Minnesota Vikings Among NFL's Youngest Teams

Saw this link come across the Twitter yesterday, and it probably isn't going to be all that surprising to those that have seen the Vikings' roster moves over the past 36 to 48 hours.

According to the folks at Blogging the Beast, the Minnesota Vikings have the fourth-youngest team in the National Football League, just slightly younger than the Green Bay Packers in that category. Only the St. Louis Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, and Cleveland Browns have a younger team than the Vikings do. (As the website concedes, these numbers may already be inaccurate because of cuts and things of that nature, but I don't think the Vikings' figures would have changed that much.) This is certainly a huge change from just a couple of seasons ago, when the Vikings were among the league's oldest teams.

Antoine Winfield is still the elder statesman of the team at age 35. With the release of quarterback Sage Rosenfels, the second-oldest player on the squad is now defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who turned 32 just a couple of weeks ago. Cullen Loeffler is next as the ripe old age of 31, and behind him are four players that have hit age 30: defensive end Jared Allen, backup guard Joe Berger, wide receiver Michael Jenkins, and punter Chris Kluwe. (Of those four, only Kluwe will turn 31 during the season.) On the current 53-man roster, 40 players are 27 years old or younger.

According to the numbers, the NFC North also contains two of the NFL's oldest teams in the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears. The Bears, shown as the fifth-oldest team in the league aren't completely surprising, as they have a lot of key pieces that are getting up there in years (Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, and Charles Tillman among them).

I was surprised to see the Lions up there, however, as the NFL's third-oldest team. Yes, most of their best players are still fairly young, but they do have 14 players on the roster over the age of 30. . .the Vikings, as we mentioned earlier, have seven. Detroit's figures are also probably skewed a bit by the fact that their punter and kicker are a combined 80 years old (38-year old Ben Graham and 42-year old Jason Hanson).

Now, does being one of the NFL's youngest teams guarantee success? Obviously, the answer is no. Patrick Reusse of 1500 ESPN and the Star-Tribune has expressed such skepticism in his latest column. But you know something? Cheering for a young team that may have a few bumps in the road but has the potential to get better beats the heck out of what Vikings fans have had for the last couple of seasons.

There's plenty of talent on this football team, and I obviously believe they're going to be better than a lot of folks think. It's just a matter of how quickly it all comes together in Minnesota.

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