Outlook for the Minnesota Vikings Passing Game in 2011
There will be a plethora of new faces in the Minnesota Vikings passing game this season. With those new faces, comes a whole different type of game. As it looks right now, the Vikings are done making roster moves in the wide receiver category after signing Michael Jenkins and Devin Aromashodu. This comes after the notable loss of Sidney Rice to the Seattle Seahawks.
The first and most striking difference in the passing game will be at the position of quarterback. Gone are the days of ol' Brett Favre and mediocre quarterbacks to fill his place.
In is Donovan McNabb, a seasoned veteran with 230 career touchdown passes and a 58.9 percent career completion rate. Not to mention, this guy has run for 28 touchdowns and 3,400 yards. McNabb is a refreshing change for the Vikings.
Yes, he is 34 going on 35, but that does not mean he can't still play the game. Last year was not his best season, but then again, the Redskins did not have as many weapons as the Minnesota Vikings do this year.
McNabb came to Minnesota not only to mentor both young Christian Ponder and Joe Webb, but he came to win some games. Coach Leslie Fraizer has named him the starting quarterback. With Adrian Peterson in the backfield, look for plenty of play action from the Vikings.
McNabb will fix one of the Vikings many ailments from last year: quarterback play. Even with a mediocre offensive line, McNabb still has some wheels. Look for McNabb to put up some solid numbers this year and lead the Vikings to a chance at a playoff berth.
Even with the new additions, Percy Harvin is the most explosive player in the Vikings passing game. He can be lined up in the backfield, out wide, quarterback in the Wildcat or where he plays best: the slot.
Harvin continues to struggle with migraines off the field and if last year is any indication, he will miss a few games this year due to them. His absences will no doubt play a substantial role in several Vikings games this year. In the games he does play, however, he will be a game changer. A nightmare for defensive coordinators. Look for a big year from Percy Harvin.
Michael Jenkins is the Vikings answer to the Sidney Rice loss. He has some substantial shoes to fill. While Jenkins is 6'5", he does not have blazing speed, but with this height, speed becomes less of a necessity.
Basically, he is the same player as Rice except for the fact that Jenkins does not have a huge beef with Vikings management. Look for Sidney Rice-type numbers from Jenkins this year.
Who will have the biggest year for the Vikings?
Devin Aromashodu was another pickup that the Vikings made during the craziness of this year's free agency. This acquisition was puzzling to me. Aromashodu does not really add anything to the team.
In 30 games he has four touchdowns and 543 yards. Do not expect those stats to rise drastically this year. At best, he will be the team's No. 4.
Bernard Berrian is back, and it looks like he is here to stay. After much speculation during the offseason that he would be cut, the coach has announced that he is on the Vikings to stay.
Good or bad, Bernard Berrian is still a threat. He is fast and if Donovan McNabb clicks with him, he will put up big numbers. He was not a favorite of Favre for the past two years and his numbers declined. Look for Berrian to have increased production this year if Donovan decides to give him the ball.
Historically, Visanthe Shiancoe has had solid numbers. With McNabb throwing the ball, look for those numbers to stay the same, if not get better. Hopefully he can teach the new, young tight end, Kyle Rudolph, a thing or two this season.
With McNabb starting this season, I can't help but speculate that Joe Webb will be utilized in some form of the Wildcat, maybe even as a wide receiver. He is just too athletic to let his talents sit on the bench unused. He would definitely make things difficult for a defense.
Overall, the Vikings passing game outlook looks about the same as last year, maybe even a little better with the younger quarterback. Michael Jenkins is a very similar player to Sidney Rice and Aromoshodu will make a fine No. 4 receiver.
Unless someone gets injured, it's hard to imagine a situation where anyone else gets any substantial playing time. If the offensive line can hold its own this year, the passing game will be just fine.
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