Today, with what amounts to a great deal of fear, I write my first article about the Minnesota Vikings. This fear that I have inside me is not due to lack of knowledge of football or the Minnesota Vikings of 2009; but due to the fact that my sister-in-law, who shall remain nameless (Jen) is a fanatic when it comes to the Minnesota Vikings. I vision her reading this article with her Vikings hat on her head, fake gold pigtails, wearing a Viking jersey (probably another one under it) (and underwear too) and spitting forth hateful vulgar language at me as she reads my viewpoint of the Vikings team and season. In fact, her whole family bleeds purple. (I think it is so cute when their little faces turn purple when the Vikings are losing a game).
With that said, my very humble opinion is that the Vikings will be very lucky to make the playoffs this year (yes, even with Brett Favre) and more than likely will sit out the playoffs this year. The following are the reasons, which I am sure Jen and all others like her, while foaming at the mouth and thinking of ways to do evil to me, will deep down.....agree. Here are the reasons for which I may end up in the hospital.
1) Offensive Line: Yes, when one states offensive line of the Minnesota Vikings, that is what it is ....offensive. I will give them credit where credit is due, they are very good in run blocking and opening holes for Peterson, but the failure of the offensive line is pass protection. I honestly believe that Brett Favre is very similar to a lamb about to be sacrificed to the Gods. The offensive line of the Vikings was built to run the ball, not pass and Favre is going to be laying on his back more than a prostitute in a whore house; they will never be able to protect him. I believe that if the Vikings had gone with Jackson; sure not as accurate at throwing the ball as Favre, but he would be able to get away from the rush and scramble down field for some major yards or be able to at least scramble until a receiver got open and make a big play. Favre cannot scramble and unless this offensive line performs a miracle, the sacks and hits that Favre takes, as well as having to rush his passes, will negate his potential. The Vikings made a mistake in signing Favre and at sometime in the season, the Vikings will be looking for Jackson to scramble and hand the ball of to Peterson.
2) Receivers: Brett Favre, being Brett Favre, hurt the Vikings by taking so long to make his decision and signing with the team. It takes time to develop a rhythm with receivers and it could take Farve and the Vikings receivers a good 7-8 games to begin to get onto the same page. I will admit that Bernard Berrian is a very good receiver and gains lots of yards per catch, but that was with Jackson at quarterback, scrambling most of the time, giving Berrian time to get open. Sidney Rice shows that he may never get on the same page as Favre and Bobby Wade, forget it. Wade needs a scrambling Jackson to make plays. Defenses will gear up to rush Favre and not give him time to pick them apart. I believe that most Defense Coordinators will figure out how to put the pressure on Favre to keep the Vikings in a short game. This will frustrate Favre and he will be pressured into making bad decisions, interceptions and taking sacks. The Vikings receivers will not be able to perform to their abilities with Favre in at quarterback instead of Jackson.
3) Peterson: Okay, cannot say much here and Peterson will benefit from having Favre instead of Jackson. The big problem here is not with Jackson, but with Favre who likes to make plays. Favre will change the play at the line on several occasions, taking away carries from Peterson to make the pass play. Remember, Favre (in his mind) must carry this team. Peterson with Farve at quarterback will gain about 1,700 to 2,000 yards this season, but Farve will want to pass when the chips are down and being Favre, will throw interception and cost games. Peterson carrying the ball will keep the Vikings in their games, but Favre's mistakes (mental and throwing) will cost the Vikings some games.
4) Defense: The Vikings will have a good defense this year which will keep them in some games, but the thing that bothers me about their defense is that even though it is solid, its does not seem to win that many games. The talent is there, the ability is there, the statistics is there, but the Vikings still do not win games with their defense, and this year, with Favre throwing the ball, they may have to stop opponents who get the ball in Viking territory. The Vikings are lucky that the beginning of their schedule is weak since the two Williams (defensive tackles) may have to sit out the first four games. This means easier time running the ball for Vikings opponents and further, it may take the two Williams 2-3 games to get back into a solid playing rhythm.
5) Packers and other Opponents: The Vikings play the Green Bay Packers twice a season and in most cases, I believe when making predictions most believe that the two teams will split the games. But this year is different with Farve wearing purple. The biggest problem I have seen with Favre over the years is he gets too hyped up over big games and the two games with the Packers will be huge for Favre. During big games, Favre throws the ball over the head of receivers, rushes his passes and tries to do too much too fast. I remember a few years back against Dallas that it took Favre almost three quarters to get his rhythm and in other big games, it sometimes takes going into the second quarter before he finds his groove. Against the Packers, I believe Favre will be way over hyped and the Packers will be fired up on defense and the Vikings will be hit with two losses against the Pack this season. With Jackson at quarterback, I believe they would split the games.
Other opponents that will beat the Vikings this season include a lot of teams with the 3-4 defense besides Green Bay; Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Carolina and the Giants, who run a 4-3. I also believe that the Bears and Vikings will split their two games which gives the Vikings 7 losses and with Green Bay, Philadelphia, Dallas, New York, Saints and Cardinals, the Vikings will watch the playoffs from home.
So, with great fear in my heart and making reservations to leave town for a year for revealing my opinion of the upcoming Vikings season, I express my deep sympathy to my sister-in-law, Jen and her purple clad family. The Vikings will be watching the playoffs from home, like most of us, the Brett Favre experience will be a failure (no time to get his passes off or in rhythm with his receivers) and the defense will continue to lose games when they have the talent to win. Plus, the Vikings have a history of getting close, but no cigar....and this will continue on and on and on until the rapture.
Sorry Jen, you heard it here first and I know that you will want to shove a bowling ball up my a--, but relax, I am sure I am now going to be blasted by Viking fans everywhere, so hit me guys and gals, I am ready for your worst.
Just remember, I love you Jen as I sit here in my Packer Jersey and wearing my cheese on my head.