Cory's Corner: Vikings big secret doesn't matter

Mike Zimmer has kept the NFL’s biggest secret this week.

The Vikings coach is keeping his starting quarterback under lock and key for the Sunday night game when Minnesota opens its brand new U.S. Bank Stadium against Green Bay.

However, it doesn’t matter one bit.

Neither Sam Bradford nor Shaun Hill has the skills to win a game. And judging by the Vikings’ anemic offensive output last week, which was 0-for-3 in the red zone and 6-for-14 on third down, I don’t see things changing much.

Granted, the Vikings started 36-year-old journeyman Hill against a Titans team that should be happy to see six wins this year. Tennessee made the Vikings defense look like the 1985 Bears thanks to a couple of defensive touchdowns. Hill’s career highlight was when he went 5-3 for the 2008 49ers.

Bradford is the obvious choice to start for two reasons. First, he has been taking first-team reps this week and two, the Vikings didn’t give up a first round pick and a fourth rounder — which could be higher based on Minnesota’s record — to see Bradford observe from the sideline.

But Bradford comes with a glaring problem. He’s entering his seventh season as a pro but has started all 16 games only twice. His injury history is more extensive than a phone book. It goes all the back to 2009 as a quarterback for Oklahoma when he needed surgery on his A/C joint to tearing his left ACL in back-to-back seasons in 2013 and 2014 as a member of the Rams.

Bradford’s arm doesn’t scare anyone, so expect to see plenty of bubble screens, slants and swing passes.

The most important thing defensively, is to make him uncomfortable and get him out of the pocket. Bradford was sacked two or more times a whopping five times last year. Not surprisingly, he lost every single game.

Zimmer thinks that keeping a secret will somehow keep Green Bay ill-prepared. That may be the case if one of the quarterbacks warranted certain defensive attention.

But neither guy has enough dynamic ability to do anything special — which puts an extraordinary amount of pressure on Adrian Peterson. The 31-year-old running back showed he’s closer to getting his NFL AARP card by rushing for 31 yards on 19 carries last week.

Basically this is a college offense. No nuance or creativity. Just ram Peterson left, right and up the middle and hope that something opens up as a result in the passing game.

And then there’s one more thing: Bradford likely doesn’t have the offense down cold yet. He’s going to be forced to wing it in arguably the most important game of the season for the Vikings.

The Vikings sacrificed their future for a guy that won’t have his starting left tackle, which means Clay Matthews will be feasting on Minnesota’s funniest secret all game long. 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (26)

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NickPerry's picture

September 17, 2016 at 06:52 am

I don't think it will matter who the Vikings line up at QB, not really. Neither are mobile, though Bradford might be a little more accurate. The Vikings are without their LT? Isn't that Matt Kalil, the guy that gives up lots of sacks and commits a bunch of penalties? Damn, get well soon Matt!

Noise will be the biggest issue for the Packers. Don't let Peterson gain a yard without 3 or 4 guys tackling him, matter of fact be nasty about it. Peterson almost ALWAYS puts the ball on the ground at home, be there to scoop it up. Peterson won't be a factor this week leading people to start asking the question, "Is the end near"?

Nelson is going off. He's caught a pass, run routes, been hit, been tackled, he's tested the knee and knows he's good. Last week it was said he was 80%, this week he might be at 85 or 90%. Whatever the % is, Nelson should have a good game. Another week of practice. Another week of getting in better shape and trusting the knee.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 17, 2016 at 07:47 am

Yeah, I'm looking for Nelson to be a little more confident as well and for his legs to have lossened up a little but after that first game. I've had knee surgery and it's amazing the bodies response to the trauma, it just kinda tightens up.

I think It's going to be important to come out strong early in the game. The Vikings are gonna be pumped about there new stadium and if they can weather that storm and force them into a mistake they should be able to dissolve that initial energy.

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dobber's picture

September 17, 2016 at 08:18 am

I was of the opinion that this is the week that the Packers feature Cook in the game plan, but the Vikes have good speed at LB and a very good FS...and with Rhodes out, that thins their DBs. They're always going to run the ball, but I expect a healthy dose of Nelson and Adams this week.

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zerotolerance's picture

September 17, 2016 at 07:54 am

28-13 Pack! Vike's LT out. Matthews stays on that side of field and will sack early and often.

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Crackerpacker's picture

September 17, 2016 at 08:04 am

Last i heard Kalil was questionable, But Floyd and Rhodes were out.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 17, 2016 at 08:14 am

Floyd, Rhodes and Pruitt are all out. Kalil is questionable and did not practice.

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dobber's picture

September 17, 2016 at 08:20 am

All Bradford really brings over Hill is a little more accuracy and a little more ability to deliver the ball downfield. He's going to be limited...and if you watched AP last week, he didn't look like the old AP. Either it was a function of the OL play or he might finally be hitting the wall.

