Thursday, March 6, 2008

Short Randomness

Due to an extremely busy schedule right now, I will be unable to make a significant post for today. However, as mentioned on Tuesday, I do plan to break down the possible solutions for the Vikings at DE whether through free agency or the draft as soon as I have some time. The delay on this report may actually turn out to be worthwhile as it appears as though the Vikings are trying to bring in Javon Kearse today. However, I do not expect much from this as Kearse has clearly stated his preference to return to the Tennessee Titans.

On a completely separate note, I would like to congratulate my Wisconsin Badgers for clinching at least a share of the Big Ten men's basketball championship last night with a dominating performance over Penn State. Last place Northwestern is the only thing between the Badgers and an outright Big Ten title. Yes, I know this is MN Sports Chat and the Badgers are from WI, but some props were needed for my team who we not supposed to be this good this year after losing Tucker and Taylor last year.

While I do root for the Badgers, rest assured I despise all other Wisconsin teams. If I have to see another dopey Packer fan wandering around in a Favre jersey looking like he's about to cry or another person change their Facebook profile picture to a picture of Farve while complaining that the world has ended I will probably vomit. True story. Get over it and quit treating this like you closest family member died. It's pathetic, really.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A look at the defensive end situation and wideout draft

I am getting sick of the Vikings messing around. Let's review our defensive end situation. We haven't drafted a consistently productive defensive end since 1985. Guess who that was? Chris Doleman. Defensive ends usually take at least a year to prove their worth even if they are a top tier player (see Mario Williams). Our team is ready to make a run now, and we don't have time to wait around for a defensive end to develop. Jevon Kearse is not the solution, Greg Spires and Mike Rucker are over the hill, and Marques Douglas hasn't proved anything. Pursuing any of these guys simply fills the holes, but does not solve the problem. Jared Allen is the solution.

Jared Allen would cost two first round picks or a potential trade. Is losing two first round picks really that bad? We would lose out on another defensive end at pick 17 who is the same caliber player as Kenechi Udeze or Erasmus James. Not losing much there. Assuming the Vikings make the playoffs as expected, we lose a first round pick in the mid twenties in 2009. Is that an impact player? Probably not for a year or two. Once again, we are not playing for the future, we are playing for the present. In return we gain a young, proven, consistent pass rusher in Allen. Problem solved, and the losses are minimal.

Another option is to trade for Allen. It has been rumored that the Chiefs and Vikings have been in discussions about trading Bryant McKinnie and a third round pick for Allen. The theory being, McKinnie has had some problems off the field in Minnesota and Allen has done the same in Kansas City. A new beginning for each player. Since this trade seems completely unrealistic for an elite defensive end, I will provide my adjusted offer. Trade McKinnie and this year's first round pick. We then sign a relatively inexpensive offensive tackle and draft one in the third round for depth and grooming. Although we take a hit at tackle, we get rid of a bad character guy and gain a monster defensive end. Make it happen Zygi!

Also, I want to evaluate another position of need for the draft. We will draft a wide receiver in the second or third round, I can almost guarantee it. After going to YouTube and watching videos of all the potential receivers available, I know who I want. I was completely against DeSean Jackson because of his size until I saw his highlight video, especially his kick returns. What a freak! If Jackson drops, draft him. Also, check out the other receivers available and vote on your favorite after watching their highlights.

DeSean Jackson

Mario Manningham

Malcolm Kelly

Limas Sweed

Devin Thomas

Jordy Nelson

Create polls and vote for free.

Monday, March 3, 2008

We're Back! Well, At Least One of Us

Well first off I would like to apologize to everyone checking in on Monday hoping the read the latest and greatest sports talk and debate. Shea accepted that he was afraid of me and decided not to post. From now on, let's just call him "Sally".

While I will not be posting a whole lot this evening due to just arriving back in town, I will at least give all of you something, which is a heck of a lot more than Sally did. Regular full-length posts should resume for the remained of the week.

Just to briefly get into what I will discuss in much greater detail on Thursday, the Vikings have certainly decided to make a splash in free agency this year. As is well documented, I am far from the biggest advocate of spending large amounts of money on average players. There is a reason draft picks are so highly respected in the NFL. Obviously most teams feel as though even a late round pick is worth more than paying top dollar for players who have shown promise but ultimately been disappointing (see Marcus Stroud and Jonathan Vilma trades).

Let me quickly make a comment or two on the additions the Vikings have made thus far:

Madieu Williams: See my previous post on this guy. If you have been following this site, you know how I feel about this guy. I can accept that the Vikes maybe wanted a veteran to be a stopgap while developing a younger safety that they draft, but 6 years, really?! I don't get it.

Bernard Berrian: Again, a 6 year deal worth $42 million for a guy that doesn't even have a 1000 yard season? Again, I just don't get it. Yes, WR is a high priority but you are going into a draft that is ridiculously deep at WR. In addition, there are/were plenty of good receivers in FA at least as talented as Berrian that most likely will not bring in the same money (Javon Walker, Jerry Porter). Berrian will help, no doubt, but at $42 million and six years, I have a hard time believing he's worth it.

