Much of the fanfare surrounding today’s game with the Detroit Lions will center on the likelihood that Jared Allen and Kevin Williams will be playing their final games as members of the Vikings.
But what has gone largely unnoticed could be the complete disintegration of the Vikings 2010 draft class. It was an interesting time in Vikings history when the 2010 draft class was selected. The Vikings were returning all 22 starters (or so they thought) from the 2009 team that came within an eyelash (and a rash of turnovers) from going to the Super Bowl. As Viking Update pointed out on its post-draft magazine cover – a claim denied by the Vikings brass at the time – the 2010 draft was “Drafting For Depth.” There were no stars coming out of the draft. The Vikings traded out of the first round to acquire extra picks, which helped make the dilemma that the Vikings will be facing this offseason.
Prior to the Collective Bargaining Agreement that came a year later, it wasn’t unusual for first-round picks to sign five-year contracts. But, beyond the first round, contracts were typically four years. As a result, the entire Class of 2010 that remains with the Vikings will be unrestricted free agents.
It’s unlikely the team will have any interest at bringing Chris Cook back. He never played a full season and never intercepted a pass in four years, which are two red flags against a player looking for a second contract. Toby Gerhart and Everson Griffen are likely going to get significant free agent offers and the Vikings may have to overspend if they want to keep either of them. There are questions as to whether the Vikings will want to invest in paying Joe Webb to come back since he has done little as a wide receiver since being moved there from the quarterback position. As for the rest of the Class of ’10, they’re already gone – Chris DeGeare, Nate Triplett, Mickey Shuler and Ryan D’Imperio.
When VU analyzed the 2010 draft on the weekend it took place, we were hard-pressed to find a sure-fire starter out of any of the draft class. After today, we may have seen the last of the those players and the 2010 draft class may well be viewed as one of the bigger busts in franchise history.
VIKINGS-LIONS BY THE NUMBERS
The Vikings have the 13th-ranked offense (10th rushing, 22nd passing) and the 31st-ranked defense (18th rushing, 32nd passing).
The Lions have the third-ranked offense (17th rushing, 3rd passing) and the 16th-ranked defense (4th rushing, 27th passing).
Detroit is averaging 402 yards a game (287 passing, 115 rushing). Minnesota is averaging 344 yards a game (217 passing, 117 rushing).
The Lions are allowing 347 yards a game (252 passing, 95 rushing). The Vikings are allowing 408 yards a game (294 passing, 114 rushing).
The Vikings are 31st or 32nd in a handful of defensive categories, including total yards per game (31st), passing yards allowed (32nd), first downs allowed (31st), third-down efficiency (31st) and points allowed (32nd).
The Lions are 29th in the takeaway/giveaway ratio at minus-14 (20 takeaways, 34 giveaways). The Vikings are 28th at minus-10 (20 takeaways, 30 giveaways).
Detroit is fourth in red zone offense, scoring touchdowns on 34 of 49 opportunities (63 percent). The Vikings are 18th, scoring 24 touchdowns on 45 possessions (53.3 percent).
The Lions are second in red zone defense, allowing touchdowns on just 15 of 39 possessions (38.5 percent). Minnesota is 27th, allowing TDs on 38 of 61 red zone possessions (62.3 percent).
No defense has allowed opponents into the red zone or to score more touchdowns than the Vikings.
The league average for converting third downs is 38.2 percent. The Lions are third in third-down offense, converting on 43.7 percent (90 of 206) and first in third-down defense, allowing conversions on just 30.5 percent (61 of 200).
The Vikings are 19th in red zone offense, converting on 75 of 203 chances (36.9 percent). Minnesota’s defense is 31st, allowing conversions on 44.9 percent (97 of 236).
The Vikings lead the league in average starting position following kickoffs at the 27.5-yard line – well above the 22.1-yard line league average. Detroit is 10th with an average starting position of the 22.5-yard line.
Minnesota is 31st in opponent’s average starting position at the 24.6-yard line. Detoits is 23rd, allowing an average start on the 22.8-yard line.
Matthew Stafford has six 300-yard passing games this season. Matt Cassel has the only one for the Vikings.
Detroit has allowed four 300-yard passers. The Vikings have allowed eight.
The Lions have nine 100-yard receiving games – seven from Calvin Johnson and one each from Nate Burleson and Reggie Bush. The Vikings have four 100-yard receiving games – two from Jerome Simpson and one each from Cordarrelle Patterson and Greg Jennings.
The Vikings have allowed 10 100-yard receiving games. The Lions have allowed eight.
Adrian Peterson, who won’t play today, had five 100-yard rushing games. Bush had the only 100-yard game for Detroit.
The Vikings have allowed three 100-yard rushers. The Lions have allowed just one.
Matthew Stafford is fifth in pass attempts (601), seventh in the completions (349), 31st in completion percentage (58.1), third in passing yards (4,433), sixth in touchdowns (28), tied for 34th in interceptions (19) and 21st in passer rating (83.6).
Peterson enters the final week of the season third in the league in rushing with 1,266 yards, but will likely drop to fifth or lower by the end of Sunday’s action. Bush is 12th with 976 yards.
Johnson is 11th in receptions with 84. Jennings leads the Vikings with 63, which is good enough for 42nd place.
Johnson is second in receiving yards with 1,492. Jennings leads the Vikings with 760 receiving yards, which puts him in 44th place.
Johnson is tied for fourth in scoring among non-kickers with 72 points (12 touchdowns). Peterson is 11th with 66 points (11 touchdowns).
Blair Walsh is tied for 12th in scoring among kickers with 119 points. Detroit’s David Akers is tied for 29th with 92 points.
Johnson is sixth in total yards from scrimmage with 1,492 (all receiving). Peterson is 10th with 1,437 yards (1,266 rushing, 171 receiving).
Detroit punter Sam Martin is eighth in the league in punting average at 46.8 yards. Jeff Locke is 24th with an average of 44.5 yards.
Martin is seventh in net punting average at 40.8 yards. Locke is 21st at 39.2 yards.
Marcus Sherels is second in the league in punt return average (13.6 yards). No Lion has enough returns to qualify for the league lead.
Patterson leads the league in kickoff return average at 33.6 yards per return – more than three yards better than any other returner in the league.
Detroit linebacker DeAndre Levy is tied for second in the league in interceptions with six – an amazing number for a linebacker.
Jared Allen is tied for 20th in sacks with 9.5. Brian Robison is tied for 23rd with nine. Rookie Ziggy Ansah leads the Lions with eight sacks, which ties him for 32nd place.
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.