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Off The Charts Podcast: October 13

This week's Off The Charts podcast has a lot to say about the Minnesota Vikings, and other historical teams that were much better passing the ball than running with it. We also look at the Buffalo Bills and their chances of finally breaking the NFL's longest playoff drought, and whether the NFC South race is over already. (It's pretty close.)


2 comments, Last at 14 Oct 2016, 5:24pm

1 Re: Off The Charts Podcast: October 13

I think there is something interesting going on with the Vikings offense, over the past couple years, that charting analysis might be able to illuminate. I think Aaron is wrong when he says the Vikings o-line this year has been much better at pass blocking than run blocking. I think they have been pretty bad in both, and it is simply Bradford getting the ball out fast which has led to better pass blocking metrics this season. Of course, last year Bridgewater was pressured more than any other qb. Is this merely telling us that Bradford is just better at locating the best receiving option quickly than Bridgewater? That the Vikings receivers are better this year? I tend to think the latter is more the case, especially once one considers that Diggs didn't start playing until the 4th or 5th game last year, Patterson was useless, and Thelen still not ready, but I do think it is also likely that Bradford does have faster recognition than Bridgewater, to some degree.

However, I also think that Peterson being hurt encourages Norv to use more options with regard to formations, which really helps the o-line in pass blocking, because it allows receivers to get open more quickly. Trying to use Peterson behind a bad offensive line for the past several years may have had another bad effect, in that it made an offense with a bad line more predictable. It's one thing for an offense to be very predictable with a HOF running back, like Emmitt Smith, behind great blockers, like Allen, Tuinei , Gogan, Williams, Stepnoski, etc., quite another to be very predictable with guys who are largely below average blockers.

I don't think the Vikings were well coached during any part of Peterson's tenure in Minnesota, until Zimmer arrived in 2014, which of course Peterson missed. One of the weaknesses Peterson has had is his effectiveness being so predominantly taking place with him 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage. Maybe Peterson is resistant to coaching, although his ability to reduce his fumbling tendencies seems to indicate oterwise. I wonder how much more valuable he could have been (and he has mostly been very valuable) if he had played for a team with more consistently good o-linemen and/or more consistently good coaching. The conumdrum of the former proposition, of course, is that once Peterson gets his market contract, the salary cap makes it hard to pay o-linemen, which may be one reason the Vikings have not a good o-line since 2009.