Art Countryman III is mourning the loss of a home but grateful for the safety of his family and, interestingly, his Vikings memorabilia collection.
Countryman, who lives in Chatfield, Minnesota, and his family – including their dog – escaped without injury Monday night when their home was almost entirely destroyed by an out-of-control grease fire.
KTTC covered the accident and quoted Chatfield Fire Department Chief Ryan Priebe, who said it took firefighters three hours to contain the blaze.
“The kitchen was all burned, and it moved into the living room, and then it just went up the walls … and got in the attic,” Priebe told KTTC.
KTTC’s story said:
Countryman is a dedicated Vikings fan and was amazed to see it all survive the blaze.
Countryman said it was all “pretty charred” except for one room that contained all of his Vikings memorabilia, some of it dating back to the early years of the franchise.
“You can’t put a price on this, but you can’t put a price on life either,” Countryman told KTTC.
Despite losing his home, clothing, and household items, Countryman is hoping the survival of all his Vikings memorabilia is a sign that the team will have a good season [in 2019].
Kubiak brings ‘history with efficient QBs’ to Vikings
With one season in Purple under his belt, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins sees an opportunity to build on the 2018 campaign moving forward.
Matthew Coller of SKOR North (previously 1500ESPN.com), opined recently that the Vikings addition of longtime coach Gary Kubiak as assistant head coach/offensive advisor could “bode well” for Minnesota’s passing game.
Coller said that Cousins’ 2018 performance “was well below the ceiling he set with Washington in 2016” when the Redskins ranked second in yards per attempt. Coller wrote:
In hiring Kevin Stefanski as the full-time offensive coordinator and Gary Kubiak as assistant head coach and offensive advisor, the Vikings are taking their best chance at getting much closer to that ceiling.
Based on Kubiak’s history with quarterbacks who also wouldn’t be mistaken for [John] Elway, the Vikings have a chance to improve Cousins’ efficiency under his watch.
Last year, Cousins averaged 6.25 net yards per attempt (YPA factoring sacks), the lowest of his career since taking over as a full-time starter in 2015. The Vikings were 18th in the NFL, tied with the Raiders, in that category. The final four teams, by the way, rank No. 1, 3, 5 and 6 in NY/A.
In Kubiak’s 18 years without Elway, his teams finished in the top 10 in NY/A nine times and 11 times in the top 15. Some of the highlights of those years:
Coller pointed out a number of specific examples from Kubiak’s tenure in the NFL, including 2000, when the Broncos ranked fourth in net yards per attempt with Brian Griese and Gus Frerotte; 2009, when the Texans topped the league in passing yards behind Matt Schaub, which was part of a run from 2007-11 when the Texans finished in the top 10 of NY/A every season in that span.
Coller said that Kubiak’s offenses historically have used the play-action pass to achieve such a high level of efficiency. He quoted former quarterback Sage Rosenfels, who said the following:
“Kubiak is a guy who does a great job of maximizing a quarterback’s strengths and minimizing weaknesses,” Rosenfels told Coller. “The Vikings are not going to lead the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns next year but as far as being efficient with your quarterback and putting him in really good chance to have success, which I believe is the No. 1 goal for your offense … Kubiak has done that at a high level with guys who are less talented than Kirk Cousins.”
Rosenfels added that if the Vikings implement play-action and “bootleg stuff off the run action and design some really good concepts to get him out of trouble, I think Kirk can make better decisions and make more explosive plays.”
View 30 of the best fan images from the Vikings 2018 season.
Vikings offensive line included among NFL.com’s ‘underperforming units’ in 2018
NFL.com’s Cynthia Frelund took a look across the league and pointed to 10 units she believes were “underperforming” during the 2018 season.
Sixth on her list was Minnesota’s offensive line. Frelund wrote:
The problem is that the investments and strategy surrounding how to optimize their new quarterback fell short of expectations. According to Next Gen Stats, Cousins was under pressure on 217 drop-backs this season, the most of any quarterback in the NFL. When it came to being able to implement some of the higher-probability strategies to avoid these pressures from limiting drives – like efficient rushing – they weren't able to execute. One painful result of this: Their third-down conversion rate dropped from 43.5 percent (third best) to 35.8 percent (26th) this season. The O-line should be a main focus as they try to rebound this offseason.
Two other NFC North teams that were mentioned by Frelund were the Lions, whose passing game was critiqued, and the Packers tight ends group.