Donovan McNabb-Jeff Fisher Combination Could Turn Minnesota Vikings Around
As we all know, the 2010 Minnesota Vikings largely disappointed. From August 18, when “Selfish Sidney” Rice only then informed the team he would be having hip surgery that would cause him to miss half the year, the Vikings' season went downhill.
Before we write about 2011, let's recap 2010:
First off, let me go on record saying two things:
The Vikings will get hammered by the Eagles Tuesday in Philadelphia, snow or not. Michael Vick is going to run circles around the Vikings all night and DeSean Jackson will probably return a punt or two to the house. It's just how they operate.
And I don’t want to hear any of the “Vick should play quarterback for the Vikings next season, problem solved.”
I’m one of those people who thinks the only football Vick should be playing is against the guards at Leavenworth, and I don’t want him on my team because then I’d be forced to cheer for him and wish for his success. It is this same logic that I didn’t want goody two shoes Tim Tebow drafted by the Vikings. If someone seems too good to be true, as Tebow does and Vick does now, it probably is.
He’s a terrible role model and giving him the MVP over Tom Brady, in a case of lesser evils, would send a bad message to the league that you don’t really have to be sorry, you just have to act like it and stay out of trouble (that we know about).
The Vikings will lose next week at Detroit. Have you seen how well the Lions have looked these past three games? Comeback wins. Now this could be the Cleveland Browns of 2009, who won their final four games in aberration fashion, and it probably is knowing their horrid history, but right now is not the time to be playing them regardless.
When you combine that with the fact the Vikings have packed it in for the season, have no quarterback and a slew of other injuries and excuses, it's over. In doing so, the Vikings will finish 5-11 and last in the NFC North completing the collapse.
How To Fix 2011 Vikings (Before They Move to L.A., That Is)
The 2002 first-round draft pick and former Pro Bowler Bryant McKinnie never showed up this season. In fact, since his 2009 benching versus Carolina and Julius Peppers specifically, who he could not guard, Mount McKinnie has been awful, getting beat on numerous occasions this year too.
He’s got to go and many people believe the Vikings' top pick this year could be a lineman. This team needs three new ones.
I am usually not an advocate of using the top pick on a lineman, because they won’t have flashy stats or win Rookie of the Year, but everyone knows they are the building blocks on which you build a solid team, so they are necessary. With so many holes to fill (replace), we have to start some time.
Replace, Not Necessary Release, Center John Sullivan
Again, an example of the Vikings' faded offensive line. Sullivan has high-snapped the ball over Favre and Joe Webb’s head three times in the past two games, causing either turnovers or a major change of field positioning.
How many do you think he’s going to have in the snow in Philadelphia? I’d put the over/under at two, at least until he’s rightfully benched. Why didn’t they do it sooner?
This just makes one appreciate the Matt Birk years all the more.
Stop the Revolving Door at Right Guard (More Line Issues)
Whether it be All-Pro Randall McDaniel or the serviceable Dave Dixon, the Vikings have usually been blessed with capable right guards until this year.
Anthony Herrera went down and the Vikes never found a replacement. Right now they are trying to get by with Ryan Cook. That has to change. I could see a second-round pick used here, similar to when they got right tackle Phil Loadholt out of Oklahoma, a school known for its massive lines.
Release the Starting Two Safeties
Release the two starting safeties, Madieu Williams and Husain Abdullah. I can’t count how many times Williams has a dropped interception. Remember the interception that went right through his arms in the Patriots game for a first down late in the game in New England? That’s Madieu in a nutshell. Missed tackles and mistakes. He’s terrible.
Upgrade at Nickel and Dime
The team also needs a nickel and dime upgrade. Frank Walker, Lito Sheppard and Asher Allen are awful. The team has no depth at this position and once you account for Cedric Griffin’s annual injury, this really becomes apparent.
Don’t let Allen’s two interceptions in two weeks fool you. He gets beat all the time. Plus, look at the two QB’s he’s picked: Eli Manning (24) and Jay Cutler (14) in successive weeks. Who doesn’t intercept them?
Find a Replacement for Retiring Nose Tackle Pat Williams
I won’t forget Williams' service to the team, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a fan that would blame 2010 on him. Jimmy Kennedy is best-suited as a backup, so other options should be pursued.
The team lacks a pass rush outside of ends Jared Allen and Kevin Williams, who have only recently started to put up numbers, long after it was too late. This was the most disappointing unit of all in 2010 after the domination they showed last year. Minor tweaks needed.
Find a Veteran Quarterback: McNabb, Kolb or Palmer Are Possibilities
Ever since McNabb was benched the first time, I think we all figured he would find his way to the Twin Cities eventually.
Now outside of Arizona (where he already owns a home) where else is he going to go? I could see Houston only if they blow up the team once Gary Kubiak is fired, as I expect, or Buffalo, but in the end I expect him to go to the Vikings. I’m okay with that, knowing the alternative of nothing.
The team hasn’t developed a quarterback since 1999 (Daunte Culpepper) and have been historically blessed with not having to do that arduous task. One of these years, it may be time, but not now.
This is still a veteran-laden team and McNabb fits the bill. If not him, I’d expect to see Philadelphia’s Kevin Kolb, who you have to figure will soon be cast off, or Carson Palmer, who I expect to be released.
Hire a Big Name Coach: Jeff Fisher Would Top My List
Even though Frazier is going to finish 2-4 in his six-game audition for the head coaching job, the players love him and that is important first and foremost. Second, you are going to start reading reports about how he wasn’t the problem, how no one could have salvaged 2010 under those circumstances and that he deserves a full season of evaluation with a healthy team.
I think Frazier deserves that much, and if I were to abandon that thought when pushing Brad Childress to be fired and have Frazier as the replacement, I’d look like a hypocrite now.
Other moves that would bring discipline and swagger to the franchise would be hiring Jeff Fisher, my personal choice, who many feel is out the door in Tennessee anyway. Also, Mike Singletary, who under-performed in San Francisco but who is familiar with the Vikings and their division, could work, having played and starred in Chicago.
What Role Will TCF Bank Stadium Play in Free Agency or the Next Coach?
Another interesting factor in the next coach is that it sounds like he will be playing outdoors next year at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium. How would this affect free agents who perhaps like or despise playing outside?
I already expect to lose Tarvaris Jackson and Ray Edwards, but the threat of a lockout mixed with the lame duck lease on the Metrodome could play a factor in recruiting players to the Twin Cities.
My guess is it would help them get some of the rugged Green Bay Packer/Pittsburgh Steelers lunch-pail players, but prevent them from getting the finesse kicker/coddled quarterback types who prefer a dome.
The Vikings' 2011 free agency period is probably going to be hit or miss. They’ll land some surprises, but the real test will be where they will be playing. That can determine who signs on the bottom line.