With the assumed departure of Vikings OC Scott Linehan, so to could end the relationship between the Minnesota Vikings and RB Onterrio Smith.
In the offense-happy Minnesota Vikings' system, depth can be found everywhere. But nowhere is it more evident than at running back, where Smith can admirably start along with Michael Bennett, Mewelde Moore, and Moe Williams. Four running backs are too many for a franchise riddled with problems in the secondary and linebacker core. So, how do the Minnesota Vikings decide which running back(s) to let go?
It's simple. The Minnesota Vikings, with a healthy offensive line, have one of the best run-blocking schemes in the NFL. With such an explosive line, there is little need for muscling out yards as Smith perfroms so nicely. Both leading candidates for the starting RB position (Smith and Bennett) have their contracts expiring in two seasons. Given how things are going, both should demand similar price tags. But, with the explosive nature of the Vikings offense, Michael Bennett fits in better with the system.
There is one piece to the puzzle that runs in Bennett's favor the most though. That piece is the offensive line. The offensive line of the Minnesota Vikings provide holes big enough for Daunte to run through. Onterrio's grinding for yards do nothing for the Vikings in that given situation. A much better fit would be a running back that could explode through those holes and race through defenders, re-introducing Michael Bennett.
Bringing back into the equation Moe Williams and Mewelde Moore, they will both stay with the Vikings. Moe as a goal line/3rd down RB and Mewelde as an emergency back. Both, will come cheaply, unlike Bennett or Onterrio.
While this year's stats may favor Onterrio but that is simply due to the massive injuries suffered by the Vikings' blockers. The Vikings played for much of this past season without Pro Bowl center Matt Birk, starting right tackle Mike Rosenthal, and FB-turned-TE Jim Kleinsasser. If you add those three blockers to the Minnesota line, and you will find that Michael Bennett is a much better fit in the Vikings system and a prime candidate for a top 10 RB in 2005.
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Well, none of the Minny RBs are free agents this year, so expect a lot of draft day movement while the Vikes try to shore up that porous D.
Personally, I'd try to move Onterrio, as I think he's proven himself pretty well the last two years and should have decent value. However his suspension for smoking the hooch this year may scare a few teams away (i.e. see R. Williams).
Mwelde looked incredibly strong running the ball for a rookie, and it wasn't all the O-line. I was impressed by his field vision and decisive running this year.
The 1-2 punch of Bennett and Mwelde would be the best option for the Vikes I believe, but don't be surprised whomever gets dealt; Vikes gotta grab the best offer out there.
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
Definitely makes sense, but I don't see the Vikes getting rid of anybody. It's not like we need to free up cap room, and even if we did, there's next to 0% chance of Red going and spending that cach on the defense, more likely is that he pockets it. Under Tice's system I don't think there's any predicting of who's gonna be the starter. As I said in another thread a day or so ago, I personally like Mewelde better that any of them, and he can return kicks too. Onterrio's just not the kind of the guy that's made for our system. The other thing that would really worry me about Bennett is his injuries. The guy falls off a treadmill and is out all year. Just when we think he's gonna be back he messes up his foot again. The guy's got a dreadfull history of bad injuries, and I don't see it stopping soon. Although, if we keep Moore for kick returns and Moe for goalline and 3rd down, we can survive if Michael gets hurt again.
All-in-all, it makes perfect sense, and I'd agree with you, but these days with the Vikes, nothing they do makes sense. (Tice's contract extension) Being a Viking fan just flat-out sucks.
Wow, Zimm, are you falling into some Tice/McCombs induced depression?
Snap out of it!
Vikes are a still good team despite Tice's coaching, and Red's effort to cut costs while trying to increase possible team sale value.
As far as the RB situation, I don't think it's (entirely) about freeing up cap-room or spending big $$$ on the D. Improving the team via trade helps Red's sale value also.
For example, you've got, maybe, three legit starting RBs, and to deal one of them in the draft before their contracts are up is very smart business and good for the team.
Also, it's probably the best way to find the defensive help needed if Red doesn't want to throw the $$$ to anyone but CPepp and Moss (the two guys who do increase team value). Free agency moves should be very unagresssive for a business man looking to move the team, but moving a RB prior to contract year probably will, and should, happen.
