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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Mike Zimmer: An improved line will help Teddy Bridgewater ‘a lot more’ than a receiver

By Andrew Krammer

‘No more excuses,’ was part of the text message Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer says he sent to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and running back Adrian Peterson following the team’s free agent additions to the offensive line.

Speaking to reporters from the NFL owners meetings in Boca Raton, Fla. on Wednesday, Zimmer said he thinks repairing the offensive line will better improve the 29th-ranked offense than a top-flight receiver.

“I think that if we fix this one area [offensive line], I think it’s going to help [Bridgewater] a lot more than getting a receiver in here,” Zimmer said, via Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press. “If we can protect for him, be better in our play-action game…we can be more effective offensively and it will allow him to throw a lot more than having a great receiver.”

Through free agency this month, the Vikings added two experienced starters in guard Alex Boone and tackle Andre Smith to bolster an offensive line returning every starter from last season. General manager Rick Spielman addressed some needs with recent additions, including the line, safety and linebacker depth. They reportedly kicked the tires on free agent pass catchers like Oakland’s Andre Holmes, but they’ve yet to add a receiver this offseason.

Around national mock drafts, many analysts peg the Vikings to go with one of the draft’s top receivers at No. 23 overall. The departure of veteran Mike Wallace only furthered that notion.

Though, after Wallace said he ruled out a return to Minnesota because he ‘needed a good quarterback,’ Zimmer returned a dart that could reflect how the Vikings view another valued investment at receiver.

“We had a receiver here that was making a lot of money that didn’t do what we needed,” Zimmer said. “I don’t know that it’s a necessity to go sign another receiver.”

In spirit with the season, the Vikings haven’t been publicly bullish one way or another. They met with top prospects at the NFL scouting combine last month, where Spielman downplayed urgency to draft a receiver early. Two potential first-round picks, TCU’s Josh Doctson and Ole Miss’ Laquon Treadwell, will come to Minnesota for the Vikings’ annual Top 30 visit next month, according to 1500 ESPN contributor Darren Wolfson.

“The receivers are going to be there,” Spielman said last month in Indianapolis.

That same week, Zimmer expanded on the Vikings’ recent run of first-round defenders.

“I’ve always liked drafting corners high, because I think those guys are the guys that help you in today’s NFL,” Zimmer said last month. “Those are the kind of guys that kind of eliminate offenses a little bit — them and pass rushers.”

At receiver, the Vikings are currently returning every player except for Wallace. Zimmer said he’s still holding out hope for Charles Johnson and Cordarrelle Patterson, both coming off disappointing campaigns last season. In particular, Johnson will be worth monitoring after he and Bridgewater had built a solid connection in 2014.

“We still think Charles Johnson can do those things,” Zimmer said on PFT Live this week. “Stefon Diggs who had a good rookie year, I think he’s going to improve this next year, and Jarius Wright. And we’re hoping Cordarrelle Patterson finally gets it on the right track.”

The post Mike Zimmer: An improved line will help Teddy Bridgewater ‘a lot more’ than a receiver appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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