Minnesota Vikings: Five Key Position Battles
Heading into the season, the Minnesota Vikings seem to have a pretty solid roster. There are a couple positions that are up for grabs, but there are also some positions where the team has more than enough talent to create a really good competition for starting jobs.
Here's a look at some of the positions players will be battling for come training camp.
Since Brad Childress was hired as Head Coach, this has been the most critical position. The fact that the team hasn't had a quarterback start all 16 regular season games since the 2004 season is becoming rather alarming to the purple faithful.
Right now, the battle is between Tarvaris Jackson, Sage Rosenfels, or John David Booty (he's on the roster, so I'm including him), so let the competition begin.
Neither Jackson or Rosenfels have proven at any time in their careers to be a reliable starter. Jackson, however, did show promise at the end of last season and is considered the favorite entering the season.
Rosenfels could surprise people, especially if he can take care of the football. He has shown in the past that he can be a reliable passer who can complete passes. The downside for Rosenfels is that when he makes a mistake, it's a costly one (helicopter fumble vs. the colts...).
Ok, so I'm not really going to say that Booty has a shot, but crazy things happen sometimes.
Once again, the Vikings quarterback position is up for grabs. With expectations higher than ever, this is the most important year to make the right decision. Can this years QB start all 16 games, be consistent, and take the team deep into the playoffs? Time will tell.
2. Right Tackle
Right now, it seems that this job is rookie Phil Loadholt's to lose. If he can show any sort of consistency in training camp and the preseason, then the job is his. Ryan Cook played less than admirably last season and it's time for a change.
Cook might even move back to his natural position, center, to try to compete with second-year man, John Sullivan. Another option at this position if Loadholt falters would be Artis Hicks, but he serves better as a backup because of his versatility.
Some options in free agency would be Mark Tauscher or Jon Runyan, but Loadholt is definitely the leading candidate.
3. Wide Receiver
In selecting Percy Harvin in the first round of the draft, the Vikings instantly created a competition in the receiving corps.
Bernard Berrian, Sidney Rice, and Harvin are all safe, but that leaves Bobby Wade, Aundrae Allison, Darius Reynaud, as well as a handful of others to compete for the final two spots.
Bobby Wade has a good shot at making the team after being the leading receiver the past two seasons. However, the team might want to take a chance on an intriguing, young receiver like Jaymar Johnson or Reynaud.
The team also brought in Glenn Holt through free agency to be a kick returner, but he is also listed at wide receiver, so he might have an edge over the rest. However, Harvin could be a candidate to return kicks as well. That leaves Allison on the bubble.
4. Defensive End
We know that one side of the line is set with Jared Allen, but on the other side, Ray Edwards better watch his back. Edwards has the edge going into camp, but third-year end Brian Robison showed a lot last year and it might be enough to take a shot at the starting job. Robison usually plays the on the right side of the line, but he would probably get more playing time on the left side. Right now, it sounds like Edwards has the starting job in his hands, but this could be an interesting competition.
Last year, Charles Gordon was injured halfway through the season and Benny Sapp really stepped up in his place. Gordon was released this off season because he was unable to rehab from his injury. This year, the competition gets more fierce because the Vikings drafted Asher Allen and brought in Karl Paymah through free agency.
Third-year player Marcus McCauley seems to be on the outside looking in for this situation. He barely saw playing time last season, but that doesn't mean he won't get the opportunity in training camp.