The Minnesota Vikings have done everything right five weeks into the season. They are the lone-remaining undefeated team in the NFL; the blockbuster trade pulled out of the deep, dark depths of their asses eight days before the season opener is paying off big time; the defense is committing straight felony assault on opposing quarterbacks; and Marcus Sherels and Cordarrelle Patterson have made the special teams unit forget the season could once again hinge on the right leg of one Blair Walsh.
Now, please for the love of everything holy, don’t sabotage the whole thing during the bye week. Stay away from drugs, strippers, guns and most notably the combination of any of those things and a party boat.
Staying on task is the No. 1 most important thing when given this kind of down time. Here is the Berserker Viking’s bye-week priority list for the Purple and Gold so they’re ready to keep dominating in Week 7 in Philadelphia.
- Get healthy: With a lot of guys we are passed the point of no return. Only one player can come off the IR, and even though it is probably the wrong move, I have a feeling Minnesota is going to leave that designation open for Adrian Peterson. Outside of No. 28, there are plenty of Vikings who could use the time to rest up and heal for the final 11 games of the regular season. Stefon Diggs (groin) is probably tops on that list, followed by Brandon Fusco (concussion) and Mycole Pruitt (Ankle? Leg? What the hell CBS?!). Minnesota has avoided the injury bug on the defensive side overall, but an extra week off means we are getting closer to the return of Shariff Floyd. I don’t think Floyd needs to start immediately upon his return—especially considering the play of Tom Johnson (2 sacks; INT; 1 pass deflection; 1 run stuff). However, Floyd’s availability is another added weapon in head coach Mike Zimmer’s arsenal.
- Sure up o-line: The offensive line has been a revolving door of dog crap this season and now the Vikings have two weeks to rub their linemen’s faces in it and get this cleaned up. Minnesota made a move today in signing former No.1-overall pick Jake Long after sending Andre Smith to the IR. Individually the line hasn’t graded terribly but with T.J. Clemmings ranked as the worst left tackle in the league and Fusco not far behind at right guard, something—anything—had to be done.
I thought Zimmer and o-line coach Tony Sparano might consider moving Boone to left tackle but with Long now on board, I think everyone will stay in place with Clemmings heading back to the bench. Sam Bradford is too freaking fragile and the Vikings have too much riding on his right arm to let him be a sitting duck back there. The line doesn’t have to be top tier, but if Minnesota wants to go to the Super Bowl, it can’t be this either:
- Get Treadwell up to speed: It is okay, you can admit it, me too. It has been a buzz-kill going through five games without Laquon Treadwell getting even a sniff of a target. There is a certain expectation that comes with being a first-round pick but Zimmer seems to spit on that preconceived notion like it’s a giant wad of Red Man chewing tobacco. Whatever the reason is that Treadwell hasn’t found the field in any significant way yet, the Vikings would be wise to use the time off to make sure that changes after the bye. Opponents are keying on Kyle Rudolph in the red zone, having another big-bodied target for Bradford to look to would be huge.
- Stay out of damn trouble: Want to know what derails this great little run the Vikings are on—DUIs, domestic disputes, cocaine possession, beating your children. You hear NFL coaches and executives talk all the time about how much they worry when players have free time. Minnesota is no stranger to player arrests, so let’s please just take this bye week to just Netflix and chill (catch up on the Walking Dead before the new season begins). The start to this season has been too good to ruin with idiocy.