No disrespect to any player but the Minnesota Viking offensive line has been a point of weakness for some time now ... but take solace. What might look like a disaster ... just might be a very good thing. Even with Matt Kalil, Charlie Johnson, John Sullivan, Brandon Fusco and Phil Loadholt, they maybe were not exactly what you think they were as for years, the greatness of Adrian Peterson may have covered up what was substandard play. Could this explain why Christian Ponder always appeared to be running for his life, or at least never settled in that pocket. To often, somewhere along that front five, someone appeared to be getting blown up way too often.
Want more proof. The offensive line actually played better last year, under the "Bridge Over Troubled Waters", when both Joe Berger and Mike Harris replaced starters on that line.
Sure T.J. Clemmings is both young and inexperienced however he might be a definite upgrade over Phil Loadholt when it comes to protecting Teddy. Could it be that Mike Harris is a definite improvement over Charlie Johnson. Sure, it might take a few weeks to develop their run blocking for Mr. Peterson however if both players are upgrades, it's more than premature to open-up-the-nay-say-ers-can-of-let's-just-give-up-on-the-season.
If there is a struggle early in the year it will be due to two primary factors. You cannot replace a center of Sullivan's "Brain-Wave" stature as the dude was astute in the realm of Mick Tinglehoff. Keep in mind that Joe Berger is no slouch in that he has several starts at center and all those years of experience will show up on game day. The coaching staff is correct in stating that if they can keep these five in place, throughout the entire year, they will not only not miss a beat ... they may end up being a significant improvement to what we've had up front for many years now.
Now when you hear "Old Norv" saying the words, "With a Bit of Luck", well that needs translation. Both Norv Turner and Mike Zimmer are on their knees, with blood and sweat flowing from both their pours & veins, begging the almighty to cut them a huge break ... as they've already paid some serious due covering both last year up and to the present. Now you know exactly what these guys do when they find an open minute in their hectic schedule. Heck, they might even be multitasking prayers while sitting at the supper table.
When you hear Judd Zulgad raising red flags about the offensive line, at the ready to say, "I told you so" ... take solace. Judd is doing his job, providing the warning shot so that no one gets caught unaware. The rest are just tempting fate hoping for the Vikings to fail once again. The good news is that Judd doesn't get to be right on this one, as he's rarely been right lately, as there is someone at the rudder of this large ship keeping us off the shoals. It's clear that Judd does love his job and he does in fact ble-e-e-e-d purple, but he's been beaten to a pulp both truth telling and getting his heart ripped from his chest like the rest of us ... year after year. He needs a break too but there is a difference between knowing the future and stating what appears to be the obvious.
There is one thing this organization desperately needs. The Minnesota Vikings most experienced sports writer, and you know who you are, must give Joe Berger his absolute confidence, that he can handle center as if he were Mick Tinglehoff himself. Chuck your negativity and speak to Berger as if you were "The Big Guy" himself. Sometime you have to take a leap of faith. It's never been about talent or the amount of experience ... in most cases it is about the confidence that you can exude over others that always makes the difference. In other words, you can be a fraction of a second slow if your prepared to respond in a split second. If you want this thing done before you pass the torch, the thing has got to be passed on. "ALWAYS" indicated the origin of where flying from the seat of your pants had come from ... the gifts are passed on from one to the other. Mick is no longer Mick where I'd like to think his gift either has ... or will ... be passed on.
The Vikings have another open roster spot, with Sully on indefinite injured reserve. Could there be another offensive lineman ripe for the plucking ... SOMEWHERE OUT THERE.
The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: September 12, 2015