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Around the North with Andrew Dannehy: Minnesota

| January 28th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 11.28.47 AM

The following is part two of a three part wrap-up of the division from DBB contributor Andrew Dannehy.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

The common theme with the Vikings is they’re an up-and-coming team but that could be more perception than reality.

The Vikings remind me a lot of the team they had almost a decade ago when they won the NFC North with a 10-6 record. Adrian Peterson was great and their defense was really good, but they didn’t have a quarterback and without a quarterback it’s hard to see them staying on top for long.

The 2008 team upgraded with Brett Favre, which was enough to win them the NFC North again and make them Super Bowl contenders, but I don’t see such an upgrade available to them this time around and they don’t seem to know they have a problem.

Teddy Bridgewater doesn’t make a lot of crippling mistakes. But he also can’t consistently make plays down the field. Will he improve? It’s certainly not a guarantee. Coming out of the draft, he was billed as a “finished product” and didn’t make a noticeable improvement from his rookie season to his second year. If he’s Alex Smith, that’s fine. But quarterbacks like Alex Smith don’t win championships.  Moving indoors next year should help hide his arm limitations.

Bridgewater is not their only issue.

There has to be some concern about Adrian Peterson. He dropped off in the second half of the season and will be 31 next year. He averaged under four yards per carry in six of their last eight games after doing so just twice in their first nine. The burst just isn’t the same. When Peterson was struggling the Vikings were just a .500 team, going 4-4 with two of the wins coming against the Bears and Giants.

Minnesota’s receivers weren’t as bad as they were said to be, finishing in the top half of the league in yards after the catch and bottom half in drop percentage. Stefon Diggs made some big plays. Mike Wallace always seemed to be open deep (but Bridgewater couldn’t hit him). Kyle Rudolph is a good tight end.

Their defense is really good and it’s going to be really good for the foreseeable future. They have studs on every level and most of their key players are 28 or younger. Rick Spielman is great at finding defensive talent and Mike Zimmer is a terrific defensive mind.

Until Zimmer burns his players out (think Tom Thibodeau) the Vikings are going to be tough to beat. If they can replace Peterson or find a way to keep him fresh, they’ll contend for the NFC North title again. But until they get a quarterback, they won’t be serious contenders.

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  • The GP

    Bring Daunte Culpepper back! He’s ready to return!

  • Blur of Ions

    I think Teddy is good enough that the Vikings can win a Super Bowl, but not good enough to carry the team. Their defense has some players I’d love to see on the Beloved, and they are going to shine the next couple years barring injury.

    • The GP

      Teddy can’t win a Super Bowl. He would have to Trent Difler the thing.

      • That Guy

        Teddy is better than Dilfer, but one wonders if he has a Joe Flacco stretch in him. Flacco has a much better arm, but is also a flawed quarterback. When the Ravens won the Superbowl a few years ago, Flacco had one of the best four game stretches for any quarterback in playoff history. He was flawless, he moved the ball, he committed no turnovers. Flacco played better than any other QB in contention that year.

        Teddy won’t be a Brady or a Peyton or even a Rothlisberger. But he could have a stretch like that in him. If the Vikings’ can create a truly special defense (and Zimmer can) and continue to rely on Peterson and a replacement, Teddy could put together a 5-10 game stretch of performances that put them over.

        Still, I put those odds at pretty long.

    • willbest

      The problem with the game managing QB type team is that

      1) They can’t come back if they are down 2 scores.

      2) Their team is more dependent on staying healthy.

      If the patriots had Teddy they would have been toast long before the AFCC. Brady is just that good that he could lose WR #1-3, and TE #1, and play behind an o-line he just met for the first time in the huddle. And as long as he is playing an average or below average team he will come away with that win.

      • BerwynBomber

        Mostly agree except for the losing TE #1 notion. Once Gronk was out of their lineup they struggled. Basically he was their only downfield threat.

  • Trac
    • That Guy

      Brad Biggs wrote a much better article on the subject. He points out that (a) Olsen was a blocking liability; (b) Olsen’s receiving stats have gotten a lot better since he left; and (c) Olsen himself basically said that Martz was given too much power.