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
Bennett definitely fits the explosive the offense of the Vikes. And yes, it would make sense rid of one of their backs and seek help elsewhere. But I wouldn't count on Minnesota to produce a clear cut starter and top 10 RB. RBBC merry-go-round is what I'm fearing, and for that reason I will be very hesitant when it comes to drafting a Minny RB.
TTTBone wrote:Wow, Zimm, are you falling into some Tice/McCombs induced depression? Snap out of it! Vikes are a still good team despite Tice's coaching, and Red's effort to cut costs while trying to increase possible team sale value. As far as the RB situation, I don't think it's (entirely) about freeing up cap-room or spending big $$$ on the D. Improving the team via trade helps Red's sale value also. For example, you've got, maybe, three legit starting RBs, and to deal one of them in the draft before their contracts are up is very smart business and good for the team. Also, it's probably the best way to find the defensive help needed if Red doesn't want to throw the $$$ to anyone but CPepp and Moss (the two guys who do increase team value). Free agency moves should be very unagresssive for a business man looking to move the team, but moving a RB prior to contract year probably will, and should, happen.
Sure, the Vikes are a good team, but what's the point in having a "good" team when they just perennially underperform and suck? It's impossible to win a championship, or much anything, including the NFC North, when you don't have an owner who cares about winning, or about the team at all. It's not the Tice/McCombs that's put me into depression. First the Vikings cap off one of the most depressing seasons in my Viking career with another loss to the Packers, at home, for the second time in two years, second loss to them this year. Then, just as I'm starting to think it could be a blessing in disguise because Tice should be fired now, Red gives him an extension. Tice has got to be the worst coach in NFL history, he took a perennial powerhouse, a team that had made the playoffs almost every season, and turned them into a depressing team to even watch, much less follow. I've come to the point where not only do I think they suck, I expect them to lose every game, and when we lose to the Packers twice in a season, ie: our Super Bowl, there's no reason to believe they'll win a game. We lost to the Bears, who were without half their team at the time, including any QB. We lost to the Hawks at home, which diminishes any hope of beating them on the road in the palyoffs. We somehow managed to pull out a win against the lowly Lions, but even with a win I couldn't muster any confidence because of how ugly it was, it reminded me of many losses of the Vikes over the years. Tice hasn't won a close game this year minus the Lions collapse, hasn't won a game in which we were losing after halftime, hasn't beaten the Packers all year and has lost 4 out of 6 games against them in his 3 years. To cap it all off, our owner doesn't care either, so there's no hope for any push to put together a better defense. If there's a guy sittin there at our pick and a guy who he knows will be much worse, but could possibly take less money, no doubt in my mind who he'd take. God forbid him spend any of the $20 mil that he has to spend on anybody good, for we've gotten our once in a decade free agent already. I look forward to signing more Derek Ross' and Denard Walkers this offseason with great joy and empathy.
The last trade the Vikings made was for Herschel Walker, one that paralyzed the franchise for years, thus scarring the team forever. Red doesn't care about the team enough to make a trade, and any trade he makes will have to be for somebody who's being paid less than the RB he's trading, because it would be a tragedy if we'd be under $20 mil below the cap! There's no chance we'd get anybody half decent in a trade for one of our RBs anyway, in a season in which there's going to be tons of FA RBs who are much better and more proven over a season than any of the guys we have, why would a team trade a defensive player for a guy who's been suspended for drugs and hasn't proven himself over an entire season? I'd agree that we have three legit starting RBs, if we'd feature any one of them they'd be a top 10 FF back, guaranteed, but it'll never happen, so it doesn't matter.
Next year, the Tice will finish 8-8, lose to the Pack twice, Lions and Bears each once in their homes, to whatever NFC teams we have to play away, any half-decent, or crappy NFC teams that we have to play at home (ala the Seahawks), and if we have to play any good AFC teams (Colts this year) he'll lose. The Vikes will finish 3rd in the NFC North, with the Packers winning and the second place team being a game away from the wild card spot.
I can't wait for another agonizingly depressing losing season for the Vikings under the leadership of Mike Tice and the oh-so-great Tedd Cotrell as our vaunted defensive coordinator.