Yes, this is one of those things I said I was going to get around to this week and wound up not getting around to until now. The past 10 years of Vikings football have given us a lot of great memories and a lot of great players. With that, I thought I would cobble together an All-Decade team for the Vikings based upon those last ten years. Some of the choices for the different positions are pretty obvious, while some of them required a little bit of thought. In most cases, the extra thought was required not because of the vast array of talent, but because. . .well. . .some of the positions have been a real wasteland for the last ten years.
So, with that, here we go! We'll do the offense today, and the defense will go up tomorrow.
Quarterback - Daunte Culpepper
This was one of the easier picks on the list. Put up simply ridiculous numbers during his tenure with the Vikings. His 2004 season was, quite frankly, one of the two best seasons I've seen a Viking quarterback put up in 25 years of watching this team play (rivaled only by Brett Favre's season this year). It was one of the truly great seasons for a quarterback in NFL history, and probably would have won him the 2004 NFL MVP award if the defense could have helped the team be better than 8-8.
Running Back - Adrian Peterson
What. . .you were expecting, maybe, Doug Chapman? Onterrio Smith, perhaps? I don't need to detail #28's exploits. . .lord knows we do that enough on a week-to-week basis. Had Robert Smith played more than one year of the 2000s, he might have gotten some consideration, but. . .well. . .he didn't.
Wide Receiver #1 - Randy Moss
The Freak provided nearly as much drama off the field as he did excitement on it. There has never been a wide receiver in the NFL with the physical gifts and skills of Randy Moss, and the Vikings were fortunate to have him slide to #21 in the 1998 NFL Draft. He had a ton of great seasons for the Vikings, with his best probably coming in 2003, when he became the first NFL wide receiver to average 100 yards and a TD per game for an entire season.
Wide Receiver #2 - Cris Carter
I know it seems like a bit of a cop-out putting Carter on here. He only had two seasons in Minnesota in the 2000s, and only one of them was really any good, but man. . .check out the alternatives. Sidney Rice's one big year doesn't get him on here, I can't go with Berrian, and beyond that we start getting into the Nate Burlesons, Derrick Alexanders, and D'Wayne Bates of the NFL. None of those guys belong on anyone's All-Decade team.
Tight End #1 - Jim Kleinsasser
Yeah, he's not the most nimble or graceful guy in the NFL when it comes to catching the ball or running after the catch or anything. But that's not his job. His job is to destroy people, whether it's from the fullback spot or the tight end spot, and to this day nobody does it better than Kleinsasser. He's the longest-tenured Viking, being the only guy left on the roster from Minnesota's last trip to the NFC Championship Game in 2000, and he's remained loyal to the Vikings despite having opportunities to go elsewhere.
Tight End #2 - Jermaine Wiggins
To this day, one of my favorite underrated Vikings. Wiggins was fun to watch because he didn't really look like an NFL player. Didn't look terribly athletic or anything, but then he'd have those moments where he'd be trundling downfield, and the next thing you know he'd be hurdling over a defender and picking up extra yardage. I considered Shiancoe for this spot, but his first year in Minnesota was a bit of a disaster, and Wiggins was pretty consistent during his Vikings tenure.
Left Tackle - Bryant McKinnie
Brad Badger was close, but. . .wait, no he wasn't. Say what you will about McKinnie's work ethic or his off-field transgressions or whatever else, but the fact remains that when he's on, he can be a dominant left tackle. He's good blocking the run, good blocking the pass, and is a top-tier guy all-around at the LT spot.
Left Guard - Steve Hutchinson
To review. . .the Seattle Seahawks had a great running game and Shaun Alexander looked like an MVP candidate every year, even winning the award one season. Then the Vikings signed Steve Hutchinson away from them and introduced the term poison pill into everyone's vocabulary. Shaun Alexander hasn't been seen since, the Seahawks' rushing offense has been terrible, and Minnesota has consistently been one of the best running teams in the NFL over the past four seasons. And that's why Hutchinson gets this spot.
Center - Matt Birk
Who else was there? He played center for the team for almost the entire decade, was consistently a Pro Bowl player, gave a ton of time to the community in Minneapolis. . .oh, and he went to Harvard. Not sure if you knew that or not.
Right Guard - David Dixon
The big Kiwi was one of the more overlooked members of the Vikings' offensive line during his tenure in Minnesota. . .until he left. Weighing in at a svelte 350 pounds (and I'm still probably 10 pounds too low there), Dixon was a devastating run blocker, and was more than adequate in pass blocking as well. Never made the Pro Bowl, but he darn well should have at least once or twice.
Right Tackle - Korey Stringer
Again, another guy that only played one year this decade, but for entirely different reasons, obviously. Was well on his way to being one of the NFL's premier players at his position until the tragedy at training camp in 2001 took him from us. I have no doubt that had he been able, he would have made multiple Pro Bowls and All-Pro teams. Sadly, we'll never know.
And there's my Vikings all-decade team on the offensive side of the ball. Any disagreements? Other thoughts you'd like to toss in? Add them here!