      • Trac

        Is Olsen now a good TE? That’s debateable depending on scheme. At the time the Bears traded him, the Bears weren’t in any shape way or form able to use him as an effective weapon at TE outside of being a pacifier to Cutler when shit got real behind the line of scrimage.

        • That Guy

          Bottom line: He’s one of the most productive tight ends in the league now. He wasn’t when he was on the Bears.

          Scheme will push numbers up or down a bit, but you can’t do what Olsen is doing unless you’re good at your job.

      • Olsen is in the perfect system now to maximize his skills.

        He’s essentially the #1 receiver option, thus inflating his stats.

        He doesn’t have to block much because Cam is not a traditional drop back QB. It’s always easier to run block, so when asked, he can do that and Cam and the option do the rest.

    • SC Dave

      The last paragraph of that article NAILS it.

  • burntorangenavyblue

    Jeff, not a huge deal, but I’m noticing a big slowdown on the article pages when scrolling on my phone. There’s also more ads/articles and the pictures are huge now. I’m using an S6, but this isn’t a problem on the main page, just going into the articles. Anyone else notice this?

    • Scharfinator

      Yes, I don’t even try to read it on my phone anymore.

  • Trac

    After serving and experiencing what integrity and honor meant as young Marine in the 80’s, this story turns my stomach.

    http://freebeacon.com/issues/army-command-recommends-green-beret-be-kicked-out-for-confronting-afghan-child-rapist/

    The perp should consider himself lucky he made it off the base alive.

    • The GP

      Hamid Karzai should hang from a tree.

      He took the massive U.S. aid given to him, and funnelled it to his warlord pals, put a lot of it in a Swiss bank account only he had the codes to, and took some and gave it to Taliban so they didn’t behead him if the Americans left. His corrupt band of hoodlums have boy rape way down on the list of atrocities.

      And yet, they want to eject a Green Beret from the service for beating up an Afghan police commander who raped a kid.

      In the 1980s, when the Soviets were there – they would take Afghan commanders they didn’t like or pissed them off and throw them in a deep hole too deep to climb out of. Then they would dump willy peter down on the guy from WP bags the Russians had in bulk. They used the stuff like cement.

      Then they would light it and watch him melt. It sent a message.

      • Trac

        It’s mind boggling. Other than watching a buddy get killed, maimed or tortured, I can’t think of a worse situation to subject our troops to endure in a combat zone. At least I’d be able to deal with the casualties of war because they’re expected but having to walk away from a situation like that would be unbearable for me. I’d have to go full postal if I witnessed something like that.

        • Doc Nitty

          And I’m sure you would still do it if you knew it meant dishonorable discharge. As would that Marine, I’m sure.

          • Trac

            I get worked up just thinking about it.

  • burntorangenavyblue

    Smh, why would you use a Thibs reference for a football analogy? Not even close to being comparable. Thibs kept his starters in even when the team was up or down by 25 with one minute left on the game and he hated using rookies who had great potential, stunting the hell out of their growth.

    • BerwynBomber

      But yet Hoiberg too seems intent on grinding Butler to dust. Butler leads the NBA in MPG (minutes per game).

      • Bender McLugh

        Hoiberg is the death knell of this Bull team, I am convinced.

        • burntorangenavyblue

          Yep, that’s a strange as hell hiring.

  • Doc Nitty

    (continued from last thread).

    Another song that was a revelation for me was Fight for Your Right by MB’s favorite group, The Beastie Boys. I remember clearly at around age 10 blasting that song on my ghetto blaster. I had no idea what it meant to “party”, but I knew from that day forward I would be fighting for my right to do it.

    • Sactowns#1

      I think I’m a little younger so I remember License to Ill and Tougher Than Leather but it had been around and while I really liked it it wasn’t revelatory. Now anything by 2 Live Crew blew my mind when I was a kid and lead me to Too Short and DJ Quick. I bumped Short and Quick for all of 5-6th grade. Loved it!

    • Irish Sweetness

      Loved the Beasties, but it was still very white. They got good later on, but the early days were still more vanilla ice than Run DMC or Public Enemy. When they hit ‘Transitions’ they had grown up and found themselves.

      Apologies to VW and Mercedes-Benz owners back in the day.

  • BerwynBomber

    Not buying that MIN can’t win an SB with Bridgewater. P Manning was, BY FAR, the worst starting QB in the league this year yet he is one win away from hoisting the Lombardi. In fact, Manning is the first QB in decades who will start an SB having thrown more INTs than TDs in the regular season.

