) is the deep shots that force the defense to play back, allowing us to chip away at them. Ponder has taken a few shots, but he doesn't connect very often downfield, and Defenses may start to cheat up on him - taking away the short game - and dare him to beat them with his arm. Just like they did with Jackson.

    I have nothing against a balanced Offense. I don't even mind the short control game....so long as the THREAT of a deep strike exists...and thus far I have yet to see that really appear. Thus far, Ponder's longest pass has been for 29 yards, and he's had only 7 (out of 84 receptions) go for 20+ yards.

    We rank 5th in completion percentage, but 24th in YPC. That concerns me.

    A BIG positive, however, is that we are the ONLY team in the NFL not to have an INT. Congrats on that, Ponder.

    Caine

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    I can get around not having the deep threat if Ponder and his WR/TE group can develop the kind of chemistry that they can just attack the short and middle seams in the defenses we face.

    The key is having a QB and WR's that mentally understand how to exploit the gaps in defenses and have the physical skills to do it. Often times you can be more effective when you get defenders moving laterally than pushing them back vertically. I am not sure we have the coaches, the QB or the WR's to do that.

  6. #6
    singersp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caine View Post

    From where I sit, it's frighteningly similar to the KAO that Childress tried to run for so many years in that we depend on AP to carry the bulk of the Offense while the passing game is "throw short and pray"...something I've never been a fan of.

    What is missing form the whole thing (aside from quality outside receivers) is the deep shots that force the defense to play back, allowing us to chip away at them. Ponder has taken a few shots, but he doesn't connect very often downfield, and Defenses may start to cheat up on him - taking away the short game - and dare him to beat them with his arm.

    Caine
    That's the way I see it too. It's too much like the KAO, with the difference being we are at least getting YAC, but still way too conservative much of the time.

    Our offense has a hard time getting the ball in the endzone and has done so on only 7 occasions, which is only 1 TD more than the worst in the NFL & 3 of those came in 1 game.

    It's true that Ponder hasn't connected very often downfield as Caine stated, but we haven't taken many either. Only 6 over 20. Is it because of game calls/planning, is it because they don't think Ponder is accurate deep, is it because he's not reading the defenses or to hesitant to throw because the receiver hasn't got huge separation or is it because receivers simply aren't getting open?

    The latter certainly plays into a part of it prior to Simpson coming back. Play calling I believe is a part of it too, but it's only a matter of time before defenses play us closer & take away our short game. Especially the YAC.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  7. #7
    NodakPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by singersp View Post
    That's the way I see it too. It's too much like the KAO, with the difference being we are at least getting YAC, but still way too conservative much of the time.

    Our offense has a hard time getting the ball in the endzone and has done so on only 7 occasions, which is only 1 TD more than the worst in the NFL & 3 of those came in 1 game.

    It's true that Ponder hasn't connected very often downfield as Caine stated, but we haven't taken many either. Only 6 over 20. Is it because of game calls/planning, is it because they don't think Ponder is accurate deep, is it because he's not reading the defenses or to hesitant to throw because the receiver hasn't got huge separation or is it because receivers simply aren't getting open?

    The latter certainly plays into a part of it prior to Simpson coming back. Play calling I believe is a part of it too, but it's only a matter of time before defenses play us closer & take away our short game. Especially the YAC.
    I honestly see little difference between the KAO and Musgraves offense outside the fact that both featured a short passing game. Musgrave uses a lot more screens, reverses, and short curls than the KAO did. The KAO depended on success running on first and second down. Musgrave's offense focuses more on short passes, with running augmenting it. I think that is one of the reasons that we saw a LOT more 3rd and long situations under Childress.

    I also suspect (but need to see more of Musgrave's offense before I can confirm) that Musgrave is less rigid when it comes to WR routes. Instead of a WR HAVING to run 8 yards and turn for the catch on 3rd and 8, Musgrave is OK with them running to where ever the defense has a soft spot in the zone, even if it is 6 yards or 10 yards.

    And I think the most important difference between the two is Childress tried to force the personnel to fit his scheme, whereas Musgrave is adjusting the scheme to fit the personnel.
    Zeus wrote:
    When are you going to realize that picking out the 20 bad throws this year and ignoring the 300 good ones does not make your point?

    =Z=

  8. #8
    thorshammer is offline Asst. Coach
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    I think the lack of longer pass plays is in part due to the fact that Ponder didn't have anyone to throw to until last week when Simpson came back. It will be interesting to see what goes on moving forward. We got a couple of nice interference calls on long throws last week. Time will tell but I am looking for some longer pass plays with Simpson in the line up.

  9. #9
    singersp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NodakPaul View Post
    I honestly see little difference between the KAO and Musgraves offense outside the fact that both featured a short passing game. Musgrave uses a lot more screens, reverses, and short curls than the KAO did. The KAO depended on success running on first and second down. Musgrave's offense focuses more on short passes, with running augmenting it. I think that is one of the reasons that we saw a LOT more 3rd and long situations under Childress.

    I also suspect (but need to see more of Musgrave's offense before I can confirm) that Musgrave is less rigid when it comes to WR routes. Instead of a WR HAVING to run 8 yards and turn for the catch on 3rd and 8, Musgrave is OK with them running to where ever the defense has a soft spot in the zone, even if it is 6 yards or 10 yards.

    And I think the most important difference between the two is Childress tried to force the personnel to fit his scheme, whereas Musgrave is adjusting the scheme to fit the personnel.
    When I say it's like the KOA, I'm not getting into the nitty-gritty details and saying that the type of pass plays, screens, curls, etc.. are the same. I'm saying it's still based on short passes & relying heavily on the run.

    I think the amount of times we still run on 1st & 2nd down might surprise you. In 2010, we threw the ball 53% of the time & ran it 47% of the time. So far this year, it's been 50%/50% with 124 rushes, 123 pass attempts. I'm not sure how that breaks down on 1st & 2nd, but with an even split, I don't think the higher % of runs came on 3rd. We are still a run 1st team.

    The other thing our offense does that's similar to the KOA is continue to throw short 2-3 yard passes on 3rd & long & hope like hell the receivers pick up all the additional yards necessary to get a first or they try to fool them by handing off on 3rd & long obvious passing situations, hoping AD can get the first down,

    Additionally, they seem complacent coming away with FG's rather than getting TD's. So far this year we've only scored 7 TDs on offense with the league fewest being 6. We can't rely on ST's getting us 14 points every week or expect to win all most of our games against powerhouse offenses by kicking mostly FG's.

    Lastly, I believe much like the KAO, we get too conservative too early & try to eat up the clock, protect the ball & then punt, trying to protect a lead that in today's NFL can be overcome rather quickly.
    Last edited by singersp; 10-07-2012 at 08:09 AM.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  10. #10
    Marrdro's Avatar
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    Someone pull up the stuff that was posted a while back that proved the 80% of all NFL teams run the same offensive plays.
    Many many thanks to my talented friend Jos for the new Sig.http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v343/josdin00/Vikings/Marrdro_sig.jpg

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