Hey, all. . .before I launch into the main part of the story here, I want to let everyone know that my wife and I begin our cross-country trip this evening. Ted is pretty much piloting the ship here and at SBNation Minnesota for the next couple of weeks while we're traveling. I'm going to try to check in a few times over the next couple of weeks, but it won't be all that frequently until right around the time the Vikings are getting ready to play their first pre-season game.
(Man, kind of Favre-like on my part. . .I guess I don't want to deal with Training Camp, either. Of course, I have a pretty good reason.)
Before I left, I wanted to give you all the conclusion of the questions that Football Outsiders was so kind to answer for me. The first half of the questions can be found over at SBNation Minnesota, so be sure to check those out as well. Remember, the 2010 version of the Football Outsiders football almanac is now available on their website or, if you insist on having a print copy, you can check out Amazon.com.
Have a good next couple of weeks, folks, and behave for Ted while I'm not here. Enjoy, folks!
6) Another website named Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen the most valuable non-quarterback in the NFL, based on the transformation of the Vikings pass rush that his presence has brought. Would you agree with such an assessment?
7) The Vikings had a fairly decent draft, by most accounts, and made a couple of free agent moves despite being limited by the NFL's "Final Four" rules. Of the Vikings' newcomers, who do you think will have the most significant impact on their 2010 season?
I think Gerhart's really the only new player who stands out to me as a potential difference-maker this year. Chris Cook will play too, I suppose, but relying on rookie defensive backs to do anything is a scary proposition.
8) Another strange tidbit about the Vikings' defense that you folks have pointed out. . .they had the best defensive DVOA in the NFL through the first three quarters of football games, yet became the worst defense in terms of DVOA in the fourth quarter. Again, all I can ask is. . ."Wha' Happened?"
I think that's really just a fluke. If there really is something tangible to it -- the Williamses getting tired, Allen getting excited for the postgame beer, whatever -- it hasn't manifested itself in previous years to that sort of level. A year ago, with basically the same defensive guys, they had the second-BEST defensive DVOA in the league in the fourth quarter.
9) What are the best case and worst case scenarios that the folks at Football Outsiders envision for the 2010 Minnesota Vikings?
Well, our mean projection is 8.6 wins, which some Vikings fans might take as a worst-case scenario. I think I'd say the worst case would be a serious injury to Favre, AD, or Allen (or more than one), some serious struggles in a difficult division, and a 6-10 record. Best case? They're a dominant team in all facets of the game and go 14-2. I don't think anyone doubts this team can be elite if everything goes right.
10) This question isn't so much about the Vikings, but about the process you folks at Football Outsiders go through to come up with these stats. What sort of process do you have to go through to compile all of these stats, and does it inhibit your ability to watch the games as a football fan and constantly make you watch the games with the eyes of an uber-analyst?
If it weren't fun, I honestly wouldn't be doing this job. I would say that we just devote more time to football than most people do, and that gives us an ability to be two sorts of fans. During the games on Sunday, we're probably pretty similar to most people. I have a few of my friends over, we order some wings, and yell at the TV when players make stupid decisions. I'm certainly not sitting there with a calculator figuring out win probabilities. After the games are over, then work begins -- Aaron starts putting the play-by-play together at his house, I start formulating our Quick Reads article for ESPN, and we consider the games and what happened with a little more detachment and in a more analytical nature. Usually, I finish Quick Reads around 3 AM Monday morning or so, so it ends up being a 15-hour day. On the other hand, it's watching and talking about football! Can't beat that.