The Future Outlook of the Minnesota Vikings
After a disappointing 3-6 start to their season, it looks like Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings are not going to be able to crawl back into the playoff hunt.
Even though they are not mathematically eliminated, it is hard to see the Vikings winning at least six of the next seven games to finish with a nine- or ten-win record.
I still don't think nine wins would get them a wild card spot in the NFC.
The second year of the Brett Favre project looks like to be a complete disaster.
Until they are officially out of the playoffs, Brett Favre will be the starting quarterback. With respect to the legend, the organization needs to sit him and see if Tarvaris Jackson has any ability to be a starting quarterback for a playoff-caliber team.
Since Favre will not be coming back next year, the biggest priority for the team is to see if Jackson can play or decide if they need to draft/sign a quarterback in the off-season.
In addition to the quarterback, the organization has major questions on the right side of the offensive line as well as the secondary. The front office will also have to decide whether to re-sign key players such as Sydney Rice, Ray Edwards, Pat Williams, and Chad Greenway.
After looking at the remaining schedule, I see three to four wins at most for the men in purple. Assuming the organization wins six, they will likely be looking at a pick around the top ten in the draft.
Remember, this team still has a lot of talent all over the field. The Vikings could fix their problems easily with a few moves.
1. Fire Brad Childress
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I have said the past three years that Brad Childress is the worst coach in the NFL, period! He has been out-coached essentially every game this season. It has been a long time coming for this man to get the pink slip.
Of course, he has not been responsible for every problem this team has had this team. The players need to be held accountable, too, for the mess in Minneapolis.
The next coach must demand discipline and respect. The monotone man knows that he will be packing up his things after Week 17.
2. Coaching Canidates
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Leslie Frazier has been one of the hottest young coaching candidates in the NFL. The organization learned from the past by not letting another young stud get another head coaching job like Mike Tomlin.
He is what the team needs, because he will command the locker room and not allow any player to be bigger than him or the team.
If the Vikings look for a big name coach instead, their number one guy they should go after is John Gruden. He would bring the big name in and offer the same wisdom as Frazier.
Also, if they go after Gruden, their likelihood of finding a quarterback for the future is that much greater.
3. Quarterback Problem
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First off, even if Brett Favre wants to play next season, he will not wear purple and gold. He needs to sit now, so the Vikings can give Tarvaris Jackson a shot to prove himself to be the quarterback of this team.
To be honest, I have little to no hope that this guy will ever be a starting quarterback in the NFL. This was the guy that Childress drafted to be his guy. When Childress leaves, Jackson will go right along with him.
The biggest question for this team could be addressed multiple ways...
4. 2011 NFL Draft
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Projections of possible first round quarterbacks:
1. Andrew Luck (top-3 pick)
2. Ryan Mallet (pick 5-15)
3. Jake Locker (pick 10-20)
4. Cam Newton (1st round pick)
5. Christian Ponder (late-1st round pick)
If the Vikings decide to find their quarterback through the draft, they need to find their guy and move their estimated top-10 pick around to choose their quarterback.
Andrew Luck looks like he is going to be first pick. From then on, teams will move around the draft to find the quarterback of their choice.
As a Vikings fan, I think Mallet is the most NFL-ready and could start immediately for this team. He does have some things to work on, such like his pocket presence, but his arm and touch will be too much for the Vikings to turn down.
5. NFL Free Agency
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If they could make this historic signing, the Vikings will be right back in the hunt to contend for a Super Bowl.
Michael Vick has taken his game with the Eagles to new heights and will be looking for a major contract at the end of the season.
The problem that may occur is that the Eagles may decide to keep Vick and try to trade their other quarterback, Kevin Kolb. They signed Kolb to a contract already, so it looks like the Eagles may have to let Vick walk.
The Vikings could make this major move with a contract offer of five years and over $70 million. The organization needs to pursue Vick in the off-season, as much as the New York Yankees are pursuing Cliff Lee.
6. Adrian Peterson
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At the end of this season, Peterson will have been with the team for four years.
This may seem crazy and unbelievable, but if the Vikings decide to build for the future with a quarterback who may not be ready yet, they might look into trading their superstar.
It would take a lot, similar to the Herschall Walker to Vikings in the '90s, for another team to get him.
With an additional 4-5 picks from a trade, they could fix their other problems on the offensive line, linebackers, and the secondary.
Like I said, this will probably not happen. It really depends on how long the next head coach thinks that it will take this team to rebuild.
7. The Future
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I believe the fans have already decided that the Favre experiment is over and it is time to look beyond this mess of a season and plan for the future of this organization.
For the longest time, I have had this belief that the Vikings may leave Minnesota and become the franchise of Los Angeles.
Around five years ago, Minnesota legislature passed bills funding new stadiums for the Minnesota Gophers and the Minnesota Twins. The Vikings were declined their new stadium proposal. Their lease at Mall of America Field ends next season, and they have not looked into signing an extension.
With that being said, the Vikings organization must prove to their fans and the state that they are a serious franchise that is going to contend every season.
My dream scenario is that the Vikings hire Leslie Frazier for the head coach, sign free agent Michael Vick, and focus on the secondary with the early round draft picks. These moves could bring this team out of the Favre/Chilly era and hopefully bring them to the promise land.