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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Michael Vick should not be an option at QB, even for desperate Vikings

By Matthew Coller

If you are a gamer, you know that there are two players who have become iconic for being absolutely unstoppable on their given game. Bo Jackson on Tecmo Bowl and Mike Vick on Madden 2004. Both players’ speed is so outrageous, they can run circles around opponents, forcing kids of the early 90s and mid-2000s to employ “No Bo” or “No Vick” rules.

In real life, Vick wasn’t quite a cheat code, but he was one of the most terrifying players in the league for opponents to face. Despite his ‘04 Freak Show status in the video game world, there’s a good argument that 2010 in Philadelphia was the best Vick ever played. He threw 21 touchdowns with only six interceptions, completed 63% of his passes and rushed for another nine touchdowns.

Unfortunately, both the ‘04 run-first Vick and the all-around dynamo Vick of ‘10 are long gone. With Pittsburgh last year, it appeared that his skills diminished to the point that he is no longer even an effective backup quarterback and therefore should not be a consideration for the Vikings to play behind – or ahead of or next to – Shaun Hill.

Over the past two seasons, Vick has appeared in 15 games and gone 104-for-187 with 975 yards, five touchdowns, three interceptions and rushed 46 times for 252 yards.

The offensive efficiency for the Jets and Steelers with Vick under center was about as bad as you will ever see in the NFL. Combining runs and passes, there were 233 plays involving Vick and 1,227 yards gained, which works out to an average of 5.5 Yards Per Play. To put that in context, Tim Tebow averaged 6.1 Yards Per Play in Denver in 2011.

In terms of the passing game, Vick’s 5.2 Yards Per Attempt would have been by far the worst in the NFL last year. The Indianapolis Colts had worst YPA in the league at 5.6. Over his career, Shaun Hill has averaged 6.7 YPA.

Sometimes traditional stats don’t tell the story, but in this case, they do. The ESPN-invented QBR, which factors in game situations, scored Vick as a 21.4 in New York and 31.8 in Pittsburgh. Tebow’s 2011 QBR was 29.5 and Nick Foles had last season’s worst QBR at 30.0. Shaun Hill managed a 41.3 QBR as a starter in St. Louis in 2014.

Why has he struggled so much? Vick was never the most accurate quarterback – in fact, he was one of the least accurate during his time – but things have changed defensively since his prime. There are so many more Mike Vicks in the NFL than there were in 2004. Cam Newton, Tyrod Taylor and Russell Wilson had over 500 yards rushing and Alex Smith had 498 yards on the ground. And many more quarterbacks like Ryan Tannehill, Aaron Rodgers, Blake Bortles and even Ryan Fitzpatrick feature some type of running threat. So defenses are well equipped to slow a running QB.

And Vick has lost a few steps. He can no longer break legs with his jukes or accelerate like a Lamborghini to escape from tacklers like the Madden ’04 days.

Here’s one example from last year against Baltimore where vintage Vick would have outrun the rusher and potentially even created a big play. Instead it goes down as a sack.

His lack of burst is evident in the drop in Yards Per Rush, which was as high as 8.4 in 2006, but faded to 5.0 last year and 5.9 in 2014.

We haven’t even yet addressed Vick’s potential fit within the offense. He couldn’t be more different from Teddy Bridgewater. While Bridgewater was brilliant in the intermediate passing game, Vick went just 15-for-36 over the past two years on passes that traveled between 11 and 20 yards through the air.

Look no further than the ratio of attempts 10 yards or fewer to see how much Vick’s past two offensive coordinators felt about his intermediate passing game. While he threw 36 passes between 11-20, he had 114 throws of 10 yards or fewer.

The Jets and Steelers hoped some of their quick receivers would run after catch, like on this play by Antonio Brown (note that the throw is still fairly inaccurate). They also had a running back in Le’Veon Bell who could catch passes out of the backfield, unlike Adrian Peterson.

But the Vikings do not have run-after-catch specialists. They use tight end Kyle Rudolph and big receivers Laquon Treadwell and Charles Johnson. Only Stefon Diggs and Cordarrelle Patterson are considered receivers that would be used in behind-the-line screens, etc. If Percy Harvin were available, maybe it would work.

Vikings, AP and Mike Vick in the same backfield

— Cris Carter (@criscarter80) August 30, 2016

Still a no for me in 2016.

There is no question the Vikings need to find another quarterback. Tampa Bay’s Mike Glennon or Denver’s Mark Sanchez could both be viable options to spell Hill, who may have a difficult time making it through 16 games. Clearly there are no great options, but there are better ones than Vick.

The post Michael Vick should not be an option at QB, even for desperate Vikings appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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