Throughout the past week, The Insiders has had the opportunity to discuss at a great length, the direction, expectations, and observations of football experts within the league establishment. While the Minnesota Vikings are thought of as a team that has plenty of work to do, there is definitely a bright shining light at the end of the Metrodome tunnels.
In an earlier story this past week at VikingUpdate.com, we had the opportunity to provide some initial thoughts from these discussions. Today we continue with thoughts on the team, the front office, head coach Mike Tice, and just where the Vikings fit in the 2003.
Provided below are some excerpts on the offensive side of the ball from a question and answer session held this past week:
The Insiders: On the quarterback position, what are the thoughts on the inconsistency that Daunte Culpepper displayed in the 2002 season and does this appear to be a trend that will continue?
League Source: "There was a period late in the 2001 season and throughout the first half of the 2002 season that the Vikings had some questions about Daunte Culpepper. His play was inconsistent and he was pressing. The loss of Cris Carter certainly hurt this team as they searched for their identity. As the offensive line gained its health, and the running game became a legitimate threat, the passing game improved. Culpepper played with much more confidence and the game plan was actually scaled back a bit."
The Insiders: What needs to be done in this off-season to improve an offensive unit that appeared to becoming a serious threat once again? What vital areas must we look at for the furthering development of Tice's team?
League Source: "First of all, the Vikings must find a way to re-sign Jim Kleinsasser. This kid is a player and was never utilized properly by Dennis Green. "Sass" is extremely important in the passing game, and the Vikings at the present time do not have enough weapons or high-quality players in the passing game to clearly supplement what Moss provides this team. There really isn't a player that takes the pressure off him. After Moss and Sass, there is a significant drop-off within the ranks of the receivers. The Vikings do not really throw much fear into the opposition on the outside. To clarify though, the threat of one Randy Moss can basically equal that of two above-average receivers. Bates is serviceable, improving, and may be the guy, Campbell is OK, he plays bigger than his size and is young, and Alexander's stay in Minnesota should be over."
"Additionally, indications are that the Vikings are going to make every effort to resign Kleinsasser, add another receiver, and bring in some additional talent and depth along the offensive line."
The Insiders: Basically, we are talking about continuous improvement on the offensive side of the ball. How much better can this offense get, and what can the Vikings do as an organization to maximize the potential of their ability in free agency to be a player?
League Source: "Minnesota is going to continue to look to improve the offensive line. Mike Tice likes size and strength upfront. This fits into the scheme of having the ability to run the ball down your throat, while having the athleticism to throw the football all over the field when necessary. This theory will make Culpepper a much more dangerous quarterback, as well as get Moss back to being the dynamic receiver that he truly is."
"There was a serious amount of talk that the Vikings had considered and even spoke with a couple teams about dealing offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie when he was holding out. Quietly, the Vikings did have some discussions about McKinnie, and there was a point in time that he could have been traded. He did not enamor himself to the coaching staff when he refused to report and was out of shape. While he eventually agreed to a contract, he was not in the physical condition that the team expected and could not get down in his stance at the line of scrimmage. McKinnie has been given a specific weight and workout plan to follow. If he comes into camp again out of shape, there could be some serious issues."
"The Vikings have too much money to play with in free agency, and that could lead to some unrealistic demands and expectations from free-agent players, agents and fans alike. Teams in this league tend to overspend, especially when they have the salary cap room to delve into a deal that they feel will improve the situation. The Minnesota front office has been fairly prudent in their signings, and I expect this continue during this off-season, although the Vikings have the ability to just buy players. One thing that Mike Tice deserves credit for in his short tenure thus far, which is that he is no-nonsense and if a player does not genuinely want to be a Minnesota Viking, the odds are that he won't be."
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