Thomas Tapeh: OK, I am fine with this signing, but why dump Richardson? The guy's is a pro bowl FB and when you rely on the run as much as the Vikes do, you better have one of the best guys up from clearing the hole for your poster boy. Good luck filling those shoes, Tapeh.

OK, like I said, this is going to be short. I will hopefully have much more detail on these players in my Thursday post so stay tuned. Until then, enjoy Sally's post tomorrow, that is, if he decides he doesn't want to be a Sally anymore.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Free agent frenzy

I nickname Quick “Aflac” for a reason. He is like a lame duck with lame arguments, lame opinions and lame discussions. I will put our disagreements aside to discuss information of actual importance.

Free Agency has started and the Vikings are on the verge of breaking the bank for players that will truly change the team outlook for 2008. Based on numerous reports, the Vikings are heavily pursuing wide receiver Bernard Berrian, defensive end Justin Smith and safety Madieu Williams.

WR - Bernard Berrian
Although we are using all efforts to bring Berrian to Minnesota, the Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers might be players in this as well. Supposedly, the Titans and 49ers will be in a potential bidding war with the Vikings for Berrian’s service. With the addition of Berrian, the Vikings will have the deep threat they have been missing. Last year, Tarvaris didn’t have the tools to throw the ball deep even with eight men in the box to stop Adrian Peterson. Berrian will force defenses to respect our passing game with his ability to make the big play. With the addition of Berrian, the Vikings can wait to draft a wide receiver until the second or third round where they will most likely have their pick of James Hardy, Mario Manningham, Devin Thomas, Earl Bennett, DeSean Jackson, Donnie Avery, Andre Caldwell or Jordy Nelson (personal favorite in third round). Imagine these five receivers:
Bernard Berrian
Sidney Rice
Mario Manningham
Bobby Wade
Aundrae Allison

DE – Justin Smith
Justin Smith was a force on the D-line for six years with the Bengals averaging close to seven sacks a year. Smith saw a drop off in his numbers in his 2007 campaign where he had two sacks. The Bengals were a mess last year, and it doesn’t make it easier on stats when the team is losing horribly. Also, imagine Smith lined up next to two Pro Bowl defensive tackles commanding double teams in the Williams’ boys. Smith could be visiting the backfield frequently with the help his new defensive line would provide. Also, bringing in an experienced veteran would solve our never ending headache of drafting young, unproven defensive ends.

S – Madieu Williams
I will not get into this argument again. What Aflac fails to understand, is that I do not have extreme interest in Madieu Williams. The Vikings have widely reported interest in signing him. You need to recognize the players the team is interested in regardless of talent. The Vikings have to fill a need and Madieu will fill that need. He is a great character guy, which is always a plus. Also, the Vikings will draft a safety for depth in the first three rounds. I won’t only discuss players I want the Vikings to sign, but also will discuss the players I don’t want them to sign, unlike my cohort.

QB- Sage Rosenfels
Sage would be a solid veteran QB to have. However, for a third round draft choice? I don’t agree with that. Let’s evaluate. At age 29, Rosenfels is coming off a season where he went 4-1 as a starter with 1,684 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions with a quarterback rating of 84.8. Other than a noticeable blip on the radar in 2007, since he was drafted in 2002 he has limited game time experience in four seasons with the Dolphins and one season with the Texans. Although, I am not convinced, Rosenfels could quickly make me a believer with a few great games as a Viking.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Madieu Williams...Really?

For some unknown reason, Shea has developed some serious man love for safety Madieu Williams of the Bengals who is a free agent this offseason. As mentioned in his post about how he feels the Vikings needs to make a big splash in free agency, as well as in several offline conversations between the two of us, Shea has said repeatedly how he thinks Williams is the Viking's answer to replace Dwight Smith. I have one response to that...WRONG!

Let's think about this for a moment, shall we? Williams has been in the league for 4 years, with the 2004 season being his rookie campaign. Starting with that season, the Bengals have ranked 13th, 26th, 31st, and 26th again last season. Sure there are multiple players in the system and there are a lot of contributions to these poor rankings, but this guy really just has not been the impact player the Vikings need in the secondary. Certainly it has been seen that a player like Bob Sanders can change an entire defense from terrible to the top. While I am not demanding any such criteria from Williams, it would be nice to see some improvement somewhere. Why pay top dollar for an average player at best in a secondary that obviously needs some improvement.

In fact, looking at his tackle totals each season leading up to this last one starting with Williams' rookie year, his tackles have gone from 103, 88 and 74, excluding 2005 in which he only played in 4 games. Not exactly a trend that is favorable to Williams being the impact player Shea claims him to be. In a secondary that relies on turnovers as does the Vikings, Williams' career best 3 interceptions in one season is poor as well.

