So whats the future for the Vikings at quarterback? Matt Cassel played well against the Eagles as the Vikings beat one of the NFL's hottest teams. The Vikings put up 48 points without the best running back on the planet. Is Cassel the guy?
As soon as anyone else figures out what the future for the Vikings is at quarterback, I would love for them to let us know. Matt Cassel has the option to void his contract after this season, and the hope is that he won't do that. The team is likely going to shop Christian Ponder this off-season, and I'm not sure anyone outside of GM Rick Spielman knows what's going on with Josh Freeman and whether he figures at all into Minnesota's long-term plans. I think that the expectation is that one of the Vikings' first two selections in the 2014 NFL Draft is going to be used on a quarterback, depending on how the draft falls. I think that Cassel enters 2014 as the starter with a rookie sitting behind him and being groomed to take over in 2015.
Speaking of all world running backs, some guy told me that Adrian Peterson will be back for this game this weekend. I told him that's crazy talk, why would the Vikings risk such a valuable asset in a meaningless game this late in the season. (This was wishful thinking of course) So what's the deal, are the Bengals going to have to face Peterson this weekend?
Peterson has said that he's "looking forward" to playing this weekend. It wouldn't surprise me to see him out there, but even if he does play, I think that Toby Gerhart is going to see a greater share of the carries. Peterson wasn't 100% before the foot injury, as he had a groin injury that was bothering him prior to that, and he acknowledged last week that the decision to play wasn't really in his hands. I think we'll see him on Sunday, but I don't think he'll be the Adrian Peterson that we all know.
Tell me about the Vikings defense. Is Xavier Rhodes as good as the Vikings hoped he would be and is Jared Allen going to pressure Andy Dalton all day?
Unfortunately, Rhodes has been ruled out of Sunday's contest with an ankle injury, but he had been playing some very good football prior to getting hurt. Against the Ravens, he saw a lot of Torrey Smith, and Smith only had one reception on the afternoon. When the Vikings allow him to get up and bump receivers and be aggressive, he has been outstanding. He got off to a bit of a slow start, but he has some serious talent, and appears to be a big part of Minnesota's future on defense if he can stay healthy.
Jerome Simpson was a headache for the Bengals. It took a long time for him to get on the field, then at times he looked incredible (the flip comes to mind). What kind of player has he been for the Vikings?
He's been sort of a pain for us, too. He had the three game suspension after he signed with us for the marijuana mailing incident he had when he was with the Bengals, and he hasn't been spectacular, but for the most part he's been solid. Strangely, his greatest asset seems to be the ability to draw long pass interference penalties, so he's helping the Vikings move the ball even without getting receiving yardage. With his recent arrest and legal issues, we don't know if he'll be back in Minnesota next year. . .then again, if he's found to have violated his probation, there's a good chance he won't be playing for anyone else, either.
If the Vikings could take one player from the Bengals, who would that be? (Obviously we would snatch Peterson).
As much as I love me some Adriel Jeremiah Green, I think that a healthy Leon Hall would be the guy I would grab from Cincinnati given the opportunity. I think he'd make an outstanding tandem with Rhodes, and I think he's the sort of guy that would be able to drop down into the slot in nickel situations. He was one of the NFL's best cornerbacks before his injury, and that's the area that has been a liability for the Vikings for a very long time now.