Another .500 season to whet our appetites. I just hope it doesn't turn into another cycle where we consistently finish around .500, although with Childress at the helm I suppose I should be happy with anything that resembles mediocrity. Anyway, hopefully they can get some things done this off-season, as a strong draft last year played a big part in this squad having a playoff pulse. I've laid out some of my ideas in the following text, feel free to add any thoughts you may have or bash my opinions or even me personally.
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-Fire Brad Childress
-Dump Dwight Smith. This supposed "culture of accountability" is having its credibility ruined as Smith continuously breaks the law. I understand his offenses are minor, but his performance on the field is not nearly enough to justify his actions off of them. When you're Randy Moss and catching 15 TD's a year, you can smoke the reefer. When you're Dwight Smith and getting abused over the middle of the field, you better be a model citizen.
-Tar and feather Childress and then march him down Hennepin Avenue where disgruntled fans can toss eggs at him and berate him with insults.
-Get an offensive coordinator. This also relates to the termination of Childress' contract, but we need somebody who can get creative on O and make adjustments. Bevell is supposedly "the coordinator" but that is merely by title. Brad calling the shots just hasn't worked, and Bevell and Childress splitting time as they did at times this year was just flat-out pathetic as well. Get somebody in here who is familiar with the West-Coast offense and let them call the plays.
-Find a new head coach. This obviously comes after kicking Childress to the curb.
-Don't go anywhere near the Derek Anderson trade talks. If they're really asking for a 1st and 3rd then that is way too much. I really don't think much of Anderson at all and think he will bust wherever he ends up, even if that is back in Cleveland. Poor accuracy, and I heard they dumbed down the Browns playbook just so he could take it all in. I'd be sick if we sold the farm for Anderson, but I don't think we will.
-Inquire about McNabb. If the price is right, I would love to add him. If it's high picks, then no thanks. I think he could come in and stabilize the offense and be the QB for a few years, but I don't think he can elevate the team as it is constructed to an elite level.
-Add a veteran WR. I would much prefer this route as opposed to drafting a WR in the 1st. The WR corps is young as is, and I would like to see a veteran come in who can take over as a starting wideout. Bernard Berrian and Bryant Johnson are probably the only two who fit that bill. I would love Berrian. Some worry that he may get overpaid since he is the default top WR on the market (assuming Moss re-signs), but I am not worried about his price tag. If there is one thing the Vikings can do, it's manage the cap. Johnson would be a good addition as well. I have confidence that Sidney Rice will develop into a #1 level WR and either Berrian or Johnson would be great compliments to him.
-If Asante Samuel is available, make a run. He is a talented corner and would give us good depth at corner and allow the young guys in Griffin and McCauley to develop further before being relied on too much.
-I am a firm believer in taking the best player available and this year is no different. I do not want to spend a 1st rounder on a QB. Not because I am against it, but because I am not a big fan of the QB's who are going to be selected in that area. If I had to pick one, I would take Brohm but he is going to be long gone by pick 17. Woodson is pretty raw and I'm not too high on Matt Ryan. I would like to take a QB like Erik Ainge in the 3rd to groom behind a vet QB, or to put some heat on Tarvaris to improve his game.
-As far as the pick goes, if need and value match then that is just fantastic. I like what Kenny Phillips brings to the table and he could be a replacement for Smith. I feel like safety is a weakness. Sharper is still doing alright, but he is getting old and I think he sometimes sacrifices big plays in order to try and force a TO. Works sometimes but we got abused over the middle of the field many times.
A pass-rushing DE would be fantastic. Udeze has been OK, but he is not a big-time sack artist, more of a run-stopper who clogs lanes. I don't have any faith in Erasmus staying healthy and Robison appears to be more of a situational pass-rusher. Derrick Harvey from Florida may fit the bill.
-All in all, I think we got a chance to do some things in '08 if we play our cards right this off-season. Jackson needs to make huge strides if he is indeed the man, and Chilly needs to figure out a way to get his playmakers (AD, Rice) the football more often.
