Well fans, here we are at the start of another Vikings season, the disappointment of last year’s close call still a throbbing, half-healed wound. Everything is in place for another run at the Super Bowl, or is it? It is hard to imagine this year’s offense being the equal of the ‘09-’10 version without a healthy Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin’s continued migraine miseries. Will Greg Camarillo and Javon Walker pick up the slack? Both have been banged up. The Purple may require a separate hospital ward for its receiving corps.
And then there is Brett Favre. It seemed a forgone conclusion that he would reappear during the exhibition season after the by now familiar melodrama, but after watching him resume taking punishment as he did in New Orleans, you wonder if his vacillations weren’t sincere. It stands to reason that if he does not get better protection than what we’ve seen so far, he could well go home to Mississippi in a body bag. The sight of 49ers LB Willis crushing Favre after swatting Adrian Peterson aside like a pesky bug was a bad omen. It appears he learned little about pass protection while attending his granny’s Adrian Peterson Day down in Texas. The lesson of the NFC championship game will not have been lost on this year’s Vikings opponents – they will be adding ex-hockey goons to their roster prior to their dates with the Purple.
Meanwhile, Artis Hicks and Chester Taylor are gone, while John Sullivan continues to nurse a sore calf and rookie Chris DeGeare experiments at the right guard position. That doesn’t bode well for an enhanced rushing attack either. Did I mention that Ryan Cook will probably not make the final cut? He was brought aboard in a big reach the year that Tarvaris Jackson was similarly acquired, a mistake that Brad Childress is not yet willing to acknowledge. I sincerely hope that they hang on to Sage Rosenfels who all – except Childress – agree, has looked much better than Jackson in the preseason.
The Vikes do appear to be solid, perhaps improved on defense, with the backup defensive line looking better than the starters, E.J. Henderson back at middle LB, and Lito Shepherd likely getting beat out to start in Cedrick Griffen’s spot at left CB by rookie Chris Cook, an unlikely but welcome development. With improved safety play provided by Jamarca Sanford’s either breaking into the starting lineup or inspiring Tyrell Johnson to a better effort, the Vikes could be stellar on defense this year.
I smell something over in Cheeseland. It could be trouble, with Aaron Rodgers lighting up the score board like a pinball machine. We will have to hope that the Packer defense continues to suffer flat tires. Their schedule is not as tough as Minnesota’s by a goodly margin, so expect a neck-and-neck race through November, and don’t be surprised if it goes down to the last week.