The Minnesota Vikings are looking forward to a season where hopefully questions will be answered. Spotlights will be on the development of Christian Ponder, Adrian Peterson's return from injury and how the youthful secondary will fair.
I have absolutely no idea how that's going to go.
So, my safety net is to reminisce about happier times. For all you Vikings purists out there, my reminiscing only goes back to about 1992.
Deal with it.
But, what if we could make one team out of the best players of the last 20 years?
DE- John Randle
DT- Kevin Williams
DT- Pat Williams
DE- Jared Allen
These four have 18 Pro Bowls between them in a purple uniform.
Randle is Minnesota's all-time sack leader and Allen has been the premier pass-rusher in the NFL for the last couple of years.
The "Williams Wall" was one of the main reasons the Vikings were a premier defense against the run.
CB- Antoine Winfield
S- Darren Sharper
S- Robert Griffith
CB- Cory Fuller
Antoine Winfield has not only been one of the better Viking corners of the last 20 years, but one could make the argument he is one of the top 5 of all time.
Darren Sharper came over from the Packers and the play-making safety made the Pro Bowl in 2005 and 2007. Partnered with Robert Griffith (27 INTs), the safety position is pretty set.
Cory Fuller rounds out the secondary, and if if there is one weak spot on this team, it's probably him. Besides Antoine Winfield, the Vikings haven't had a Pro Bowl corner since 1992.
Somebody has to fill the imaginary spot on my metaphorical team.
RLB- E.J. Henderson
MLB- Jack Del Rio
LLB- Ed McDaniel
The linebacking corps is spread out over the last 20 years. Each one made the Pro Bowl once, and are three out of only seven Viking linebackers to ever make a Pro Bowl.
C- Matt Birk
G- Steve Hutchinson
G- Randall McDaniel
T- Todd Steussie
T- Korey Stringer
Randall McDaniel is the obvious selection in this group, with 11 Pro Bowls and seven NFL first-team appearances.
Stringer is a sad story, but he made the Pro Bowl in 2000, and is on the Vikings' Ring of Honor.
Steussie was one of the better tackles in the NFL in the late 90s, and Hutchinson was considered the best guard in the game when the Vikings acquired him in 2007.
WR- Cris Carter
WR- Randy Moss
TE- Jim Kleinsasser
TE- Andrew Glover
The Vikings' receiver spot is the easiest to fill not only in the last 20 years, but ever. Arguably one of the best offenses in history, the Vikes put on an explosive show in the early 2000's that featured the devastating receiving tandem of Moss and Carter.
The tight end spots go to the fullback-tight end hybrid Jim Kleinsasser and the often forgotten Andrew Glover.
RB- Adrian Peterson
QB- Daunte Culpepper
Daunte Culpepper in his prime was a beautiful thing. In the five years that he started with Minnesota, he was selected to the Pro Bowl in three of them. An MVP runner-up in 2004, Culpepper was the perfect guy to lead Minnesota in the early aughts. Fans are quick to dismiss him because of his sputtering career that was hampered by injuries, but not many can deny the amount of points he was able to put up.
Adrian Peterson nudges Robert Smith on this list because of what A.P. is expected to do. Peterson should pass Smith relatively soon on Minnesota's all-time rushing list. A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Peterson is considered one of the best RBs in the NFL.
K- Gary Anderson
P- Mitch Berger
Sadly remembered for the kick that he missed in the NFC Championship Game in 1998, Anderson is still one of the best kickers in franchise history.
Mitch Berger punted for the Vikings for six years, and was selected to a Pro Bowl once in 1999.
For a punter, that has to count for something.