- Don't fire Brad Childress. Give the man a chance. The players he is bringing in are working -- aside from TJax, obviously. Hutch, ADP, Sidney Rice, Leber, Greenway, and the special teams are all doing very well. If they want to bring someone in, it should be an offensive coordinator, but I don't think Childress wants anyone who will question his authority there.
-Dump Dwight Smith. 100% agreed. Smith offers nothing to our team that any run-of-the-mill safety can't do. His off-the-field problems only make it easier to let him go. If nothing else, it will help us have some stability in place for whenever Sharper decides to retire/leave.
-Don't go anywhere near the Derek Anderson trade talks. Agreed. The Browns are going to go for AT LEAST the top restricted free agent tag in any trade. If I was playing Madden, I'd probably jump all over that. However, for the Vikings' sake, I pray we steer clear. Our quarterback troubles are easy to see now, but at least we aren't locked up in TJax.
-Inquire about McNabb. If I was the Vikings' GM, I'd pull a Yankees-esque "This is the deal" and offer this and next year's second round picks. If they want more, we need to move on. The thing that worries me here is that if Childress realizes that he's close to landing McNabb, he may push Wilf/Spielman to give up too much for him.
-Add a veteran WR. Bernard Berrian would look GOOD in Vikings purple. However, as you stated, he may fetch a dollar amount he isn't worth. If that's the case, I'd be content with the Vikings adding DJ Hackett. However, I think the Vikings will need to get a WR with the likely departure of Troy Williamson; and if so, these are the only WRs available now that I'm comfortable with in our starting lineup.
-If Asante Samuel is available, make a run. Boy, he sure didn't look like a Franchisable cornerback this year, and we learned last offseason that his interpretation of his talent is pretty high. I'd rather the Vikings pursue a one to two year deal with a cheaper option and, again, give our current players a chance to earn the starting gig.
-Wine, Dine, and Sign Jared Allen. If he so much as lets his pinky out the Chiefs' door, the Vikings better be the first team to pounce. He's young, explosive, and fills a team need. Pat, Kevin, Edwards, and Allen on passing downs? Yes, thank you.
-Draft the best player available of: DE, S, CB Long will be Lone Gone come pick 19, easily. Brohm will probably still be there unless he has a killer combine. Word is that Matt Ryan is the top QB this year. Safeties are pretty weak this year, so the Vikings will probably land a cornerback or offensive lineman to plug into that right side.
Late in the draft, go after a possible kick/punt returner. Mewelde is likely gone, along with Williamson. That leaves Bobby Wade and Aundrae Allison as our threats. Allison showed potential at times this year, but I'd like to see the Vikings go after a third string RB that could possibly make the team as our return specialist.
-After the last two years (and especially last draft), I'm going to applaud whoever we select. Last year's class turned out terrific, and if the Vikings decide they want to take a guy I don't know in the 3rd round, so be it. The college scouting department gets a free pass from me on any questionable picks this year -- just don't take advantage of my generosity, Vikings! I'd like to have this same feeling next year.
If the Vikings follow these steps, I believe they can be a 12-4, 13-3 team. I know that's optimistic, but our strengths are such strengths, that if we can improve our weaknesses to average, we're going to be terrific. Oh geez... I'm a homer.
LoveBoatCaptain wrote: -Wine, Dine, and Sign Jared Allen. If he so much as lets his pinky out the Chiefs' door, the Vikings better be the first team to pounce. He's young, explosive, and fills a team need. Pat, Kevin, Edwards, and Allen on passing downs? Yes, thank you.
Good call on Allen, I forgot to mention him. He would be a dream scenario if the Chiefs do not franchise him. I'd do whatever it takes to get him.
I am probably not as down on Chilly as I make it appear to be, but I haven't seen anything from him as far as play-calling and game adjustments go that makes me think he will lead this team to greatness. They say you need to give a coach 3 years so maybe one more won't hurt, I just would hate to lose out on some good coaching candidates like Cowher, Rivera, etc. It's just hard for me to really have faith in him considering Mike Tice took less talented teams to 9 wins and Chilly can't break .500. I, like Raff, hope I am wrong.