NFL Preview: Minnesota Vikings

Head Coach: Brett Favre
Offensive Coordinator: Brett Favre
Defensive Coordinator: Leslie Frazier
Special Teams Coordinator: Brian Murphy
Owner: Zygi Wilf

Offensive Starters (Projected)
QB: Brett Favre
HB: Adrian Peterson
FB: Naufahu Tahi
WR: Bernard Berian
WR: Percy Harvin
LT: Bryant McKinnie
LG: Steve Hutchinson
C: John Sullivan
RG: Anthony Herrera
RT: Phil Loadholt
TE: Visanthe Shiancoe

Defensive Starters (Projected)
DE: Jared Allen
DE: Ray Edwards
DT: Pat Williams
DT: Kevin Williams
LB: Chad Greenway
LB: EJ Henderson
LB: Ben Leber
CB: Antoine Winfield
CB: Asher Allen
FS: Madieu Williams
SS: Tyrell Johnson

Special Teams
K: Ryan Longwell
P: Chris Kluwe

@ New Orleans
@ New York Jets
@ Green Bay
@ New England
@ Chicago
Green Bay
@ Washington
New York Giants
@ Philadelphia
@ Detroit

Rookies to Watch:
Chris Cook was the Vikings first draft pick in the second round and was expected to give the Vikings some depth at corner back. He has a torn meniscus in his knee and is out for the first few weeks of the season. Long term he’s expected to fill in for Antoine Winfield when he retires or is released.

Toby Gerhart is expected to take over Chester Taylor’s role with the team, but Taylor was a much better player.

Season Expectations:
When I first saw that Brett Favre reportedly thought Brad Childress was an offensive idiot, I was really excited that one of the best players on our offense thought the same thing all of the fans have been saying for years. Then I thought about it a little bit more and realized it was just Favre’s way of covering himself. Now if the team struggles offensively he can hint at the problem he has with Chilly and everyone will blame Childress and Favre will still be seen as the hero he wants to be seen as and naturally if the offense is explosive like last year, Favre will still gladly take all the credit. At least I get another full year out of my #4 Judas shirt. Adrian Peterson has seen his yards/carry go down the last few year and last year his fumbling became a huge problem. Hopefully it was a big enough problem for him to fix it, I still think he’s in line for a big season at least early until Rice gets back. The WRs aren’t the same as last year, Rice is out for the first half of the season, Greg Camarillo is the Vikings answer to fill in for Rice and I think he could be a decent player for the Vikings this year. The key to the passing game will be keeping Percy Harvin on the field. He has his migraines and suffered a few small injuries last season, he needs to stay completely healthy this season.

The defense should still be a strength for the Vikings this season. The front 7 has as much talent as any team in the league. Despite my dislike for Jared Allen as a person, he’s a heck of a player and can get pressure on the QB seemingly at will. At the second level, EJ Henderson has made a near miraculous recovery from a broken leg suffered late last season and looks like he could be a force in the middle of the defense again this season. The secondary could be a problem early in the season, Cedric Griffin is still recovering from major knee surgery and likely won’t be ready for the game Thursday night, and he’ll probably try really hard to play in week 2. The player who was expected to fill in for Griffin, Chris Cook, tore his knee meniscus and is out for just as long as Griffin. The team traded away Benny Sapp to get Greg Camarillo so for week 1 at least the Vikings are very thin at CB. Winfield, Asher Allen, and Lito Sheppard are likely to be the only CBs dressed as they go up against the Saints offense. The one thing working in their favor is the ability of the defensive line to get pressure on the QB. Almost any DB in the NFL can cover a WR for a few seconds and that’s all you generally have to do with this defensive line getting after the QB.

Just to get rid of Childress I hope the Vikes go 1-15, looking at it logically, 2 of the first three shouldn’t be a problem then the bye week should help them get healthy, right after the bye week they’ll need to get healthy because the competition steps up quickly. With the injury bug hitting so early, it will be hard for the Vikings to match last season’s success, but they are still good enough to make the Playoffs.

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