Weekly Scouts Take August 25th Edition

Dave AuerbachContributor IAugust 25, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS - JANUARY 17:  Wide receiver Sidney Rice #18 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on after scoring a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on January 17, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Well we’re just past the halfway point of the preseason and things just continue to get more interesting as the weeks go by.

Minnesota loses it top target in the air for half the season and the wild story behind that. Some factors on the upcoming labor lockout, an 18 game season, and why it could turn out to be a better situation.

Some interesting preseason notes and more to follow, so lets dive right into this edition of The Weekly Scout’s Take.

Recently announced, Sidney Rice underwent hip surgery to fix an ongoing issue that’s been there since the end of last season. People have asked "Why didn’t he just get the surgery immediately?" Well, when you have a QB who’s wondering whether or not to come back, its hard to convince him when your main passing target is a huge question mark for the season.

Due to the fact that it’s a more in-depth surgery, the Vikings will be without their top passing threat for the first 8-9 weeks of the regular season. Considering how the Vikings’ season opens up in the first half of the year, this could really put a serious damper on their hopes of being one of the top seeds in the NFC again. Look at how their season opens:

@ New Orleans

vs. Miami

vs. Detroit

Bye Week

@ New York Jets

vs. Dallas

@ Green Bay

@ New England

vs. Arizona

*This is not an easy schedule by any means. In the first half, you’re playing 6 playoff teams from last year and a Miami team that I see being a sleeper for a wild card this year. The only real break they have outside of the Bye week is at home vs. Detroit, and I don’t see that being a walk in the park. Now I know a lot will say Arizona is not the passing juggernaut they were last year, and you’re right. It’s a winnable game without Rice, but starting the season running through this gauntlet can have lasting effects all season.

This is going to put a substantial amount of pressure to be able to find ways to win without your main deep threat. If they are going to win, surprisingly, it will be on Adrian Peterson’s shoulders, not Favre’s. Percy Harvin’s migraines are still a big mystery and no one knows when and how long these attacks will keep him out. You have Bernard Berrian who is still a good hands receiver, but by no means will pull safeties over to his side of the field. If they are going to tackle this mammoth of a start, it has to be AP reminding us of why his nickname is "AD: All Day".

When he came into the league, everyone thought this was the next coming of Jim Brown the way he ran: Physical, fast, and gave opposing defenses hell trying to bring him down. Now, he has seemed to run so hard that he forgets to hang on to the ball at times (I.E. – See 2009 NFC Championship game for full examples). His fumbling problem plus the emergence of Chris Johnson have made a lot of people look at him more as a great RB with questionable hands instead of the beast he is. Remember, this guy gets great yardage after contact. His speed is unquestioned and his ability to make defenders miss is a huge reason why he needs to be the man in the Twin Cities in order to get through the first half of the season. The fumbles are a fixable problem, ask Tiki Barber. If he learns to run with the ball closer to the body instead of the exposed way he does now, I think he’ll take the rushing title this year. A lot of people up north are counting on you AP, not including the millions of fantasy players out there that still believe in you.

*I wanted to touch on this labor situation that’s brewing pretty badly in the background. With a pending lockout that I truly believe is coming, there’s been a lot of speculation on both sides and it seems that both the players and the owners are light-years apart from seeing eye to eye. I think there can be a common medium that would work well for both sides, its just getting the owners and players to come to an agreement on this.

The first big issue is of course, money. Team owners are asking for players to take an 18% salary decrease due to rising player costs and revenues staying about the same year over year. With the only team that legally has to open the financial books for the league, the Green Bay Packers, being a smaller market team and not reporting as much profit as other teams (We all know Dallas and New England are bringing in money by the barrel, C’mon Jerry.), the only evidence the Players’ Union has to go off of doesn’t support their cause.

Obviously, that will never fly with the players due to how much of their bodies they sacrifice for the love of the game and the entertainment for the fans. From a players’ perspective, it makes perfect sense. These guys give more in my opinion, than any other sport in the world physically. The effects that it takes on their bodies last long after their careers have ended and yet, they make less on average than your star basketball or baseball players in which the amount of physical contact and risk of injury is lower. You can’t ask a guy who is sacrificing his physical well being to take a pay cut and still give his all week in and week out, it just won’t happen.

The owners answer to not having to deal with a pay loss is to go to an 18 game season. With that, they can get additional game revenues, marketing and TV coverage and advertising. Now players look at this and say "That’s 2 more weeks of risking my body and most likely shortening my career". From that standpoint, it would be hard to convince players to give it their all 2 more weeks a year. The idea that the league and owners have proposed is going to an 18 game season and shortening the preseason by 2 weeks. This can have good and bad effects. I’ll start with the bad.


Check out the rest at http://www.nflhouse.com/pro-football/articles/weekly-scouts-take-august-25th-edition.html  !