Monday, August 3, 2009
2009 NFL PREVIEW- Minnesota Vikings
2008 RECORD: 10-6
(1st in NFC North)
HEAD COACH: Brad Childress
Key Additions: QB Sage Rosenfels (trade/Texans) WR Glenn Holt (FA/Bengals) CB Karl Paymah (FA/Broncos)
Key Losses: S Michael Boulware (FA) S Darren Sharper (FA/Saints) LB Napoleon Harris (FA) C Matt Birk (FA/Ravens) LB Vinny Ciurciu (FA/Patriots)
Offense: The main man for the Vikings is running back Adrian Peterson (1,760 yards rushing in 2008 with 4.8 yards per carry average and 10 touchdowns), who led the entire NFL in rushing a year ago.
Peterson is a workhorse that the team works the offense around. He carried the ball 363 times in 2008 and also made 21 catches. Chester Taylor (399 yards rushing and four TDs) is a perfect compliment for Peterson, who stayed healthy last year and did not miss a game.
The quarterback derby is on for the Vikings after Brett Favre announced he is STAYING RETIRED this time around.
The team has Sage Rosenfels (free agent signee from Houston) battling Tarvaris Jackson for the starting position. Jackson was shaken up in the first day of camp and it remains to be seen how many reps he will get as things move along.
Last year Jackson threw for 1,056 yards and nine TDs while also rushing for 145 yards. Rosenfels, a journeyman backup most of his career, had 1,431 yards passing with six TDs and 10 interceptions before Matt Schaub took over at quarterback for Houston.
The wide receivers for the Vikings include Bernard Berrian, Bobby Wade and newly signed first round draft pick from Florida Percy Harvin. The Tight End is Vishante Shiancoe.
Wade led Minnesota with 53 catches a year ago and Berrian made 48 catches for a 20.1 yards per catch average and nine touchdowns, inlcuding a 99-yard scoring pass play.
Shiancoe caught 42 passes and scored seven TDs and is a good blocker as well. Taylor caught 45 passes out of the backfield for the Vikes. Rookie receiver Harvin will provide another deep threat for the team.
The Offensive Line has John Sullivan at center, Bryant McKinnie and Phil Loadholt at tackles and the guards are Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera.
Defense: Minnesota once again had the stingiest defense against the run in 2008, allowing just 77 yards per game. The pass defense allowed 216 yards a game and ranked 18th overall. The Vikings finished with the league's sixth best defense last season while alowing just under 21 points a game.
The Vikings use the 4-3 defense and had 45 sacks a year ago, led by Jared Allen (Right DE) with 14.5 sacks. Defensive Tackle Kevin Williams had 8.5 sacks and will line up once again with run-stuffer extraordinaire Pat Williams. The Left Defensive End is Ray Edwards.
The linebacking unit has E.J. Henderson in the middle with weakside LB Chad Greenway and strongside LB Ben Leber.
The secondary, which had only 12 picks a year ago, will see Antoine Winfield and Cedric Griffin at the cornerback spots and Tyrell Johnson and Madieu Williams at the safety positions.
Minnesota can definitely stop the run and will look to force more turnovers to give the offense a better chance to score more points.
OUTLOOK: The team scored 379 points last year, good for 12th in the league, but Head Coach Brad Childress would like to see the team open it up more on offense in 2009.
Look for Rosenfels to likely be the starter at QB when the season opens for Minnesota at Cleveland. The Vikings have an interesting combination of wideouts with Harvin now included in the mix. He, along with Berrian, gives the the team two deep threats that are the perfect compliment to possession receiver Wade.
Peterson and Taylor will again give Minnesota a perfect tandem at running back.
The defense knows how to get after opposing teams and the Vikings, barring major injuries, will again be right there at the top against the run. The pass defense is more vulnerable and losing Darren Sharper (Saints) to free agency doesn't help that concern.
If the Vikings can avoid giving up big plays and keep their opponents guessing, they should be in position to win more than they did last year, when they won the NFC North.
Look for the Vikings to finish on top in the NFC North once again with a 11-5 record. How far they go in the playoffs will depend on how well their quarterback performs.
Week 1- at Cleveland (Sept. 13)
Week 2- at Detroit (Sept. 20)
Week 3- vs. San Francisco (Sept. 27)
Week 4- vs. Green Bay (Oct. 5)
Week 5- at St. Louis (Oct. 11)
Week 6- vs. Baltimore (Oct. 18)
Week 7- at Pittsburgh (Oct. 25)
Week 8- at Green Bay (Nov. 1)
Week 9- BYE WEEK
Week 10- vs. Detroit (Nov. 15)
Week 11- vs. Seattle (Nov. 22)
Week 12- vs. Chicago (Nov. 29)
Week 13- at Arizona (Dec. 6)
Week 14- vs. Cincinnati (Dec. 13)
Week 15- at Carolina (Dec. 20)
Week 16- at Chicago (Dec. 28)
Week 17- vs. NY Giants (Jan. 3)