Monday, August 21, 2006

2006 Vikings - Kool-Aid(ed) Preview

Well after Saturday's beat down on the defending Super Bowl champs it seems to me an apples to apples equation that we beat the defending Super Bowl champs, ergo Vikings will be the 2006 Super Bowl Champions of the world.

BUT, many of us remember the amazing offensive dominance displayed by Culpepper/Burleson in the 2005 preseason. And that awesomeness was followed up by interceptions at a Favre-like pace and Burleson disappeared like a Lion's fans after and 0-2 start.

So we can't put too much stock in this mighty preseason win. Here is what we can expect though...

(semi) Realistic Outlook - Vikings finished 9-7 last year and I argue the 2006 version is slightly better than the team that finished last year.

Offense - QB, WR, TE, RB are all basically the same as last year. Chester Taylor is the new RB, but he is a question mark. At worst he is as good as the Moe Williams / M. Moore combo last year. Upside could make this a significant upgrade over last year. The WR core is essentially the same. Burleson and Robinson are gone but they were not significant contributors last year anyway. This position may be a slight downgrade, but not much as they were pretty average last year anyway and if Williamson can emerge as a good and reliable WR this may be an upgrade. QB is essentially the same situation since Week 5 when Culpepper went down. Backup QB is an issue but it was last year and is for nearly every team in the NFL.

Offensive line is where there is a massive upgrade. We brought in the best OG in the league and the former best C in the league returns after 2 years of injury. Birk may not be the same but he HAS to be better than last year. The right side of the line is a question mark but it was a year ago as well.

Defense - the corners and safeties are essentially the same as last year with the addition of Darren Smith at a safety spot. He is an upgrade, making our defensive backfield slightly better. Linebackers are a HUGE question mark!!! The signing of Ben Leber was pretty low profile, but he may be a guy who can make the plays in front of him and maintain his assignments. EJ Henderson is supposed to be having a good camp but I predict that once the season gets started, the offense starts moving faster and our defense gets more complicated he'll return to his old form of being out of position on most plays. Napoleon Harris is, well read the EJ Henderson remarks above. The loss of Greenway will seem bigger in Week 4 than it does now. The D-Line is basically the same as last year. I would expect James and Udeze to improve on their inexperience but I would also expect a slight drop in production from Pat Williams.

Special Teams - we have upgraded at kicker, punter will remain the same (hopefully better with age), and our return game will probably take a dip assuming K-Rob doesn't every play another game in a Vikings uniform.

Now as I mix the Kool-Aid, sit down at the computer, drink it down and begin typing I see things much more clearly. I open a new tab in Firefox and go to Orbitz and start booking a hotel room. Where am I going? Well, I'm booking my room for the Super Bowl in Miami!!!

  • Brad Johnson is the greatest thing since white bread. Wonder-Brad!
  • Wiggins should be your #1 scoring TE in the league (a free fantasy tip)
  • Troy Williamson will have a monster break out season as WR and PR and make us forget about K-Rob
  • Chester Taylor will have Prieste Holmes break out season
  • The O-Line will dominate all opposing defensive fronts.
  • James and Udeze will combine for at least 27 sacks.
  • Napoleon Harris will return to the Hardest Hitting LB!
  • Smoot/Winfield will both start in the Pro-Bowl
  • Longwell will hit 100% of kicks in the regular AND post season.
You think those statements seem outragious? Well, here is how I expect it to happen...

Offense - the O-Line is the key to everything. Holes will be tank sized for Taylor and Wonder-Brad will have all Sunday afternoon to pass and find Williamson downfield or check down to Wiggins. And if Brad goes down you ask? Well we have a unique combo of Vick and Warren Moon in Tarvarus Jackson. And that combo is Vick's legs + Moon's arm (not the other way around).

Defense - the last 10 games of the year the defense led the purple. That will continue and they will improve in the "Tampa 2." Winfield/Smoot is as good as anybody else in the league (EVER). EJ Henderson and Nap Harris will use their incredible speed and athleticism to make plays all over the field on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

Most importantly, Major Dad will have us much more prepared each and every week. He'll have us ready and put us in position to win every single game if the players can execute. Seems so easy, almost too easy.

The more I drink the more clear my brain becomes. 9 months from now you will all be scratching your heads and wondering why didn't I see the Vikings coming? Well, it's cause you aren't drinking the Kool-Aid. Drink up Vikings fans!

Pesimistic Prediction - 9-7, maybe 10-6 and a wild card birth
Kool-Aid(ed) Assesment - I'm going to go conservative on this one and say 15-1 and a Super Bowl victory (the first of a few).


John said...

You're much more optimistic than I am--particularly with the defense. I can't envision the Vikes learning an entirely new offensive and defensive scheme and being competitive in the first season.

This is a rebuilding year and though we may end around .500, I would be very surprised to see the Vikings in the postseason this year.

Tom said...

John, you need to submit to the Kool-Aid. Realism (which is pesimism in disguise) gets you nowhere.

Kool Aid Drinkers