Wednesday, August 18, 2010

2010 Preview: Minnesota Vikings

2009 Record: 12-4

2009 Rankings:
Total Offense - 5
Run Offense - 13
Pass Offense - 8
Scoring Offense - 2
Total Defense - 6
Run Defense - 2
Pass Defense - 19
Scoring Defense - 10

Word on the street is that some guy who used to do jeans commercials wants to play quarterback for this team? Whatever.

In all seriousness though, Brett Favre sat at home all winter and laughed at LeBron. "A one-hour special? Ha!" Brett had a month-long special dedicated to his decision. It was called Sportscenter.

What Vikings fans should really be worried about is if Adrian Peterson learned how to hang on to the football or not. His penchant for fumbling was magnified last year in the playoffs, particularly in the NFC Championship game against New Orleans. The Vikings drafted Heisman Finalist Toby Gerhart from Stanford to help share the load with AP this season. Chances are, AP will still see the lion's share of carries.

Favre definitely makes the Vikings passing game a force to be reckoned with in the NFC. To be honest, Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels just won't cut it if they want to be Super Bowl contenders. Jackson could carry them to the playoffs, but not to the Super Bowl. Rosenfels could carry them into position to draft Florida State QB Christian Ponder, likely the #2 QB available in the 2011 Draft. Favre led the Vikings to a torrid 10-1 start, but faltered down the stretch, losing 4 of the next 7, including the NFC Championship game.

On defense, Minnesota has one of the best pass-rushers in the league in Jared Allen and one of the best interior lines with Pat & Kevin Williams. If there can be a "weak link" on the D-line it's RE Ray Edwards, who racked up 8 1/2 sacks on his own last season. Hardly a weak link. The linebacking core of Greenway, Henderson, and Leber are solid in run support. If they lack anywhere, it's in pass coverage. The secondary is good, but there are some holes, particularly at nickel back, that get exposed when teams go to 3 and 4-WR sets.

With that Jeans commercial guy back under center, Minnesota thinks they're poised for another run at Lombardi. But are they really just shooting themselves in the foot? Is Farve's ankle completely healed? If it's not, will coach Brad Childress have the balls to pull Favre from the game? Is Favre worth $16 million sitting on the bench? One thing is certain, if the Vikings don't make the playoffs, Childress is probably going to get fired. Sooner or later, Minnesota is going to have to make a move to get a young quarterback that can lead the offense in the future. They have a solid core of young stars in AP (25), Sidney Rice (24), and Percy Harvin (22), but Farve isn't going to be around when they reach their prime. The Vikings need to look at a long-term option at quarterback in the upcoming draft or suffer the fate of college basketball teams like Memphis that relied on one-and-done talents to sustain their program.

Ian's Prediction: 9-7

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