Jumping to Conclusions: The Minnesota Vikings Are Not In Trouble
For the last week I have had to endure the tireless conversations of whether or not the Minnesota Vikings are a contender or a pretender.
It's absolutely ridiculous that anybody is even debating whether or not a team coming off a 12-4 season will be able to earn a spot in the postseason.
Unless I missed something important, the Vikings are a serious contender. Many would argue that Minnesota is even the best team in the NFC when healthy. I am one of those people.
When the news of Sidney Rice's surgery came about, fans from all teams stated that Vikings' fans should be scared for the sake of the 2010 season.
A wide receiver has never been the most important player on a team. Yes, Jerry Rice is the greatest player to ever lace up the cleats, but he is definitely not the sole reason for each of San Francisco's Super Bowl victories.
After the news broke I proceeded to write a lengthy article stating that the Vikings were not in trouble even though Sidney would likely miss the first half of the upcoming season.
Many disagreed, but some sided with my opinion. For those who were against my statements, I couldn't honestly come up with one legitimate comment from any of the doubters.
The legendary Brett Favre has also been receiving more criticism than ever before. It's truly humorous to me that people felt as though Minnesota needed Brett to even make the playoffs. Now they believe the Vikings won't make the playoffs even with Favre at the helm.
It's the classic contradiction. There's no denying that Minnesota is better suited with Brett throwing spirals on Sundays. How can the Vikings go from being a 10-6 team in 2008 with Tarvaris Jackson to being a team without a playoff birth when they have the greatest quarterback in history starting?
The point I am trying to get across is that the Vikings are not in any sort of trouble.
Yes, it'll be somewhat of a lucky circumstance if Brett can play the entire 2010 season without further injuring his ankle, but that doesn't mean he can't have similar stats to those of last year.
His body has healed since taking multiple shots, some illegal, against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship. Bumps and bruises do not take over seven months to heal.
I admit I will be extremely nervous whenever Brett takes a hard hit. There will be times that I will likely say a prayer that nobody gives him a shot that could end his career, permanently.
That certainly is no way to live through a full 16-game season, but when you have a quarterback that is older than some coaches, there are going to be inevitable times where you're on the edge of your seat to see if he will get up.
With that said, the same things were said about Brett last year as well. Many doubted he would be able to make it through the whole entire season.
Most figured that his body would not be able to handle a devastating hit from a player like Patrick Willis of the San Francisco 49ers. Fortunately for Favre, he didn't receive much wear and tear until the last game of the year.
Minnesota is stacked with talent on both sides of the football. Despite Cedric Griffin likely to miss a chunk of the season, the Vikings will still have a fairly solid secondary.
As always, our front seven will be a dominant force that the opposing running game will have a tough time competing against.
As for the offensive side of the ball, the Vikings are loaded there as well.
The offensive line may struggle at times, but they are inexperienced at both center and right tackle, which are filled by John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt, respectively.
Like it has been for years now, Minnesota will have one of the best running games in the entire league.
Chester Taylor may be missed at times, but I believe that Toby Gerhart will be a solid replacement for Taylor along the road.
The passing game could go through it's inconsistencies, but this happens to the majority of NFL teams in this day and age.
I feel absolutely tremendous with the targets that Brett will have the distinct pleasure of throwing to this season.
Despite the fact that Minnesota will have tough competition in the Green Bay Packers this year, the Vikings will be the division winner, in my opinion.
There is absolutely no reason to say that Minnesota will struggle this season. Currently, injuries are a bit of a concern, but each and every team in the NFL goes through them year in and year out.
Take a look back at the New England Patriots, who where without Tom Brady for the entire 2008 season, yet still managed to win 11 games with Matt Cassel, a virtual nobody at quarterback.
Teams can still win plenty of games even if a significant injury takes place. You just have to be able to fill in the void, step up in other areas, and work your tail off for the entire season.
It's a blessing that the Vikings are loaded with incredible talent on both offense and defense.
Until Minnesota has thrown in the towel, they are not in any form of distress. That, my friends, you can take all the way to the bank.
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