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SpaceManatee's picture

September 17, 2016 at 09:03 am

I think AP just needs to flip the Switch. It also wouldn't hurt if he Branched out to other areas like receiving. Still, if the Packers aren't careful, he may Abuse them.

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Norm's picture

September 18, 2016 at 02:10 pm

Clever!

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Otto's picture

September 17, 2016 at 08:52 am

I think the Vikings and their fans are expecting a Saints-returning-to-the-Super-Dome post Katrina experience in their new stadium. The amount of hyperbole coming from the media types and fans is dialed way up this year.

I think they're in for a rude awakening.

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dobber's picture

September 17, 2016 at 09:38 am

I find myself wondering how much the "opening the new field" factor really matters for the players. I'm sure the crowd will be amped up, which may factor in for the players some, but how many fans will be there in green?

I hope they left that damn dopey horn in the Metrodome.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 17, 2016 at 09:27 am

I have a higher opinion of Bradford than some others, but with only 2 weeks to learn the MN system and to get comfortable with his receivers, he probably is a game manager only. Division games tend to be difficult, but I don´t see where MNś points are going to come from. We need to give Lacy 18 to 20 carries, and for AR to average over 6 YPA.

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dobber's picture

September 17, 2016 at 09:39 am

At this stage, for the reasons you mention, I don't really think there's much difference between the two at QB in terms of game prep.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

September 17, 2016 at 09:31 am

Sticking to my 38-20 Pack victory call. I think the Packers haven't had that signature win (like the Pats game a few years ago) and they will put it all together tomorrow night. I don't think it will be close and Mike will keep the pedal down all game.

Then again, I am a complete homer and proud of it.

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mrtundra's picture

September 17, 2016 at 10:13 am

It's time for the Packers to live up to their potential and humiliate the vikings. Let that signature win be written in Green and Gold ink!

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sheppercheeser's picture

September 18, 2016 at 06:51 am

I love your optimism, but I've never seen MM find the gas pedal at the end of any game. If GB is on top, he tends to try to "not lose the game" rather than "win the game". I hope I'm wrong this time.

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carusotrap's picture

September 17, 2016 at 10:44 am

"Bradford’s arm doesn’t scare anyone, so expect to see plenty of bubble screens, slants and swing passes."

This is a strategy that could work for MIN. Or it could completely backfire. The Packers tend to stop those little swing passes for a five yard loss or they go for 15. No middle ground. If we cheat the run with LBs which you kind of have to do with AP, look for a bunch of those swing passes. Or, you play action to AP, drop back, look deep, and then get it to AP on the outside. Clay is going to earn his money this week.

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TarynsEyes's picture

September 17, 2016 at 11:26 am

" Neither Sam Bradford nor Shaun Hill has the skills to win a game. "

And yet they both have won games.

Let's try this.

" Aaron Rodgers QB tools will not allow him to lose a game. "

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Since'61's picture

September 17, 2016 at 01:13 pm

Zimmer wasted everyone's time keeping his QB secret this week. Bradford and Hill combined are less than 1/2 of Rodgers so what's the difference which one plays. It's still the Viqueens new stadium or not. Stop AP, rush the QB and don't commit turnovers. Pack wins. Thanks, Since '61

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DrealynWilliams's picture

September 17, 2016 at 03:41 pm

I don't care about any of their available QB's.

Peterson hasn't had a breakout game or even a "good game" against us since the 2nd game in '13.

I'd like to think our current Defensive talent is much better than the '13 starters. Yes, he's still a focal point, but I don't think he can dominate a game against us anymore. ESPECIALLY if we can get up early.

That Defense still worries me. They still have a damn good play-caller/coordinator and those LBs & Safety are healthy. I think the Vikings will stay aggressive, but I think the addition of Cook will burn them. There will be quite a few one-on-one opportunities, either with Cook or outside, we just have to take advantage.

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Allan Murphy's picture

September 18, 2016 at 12:14 am

RUN THE BALL AND STOP THE RUN AND WIN THE GAME ........

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sheppercheeser's picture

September 18, 2016 at 06:47 am

I'd love to see Jared Cook run wild through the middle!

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gr7070's picture

September 18, 2016 at 07:03 am

Two things that actually have very little to do with winning football games.

Welcome to 2016.

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Norm's picture

September 18, 2016 at 02:25 pm

In general maybe, in today's NFL. But not this game,

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PETER MAIZ's picture

September 18, 2016 at 05:13 am

Rodgers needs to start using Cook to break through the middle.We've got to convert the third downs to first downs and we win.

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sheppercheeser's picture

September 18, 2016 at 06:46 am

Until the Packers show up with something better than the anemic offense we saw last week, I think it's a little premature to say that GB will easily handle the Vikes. Don't get me wrong- I hope they lay a beat-down on MN, but we need a concerted effort to make this happen. Go Pack!

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