To assume how the Vikings team is going to do this year is a difficult thing to do. In all likelihood this is going to be an amazing, but difficult season. Just looking at the competition in division, in conference and in our schedule, we can see that it will not be a walk in the park. The Packers are returning after winning the Super Bowl much healthier than they were when they ... won the Super Bowl. The bears appear to have a stout running game and, as always a very solid defense. And the Lions are better than ever. If Stafford can stay healthy they could contend. Nevertheless, no one can pretend that the Lions are less daunting than a bye week anymore.
That being said, I really like what the Vikings have put together this season. Looking at the energy that has been zipping around training camp I see a lot of good things. I see a team that is buying into what a group of good coaches are saying. These coaches are good, but they don't have all the experience to say they are great, but each of them seem to have a good, creative, and down to earth approach.
Musgrave's idea of building an offense around the skills of the players, really is the only kind of offense that makes sense. Why a coach would NOT want to design a offense based around the unique skills of the players is completely beyond me. I'm am intrigued to see what the offense evolves into.
I think Donovan McNabb will do a good job in this offense. Donovan can do what we hoped Brett Favre would do when he got here: Manage the game. Donovan is not quite as much the kind of gunslinger that Brett Favre is. There is no doubt, looking at both QB's careers, who has done a better job taking care of the ball. Especially, if you take the outliers out of the equation. For Favre that's 2009's heroics and for McNabb that's 2010. It doesn't seem to me that he could be burnt out. His footwork is good, his mobility looks good, and his arm looks great (see the third down bullet to Percy Harvin vs. the Titans).
Adrian "All Day" Peterson, to me, looks better than ever and we all know that's saying something. He's said it himself that he feels as if he is in the best shape of his life. If this is any bit the case, the league better watch out. Really if the offesive line can say healthy and bust any holes for him. Add on the fact that Musgrave is going to work him into the passing game more (see training camp highlight where he goes up to catch a ball, thrown to him DOWNFIELD), this will be fun to watch. Also, I think we better expect to see Toby Gerhert and Lorenzo Booker on the field some. To be honest, I think something that the offense is going to be very conscious of keeping players fresh and healthy.
Looking at the air attack, I don't think there is as much to worry about as some believe. I think who we have will hold it all together. It looks to me that the Vikings will run with Bernard as the "Split end", in Musgrave's terminology, Percy in the slot, and Jenkins at "Flanker". Musgrave says that Percy, Jenkins and Greg Camarillo can be plugged in at any of those positions. To me I think the forth and fifth WR positions are very much connected to the punt return battle and special teams play. Three guys are in the Punt Return battle: Booker, Camarillo and Jaymar Johnson. Johnson looks great, Camarillo will do the job but Booker is looking shaky. To me this will Force the Vikings to make a tough decision between Camarillo, Johnson, and Devon Aromashudo, who has been a stand out on special teams even though he's not a return candidate.
Back to the air attack, I think the TEs will play a big part. Both Shank and Kyle Rudolph have the ability to be split out wide and play on the line. The fact that just about all of the receivers, except for Berrian who they have locked in at "split end", are solid a capable of moving around. Add two athletic TEs and and the RBs and Musgrave has a talented group of pass catchers to move around and create mismatches.
That I think is the most fun prospect of this team and the new offense is the fact that they are consciously trying to exploit mismatches and have really, put together a roster that has the ability to create them, with a QB who can get the "exploiters" the ball.
As for the Defensive side of the ball, I have always thought, to win a game all you have to do is make one more stop than the opposing teams Defense. If our offense can get on a roll, win the time of possession with the running game, and convert third downs it should be a high scoring offense. I think all of many of our defensive worries are built on the fact that last years team came out kind of complacent and teams game planned well to block Jered Allen and take advantage of our injured secondary. It's true some players will have to step up this year. A DE has to step up. I am very excited about Erin Henderson though. He was all over the field in the first quarter against Tennessee and seemed to be the only guy on the team who remembered how to tackle.
Add in a bit of Pagac's aggressiveness, and I think this defense should bounce back. If you look at how Pagac's agressiveness forced Mike Vick to through bad passes (a couple of them SHOULD have been INTs), I would assume the Vikings should have a much better season getting takeaways.
That's what I think of the Vikes. COMMENTS PLEASE, WHAT SAY YOU? WHAT YOU THINK?