We met with Complete Sports to get the skinny on the new look Vikings and we also asked what the heck he was thinking being on that boat last year. Just kidding. For my interview and predicition on the Bears/Vikes head over to Complete Sports. Here’s the interview:
ZS: Chester Taylor is 4th in the NFC in rushing. We haven’t seen him much in Chicago. What type of runner is he?
CS: Chester Taylor is a shifty back with great vision. He’s not going to really run over people or wow anyone in the open field, but he waits for his blocks, makes a cut, and finds the right hole. It’s too early in the year to call him a workhorse back, but he’s gotten a lot of carries in the first 2 weeks and responded very well, getting better at the game goes on. As the talented Offensive Line comes together more, that should just boost Taylor’s numbers even more, because he’ll be patient in the backfield, waiting for the hole, and then find it and go through. I’ve been very impressed.
ZS: Ex-Bear Marcus Robinson has been there for awhile now. Why isn’t he more involved with Moss and Burleson both gone?
CS: To be frank, he’s just not all that good. Well, in certain situations he can be very dangerous, and in other situations he struggles. For example, if you’re near the goal line, or it’s a jump ball situation, he’s one of the best in the game, and that is where the Vikings use him most often. But if you’re at 3rd down somewhere in the middle of the field, Robinson isn’t always the best at getting open because he’s not that fast, and he only has average hands. So to put it simply, in any situation other than a jump ball, Marcus Robinson is not as good as Troy Williamson or Travis Taylor.
ZS: It’s only 2 games, but what kind of coach is Brad Childress? Any comparisons?
CS: Love the guy. He’s a sharp mind, so far getting the most out of what is really a mediocre offense other than the Line. He’s a disciplinarian, and that’s what they needed after a coach like Mike Tice, who didn’t really do anything well. Childress is going to discipline players when they do something wrong, such as suspending Dwight Smith for the opener.
Also, I really like the staff Brad has brought in. Nothing against Ted Cottrell, but Mike Tomlin has looked great at Defensive Coordinator, picking the right time to blitz, getting the guys to play to his scheme, etc. Offensively, things are a lot more balanced and there is just a lot better flow. If I had to compare him to someone, it’d probably be the guy he coached under Andy Reid, with one main difference, and that is that Childress sticks with the run game and is completely dedicated to it, which is excellent.
Let me put it this way, even though we’re only 2 games into the Brad Childress Era, I feel 100% confident in saying that Brad Childress is a huge upgrade over Mike Tice.
ZS: Are people finally happy with the Moss deal?
CS: It’s definitely shifting that way, yeah. I’ll admit, I was one that thought it was an awful, awful deal when it was made, felt that way last year, and felt that way at the start of this year. This year, though, Williamson was made the #1 WR (after the Koren Robinson incident), and he has responded really well. He’s very fast and athletic, always seems to be open, and is great after the catch. He’s had some problems with dropped balls, but he’s played fantastic early on. Also, Napoleon Harris has been a revelation this year under Mike Tomlin. He was out of place last year as a Strong-Side LB, and he played terribly. This year, Tomlin is blitzing him more, and Harris is getting to the QB, getting out to the RBs, etc. and become a very valuable LB.
And obviously, Moss has struggled. I’m still a big fan of Moss, and I have to think that a large portion of his struggles are due to the offense around him, but it’s hard to deny that his numbers are nowhere near what he put up in Minnesota. But with Moss’ contract and age, combined with the breakout play of Troy Williamson and Napoleon Harris, it’s hard to say the Vikings aren’t looking pretty now.
ZS: Give us your game prediction and Vikings season prediction.
CS: Honestly, I think the Bears are too strong right now. I don’t want to say the Vikings have been winning with smoke and mirrors, because that’s not really true, but they have gotten some good breaks. However, what they do well is play defense and protect the ball, and if they can shut down Chicago and establish Chestor Taylor early, things will be very interesting. I think Chicago will eke out of a win, but it really should be a great, hard-nosed matchup.
For this season, I predicted 10-6 going in, and I’m sticking with that. I really love what Brad Childress is doing here, instilling a toughness on both sides of the ball that we haven’t seen in Minnesota for a long time. They don’t have a great offense, but I think the offense is efficient to combine with a good defense to finish around 10-6.