We're on the final stretch people.
Only 6 days until the regular season opener, and with it comes annual blind optimism which fans of every team are stricken down with as kick-off approaches.
Forget 3-13! Here is where I lay down 5 daring predictions for the coming season with the Vikings.
1: Kevin Williams will return to the Pro Bowl
Coming into the 2011 season Kevin Williams was suspended for the first 2 games, limiting his impact early on. As well as that, Williams was carrying a lingering injury, further limiting his usual destructive nature on the inside of the D-Line. At the end of the season, Williams stats were below his usual average, causing many reporters to say that Williams is now on the decline, never will he hit the heights of his top statistical years....
I say nuts to that! I think Williams will come in and have close to a career year with the Purple in 2012 and re-claim his rightful place in the Pro Bowl team.
2: Greenway is going to have a pick-six
Greenway has not had an interception since 2009. The Vikings only had 8 Interceptions in the whole 2011 season. There is no way Greenway is goign to get an interception, let alone a pick-six. Nuts to that!
in 2011 Greenway was playing in the ill-fated Defense conceived by Fred Pagac, under the instruction of Mike Singletary - not a great opportunity to showcase his talents. This year, Greenway is going to be playing with a lot more freedom, in a defense that he is familiar with and comfortable in. This is Greenway's year. He will continue to lead the team in tackles, but he will also come up with some big splash plays that people have highlighted as a reason why he is not mentioned in the 'elite' category of LB's.
3: Two Vikings players will have 1000+ receiving yards in 2012
We have to go back to 2009 as the last time a Vikings player had 1000+ receiving yards in one season, and even further back to 2000 as the last time we had two players with 1000+ yards receiving. Last year, the Vikings leading Receiver, Percy Harvin, could only manage 967 yards.
Am I crazy thinking that not only can the Vikings have one 1000+ receiver, but two?! Nuts to that!!!
Harvin is going to have an increased role in the Offense this year. Especially during the first 3 weeks whilst Simpson serves his suspension. he is fit, he is motivated and he is going to be a favourite target for Ponder in 2012. Harvin is one of the few players in the NFL that can turn a 2 yard pass into a 20-30 yard gain on a regular basis and for this reason i think he gets 1000+ yards (not to mention a good few rushing yards as well).
Another favourite targer for Ponder in 2012 is going to be Rudolph, and because of his massive catch radius and his familiarty with Ponder, Rudolph is going to be very dangerous in 2012, especially in the Red Zone. With Rudolph and Harvin being the danger men that they are underneath, and the Vikings rushing attack spearheaded by Gerhart and the returning Peterson causing Defenses to play close to the line, the outside is going to open up for Jerome Simpson. Yes ladies and Gentlemen, I give you your 2nd player with 1000+ receiving yards in 2012. Simpson has already shown a rapport with Ponder and is primed to come back in week 4 and destroy the Lions secondary and continue to wrack up the big yards throughout the season!
Which brings me onto prediction #4...
4: Vikings will not finish 4th in the NFC North
It has become common practice in the National media to automatically place the Vikings at the bottom of the NFC North come the end of the season..... say it with me...... Nuts to that!!
Yes this is a rebuilding year for the Vikings, we are not going to make the playoff (sorry guys, thats not one of my daring predictions) but i forsee a slump from the Lions in 2012, and that slump includes being swept by the Vikings (and possibly the rest of the NFC North).
Last year the Vikings, and in particular Cook did a very good job containing a certain Megatron in the first match-up with the Lions at the Metrodome. If it were not for, what was becoming a worrying trend, a second half Offensive meltdown the Vikings would have won that game at a canter.
I dont see the very 1-Dimensional, ill-disciplined Lions repeating last year's performance, and with it, a 4th placed finish in the NFC North looms for the boys in Hawaiian Blue.
5: Josh Robinson will be Defensive Rookie of the Year
A third round pick, Defensive Rookie of the Year? WTF!
NUTS. TO. THAT!!!
The kid can flat out play, he has already outplayed Chris Carr to earn the starting role in the Nickel Defense and that is going to pay out big time for the Vikings. He'll have his rough moments, but he is going to continue where he left off in college and shut down some of the top Receivers in the NFL. I believe he dominated A.J Green in College (I'm sure Mark can enlighten us further about this) and he will shut down Blackmon in the first game of the regular season.
As the season progresses he will continue to develop, and with that, the Interceptions will become a regular occurance as the CB group goes from a weakness in 2011 to a strength in 2012 (and in 2013 Robinson will go on to relieve Mr Winfeild of his duties as starting outside CB).
So what do you think folks? Am i crazy?! Do you have any daring predictions for 2012?
Cheers for reading and SKOL!