Monday, July 14, 2008

Third-place Vikings?

So I try not to pay too much attention to columnists' pre-season picks, especially when we're still just under two months from the start of the season. (My picks will come somewhere around Labor Day.) Still, with the Vikings being a trendy pick by more than a few folks to win the NFC North (or better), I've been cautiously following the pre-season prognostications, even devoting an entire post to pre-season rankings a few weeks ago.

In that post,'s Vinnie Iyer rated the Vikings at #12 overall. I can live with that. But apparently, his colleague Clifton Brown had a different opinion -- and hey, it's a free country, he's entitled to it. And, for the record, I think Aaron Rodgers will do just fine, for the most part, for the Packers this year, and it wouldn't shock me to see the Pack beat out the Vikings for the division title.

But third place? Behind Chicago? Say what?

Now, I'm not one to say that free agency is the cure-all for whatever ails a team, but you can't tell me that the additions of Madieu Williams, Bernard Berrian, and Jared Allen (who came over in a trade, not free agency, I know) will only be good for one more win in 2008 (and no playoffs). I could get into why I think Chicago won't win 10 games this year, but I'd rather not be that negative. Let's instead focus on Brown's appraisal of the Vikings:

Trendy pick to win the division, but the passing game is still shaky.

Yes, but it's going to be better than last year. You have Berrian, a likely improving Sidney Rice, and, if the stars align right, a somewhat improved Tarvaris Jackson. Again, not to harp too much on Chicago, but their starting QB/WR1/WR2 combo is Rex Grossman (or Kyle Orton), Marty Booker, and Brandon Lloyd (who caught all of two passes in 2007).

Adrian Peterson is great, but he will have trouble improving on his rookie season.

Honestly? Who says he has to? Wouldn't just about every NFL team like to have a 1,341-yard rusher with a 5.6 yard-per-carry average? If he can stay healthy all 16 games, he would have cracked 1,500 yards.

Playoffs must wait another year.

Based on what, exactly? And not a single mention of the defense, which is going to be the first selected such unit in a lot of fantasy football leagues this year?

I'm not going to go all crazy and spout off terrible things about Mr. Brown's family, upbringing, education, or the size of his manhood, like some blogs might. It's still July and predictions like this can and will morph considerably over the next few months. And the Vikings do have a habit of underachieving, so 9-7 isn't quite as unlikely as we'd all like it to be. But if you're going to knock the team, you've got to come up with better reasons than that.

No comments: