Minnesota Vikings Should Win a Weak NFC North

Jeffrey WaldContributor IMay 11, 2009

Minneapolis—It's the "Black and Blue" division of the NFL.

The NFC North features four teams that don't like each other. Every week that features a divisional game is an all-out war, it's a division where a team must be physically and mentally tough to survive.

The Detroit Lions did not have those attributes last year with an 0-16 record. They were a team that looked lost in what it was trying to accomplish, and it started at the top with inept leadership.

The Green Bay Packers got off to a decent start before tanking down the stretch. They lost eight of their final nine games to finish 5-11 in Aaron Rodgers' first year as an NFL quarterback, but he wasn't the reason the team folded. Their defense had trouble keeping teams out of the end zone, and their offense couldn't score enough points to keep up.

The Chicago Bears got off to a 6-3 start, but couldn't find a way to win meaningful games down the stretch and pull away with the division title.

They lost three out of four games last November, and it forced them to play perfect football the last three games of the year to have any chance to win the division. A loss at Houston in the final game of the season let the Vikings win the NFC North.

The Vikings, if they do what they're capable of in the season ahead, should have no problem winning the NFC North. Every game in the division, regardless of who is playing, features a heated battle that's very competitive. As a whole, the division lacks a flashy team with a lot of skill players. The Vikings are the closest thing to that.

Jay Cutler going to the Chicago Bears changes things a little, but they will be the only team that gives the Vikings a challenge for the division title. The Lions aren't a much different team from the one that went 0-16 last year, and the Packers lack the playmakers to be a team that wins consistently.

With proven receivers in Bernard Berrian and Bobby Wade, a solid tight end in Visanthe Shiancoe and the newly drafted Percy Harvin, there are plenty of threats besides Adrian Peterson in the Vikings' offense.

It all depends on who the quarterback is. Whether it's Brett Favre, Sage Rosenfels, or Tarvaris Jackson, good play from that spot will get the Vikings deep in the playoff.

If Favre signs with Minnesota, there's no reason the Vikings can't compete for the NFC Championship and make a good run at the Super Bowl.