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Monday Night Vikings Link Dump

Let's take a look around the Interweb to see what kind of Vikings' related stuff we can find, shall we?

The good folks from Cold, Hard Football Facts have taken a look at the Vikings as part of their "32 Teams in 32 Days" feature.  There are a few pretty interesting little tidbits in there.  First off. . .

Unit on the rise: Wide receivers. The addition of former Chicago WR Bernard Berrian is big. No team had weaker receivers than Minnesota last year, although the running game was so excellent that the Vikings still finished a respectable 19th in Passing Yards Per Attempt. With Berrian (71-951-5 last year), Minnesota has a potential No. 1 receiver - for a team that didn't even have a legitimate No. 2 guy on the roster last year. Rookie Sidney Rice showed flashes, and could break through this year or next, while Bobby Wade was a reliable option (54-647-3).

Wow, someone that's not ripping on the Berrian signing.  That's pretty nice.  And I was surprised to see that the Vikings finished as high as they did in Passing Yards per Attempt.  It seemed like a lot of their passes were of the shorter variety, but they did have some pretty lengthy plays mixed in there, too (Peterson vs. Atlanta, Williamson vs. Chicago, Rice vs. the Giants, Ferguson vs. Chicago).  But Berrian, Rice, Wade, Allison, and (insert mid-round draft pick here) will be a HUGE improvement over last year's WRs, and that's going to bring about a big improvement to the 2008 Vikings' offense.

Speaking of which. . .

Overview: Minnesota fans were none too happy about jettisoning Moss and Culpepper in recent years, but the rebuilding has been moving along well. Even with question marks surrounding Tarvaris Jackson at QB, this looks like a potential playoff team for 2008. Their young players have been baptized by fire, getting in the lineup earlier than most, and this is a tried-and-true formula for growth in the NFL. Minnesota's team-wide passer rating was an almost respectable 74.2 in 2007, and if it gets to 80 with a repeat of last year's running success, the offense could be one of the five best in the NFL. Same goes for the pass defense - if they can get the Defensive Passer Rating down in the high 70s from 84.5 in 2007, success will ensue. The Vikings played like a 10-6 team in 2007, and all signs point to them as a 10-6 team (or better) in 2008.

Well, why wouldn't the passer rating improve?  Better receivers, fewer guys in the box, which would bring about greater susceptibility to play-action, a more seasoned quarterback, and the best 1-2 running back tandem in the NFL. . .sounds like a recipe for improvement to me.  More production out of the TE spot would be nice, but I think we're going to get some of that out of the draft, too.

I don't want to say that we should start printing playoff tickets quite yet. . .but there are far, FAR more reasons for optimism than there are for pessimism.

Oh, and one last one that should be obvious to just about everybody:

2007 Draft grade: A. A draft like the one Minnesota had in 2007 can turn a franchise on a dime. Just getting wunderkind RB Adrian Peterson is worth an A grade, but the Vikings also added three players who started games (with varying levels of success) in DE Bryan Robison, WR Sidney Rice and DB Marcus McCauley. Fifth-rounder Aundrae Allison was also a solid contributor on kick returns.

Yep. . .there's not a 2007 NFL Draft class that I'd trade Minnesota's group for.  Hopefully Rick Spielman, Scott Studwell and company will hit the jackpot again in 2008.  Is there a reason for me to think that they won't?  Well. . .no, no there's not.

Some other linkage for you to peruse. . .

Football Outsiders has a "Four Downs" for the NFC North.  Take in mind that this was written prior to the insignificant events of last week, so modify them in your mind as you wish.

Vikings' War Cry muses about the Beloved Purple's backup QB situation, and the possibility of J.P. Losman coming to Minnesota.  I'd rather spend a #3 or #4 on Josh Johnson and get someone like Quinn Gray in here to back up Tarvaris Jackson, but I'm not in charge of the team.

The Viking Age takes a look at how we've done thus far in free agency.

A new site called Viking Vision has joined the nation of blogs devoted to the Beloved Purple.  Check out the "VikeTube" section!

Smilin' Jimmy Souhan. . .get this. . .IS actually smiling for a change.  Sort of, I guess.  Ah, well, it's better than nothing.

Zygi Wilf's younger brother, Mark, is a very generous guy.

The Kool-Aid is looking awfully purple up Michigan way, too.  And with good reason.

Enjoy, everyone. . .we'll be back tomorrow with more!