Lurtsema's Reaction: Frerotte, A.D. and More

Former Viking Bob Lurtsema gives his opinion on the switch to Gus Frerotte, the injuries at the skill positions, Steve Smith's return to the Metrodome and the play of the Vikings defensive line.

VU: What was your reaction to Gus Frerotte starting and how do you think it will affect things?

BL: When I heard Gus Frerotte was starting, I moon-walked around the Metrodome. I was really, really excited because I think this move had to come from the standpoint that Tarvaris Jackson couldn't steer the car – get some third-down situations, keep them close and he couldn't do that. Gus is the best shot at it and I couldn't be happier. People always say, ‘Well, he's so old.' He's still got a rocket of an arm and people don't realize that. He'll look for Bernard Berrian and he'll go deep. More importantly, with Gus Frerotte in there, he has the experience to read eight or nine in the box. He knows who your hot receiver will be. That's something that takes a long time to pick up on. Not allowing an opposing team to put eight or nine in the box, that's going to help Adrian Peterson become a better runner. Nothing against the hard-working Tarvaris Jackson, but this was a no-brainer.

VU: Do you think the move had to be made at 0-2 or are you surprised by the timing of it?

BL: I'm surprised that Brad Childress made an announcement that Gus Frerotte is his quarterback for the rest of the year, and that makes me feel that it wasn't 100 percent his idea because that goes against everything he's shown us for the last 2 ½ years. I just think the owner, Zygi Wilf, who I really love, he might have got in Brad's ear and realized that they want a new stadium and we're not selling out, the fans are booing our quarterback to offensive play selection to our offensive coordinator to our head coach. After a while, when you take all of that into consideration and see that the only thing they really need on this football team after Mr. Wilf gave them an open checkbook was the quarterback. Jackson just hasn't stepped up to the expectations of Coach Childress fast enough.

VU: Adrian Peterson has a sore hamstring and is questionable for Sunday. How much different would this team be without Peterson?

BL: Chester Taylor is more than adequate. But right now Peterson was the team because the quarterback wasn't making third-down plays, he wasn't making big plays. Taylor did very well when he was in there, but obviously he's not an Adrian Peterson. Without him, you basically had nothing. Now that he has that hamstring, it's a delicate one. You don't want him to pull it. If he breaks an 80-yarder, he's going to stretch that out. You can tweak it and once you tweak it you'll be hobbled or 80 percent at best.

VU: Take a look of this: You've got Gus Frerotte, so you've got a new quarterback. You might not have Adrian or at least you won't have him at full strength, Bernard Berrian with the toe, Sidney Rice with the knee injury. How scary is the skill-position players going into this week?

BL: That puts it all on Gus Frerotte because I haven't seen a lot of separation from those receivers going against the defensive coverages. Without great separation from receivers, you have to have a quarterback that can anticipate. Some receiver has got to step forward, but I've watched the coverage at times and they're all covered. Even when Jackson had time, they were covered.

VU: You saw what Steve Smith did to Fred Smoot when those two went head-to-head. How different do you expect things to be with a different scheme?

BL: It's hard to say because Steve has been out a couple of weeks. It's no different than watching Peyton Manning after he was out all preseason. It will be interesting to see how they use Smith, but you have to realize how well Jake Delhomme has done in the first two games without Steve Smith. It's like Jeremy Shockey when he was with the Giants. Did they try to go to him too much and throw the offense off? Will they go away from what got the Panthers to 2-0 to satisfy some percentage in throwing the ball to a Pro Bowl wide receiver? That's going to come down to coaching and John Fox is a good coach.

VU: Right now, the Vikings have two sacks on the season. Has the pressure been there and it just isn't translating into sacks or is there still a lot of room for improvement there?

BL: Sometimes, the number of sacks doesn't really tell how well they played. They got to Manning a lot last week. Manning is smart enough, he gets rid of the ball so fast because he knows where to dump it. That was a real good week last week. In Green Bay, I thought they could have been a little rusty. I believe in playing more in preseason and I think they were just getting their game going. That might have given a slight edge to the Packers on that one. I was pleased last week, and actually I was pretty pleased in Green Bay because if you noticed with Jared Allen, all of the sudden Ray Edwards has five tackles and defensive ends are only supposed to get two or three. Both Pat and Kevin Williams had five or six tackles. Jared Allen didn't have a big day, but with his pressure they were going the other way. It's interesting to see how they are scheming it because the Packers did scheme big-time away from Jared Allen. When you scheme against one player, sometimes it does take you away from your strengths. Overall, I'm very pleased with the play of the front four.

Bob Lurtsema registered 57 careers sacks as 12-year veteran defensive lineman in the NFL, playing with the Baltimore Colts, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, and the longtime publisher of Viking Update. He joins for a weekly Q & A session, and his monthly column appears in the magazine.

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