Not many NFL observers saw the Vikings go into the third week of the 2010 season win-less. With Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson behind one of the better offensive lines in the NFC, many felt they would be undefeated at this time.
One of their main issues has been the lack of passing game to add balance to their offensive attack. This is not what Brett Favre signed up for after teammates showed up at his home begging him to play another season for a few extra million dollars.
Injuries to his favorite targets have helped Favre throw four interceptions and lose a fumble already, With an injury to Sidney Rice that will sideline the teams top receiver at least half of the season, he has been tossing to a depleted corps of mostly secondary receivers.
Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe is leading the team with 10 receptions right now, and has been their best deep threat as well by averaging 16.2 yards per catch. He is also the only Viking to score a touchdown through the air thus far. Usually a third or fourth option in their passing attack, he has done a yeoman's job becoming the go-to guy.
Peterson came into the season knowing Chester Taylor would not be there to back him up for the first time since 2007. Taylor, who now plays for the Chicago Bears, was the Vikings third down back and was very effective. Peterson proclaimed his intentions to be a more versatile player this season, and is currently second on the team with eight catches.
The other receivers the Vikings expected to depend on this year, Bernard Berrian, Greg Camarillo, Percy Harvin, and Greg Lewis, have combined for just 13 receptions so far. This lack of production has helped Minnesota become the second worst scoring offense in the NFL so far.
Harvin has been dinged up, a theme of his career since college, so wide receiver Hank Baskett was recently signed because of his familiarity of head coach Brad Childress' offensive system. But that may not be enough options for the 41-year old Favre who has recently been showing his age, which Minnesota was hoping he would not do yet.
One way to help him would be to attain the services of Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who is in a tumultuous contract dispute with the San Diego Chargers. His agent claims another team is offering $9 million for one season, and most think the Vikings are that team.
Jackson has until 4 PM EDT to sign a contract in order to play in week five after he finishes serving out a league mandated suspension for a DUI arrest earlier this year. The Vikings once traded for a player named Jared Allen with a similar history, and it has worked out very well for them.
One thought against trading draft picks away for Jackson is it would add age to a team that averages 28.6 years already, the second oldest squad in the league. The Washington Redskins are currently the oldest, averaging 28.7 years.
The Vikings are obviously on the cusp of rebuilding in key positions. Farve and defensive tackle Pat Williams are playing in their last season, and key players like Steve Hutchinson, Antoine Winfield, Bryant McKinnie, Shiancoe, Kevin Williams, Ben Leber, E.J. Henderson, and Anthony Herrera are all over 30 years old right now.
Vikings fans have watched some great teams go to four Super Bowls in the franchises history. None won the game. This frustration has the thirst for championship gold hasten. Getting Jackson would be a gamble that certainly does not guarantee victory, but it would give them a much better chance to do so. It would also give Farve the consistent deep threat he would enjoy airing it out to with frequency.
Yet standing pat with the current roster is not a bad move either, thus saving draft picks and trying to stay competitive through the decade. They did give up a first round and two third round picks in 2008 for defensive end Allen, so it is possible they gamble again.
The clock on whether the Vikings believe the future is now or to build towards tomorrow will be answered shortly. Of course, they could try to get Jackson and be refuted by the Chargers. This would not serve San Diego well, because Jackson has clearly stated he has no problem sitting out the entire season.
Another season of frustration may await the Vikings yet again.
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