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Viking View (08/27/2008)
By John Edstrom

Purple prospects uncertain

...and confusion reigns in Cheeseland

Well fans, once again it is the spring of hope for followers of the Purple, despite the calendar indicating late August. The Wilf brothers, in an obvious attempt to create a groundswell of public opinion in favor of the new football stadium, laid the wallet open and shook it hard, so that out fluttered the enormous sums needed to secure Jared Allen, the sure-thing pass-rushing end, (if such a beast is not mythical, like the unicorn). He, we are assured, is the missing, magical keystone to a Super Bowl quality defense.

And beefing up the safety position with Madieu Williams required a hefty investment also, although one wonders, after reading about his neck ailment for these many weeks, rather than anything accomplished on the gridiron, if this move may not have misfired already. All the talent in the world is useless, standing on the sideline.

On the offensive side of the ball, wideout Bernard Berrian was acquired from the Bears to put more vertical threat into the passing offense, so that opponents would not be as likely to stack their entire roster across the line of scrimmage from Adrian Peterson. After three exhibition games, this is still a work in progress. What little we have seen of Tarvaris Jackson indicates that tales of a vast offseason improvement may be more than August glad-gaming; however, Adrian Peterson has not broken out into the clear by any means. His production has been a perplexing disappointment up till now.

Fortunately, the offense has moved well with Jackson at the helm, and Gus Frerotte also, for that matter. Jackson, as was hoped, seems to have matured in his ability to see the field, riffle through his options, and get rid of the ball effectively before the rush gets him. One still wonders about his judgment, though, after seeing him injured fighting for a few extra yards not even needed for the first, in a preseason game. It also raises ugly doubts about his durability, which kept him out of several games last year. Pass protection has improved with Anthony Herrera installed at right guard. He should not be subject to a pounding due to that lack as he was last year. Now it will be up to Jackson to protect himself. Discretion, rather than valor, is called for. Daunte Culpepper cut his career short by thinking he could substitute for a passing attack by running constantly.

There is no word, as yet, whether Jackson can play this Thursday against the Cowboys. It would be unwise to put him on the field if he hasnít fully recovered, no matter how much he and his receivers need the work.

Then it is on to Green Bay and the Monday night opener against the Cheese. My spies tell me that there was raucous cheering in favor of turning the TV dial from the Pack to the Jets the other night. Already, the Israelites are murmuring, not convinced that the Promised Land is in sight, nor that they will be led there by the likes of any Aaron surnamed Rodgers. May confusion reign in Cheeseland!



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