The season is upon us and it is time to put up or shut up.
What do we have in store for us this year? Another early hole to fight out of? A late season swan song? Or how about being a place mat in the playoffs?
We all know what the history of the Vikings has been over recent years. I would like to Present a different perspective on our upcoming season. I am eager to see what we have in store for those of us whom bleed purple and gold each Sunday.
I know that we have the playmakers. It is a given. Adrian Peterson, Bernard Berrian, Percy Harvin, Jared Allen, the Williams Wall, Chad Greenway, and the rest of the impressive defense. I want to know one thing this year, will the Vikings put up of shut up?
Yes that is right, I am calling out the Minnesota Vikings this year. Some by name, and others by association. I have no apologies either. I want no explanations or excuses, just results.
Major questions for this year...
1. Obvious point of interest: QB situation. I don't care who is the QB, it won't matter if the line can do it's job of protecting. That's right, I said it. The success of the QB (Jackson, Sage, Booty, the guy in row 13 seat 12) is dependant on the line.
The left side of the line is one of the best in the game. Mr. Loadholt can you solidify a shaky right side? Mr. Sullivan can you make the calls needed during the game?
The Vikings have the talent behind the line, can the line play up to their talent level? Put up of shut up!
2. Coaching call-out: Childress can you live up to your own expectations.
OK so you have got the talent (except maybe at QB) to produce some spectacular plays on offense. Childress will you finally get out of your predictable play-calling that has been your forte' during your head coaching tenure? Coach Murphy can you impact a dismal special teams unit from a year ago? Coach Frazier can you finally get the ball hawking DB's that your defensive system thrives upon? It is time, the "Tice" era is over and there are a minimal of hold overs. Coaches, put up or shut up.
3. Player production: Are you worth you pay checks?
Cedric Griffin - Can you produce to the level you are expected? You are one of the best up and coming corners in the game. Can you elevate your game to include more interceptions? Your counterpart has proved to be a shut down corner. Can you do the same?
Tyrell Johnson - Can you prove to me that it was worth letting Darren Sharper leave via free agency? Your rookie year you played very well. Are you going to regress into the second-year slump? Can you and Madieu Williams prove to be the deep middle that was envisioned when you were drafted?
John Sullivan - This is the NFL. You have been given a chance to prove that you are capable of replacing a pro-bowl caliber player. Prove to me that you deserve such a chance over a 16+ game season. Gym rats are great but that won't translate into wins on Sunday. The QB behind you won't be making the protection calls, that is up to you. A lot of faith has been laid upon you, can the "golden dome" on your shoulders provide solace in your abilities?
Sidney Rice - Injuries aside, will you be able to produce like the "next rising star" you were expected to be last year? Can you warrant man coverage on ]third down? Will you be able to read the zone and allow yourself a chance to help convert and make plays?
Chris Kluwe - Can you mature enough to embrace a new philosophy for your punting? Last year you had difficulty directionally punting, this year will you be able to punt within your TEAM's coverage abilities? Having a great distance on your punts is great for an individual achievement but when you punt beyond your coverage the TEAM is hurt by big returns.
Coverage units - T-A-C-K-L-E the ball carriers. What more do I need to say?
Percy Harvin/Jaymer Johnson - Both of you have the raw talent that can change a game in an instant. Can you do that on a consistent basis? There won't be a wedge to run behind anymore, can you provide your own seam and make teams respect the "field position" angle a little more?
The Wilfs - How long will you tolerate being in the middle of the pack? I applaud you for changing the atmosphere surrounding the team after Culpepper and company had their little cruise. Tice is gone and so are many of those associated with his regime, good eggs and bad. Childress has righted the ship, now is the time to gain speed. You have brought in great players and made interesting personnel moves. How long does Childress get to "snow-ball" you about Tavaris Jackson?
This team clearly has what it takes to make a deep playoff run. The Super Bowl should be the outlook, not just the NFC Championship game. Childress has (I can't believe I am saying this) made this team perform the way the fans have expected for years. However, my patience is thinner than ice fishing shanty side walls when it comes to under performing during the playoffs. Childress has gotten the team to the playoff only to allow a visiting team use the field turf as a door mat.
The time has come. Minnesota Vikings players, coaches, owners....
PUT UP or SHUT UP!!