    Bridgewater will never be elite. But in his first full year as a starter he was 11-5 (17-12 career-wise), led his team to the division title and was 2-0 against us (w/ a 3-1 mark against us for his career).

    He obviously has limitations but if a team can get to an SB with this year’s version of Peyton Manning, they can sure as heck do so with Bridgewater.

    Zimmer and that D aren’t going anywhere.

    • BearDown100393

      Hey now Bridgewater is a Pro-Bowler! That uh… makes him elite right? Or not…

    • Irish Sweetness

      Let’s hope Turtlehead REMAINS one win away from the Lombardi.

  • The GP

    I’m half Danish and half Irish, and have been to Copenhagen and AArhus before. Denmark is a lovely, idyllic place. The nationals are way too proud of their cradle to grave care and 65% effective tax rate, but hey – it works in a small homogeneous nation.

    It’s also being overrun with Syrian thugs.

    So we get another rape attempt. The Dane treats the thug to some pepper spray, and what do the Danish cops do?

    Fine the woman for having the spray handy.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/denmark/12125645/Danish-girl-who-used-pepper-spray-on-attacker-faces-prosecution.html

    Trac – how would have that Syrian rapist been handled in Texas?

    • You think a nation must me homogeneous to be a socialist paradise?

      Maybe Hitler was right!

      • The GP

        Only one response deep to invoke Hitler! I win!

        Obamacare is not the same as what Denmark has. They have effectively free healthcare for all citizens and free university for all citizens.

        As Canada becomes less homogeneous, you can already see the cracks in the system.

        • Damn americans infesting Canada.

          Is there a Canadian version of Trump to build the wall (while listening to Floyd).

          • CanadaBear

            There’s plenty of blowhards in Canada. Harper just got booted out of office. He was their version of GWB.

          • It’s almost comforting Canada also has their nitwits.

            ALMOST.

          • MB30SD

            Ford for president! !

        • BillW

          Free healthcase, but doesn’t the state or some agency decide effectively who gets what treatment?

          I know of one case in that area (not Denmark but a Scandanvian country) where a person was not a candidate for a certain heart treatment because she wasn’t in danger of dying. She died soon after.

          I want to be fair and say I certainly don’t know all the details and it’s possible that the treatment she wanted would not have worked anyway. Would have been nice to have had the option.

          The Republicans derided Obamacare unfairly by invoking the concept of “death panels”. In my limited understanding of the situation, it seems this woman’s treatment was decided by a panel.

          • Sactowns#1

            In college I worked for the Department of Managed Healthcare. Its a state agency that people can appeal to if the for profit health corporations deny a treatment etc. Our phones never stopped ringing. Sad part, most people don’t even know such an agency exists. So yes, there are already people making life and death health decisions. Right now they’re doing it for profit.

          • SC Dave

            Sometimes, it makes sense to deny treatment. For example, treating people for lung cancer that refuse to quit smoking.

            Of course, that does not justify “deny first” policies that some insurers had.

            I could relate a personal story, but typing on this phone sux. That and both parts ended well wrt coverage so it does not support the ‘evil insurance company’ meme.

          • Irish Sweetness

            What would happen to somebody, say, who had quit smoking and drinking .. but needed a lung/liver transplant?

      • Sactowns#1

        lol. There’s always some excuse.

      • willbest

        The larger the group, the more homogeneous it needs to be in order for everybody to be “in it together” and have “trust in the system”. The EU got off the ground in what 1999? It doesn’t look like its going to make it 20 years.

        • Irish Sweetness

          The Euro came in about 1999, the EU was ’93. I hope it doesn’t last too long.

          I’d love to see Ireland put two fingers up to the EU and get the hell out of there.
          We have to give up 80% of the fish in our waters to other member states, who come along in their floating fish factories and just hoover everything up. What we do catch we don’t even process (where all the value-added is) and it just gets frozen and shipped out. We have to use their funny money on top of that. Total slavery.

          But apparently they gave us nice roads.

      • Irish Sweetness

        Let’s get Orion back on track so we can have our own planets.

