1. What was the most encouraging sign of the Vikings 23-10 victory over the Chargers?
Kras: I think Teddy having a strong game was the most encouraging thing. Teddy looked solid throwing the ball, 12 of 16 passing for 161 yards and 1 TD. He also added 2 rushes for 21 yards, most of which were picked up on a nice scamper up the middle when no one was open down field. It was nice to see Teddy and Kyle Rudolph have some nice hook-ups on Sunday as well. Hopefully that bond will continue to grow over the course of the season. If Rudolph can step up and play a bigger role for this offense, it should help open up other options on the outside with Stefon Diggs, Charles Johnson and eventually Laquon Treadwell.
Nate Leer: I agree that the offense showed promise. Teddy, Diggs and Treadwell all showed signs of being ready for the regular season. However, I thoughts the play of the O-line was the best part. There were often gaping holes to run through and Teddy was usually able to work through his progressions in the pocket. That was a promising development.
2. Who will emerge this season on offense to help the Vikings?
Kras: I think Charles Johnson will be a sneaky good player this year. He showed some promise two years ago before being out a lot last season. Teddy and he seemed to have a good chemistry when he was on the field and healthy. I think, if he can bounce back this year, the Vikings offense can take a step forward in opening up the passing game.
3. Does Paul Molitor have to worry about his job going into next season?
Kras: It has been said that his job is safe going into the 2017 season but I will only believe that when I see it next season. Most of what has happened is not Molly’s fault and it has to be hard to keep players motivated when the season is all but over. However, it is not encouraging to see the Twins losing streak now hit 10 in a row. For all intents and purposes, it is the best thing for the Twins to lose games at this rate so they can improve their draft position. With the Twins continuing to slide this season, it could mean more changes in the organization going forward. To some degree it really doesn’t matter what moves are made if the pitching remains as poor as it has been.
Nate Leer: I like Molly and think he has the potential to be a very good manager. That said, no matter what ownership says, his job security is iffy at best if and when the Twins bring in a new president and GM. I just don’t see anyone taking the job to lead the organization without being able to hire their own manager. Maybe Molly gets a year to prove his worth but he should be concerned – or not, he gets paid either way.
1. How will losing Tony Romo impact the Dallas Cowboys this year?
Kras: Losing Romo for any length of time is a blow to the Cowboys. Speculation is that Romo will be out until at least the mid point of the season, and who knows, by then Dak Prescott may continue to be the starter. Prescott has looked exceptional this August but the plan was not to bring him along this quick. With a rookie already starting at RB and now QB, the Cowboys may be in for some tough games with lots of growing pains. The Cowboys still do have some things going for them though in that offensive line and one of the top WRs in the game in Dez Bryant. The run game should be the focal point of this offense and they should be able to effectively move the ball on the ground, thus taking pressure off of whomever is under center for the Cowboys.
Nate Leer: Losing Romo clearly hurts the Cowboys but I think it may not be as bad as some people think. While the Cowboys have some issues on D, the run game could be so strong that there is little pressure on Prescott to win games. If they can stick with the blueprint of running a lot, getting Dak on the edge with a run/throw option and otherwise getting him easy reads through play-action, the offense could still be pretty solid.
2. Is there any team, A.L. or N.L. that is outside the wild card race that you believe will make it into the play-offs?
Kras: There are still a lot of games left to be played in the season so it is hard to know how it will all shake out yet. Looking at the standings in the A.L., I think the Detroit Tigers, who are 2 games back, have the best chance to take the last playoff spot. The Tigers are an aging team at this point and they may be running out of chances to have Miguel Cabrera take them to the promise land. That said, they still have Miggy and that counts for something. On the other side in the N.L. I like the Mets to be the team to make it in. Their pitching has been up and down but they may have the ability to get it together at the right time. They should get Steven Matz back in the rotation mid-week next week and that will help bolster a rotation that is looking for some help. Other teams I would note that could make a late push: Miami Marlins and Kansas City Royals.
3. Do you want to see a change in how many games there are in the NFL preseason?
Kras: The only thing that bothers me about the preseason is the 4th game where there are no starters in the game. It is more or less a game for the teams to decide who should get the final roster spots on the team and who will go to the practice squad and or released. I don’t mind having 4 preseason games but it does seem to get long when all you want to do is watch football that counts. All we want to see is whether our teams have improved at all or if by week 4 your team is playing for draft position. One more week then it gets real!
Nate Leer: I think the number of preseason games could be cut to 3 or even 2. If the league gets its way by adding games to the regular season, it would definitely make sense to cut down the preseason games. Otherwise, the chances of teams giving up a week’s worth of ticket revenue is virtually zero.