Sure Kevin Williams and Pat Williams are phenomenal players, but let's be real now, adding another Williams to the mix in Madieu Williams would be a mistake. This is not only because Madieu Williams is simply not an impact player, but can you imaging trying to listen to a broadcast of the game? It would be a broadcaster's dream as no matter what happens on a play he or she can simply give "Williams" credit and the odds of being correct will certainly be in his or her favor. This, however, would be a nightmare for anyone listening and you'd never know who did what.

In all seriousness, however, I reiterate that the draft is where this position most likely needs to be addressed, unless a diamond in the rough like C.C. Brown can be had. Sure, it is a little risky plugging a rookie into your starting lineup, but it sure beats overpaying someone that has shown no promise to being the impact player the Vikings need in their secondary. At least the rookie gives you the chance of having that impact player, a much greater chance than a veteran like Williams.

With two posts now done concerning the safety position I will now turn my attention to other positions of need on the Vikings in upcoming posts. Well, that is unless I have to set Shea straight on some Twins issues that he butchers. Look for a breakdown on defensive ends for the Vikings to consider or run away from soon.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Twins: Position Battles

Since my cohort and I tend to disagree frequently on basically everything in life, I will quickly point out where his statements are false. I'll admit, my partner never mentioned that we shouldn't pursue free agents. However, I know him personally and in our discussions he has stated vehemently, "none of the free agents are worth taking." With that, when you have a team on the brink of making the playoffs and needing that extra push, free agency is the answer. He is correct in saying, "free agents are free agents for a reason." However, many times it has to do with money which is something the Vikings have plenty of. Of course, spending money is never preferred, but how else do you solve all our needs at safety, defensive tackle, offensive tackle, wide receiver and tight end? You solve all your needs through the draft with a young, unproven players? Good luck! To put it in perspective, he would rather us continue to finish average at 8-8 each season by never adding experienced free agents that could help provide that needed push to the playoffs. There is no better time than now to spend in free agency while we have the money and the talent to make a run in the playoffs while we are so close. Also, he analyzed safeties available on the market last week but failed to mention the one player the Vikings have been rumored to be after most earnestly this offseason, Madieu Williams. Ignoring the Viking's interest in Williams' availability is an unavoidable and unacceptable error. However, I digress.

Let’s move away from the Vikings until free agency is in full stride. The Twins are in Spring Training and ready to have the position battles begin. It would be advantageous to discuss the players fighting for positions on the Twins and why each deserves his chance. In the coming days, we will discuss and compare the following positions and players:

CF: Denard Span, Carlos Gomez and Jason Pridie

2B: Brendan Harris, Nick Punto and Alexi Casilla

4th and 5th Rotation Spots: Francisco Liriano, Kevin Slowey, Phil Humber, Glen Perkins, Nick Blackburn and Brian Duensing

25th man: Brian Buscher, Jose Morales, extra pitcher, extra outfielder

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My 'Cohort' is an Idiot: New MN Sports Talk Format

Waking up today I had to take a look at what Shea had written for Monday's post. After a quick (no pun intended) read, I felt some rebuttal was surely in need.

To say that I was misinterpreted in my post from last Thursday is an understatement. In yesterday's post, a claim was made that Shea disagreed with my assessment that the Vikings do not need to get a safety. Clearly, I said nothing of the kind. In fact, I said the exact opposite, writing an entire post on who the Vikings may look at to replace the infamous Dwight Smith in the defensive backfield, stating that safety was the number one position the Vikings needed to address.

I am of the opinion that free agents are free agents for a reason. With teams being able to place a franchise tag on their top free agent each year, the market is rarely good. In fact, more often than not average players get paid like top players just because there's nothing else out there. This is why I emphasize smart spending in free agency and focusing primarily building through the draft.

The only big impact players worth getting in free agency are those ranked consistently at the top of their position (see Steve Hutchinson). Those types of players are worth "overpaying" at the time as over time, given the inflation in the league, as long as such a player maintains such a high level, the price paid will be a bargain just a few years into the contract. Heck, Derrick Dockery got paid Hutchinson money last offseason.

Some people, such as my partner on this blog, think just because you have room under the cap means you better go blow it in free agency. Terrible idea. With that theory every time you get into a cab you may as well tell the driver to take the "scenic" route home, just to make sure you can give him all the cash in your wallet. Spending excessively leads to money trouble down the line when you have average players locked up in huge contracts and then you can't afford the top players when one does hit free agency. This is why I feel the draft is the best place to address the Vikings' safety need (see last Thursday's post for more on this).

Shea, however, decided to just make something up regarding what I said to try to make himself look better. As you all will find out over time (and thus you should check back here often), Shea has to pull this business for one of two reasons: either he wants to get under my skin or to try to make himself look better than me. Unfortunately for him, he's failed miserably.

This argument and banter between us today has lead to a change in the format to this blog, starting this week. Given that we feel people will enjoy the two of us ripping each other's opinions on various Minnesota sports team's topics, we will switch to an opinion/rebuttal format. This will allow each of us to attach a specific topic, as well as each other, all for your entertainment.

We certainly welcome any comments anyone has on this new format. Make sure to check back daily as the heated debate is about to begin. The gloves have been thrown down and now it's time to see who's ready to bring it each and every day.