Friday, September 12, 2008

Power Rankings Compilation, Week 1

I wasn't going to bring this feature back this year because it was really meaningless in the last few weeks of the season. By the middle point of the season or so, everyone has a pretty good handle on how good every team really is and it's harder to make fun of the dimwits. And what good is this if I can't make fun of people? Still, it's fun for the first few weeks or so and, considering that the Vikings a) were highly touted before the season; and b) laid a major egg in week one, it might still be good for a few chuckles (and angry fist-waving) for at least a month or so. If it becomes staid after that, I might start making fun of the positions of other, non-Viking teams as best I can. Hey, it's a living (figuratively speaking, that is).

I will also, before looking at my various sites and averaging out their rankings for the Vikings, try to give what I think should be the team's ranking this week. Following week one, I'd put the team about at #15 -- still top half and maybe a little higher than they deserve, but losing by five on the road isn't that bad, regardless of how they looked. Put up a similar stinkfest against Indy, though, and I'll change my tune...'s Michael Silver writes:

12. Minnesota Vikings: Can this built-to-win-now team afford to wait for Tarvaris Jackson to grow into the job?'s Kevin Seifert writes:

16. They have to get more consistency from QB Tarvaris Jackson. (KS)'s Vinnie Iyer writes:

18. Minnesota Vikings (0-1), down 6. All eyes are on Tarvaris Jackson to deliver for a talented team, but if the same passing struggles continue, should Gus Frerotte be considered? The Vikings still have some work to do to dethrone the Pack.

Not surprisingly, a lot of the entries this week concentrate on the play of Tarvaris Jackson, and rightfully so. I don't think, however, that the team is "waiting for" Jackson to grow into his role -- he should be there already.

And Gus Frerotte is not the answer. Then again, what is?

The Vikings' biggest backer before the season began was's Dr. Z. In dropping the Vikings all the way from #4 to #18 in his rankings, he says:

18. I never should have fallen for that stuff I read a few months ago about how they were going to the Super Bowl and all that. They can tell me all they want about Tarvaris Jackson's miraculous improvement, but, to me, he still has that deer in the headlights look.

Just before the season, I allowed myself a brief moment of optimism about Jackson after an entire offseason dismissing the guy. I thought maybe his decent (though limited) preseason showing meant something. And maybe, like Dr. Z, I fell into the trap of his so-called "miraculous improvement," but I should have remembered one thing:

Troy Williamson looks good every off-season, too. He had two catches for 11 yards in his Jaguars debut last week.

Fox Sports' Adrian Hasenmayer writes:

16. Yes, watching Tarvaris Jackson at QB during portions of the Packers game was difficult at times. Despite his up-and-down game, the Vikings were one critical third-quarter punt return touchdown allowed away from pulling off the upset against the hated Packers.

That's a salient point, but it's both good and bad. Yes, Jackson played poorly, but so did the special teams and the defense. Despite all of it, though, we still had a chance to win at the end. I'm still debating whether I'm pleased about that whole situation or not. writes:

13. Colts squad in need of win will invade Metrodome to face 0-1 Vikings.

Er, OK. Care to write about the team you're actually ranking next time?

Finally, that brings us to Pete Prisco of CBS Back in June, Prisco ranked the Vikings at #24 and his comments on pretty much every team from #20 down were along the lines of "This team has quarterback issues." Which may have been true, but the other 21 players on the team have some effect, too. So it should be no surprise as to what his comment is for this week:

19. Quarterback, quarterback, quarterback. It's all about how Tarvaris Jackson progresses for the Vikings. He looked good at times Monday, but looked really bad at others against the Packers.

He then goes on to rank teams currently led by Kerry Collins and Kyle Orton at #7 and #8, respectively. Quarterback, quarterback, QUARTERBACK! Also, his "last week" rankings had the Vikings at #13, so they apparently somehow jumped up 11 points in his mind without playing a single game over two months. We may have the new Jason Cole (who doesn't appear to be doing rankings this year, *snif*), people.

All of that evens out to a #16 overall ranking, with very little divergence. Frankly, I'm surprised, and also a little disappointed that I don't have too much to poke fun at. So my "What the hell are you thinking?" category features, which lists San Diego at #3. Yeah, I know they lost on the last play and they probably are still a pretty good team (even without Shawne Merriman). But you can't lose your first game and still be considered a top-three team, can you?

The big question is, if Minnesota beats Indy this week, how many people will still rank the Colts ahead of the Vikings? About half, I'll guess. Quarterback, quarterback, QUARTERBACK!

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