Okay I admit I'm a fan but the Vikings are really underrated. People keep saying that they'll have a top 3 draft pick this year (People being ESPN, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network ETC) but I really don't think so. They've got young talent everywhere.
The Vikings Offense is the week point on their team, Last year they ranked 23rd in total offense, 16th in rushing offense, 18th in passing Offense, and 26th in scoring offense. Those numbers might not be incredibly impressive but they've improved this year. I'll give and Overview on each Position.
QB-Tavaris Jackson, He's considered the weak point of the offense but he's underrated, I'm not saying he's great but he's actually a decent starter in the NFL. He's better than Brad Johnson at least. Jackson has a cannon for an arm, and his accuracy is really underrated. Anyone remember that bomb against Green Bay when Troy Williamson was wide open and he dropped it? Jackson nailed him right in the numbers. He's pretty fast and illusive in the field also. His decision making needs some work I admit, but its pretty good for a kid who's played in 2 NFL games. Peter King of Sports Illustrated claims that the kid has all the potential in the world, and he's in the right place with coach Brad Childress.
RB-Great Depth and Potential here, Chester Taylor has proven himself to be a capable NFL starter by rushing for 1,236 yards last year, and scoring 4 TDs. Taylor is a balanced back on a small scale, He's not incredibly fast but he's above average, he doesn't break tackles incredibly well but he's okay at it, won't fake 3 people out but can probably manage 1 or 2. Adrian Peterson was the best Running Back in the draft this year and he fell to the 7th pick in the draft. Peterson has great speed, power and moves and He'll be a start for the Vikings if he can manage to stay healthy. He'll handle most of the Goal-line duties this year also, an area where Chester Taylor Struggled last year. Tony Richardson is the most versatile fullback in the NFL, He's a good runner, blocker, and receiver. He was out most of last year with a broken hand but he'll be healthy this year and will be able to help pass block and aide Peterson with Goal-line duties.
WR-Okay these guys aren't that great, but last year Troy Williamson their number one WR had eye problems, this off-seasons he's been in Oregon working with Nike on ways to fix his hand eye coordination and his eyesight. He's looked great in camp so far impressing Coach Brad Childress with his hands, speed, and awareness. Sidney Rice would have been a top 15 draft pick next year had he stayed in school, but he came out early which is a great thing for Vikings fans, He's got great hands and body control to go along with good speed and aggressiveness. He'll benefit this year from the Vikings Strong Running game. Billy McMullen had a career year last year and will continue his learning curb this year with Tavaris Jackson looking for a target underneath McMullen will be there.
TE- This Off season the Vikings signed Visanthe Shiancoe to be there starting TE, although he's been a career backup he's made the most of what he was given catching 12 of the 14 passes thrown to him last year by Eli Manning. Those two he didn't catch I'm guessing went over his head. Jim Kleinsasser returns to the Vikings for his 6th season in the NFL. Kleinsasser is a good blocker and a decent receiver giving the Vikings a viable option if Shiancoe doesn't pan out.
RT-3rd year pro Marcus Johnson returns for his second year at right tackle entrenched as the starter. Johnson is big 6'6" and 321 pounds and is a great blocker. Last year he started 10 games after taking over for the inconsistent Mike Rosenthal.
RG-Hicks will enter his 2nd year as a Viking this year and should improve with a year to jell with his new teammates under his belt. Last year he started all 14 games he played in he was out with an injury for the other 2.
C- Matt Birk is one of the best centers in the NFL, he made the probowl for the NFC last year. Birk is big standing at 6'4" and is 308 pounds.
LG-Steve Hutchinson is without a doubt the best left guard in football. He has every physical skill required to succeed, size, strength, speed, agility, and blocking skills of course. After a year to jell with Birk and Bryant McKinney he should only improve which is a scary thought.
LT-Bryant McKinney is a monster of a guy (he's 6'8" and 341 pounds) with good speed and blocking ability. Although McKinney has never made the probowl he's always considered one of the best at his position.
The Vikings have quietly built a top 10 defense over the past two years and that defense will only improve this year. Last year the Vikings may have ranked 31st against the pass, but there are bright spots to that 31st ranking, last year the Vikings only allowed 15 passing TDs 4th best in the league, Minnesota also picked off 21 passes which was 5th best in the league and opponents only completed 59.2% of their passes. The Vikings run defense was brilliant last year they allowed the 2nd least rushing yards in a season EVER and they ranked in the top 5 for every rushing defensive category. This year that defense will be even better with the return of Erasmus James, Kenechi Udeze, and last year's first round draft pick Chad Greenway.
DT- Kevin Williams is arguably the best at his position in the NFL, He can do everything a DT has to, bat down passes, rush the passer, stuff the run, and disrupt the play. His production this year will improve with the return of their 3 injured starters on defense.
