The question is: How will the Minnesota Vikings team fare in the 2012 season?
Yes, it's a long, long while, from May to December, but with a little bit of blooming alien technology???
In a prior century, they were fond of saying things on the X-Files, such as "The Truth is Out There."
So where could one obtain this alleged truth, Scully? Statistics might be useful, but you cannot get the 2012 season stats as yet (drat!), while the 2011 teams for which stats are known are not in fact the same NFL teams that will be fielded this season. However, let us humor those folks whom Mark Twain once put into last place, right behind the liars and the damned liars...
Friends, Vikings, and statisticians, lend me your ears.
We all know (or should) that the worst regular season team in the entire NFL for 2011 with regard to giving up passing yards was (...drum roll...) the Green Bay Packers. In the NFC North, the Vikes were actually second in best pass defense, behind only Detroit.
In the NFC North, the Vikes were second in rush defense in 2011, behind only da Bears.
On offense, the Vikings led the NFC North in rushing in 2011, but we still recall that coal-in-your-stocking event in which All Day broke an axle. (Is there a cure for Kryptonite?)
In pass offense, unfortunately, the Vikings were declared "the third-runner-up" in the NFC North (using the same journalistic styling by which Pravda might have gloriously described the results of a certain Olympic hockey final game from 1980, coached by Minnesotan Herb Brooks, in which the USA finished "next to last").
So, we see that in 2011 those Vikings did not pass the pigskin well. Why was that?
Did the fact that the Vikings drafted and started Christian Ponder after a labor-negotiation-shortened summer (and after McNabb sang his swan song), throwing him into the deep end of the pool become a factor? Did the O-line, looking quite ghostly, turn a whiter shade of pale? Or, let's just dump it all into Michael (The Ohio State University) Jenkins's lap and then just put him on IR for Thanksgiving? Well, it simply appears we lacked sufficient receivers to strike great fear into the hearts of opposing DC's, Percy Harvin not withstanding.
The consolation prize from 2011 was winning the third overall draft pick, scaring Tom Heckert into thinking the sky is falling (and it might well have tumbled), and cashing in on Matt Kalil while walking away from the table with two extra 2013 draft picks.
More words of wisdom from X-Files were, "I want to believe."
I want to believe the offensive line will be better. Kalil beats that Love Boat star who shall not be named. Would you rather have a healthy Charley Johnson at left guard or a battle-damaged Hutch? Will Sully sally forth? Will Geoff Schwartz and Phil Loadholt (in a contract year) pass muster? I want to believe.
Then, there is the key topic for those of us who smile at the thought of having agent Drew Rosenhaus hit by the runaway beer truck. How will the receiving corps fare in the year 2012?
Can two former third graders from Arkansas restore the Viking World Order? Can the Mayo Clinic devise a solid defense against migraines? Is Jerome Simpson a true deep threat or merely an incompetent hemp distributor? I number myself among those who want to believe that the desirable answer is out there.
Intelligence changes things. Will the weight-room, film-study enhanced Ponder thwart any sophomore jinx? Yes, I want to believe that as well.
On the other side of the ball, I believe putting the speed of Josh Robinson and the skills of Harrison Smith into the pass defense sounds rather edifying.
After all, in that old 1980 hockey thing, Al Michael's catch phrase in the closing seconds was not, "Herb was crazy to think he and these silly college kids could ever beat the well-tuned Soviet machine," now was it?
Finally, another catch phrase from X-Files was: trust no one.
If you believe I will publicly reveal everything I think the Vikings are scheming, go right on thinking that.
MacGillicuddy's Corollary to Murphy's Law states that not only will anything that can go wrong go wrong, but it will do so whenever it can inflict the most damage.
I realize there are things that are unknowable from our current perspective, as much as we might wish that were not so. It is--it's why they play the games.
==Will a workout fiend rebuild his knee to better than bionic status?
==Will the new parts make the Musgrave offense run like a top?
==Will some Viking linebacker have the reverse speed to drop into coverage against the tight ends they'll face?
==Will extraterrestrials secretly take over the Viking locker room in 2012?
Stranger things have occurred, Fox Mulder. You bet your Californication.
Like a newborn baby, it just happens every day, and we don't have to paint it black.
Let's peer ahead to the regular season schedule.
We only play one divisional opponent in the first eight games (Detroit). There is enough time to meld this roster into working shape for the games that will matter most. It will be a young roster, but then it also has some smarts. The rest of the NFC North is hardly invulnerable, and don't let any Packer backer convince you otherwise.
The Niner's will arrive in town in week three, conceivably with Randy Moss. (Why does Jim Harbaugh think he's smarter than Bill Belichick?)
Week seventeen has the Pack packed into the Dome. Will they fear that the roof might cave in? Cheer louder.
Stay tuned , sports fans. Do you believe in miracles?
Maybe the truth is out there.