Minnesota Vikings: 5 People Who Still Aren't Getting It Done
Though the Minnesota Vikings finally snapped their losing streak and won their first game of the season, there are still some definite areas of concern and members of the team that aren't getting their job done.
The Vikings defense was outstanding. With three interceptions, a forced fumble and four sacks, Minnesota's defense really stepped up. With an injured Antoine Winfield, the young guys in the secondary like Asher Allen, Husain Abdullah and Jamarca Sanford really played well and made their presence felt.
The Vikings got it going on offense with a refreshing ground game that accounted for all four of their touchdowns. It seems that offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave finally figured out that he has the best running back in the NFL—and Adrian Peterson proved that statement by getting into the end zone three times in the first quarter.
Though the Vikings won against Arizona, it's still important to realize that they haven't changed much. They still were very unproductive in the second half, totaling only six points off of two Ryan Longwell field goals. The only difference seemed to be that the defense really stepped up—and that could be attributed to a very weak opponent in the Cardinals.
That being said, there are certainly still some guys within the team and organization that aren't getting their job done, and thus still inhibiting this team.
Here are five guys that still aren't getting it done for the Vikings.
Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave
When the Minnesota Vikings hired Bill Musgrave to be their offensive coordinator, they boasted an innovative offense that would utilize the Vikings' best playmakers and ultimately put some serious points on the board.
Since the season started, however, that hasn't really been the case.
Yes, the Vikings could be the best first-half team in football, but lack of adjustments and failure to utilize players for the entirety of the game has ultimately been the downfall in all of the Vikings' games.
Like I said, it's great that the Vikings won against Arizona, but it wasn't Musgrave's offense that won the game for Minnesota. In fact, the Vikings offense was downright pathetic (once again) in the second half.
Musgrave has completely failed as an offensive coordinator thus far, and if he does not show improvement as the Vikings start to face more divisional opponents, he will probably be out of a job by next season.
Defensive Tackle Remi Ayodele
Don't recognize this name? Well that's understandable considering Ayodele replaced Pat Williams as the starting nose tackle, and has yet to record even one tackle over the span of five games.
Ayodele has great size and is pretty athletic at that. He flashed some solid ability in the preseason, but has since been a complete disappointment for this Vikings defense that once boasted the best run defense in the NFL.
It's not like Ayodele even has to worry that much about getting double-teamed. When you share a defensive line with Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and emerging star Brian Robison, it's pretty much mathematically impossible to draw multiple double-teams during the course of any given game.
Ayodele is supposed to be replacing one of the best run-stoppers the NFL has seen in recent years and he hasn't even made it on the stat sheet yet this season. If his lack of production starts to get more noticeable, he will likely find the bench pretty quickly at the hands of Letroy Guion or a rookie that shows a lot of potential in Christian Ballard.
Wide Receiver Bernard Berrian
You knew this one was coming.
Bernard Berrian was inactive for the Vikings on Sunday against the Cardinals.
Fellow former Bear Devin Aromashodu played in Berrian's place and had a solid day for the Vikings. On two receptions, Aromashodu totaled 81 yards that included a 60-yard gain that completely gouged the Cardinals secondary on third down.
A week ago in Kansas City, Aromashodu went deep on the Chiefs, diving for a touchdown catch on Brandon Carr. Berrian, on the other hand, has totaled 37 yards on two catches with no touchdowns so far this season.
After his altercations on Twitter with a public official, Berrian still had the audacity to claim that he has been getting open and that he's doing all that he can during games. If that is really the case, I think Aromashodu put the last nail in the coffin with his performances as of late.
Berrian isn't worth keeping around if he can't produce, simple as that. Younger guys are showing that they can, in fact, step up and get the job done while Berrian can't. At this point it would make sense to release Berrian to make room for a free agent or to promote a guy like Manny Arceneaux from the practice squad to try and get some different looks.
Berrian isn't cutting it anymore. It's time for him to go.
Left Tackle Charlie Johnson
This is another guy that hasn't had his name called much this season.
Johnson was brought in to replace a significantly overweight Bryant McKinnie, who is now playing on all cylinders for Baltimore (hindsight really is 20-20, isn't it?).
Analysts claimed that Indianapolis' system helped to hide Johnson's weakness, but the Vikings were excited to bring the young lineman to Minnesota.
From the moment Johnson stepped onto the field in training camp, he's been in over his head. He's done well to avoid too many penalties, but he's allowing pass-rushers to bull-rush him straight backwards, effectively destroying the pocket.
Johnson's ability as an offensive lineman is great for his utility, but he is definitely more suited to play guard than left tackle.
I want to be clear in saying that he could still have a bright future with the Vikings, but at the right guard position. If the Vikings are able to bring in a guy like Matt Kalil in the draft, and move Johnson to right guard over a struggling Anthony Herrera, the Vikings offensive line could see a drastic improvement next season before rookie QB Christian Ponder takes the field.
Johnson just hasn't gotten it done at left tackle so far this season. With the way he's been playing, I'm scared to see what Julius Peppers does to him and Donovan McNabb.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb
From a fan's perspective, it's really hard to speak ill of Donovan McNabb. The man has done some great things in his NFL career and looked to be in good shape to take over as the starting QB for the Vikings in 2011.
Things have hardly gone according to plan.
McNabb's sloppy footwork and mechanics have him looking inaccurate, uninspired and just plain intimidated on the field.
Statistically, McNabb is doing alright. He's got a passer rating of 80, with four touchdowns, two interceptions and just under 900 passing yards. It is, however, McNabb's inability to make plays on third down and in the second halves of games that have really limited him as a viable NFL starter.
A lot can be blamed on the Vikings' porous offensive line that has allowed McNabb to be sacked 11 times, but the McNabb we're used to watching is very capable of escaping a collapsing pocket and making plays with his feet. With the exception of a few notable plays, we haven't really seen much of that this season.
As the starting QB, McNabb is supposed to be a sort of emotional leader for this team, but instead seems unsure of himself and really lets himself get into a negative grove in games.
Like I said, as a fan you want to see a great player like McNabb succeed. The way he's playing, though, has me and other Vikings fans hopping on the Christian Ponder bandwagon in a hurry.
I don't think it's too late for McNabb to save his image and his job with the Vikings, but he does really need to clean up his play and start producing in the second half. If he can do that, the Vikings could still be relevant (at least as an upset) in their division.
Thanks for reading.