Yesterday, I discussed Brad Childress‘ handling of the Vikings’ quarterback position,
so I need not address those players here. Let’s look at the Vikings personnel that Childress is responsible for bringing to the purple and
gold through free agency or the waiver wire.
- Guard Steve Hutchinson. Fantastic acquisition, even though he wasn’t all that last year.
- Running Back Chester Taylor. Not very fast but a tough runner who was worth the investment. Great acquisition.
- Kicker Ryan Longwell. Last year he had a hell of a time getting kickoffs to the one yard line or beyond but he’s fixed that this year with a vengeance. Great pickup, even though we have to listen to him talk about golf ad nauseum.
- Safety Dwight Smith. He was more of an import from Mike Tomlin‘s Tampa Bay days, but Childress gets credit for him. He’s been a hard hitter and has generally played well. Good acquisition.
- Fullback Tony Richardson.
He only started seven games last year due to injury, so that was a bit
of a waste, but he’s a damn good run blocker and has laid some people
out. Good pickup.
- Wide Receiver Bobby Wade. I was absolutely skeptical but I’m happy to say he’s proved me wrong. Wade is a good possession receiver who can make yards after the catch but he’s not the number one he was acquired to be. Still, good acquisition.
- Wide Receiver Robert Ferguson.
He’s been good when he’s gotten the ball in his hands, but he doesn’t
get a lot of touches. By our standards for Wide Receiver, good pickup.
- Tight End Visanthe Shiancoe. Was brought in to be a receiving tight end who could stretch the field on seam routes. When he’s gotten down field for apparent big gains, his quarterbacks have failed to get him the ball (see previous post). Remains to be seen.
- Fullback Naufahu Tahi.
This guy’s got some quickness for a fullback. I’ve liked what I’ve seen
but I’ve seen too little to really judge. Decent pickup.
- Defensive End Jayme Mitchell. Not bad. He hasn’t really been able to show what he can do, but hasn’t been disastrous, either.
- Safety Mike Doss. Eh. He was more defensive coordinator Leslie Fraizer‘s pick, than Childress’. Hasn’t played much so it’s tough to tell.
- Defensive Tackle Fred Evans. Eh. Hasn’t played enough to truly judge.
- Linebacker Vinny Ciurciu. Was brought in to be a special teams ace. His most memorable play was getting juked out by a punter. I see Heath Farwell in on more plays than Ciurciu.
- Wide receiver Bethel Johnson: Eh.
- Wide receiver Billy McMullen: Sure handed possession receiver who was just that but nothing special. We traded the speedy, six foot four Hank Baskett to the Eagles to get him, though. McMullen is no longer on our roster but Baskett is still making plays for the Eagles.
- Definite Chili guy Defensive tackle Ross Kolodziej: Eh.
- Kick Returner Koren Robinson. Though he made the Pro Bowl for us last year, he had to be cut because of his off-field problems, so at the end of the day, he’s go to be counted as a bust, though he wasn’t a very expensive bust. It should be noted, too, though, that Childress was depending on him to be our number one receiver this year even though Robinson had proved in the past that you shouldn’t depend on him. Result: We had to scramble to find receivers.
- Guard Artis Hicks from Philadelphia; the Vikes could have gone after the Eagles’ Jon Runyan, one of the better guards in the league. But, no, we got Hicks who was average at best and lost his starting job.
- Cornerback Ronyell Whitaker. Whitaker was given a spot on the roster even though he was outplayed by the quick Dovonte Edwards.Last
year, Whitaker distinguished himself as an eminently exploitable
nickleback. He’s still on the team but plays only as a special teamer.
Keeping Edwards would have been a vast improvement.
- Tackle Chase Johnson. Who knows? Has he even played?
- Tight End Garrett Mills. Again, who knows?
So what’s the verdict? Childress has brought in three rock stars in Hutchinson, Taylor, and Longwell; three solid contributors in Smith, Wade, and Richardson. There are six guys–Ferguson, Shiancoe, Tahi, Mitchell, Doss, and Evans–who, ehhhhhh, who may or may not prove to be contributors. Three guys–Ciurciu, Johnson, and McMullen–are nothing special. Four guys are busts: Robinson, Kolodziej, Hicks (who was brought in to start and is not), and Whitaker; and two guys–Chase Johnson and Mills–haven’t really had a chance to prove themselves.
Out of the 21 free agent/waiver wire players Childress picked up, six contribute consistently and meaningfully. Five of those–Hutchinson, Taylor, Longwell, Smith, and Richardson are integral parts of the team. That leaves 15 of Childress’ players who haven’t contributed significantly during the coach’s two-year rule.
We don’t know if our pathetic passing game is a result of a substandard receiving corps, substandard quarterbacking, or both.
Still, six of 21 ain’t that great.