        I’ll be stowing away on Nubian One ;o)

    • BearDown100393

      Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

    • willbest

      Rookie mistake. You need the pepper spray with the dye in it so they can catch the guy.

    • Irish Sweetness

      I’d love to live in a place like Denmark, Norway or Sweden. No government is perfect, but they seem to make nice countries to live in. Also better countries to serve time in prison. But one can’t help but think the NWO wants everyone to be enslaved, so they engineered the whole Syrian thing. Nobody gets off the hook.

  • BillW

    Singletary – in an interview this week:
    “I really thought I was a spectacular linebacker. I really thought, I’m pretty good in the middle. And all of a sudden, when Hampton and Steve McMichael left, two and three guys were on me before I could move. And I’m like, ‘Wait a minute. What’s going on here? I didn’t slow down this much.’ I just remember how special they were to be as disciplined as they were to allow me to do what I do.”

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/ct-bears-mike-singletary-on-buddy-ryan-20160128-story.html

    • The GP

      That’s a nice sentiment, but also there is the truth. Which is that Singletary was never fast, he was mostly downhill, and got slower as he got older. He came to the Bears in ’81? After the glory years, he was in his 6th year and he started to slow down. He was poor in pass coverage. He was best in filling the gap and laying the wood.

      • SC Dave

        I have always thought Singletary overrated. Two HoF and one of the better non hall DTs in front made him look much better.

        • willbest

          Now you sound like the guys on the Score. They were going on how he was the 7 or 8th best player on that defense one day when I caught them talking about the 85 bears.

          • SC Dave

            Top five for sure. Hampton better, dent probably, mcmichael maybe. Call him three or four.

          • BerwynBomber

            I thought Wilbur was better. That’s probably sacrilege here but sorry. Singletary always struck me as a guy who was incredibly fortunate.

          • Doc Nitty

            I’m amazed at the amount of Singletary cynicism. The dude had plays diagnosed before the snap of the ball half the time. And hit like Urlacher only wished he could. Could he cover? No, but it was a different era, linebackers were supposed to hit and stop the run back then (primarily). And yes he had great players in front of him. Joe Montana threw to Jerry Rice! Nobody doubts HIS greatness.

            smh

          • BerwynBomber

            I would call it skepticism as opposed to cynicism. Anyway, I thought he was a helluva player. Just a bit overrated.

            Btw, if I’m not mistaken, Montana won an SB w/out Rice. His first, I believe.

          • Doc Nitty

            tomato tomoughto…

          • Irish Sweetness

            Now there’s a guy to consider for over-rated. Where is Jerry on the All-time list if he’s drafted by Cleveland?

          • Irish Sweetness

            Also dismayed, Doc. They were next to nothing if Mike wasn’t in there. That shit didn’t happen by accident, It happened because Mike Singletary told them where the ball was going.

          • CanadaBear

            Wilbur was a bad man. The Bears D never recovered their swagger after he left for Wash

          • Irish Sweetness

            He was the most important player though. He was the CPU.

            The 46 was nothing without his calls. Buddy wasn’t making the calls. Nobody could make the calls except Samurai.

      • Irish Sweetness

        He could call the adjustments though, because he put the hours in watching film. I never knew until much later that it all ran through him.

    • Doc Nitty

      Awesome. I’ll watch the hell out of that!

  • The GP

    You guys know how much I like Broccoli man

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0akBdQa55b4

    So, believe me when I tell you now: don’t listen to him anymore

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/earnings-take-a-dark-turn-as-profit-warnings-sales-misses-mount-2016-01-27

    This year sees the return of the Bears in more ways than one.

    • Sactowns#1

      Tough to know where the bottom was but it does appear to be a nice steady rebound after a short decline, which really started a few months back with the Chinese stock market. Freaking Chinese market.

    • willbest

      recession!

      One of the things I love about Trump, the guy is not afraid of bankruptcy. Hold cash, and win big when the deflation bomb goes off.

  • The GP

    Jay don’t care, he reads Da Blog

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbzjmlCMvD0

    • Doc Nitty

      Long time since you made those, man. Let’s get some new ones!

  • The GP

    Bellicheat got cheated. The Broncos fucked the Pats wifi in game.

    http://fortune.com/2016/01/27/microsoft-response-afc-championships/?xid=gn_editorspicks&google_editors_picks=true

    Dirty Tricks done to the Pats. Ha!

