This is the last Sunday until early February that we will have without the NFL. With that season about to start, I think it is time to give an a forecast of what the Vikings could – and should – accomplish in the 2009-10 season.
1. After Bernard Berrian, the receivers lack much proven ability. Sydney Rice has yet to prove he is a worthy No. 2, and Bobby Wade is going to give what you think he will and not much more. Percy Harvin should be a great asset for the receiver core and I like Darius Reynaud – the former West Virginia Mountaineer – he will get major looks on special teams.
2. Center of Attention! There is plenty of reason to believe that the offensive line should be as good as they have been in the pasty few years, but long time starting center and Minnesota native Matt Birk, is now in Baltimore and the Vikings are looking to second year player John Sullivan, to take over for the Pro Bowler.
3. The Vikings offense skill players maybe the best in the league. Adrian Peterson is a gimme. But then you have RB Chester Taylor, Berrian, Harvin, and TE Visanthe Shiancoe. There are plenty of targets for Brett Favre.
4. Brett Favre must stay withing the system. If, and it is a major IF, Favre can stay within the system, the Vikings should be even more lethal then they were last year.
5. The linebackers were good last year, and they were without EJ Henderson. For many years the linebackers were the weakness of the Vikings defense. Look how quickly things turn around. The squads leading tacker, Chad Greenway, Ben Leiber, along with Henderson make the most complete trio of linebackers in the NFC North.
6. The pass defense is like the pass offense – needs to prove they are good enough! With two new safeties – Tyrell Johnson and Madieu Williams, the Vikings would have been stupid not to resign Pro Bowl CB Antoine Winfield. Cedric Griffin‘s time is now. He needs to show that he can balance the field and tackle like his counter-part, Winfield.
7. If the Vikings don’t reach at least the NFC Championship game, Brad Childress should be gone. He has too many tools in the tool box that if can’t fix the problem, it’s not the tools’ fault.
8. The defensive line is the deepest in the league. Seriously – take a look.
9. The back-up QB’s will see very little game time this season. Favre is the most durable QB of all-time. with the added incentive of coming back to the league, unless Favre is nearly dead, he will be under center.
10. Know who you are. Like Shaq going to Cleavland, or some other major player going to a VERY good team, you have to remember what makes you a VERY good team. And in Minnesotas case, it is Peterson and the defense. While this team as many weapons, the team’s bread and butter is the typical smash mouth football. That being said, MN did a nice job last year switch gears with Berrian and Taylor, and I would imagine that Harvin will add another layer into the much deeper playbook that Childress will use with Favre.
PREDICTION - 12-4 and play in the NFC Championship game. I am not saying if the Vikings will win or lose, but they will make it there.