Minnesota Vikings: All The Hype—5 Over And Under Rated Vikings
It's time to stop fooling around and get down to business.
We've waded our way through the four meaningless games of preseason, the roster cut down is here and it's time to play for keeps.
The Vikings appear to be pretty close to the same team as last year when they went 12-4 and secured the number two seed in the playoffs.
So much hype has swirled around the Minnesota Vikings over the past several months—from the lost opportunity in January's NFC Championship game, to the speculation as to whether Brett Favre, was or was not coming back, to the significance of the injuries the team has suffered this summer.
Here's a look at the five most overrated and five underrated Vikings as they head into the regular season.
Over Rated Player No. 5—Chris Cook
The Vikings drafted corner back Chris Cook in the second round with the 34 overall pick.
The 6'2" rookie had made such an impact on the Viking's coaching staff that he was slated to start opposite of Antoine Winfield at corner.
Unfortunately, for Cook, he suffered a meniscus tear, and will miss the season opener at New Orleans.
There is a good chance he will be ready 10 days later when the Vikings host the Dolphins at Mall of America Field.
I am always apprehensive when the hype starts on unproven rookies—especially on defensive backs.
Too much is being made of a player who has not even played one down in an NFL regular season game.
With Drew Brees leading the Saints, this could be a blessing in disguise for Cook.
Over Rated Player No. 4—Bryant McKinnie
Selected seventh overall in the 2002 NFL draft, I am still waiting for Bryant McKinnie, the 2001 Outland Trophy winner, to live up to the expectations.
As the Vikings left tackle, McKinnie has been good, but not the dominate tackle the Vikings expected.
Since his second year McKinnie has started every game he has been eligible.
In October 2005, McKinnie was charged with a misdemeanor for his involvement in the Vikings boat scandal.
He missed the first four games of the season in 2008 due to a suspension. The suspension came as the result of a fight with a night club bouncer in the spring of 2008, and ended a string of 89 consecutive starts.
After the 2009 season, McKinnie was selected to his first Pro-Bowl, but was later dropped because of unexcused absences leading up to the game.
At 31 and entering his ninth season as a Viking one has to wonder how long he will remain a Viking.
Over Rated Player No. 3—Sidney Rice
Don't get me wrong—I like Sidney Rice. There will be a hole for the Vikings to fill until his return following surgery.
A lot of attention has been given to the Rice's injury.
The question has been asked repeatedly, "how will the Vikings replace a 1,000 yard receiver?"
A quick scan of his career statistics will shed some light on the situation, and perhaps calm down Vikings fans.
In 26 games BF (before Favre), Rice averaged 11.7 yards per catch and caught only eight touchdown passes.
Last season, in 16 games with Favre feeding him the ball, he averaged 15.8 yards per reception and had eight touchdowns.
A great year for sure, but one season does not a superstar make, and I want to see Rice replicate those results upon his return.
In the mean time, it's a prime situation for Bernard Berrian to return as a down field threat.
Over Rated Player No. 2—Brett Favre
How can the one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL be overrated?
Based on the excessive, over the top, in your face, non-stop hype that is Brett Favre.
The media circus and daily breaking-news updates were just too much.
I kept waiting for the ESPN special—"Brett Favre and the Decision."
I cannot believe there was a single person that was surprised when he announced his return.
He had the best year in his 19 year career—and it ended with his last pass being intercepted.
There's no way he can top his performance of 2009.
But there's still hope for a Super Bowl bid in 2010.
The Most Over Rated Minnesota Viking—Tarvaris Jackson
Can someone explain to me how Tarvaris Jackson has maintained his hold on the backup QB spot?
Vikings' coach, Brad Childress, must see something the rest of us don't.
Jackson has had plenty of opportunities to prove himself. His 10-9 record as a starter was obviously not inspiring enough for Childress, and prompted the courting of Favre.
At the same time, Jackson has not played well enough to earn the number two quarterback spot.