  • BerwynBomber

    DaBearsBlog @dabearsblog “If Bears believe Goff is franchise QB the next 12-15 years they should take him. If they don’t, pass.”

    Goff will be gone. No way the Clowns will pass him up. But Paxon Lynch could be around at #11. If that were to happen, would not be utterly shocked if Pace snapped him up.

    Btw, Lynch strikes me as having more upside than Goff.

    • Cutty of Mt. Olivet Nazarene

      If anyone can honestly watch other teams play defense with dynamic playmakers that make the opponents fucking sweat and still even remotely consider a quarterback with any pick above the 4th round in the next 3 years I don’t know what to say. You saw why shit went sideways in 2013/2014/2015 and to not address it would be sad.

      • Trac

        The Bears need to send David Fales to Tony Robbins every off season until Cutty retires and forget about drafting a QB for the next 10 years.

        • Cutty of Mt. Olivet Nazarene

          at one point we had John Timu and Christian Jones in at ILB at the same time. Both undrafted free agents from college…..on the Bears….in a game not called “charity tournament”.

      • SC Dave

        Defense wins championships. .. as true today as ever

        • MB30SD

          We’ll find out in a couple Sundays my maings.

          • Irish Sweetness

            Carolina’s defense is pretty damn good, they raped one of the best offenses in the league last week.

          • MB30SD

            Agree, but if that donk D is on fire, it’s gonna be rough.

            And AZ got palmered last week. Dude just crumbled under the glare. Smh

      • BerwynBomber

        Hah, figured that would smoke you out of your Cutty hole. Anyway, doubtful it will happen, but again, wouldn’t be shocked. (Surprised, yes, but not shocked.)

        In his first presser, Pace admitted something to the effect that when it came to QBs he believed in the Ron Wolf school of thought of spinning the wheel every year. Last year he didn’t.

      • willbest

        I wouldn’t spend anything below a 2nd on a QB. The last decade or so of such picks has demonstrated it is almost always wasted. And with that restriction in place I can’t see drafting a QB in 2016 or 2017 unless you would be willing to eat a bullet if its not the next Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees.

        • Trac

          Unless the Bears can draft a QB with more upside than Cutler(I’m not aware of any entering the draft), there will be no QB taken by the Bears in this draft except maybe a project QB in the later rounds. I could see them taking that sophomore kid out of OSU if he’s still hanging around in the 4th or 5th rounds.

          • SC Dave

            A good QB that is *young* has more upside than Cutler. If he plays as well as last year henceforth, i would be (almost) orgasmically shocked/ happy.

            But Jay aint the future. At least beyond two to four years

          • Trac

            Do you think so? Who?

          • SC Dave

            I dont have anyone, Trac. It’s sad

          • willbest

            4 years is a long time in football that is 28 draft players. And at least another dozen in FA.

          • Irish Sweetness

            And seeing as we’re already grooming our project ….

    • Irish Sweetness

      We have zero need for drafting a bust QB at 11.

      An impactful player on defense who will actually start for eight years, is everything.

  • SC Dave

    Sign of the pathetic state of the internet…

    Type the world logic, and see what you get

    • haha. I was expecting a vulcan meme.

      It’s much much worse

      • SC Dave

        Amazingly, much worse indeed. You bastards (my collective blog brothers) are at least two orders of magnitude more interesting than the fucking web.

        Thank you.

  • SC Dave

    I want the new Dan Hampton, goddamnit (sorry Trac) … and the new Mongo… and maybe the next Dent.

    Players over scheme. Always. Fucking always.

    Dream of all dreams?

    The next Butkus

    • Huge Bear’s Penis

      I was going to respond by naming an obscure Punter but once I started researching names turns out Pat O’Donnell is actually 2nd in average yards per punt in Bears history of Punters that have had at least 100 punts

      • willbest

        Was Maynard #1?

  • Irish Sweetness

    DaBearsBlog @dabearsblog
    If Bears believe Goff is franchise QB the next 12-15 years they should take him. If they don’t, pass.

    Statement of the obvious, Jeff.

    • Viva

      MOTO

      (Master Of The Obvious)

  • Viva

    I’m all in on Peanut getting a ring!
    33

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