The 2009 season bring some changes to the Minnesota Vikings' offensive personnel. I will outline the potential impact of the most notable changes, from a playcalling and offensive scheme perspective, on a player-by-player basis.
Quarterback-Sage Rosenfels or Brett Favre
Rosenfels was acquired via trade from the Houston Texans, and will compete with Tarvaris Jackson for the starting job under center for the Vikings. Rosenfels has to be considered the front runner at this point, since Jackson has not proven himself despite having the opportunity to do so.
Of course, the potential of Favre joining the Vikings is largely speculation right now, but the future Hall of Famer would be handed the starting job if he came to Minnesota.
If Rosenfels or Favre is the starter, improved QB play over the combination of Jackson and Gus Frerotte of 2008 seems very likely. That could lead to a more aggressive and productive passing game, which could help Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor be even more effective runners.
Rookie Wide Receiver Percy Harvin
Minnesota ignored character concerns in making the University of Florida wide receiver the 22nd overall pick in last month's draft. Harvin adds big play potential that the Vikings' offense is in need of from the wide receiver position.
Harvin could be used out of the backfield as a runner or a receiver as a target for screen passes, and could allow the Vikings to use reverses and other trick plays as a way to get the ball into his hands. He could even draw attention from the opposing defense as a decoy, which would allow other players the opportunity to produce.
At the very least, Harvin's presence will challenge the creativity of the Vikings' offensive coaching staff as they will need to find ways to get the ball into his hands to maximize the impact he has on the field.
Rookie Offensive Tackle Phil Loadholt
Loadholt was the Vikings' second round pick in last month's draft out of the University of Oklahoma. He is big (6' 8", 340 lbs, depending on the source) and seems well suited to being a right tackle in the NFL. The Vikings have seemingly struggled to find a good right tackle since the untimely death of Korey Stringer in 2001.
If Loadholt wins the starting job at right tackle, he seems capable of being an instant upgrade over the combination of Ryan Cook, Artis Hicks, and others that the Vikings have used in recent seasons.
That circumstance could make running plays to the right more effective, which would obviously help the productivity of the Vikings' offense as a whole.
Center John Sullivan
With veteran center Matt Birk's departure via free agency to the Baltimore Ravens, Sullivan seems to be the front runner to take over as the Vikings' starting center in 2009.
Sullivan was drafted by the Vikings in the sixth round of 2008 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame, and did not start a game as a rookie.
If Sullivan wins the job, opposing defenses will probably challenge him with exotic blitz packages as he makes the offensive line calls. If he is up to the task, the Vikings' offense should be able to be productive right from the start of the season. If he can't handle it, particularly early in the season, the offense could struggle to keep the chains moving.