In the preseason, Jackson completed only 11 of 26 passes with no touchdowns. He finished the preseason with a measly 49.8 quarterback rating.
Compare that to Sage Rosenfels, who threw for 391 yards in three preseason games and four touchdowns, and a QB rating of 124.3.
Even rookie Joe Webb outplayed Jackson throwing three touchdowns.
There's no way the Vikings keep four quarterbacks, and for reasons that make no sense to me, it appears Rosenfels is the odd man out. Perhaps it's because he carries a greater trade value?
Now let's switch gears and applaud the efforts of the Vikings' five most over rated players.
Under Rated Player No.—5 Jim Kleinsasser
Jim Kleinsasser is a throw back.
He would have been well suited as part of the Vikings team of the 70's that played outdoors at Metropolitan Stadium.
The hard-hitting tight end is the longest tenured Viking entering his twelfth season.
He has been extremely durable, after suffering a season-ending knee injury in the opening game of the 2004 season, Kleinsasser has not missed a game over the past five seasons.
With only 10 receptions in 2009, Kleinsasser, who went to college at the University of North Dakota, is known as a punishing run blocker.
In 2007 and 2008 the USA Today named Kleinsasser to the All-Joe Team, that recognizes the most over-looked and under-appreciated players in the NFL.
Under Rated Player No. 4—Chad Greenway
Chad Greenway was selected seventeenth overall by the Vikings in the 2006 draft.
In the first preseason game of his rookie year he tore his ACL and missed the entire season.
He earned the starting spot upon his return in 2007, and has started 47 of 48 games as the weak-side linebacker.
In 2008 Greenway led the team with 84 tackles.
Under Rated Player No. 3—Heath Farwell
From an undrafted free agent, to a Pro-Bowl selection, Heath Farwell has been a vital part of the Vikings' kick-off and punt coverage teams.
In 2006 he was named the Vikings' Special Team MVP.
In the first preseason game of 2008 Farwell suffered a torn ACL and missed the entire season.
Upon his return in 2009, not only did he return to form, but he was selected to the Pro Bowl.
Under Rated Player No. 2—Brett Favre
I know this sounds like a contradiction.
How can Brett Favre be one of the most over rated and under rated players on the Vikings?
This is the enigma that is Favre.
Sure the media hype surrounding his return was the most obscene this side of the Lebron James debacle, but there is no denying what he did for the Vikings in 2009.
His presence gave immediate credibility to a team with Super Bowl aspirations. He made a star of Rice, and a Rookie of the Year of Percy Harvin.
Finishing 12-4, Favre gave the Vikings their best record in 11 seasons. Not since going 15-1 in 1998 were the Vikings this good.
The 2000 Vikings had the next best record, going 11-5, but this season will be remembered for the 41-0, drubbing at the hands of the New York Giants in the NFC Championship game.
When it was announced that Favre was going to retire, the odds for the Vikings to win the Super Bowl went from 12 to one to 20 to one. With his return to the purple they are currently sitting at nine to one on some boards, second only to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC.
With such an impact on a team, is it possible to be over rated?
The Most Under Rated Minnesota Viking—Ray Edwards
In the shadow of the "Williams Wall" and Jared Allen, Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards is on the verge of becoming a premiere defensive lineman.
A fourth round draft choice in 2006, Edwards has started 42 of 43 games since 2007.
At 25, Edwards is the youngest starter on a dominant defensive line that led the league in sacks in 2009.
His 8.5 sacks during the regular season were second only to Allen's 14.5 for the Vikings.
He led the team in sacks in the playoffs with four, three against the Cowboys and one against the Saints.
Due to the dispute over the CBA, Edwards lost the opportunity to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2009 season.
As a restricted free agent the Vikings signed Edwards to a one-year contract with Minnesota.
This could be a huge blunder as 2010 could be a break out year for Edwards that could make re-signing him very difficult.