Posted by: Feldman
You can read Points On The Purple every Saturday in the Post-Bulletin weekend edition Sports section, on the Vikings GameDay '15 page. Throughout the week we'll offer "Extra Points" here on the Faceoff Blog. Today, Jason Feldman has his 5 Thoughts on the Vikings' 23-20 loss at Denver on Sunday.
1. The Safety Dance
Can the Robert Blanton experiment please come to an end? I get it, there's no one better on the roster, but enough is enough. Andrew Sendejo is an option. Not a better option, but another option. But, of course, he's hurt because he flies around the field completely out of control. Sendejo reminds me of a cat. They'll go from 0 to 100 mph in the snap of fingers, but have no idea where they're going. If Sendejo knew how to play under control, he'd be a beast because he has a nastiness to him that you want in your safeties. But he's not under control. He's a cat. And Blanton is just not fit to start in the NFL. The angle he took on the Ronnie Hillman TD run in Sunday's game was something that even geometry has no definition for. It wasn't obtuse, it was obscene.
But it's time to stop blaming Blanton and Sendejo. They try to tackle the guys in the other colored shirts. They miss, then they collect their granola bars and Gatorade and head home to play XBox or chase cat toys. This is on GM Rick Spielman for not addressing that spot in the offseason. They didn't sign a safety in free agency, nor did they draft one. We can forgive Spielman for the quasi-disaster the O-Line has become (though, to be fair, keeping that Denver defense in check was A LOT to ask of our group of over-sized Cabbage Patch Kids up front). Spielman drafted 6,173 offensive linemen in May's draft, but not a safety. He signed undrafted free agent Ant Harris out of Virginia, who was projected as high as a fourth-round pick by some scouting reports. Second-year safety Antone Exum Jr. must not be a viable option, either, in the coaches' eyes, or he'd clearly have earned more playing time than he's received.
We'll have to live with some sort of Blanton/Sendejo rotation the rest of the season, apparently. But that spot HAS to be addressed in free agency and/or the draft next spring.
Also: PAY HARRISON SMITH RIGHT NOW. GIVE HIM A NEW DEAL. NOW. DON'T WAIT ANY LONGER. Thanks, Rick. Good talk.
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2. Can you Diggs it?
Rookie wide receiver Stefon Diggs was inactive for first three games of his NFL career. That shouldn't happen again. When Chaz Johnson returns to lineup, it's time to keep Diggs up, Cordarrelle down. Patterson has shown almost ZERO value this season as a receiver and he offers very little threat as a kick returner anymore. When was the last time he returned a kick past the 30 or 35? We know Roch's Marcus Sherels can do just as well as a kick returner. Diggs caught six passes for 87 yards on Sunday and though he put the ball on the ground twice, he continued to flash the play-making ability that made him the buzz of training camp in Mankato.
This one is a no-brainer. Patterson has had more than enough chances to show what he can do, even for a former first-round draft pick. This is the NFL, not PeeWees. Not everyone needs a chance to get on the field. Plus, last week Cordarrelle had the nerve to say he's "not sure what I have left to prove." Uhhhhh, everything, Mr. P. Everything.
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3. The maturation of Teddy
No, he didn't win the game, but Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater showed poise and maturation in a tough spot. It's not a moral victory, but it's a good sign for the future. Call that sugar-coating if you want to. I'll call it a young QB growing up in a tough environment. Yes, it's disappointing to not have won, but who was the last Vikings QB who would've hung in like that, twice down 10 points in a hostile environment against the NFL's best defense (*sigh* probably Bert)? Christian Ponder would've lost that game by four TDs. It's not a win, but it's progress.
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4. A.D. Ole'
It shouldn't surprise anyone anymore that Adrian Peterson can't pick up a blitz. I say this not to be mean or to judge, but because it's the truth: I just don't think he's smart enough to diagnose that part of the game. Adrian Peterson is an elite runner. He's the whole package -- power, speed, strength, agility. But he's not capable of blocking blitzing linebackers. Once in a while he'll get in the way and kind of make the linebacker push him aside. I kept waiting for DeMarcus Ware to stop his pass rush, grab Adrian by the waist, pick him up, set him down a couple feet away, pat him on the helmet, then go run through Teddy again. It's great that A.D. is back in the Vikings lineup. We just have to accept what he does well and what he doesn't do well. Norv and Zim should know now that they can't trust him to be on the field in a situation like this.
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5. Blair Walsh
I don't even know what to say about him anymore. Every time he runs onto the field, this is all I can think about. There are some good kickers on the open market. A few of them need to have an all expenses paid trip to the exotic Twin Cities over the next 10 days.