"Push ‘em back" Pat Williams is a seasoned veteran who provides great leadership on and off the field. He's also a great player, he had 44 tackles last year and a forced fumble.
DE-Erasmus James was an up an up and coming star until he was injured early in the season last year. He had 29 tackles 4 sacks and a forced fumble in his rookie year. He'll benefit from the improvement of the D-line. Kenechi Udeze is a solid NFL starter who has a shot at the probowl this year. He's got an amazing supporting cast around him. He's got speed, decent power, and okay awareness. Watch out for him this year
LOLB- On the Outside the Vikings have Ben Leber who after being cut by San-Diego last year preformed well by racking up 62 tackles and 3 forced fumbles in 15 games. Will produce even more this year with the return of ROLB Chad Greenway.
MLB- EJ Henderson is an athletic MLB who has proven himself to be a great run stuffer. He played Outside Linebacker last year but with the departure of Napoleon Harris he was moved inside.
ROLB- A first round pick out of Iowa a year ago Chad Greenway was injured all of his first season. Greenway was considered by most scouts to be one of the top 5 athletes in the 2006 draft. He's great in both pass coverage and against the run.
CB-Antoine Winfield is a top 6 corner in the NFL. He's a fearless defender against both the run and the pass and will lay you out. He'll do even better with an improved pass rush, which will decrease the amount of time he has to stay in pass coverage. Cedric Griffin emerged as a great NFL corner last year after taking over for the mediocre Fred Smoot. Griffin posses great speed and awareness, which could make him a top corner in the NFL someday.
FS-Dwight Smith is a great FS, over the last 4 years he's had 14 INTs. Smith Started for the #1 ranked Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass defense in 2002 and had 2 INTs returned for TDs in Superbowl XXXVII. He's aggressive on the point of attack but knows when to retreat and play it slow.
SS-Darren Sharper is the leader of this unit, and he's one of the best Strong Saftey's in the NFL. Sharper has 49 career INTs and is tied for 6th in NFL history in INTs returned for TDs with 7. Sharper is one of the NFL's premier ball hawks and is pretty damn good against the run too.
The Vikings struggled to find a kick returner after cutting Koren Robinson because of a DUI, but managed alright ranking 17th in the NFL in kick return average (22.6 yards per return). The Kicking game improved mightily this year with the addition of Ryan Longwell last year after Paul Edinger left the team. Longwell was 13th in kicking percentage with 84.0% of his field goals made. Cris Kluey did well in his first year back from a torn ACL averaging 42.1 yards per punt.
K- Ryan Longwell did well in his first year with the Vikings making 84% of his field goals and scoring 90 points with the Vikings struggling offense. He'll improve this year with a year to get used to Cris Kluey.
P-Cris Kluey out preformed everyone's expectations when he managed to punt this year after tearing his right ACL in 2005. An ACL injury to your kicking leg can be devastating to any Kicker/Punter actually it could have ruined his career. He still managed to average 42.1 yards a punt, that number will increase with another off-season for him to rest his leg
KR/PR- Bobby Wade averaged 23.8 yards a kick return last year and 9 yards a punt return. His numbers will increase because of better special teams blocking by the Vikings instead of the Titans.
From Yahoo: "Adrian Peterson is a risky pick at No. 7 overall, but it could pay off huge.. Wideout Sidney Rice is another risk. He's big and strong with some speed, but he's also inexperienced (redshirted '04 season; declared for the draft as a sophomore) and has an attitude. Some scouts have compared his mental makeup to that of Brandon Lloyd and Antonio Bryant. Not exactly what you want in Minnesota after the past few years of fiascos. Cornerback Marcus McCauley and defensive end Brian Robison could develop into solid starters from the middle rounds.
Round Pick Player
Additions and Losses
Fred Evans DT, Paris Hamilton WR, Adrian Peterson RB, Sidney Rice WR, Marcus McCauley CB, Brian Robinson DE, Aundrae Allison WR, Adam O'Conner, Rufus Alexander LB, John Kerr LB, Chandler Williams WR, Tyler Thigpen QB, Howard Green DT, George Hall LB, and Cameron Siskowic LB,
Wendell Mathis RB, Arkee Whitlock RB, Andre Maddox DB, Jeremy Burnett S, Randy Hymes WR, Joe Annoi DL, Andy Olglegbme OL, Fred Smoot CB, and Jermain Wiggins TE
at Detroit L
at Kansas City W
Green Bay W
at Chicago L
at Dallas L
San Diego L
at Green Bay L
at NY Giants W
San Francisco W
They aren't the worst team in the NFL like everyone thinks they are. They'll go 7-9 this year maybe 8-8.