Vikings approaching youth-movement time

The Vikings are inching closer to mathematical elimination from the playoffs, meaning it could be time to see what the younger players can do, even if that means sacrificing a bit of the present.

The Vikings are approaching a critical time in their schedule, as the coaching staff has to make the decision whether to press forward with the veteran lineup they have in hopes of winning games down the stretch to build momentum heading into the offseason (see Detroit in December, 2010) or incorporate their young players in more to find out what they have.

It's an interesting conundrum because the Vikings are a veteran-laden team that hasn't succeeded by any measure this season. They already made the biggest move in their youth movement by handing the offense over to rookie Christian Ponder. But, as the Vikings fall closer to mathematical elimination from playoff contention, is it time to bring on more young players to get their shot?

If it was in the Brad Childress Administration, the answer to that question would likely be "no, stick with the vets." Childress always seemed to be under the gun when it came to job security. He was never adored by players or fans and many believed it was only a matter of time until he got the hook, much like Dennis Green. Both of them had success and brought a team within a win of the Super Bowl the year before they were fired. With Leslie Frazier, it's a different situation.

Frazier is in the first year of his contract and, given the priority currently being given to the Vikings stadium effort, it is unlikely owner Zygi Wilf will fire Frazier unless the Vikings finish 2-14 and have something tantamount to a locker room revolt – neither of which is likely to happen.

It seems clear that the Vikings are in rebuilding mode. It may be time for the team to see what players like Kyle Rudolph, Christian Ballard, Everson Griffen and Mistral Raymond, among others, can bring to the game. Fans and, to some extent, coaches tend to look short-term when it comes to their teams. Owners and general managers see things in a bigger, long-term perspective. They want to have a better handle on exactly how prepared their young talent is before they start preparing for free agency and the draft. There are plenty of ways to evaluate young talent, but there is no replacement for seeing them in live action and "putting it on tape."

It may not be good news for the 2011 Vikings, but, for the long-term health of the franchise, it might be time for the youngsters on the Vikings roster to join Ponder on the field on game days as the Vikings begin what they hope will be a fast-track process of getting back into contention in what has become the toughest division in the NFL.

FRIDAY NOTES

  • Only three Vikings missed practice Thursday – Anthony Herrera (knee), Husain Abdullah (concussion) and Cullen Loeffler (shoulder). Marcus Sherels missed practice Thursday, but it was not injury related.

  • After tweaking a hamstring injury, Visanthe Shiancoe, who wasn't listed in the injury report Wednesday, was limited Thursday and added to the injury list.

  • Erin Henderson (hamstring) returned to practice after missing Wednesday and was limited. Michael Jenkins (knee) was limited for a second straight day of practice.

  • After being limited Wednesday with a hamstring injury, Raiders cornerback Chimdi Chekwa was placed on injured reserve Thursday.

  • All seven Raiders who missed Wednesday's practice missed Thursday's practice as well – RB Darren McFadden, DT Richard Seymour, QB Jason Campbell, WR Jacoby Ford, kicker Sebastian Janikowski, CB Chris Johnson and RB Manase Tonga.

  • The final injury reports and probabilities that players will or won't play Sunday will be released later Friday.

  • Fans attending Sunday's game are being asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the foodshelf effort with Second Havest Heartland.

  • A Vikings season ticket holder named Jay Tappe has taken to billboard advertising in an effort to keep the Vikings in Minnesota. On Monday, a billboard will be unveiled in St. Paul on the corner of St. Peter and 11th Street that will say, "50 Years of Blood, Sweat and Tears, Keep Our Vikings Here."


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.



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  • Only three Vikings missed practice Thursday – Anthony Herrera (knee), Husain Abdullah (concussion) and Cullen Loeffler (shoulder). Marcus Sherels missed practice Thursday, but it was not injury related.
  • After tweaking a hamstring injury, Visanthe Shiancoe, who wasn't listed in the injury report Wednesday, was limited Thursday and added to the injury list.
  • Erin Henderson (hamstring) returned to practice after missing Wednesday and was limited. Michael Jenkins (knee) was limited for a second straight day of practice.
  • After being limited Wednesday with a hamstring injury, Raiders cornerback Chimdi Chekwa was placed on injured reserve Thursday.
  • All seven Raiders who missed Wednesday's practice missed Thursday's practice as well – RB Darren McFadden, DT Richard Seymour, QB Jason Campbell, WR Jacoby Ford, kicker Sebastian Janikowski, CB Chris Johnson and RB Manase Tonga.
  • The final injury reports and probabilities that players will or won't play Sunday will be released later Friday.
  • Fans attending Sunday's game are being asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the foodshelf effort with Second Havest Heartland.
  • A Vikings season ticket holder named Jay Tappe has taken to billboard advertising in an effort to keep the Vikings in Minnesota. On Monday, a billboard will be unveiled in St. Paul on the corner of St. Peter and 11th Street that will say, \"50 Years of Blood, Sweat and Tears, Keep Our Vikings Here.\"
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