As has already been pointed out in the FanPosts, Sports Illustrated's Paul "Dr. Z." Zimmerman has made the Minnesota Vikings his obscenely early pick to win Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa this February. This should make Pacifist Viking quite happy, as he's a pretty big fan of the Z-man. I like Dr. Z. The guy definitely has his moments, particularly when it comes to his game charting stuff and some of the things he brings to the table, although there are times he comes off as a crotchety old man. I guess that's part of his appeal.
However, I'm not exactly sure how well this bodes for us in terms of the outlook for this season. Back in 2005, Sports Illustrated's Peter King declared the Vikings his pre-season favorite to win the big game. And we all know what happened in 2005, don't we? If not, let me sum it up: 2-5 start, Love Boat, Culpepper injury, Tice firing, and a draft that turned out to be nothing short of a complete disaster. Also, last season the New Orleans Saints were Dr. Z.'s pick to win the whole ball of wax, and we saw what happened to them, too. . .they pretty much collapsed under the weight of the expectations that were placed upon them.
But Zimmerman makes some very good points. He points out the Vikings proficiency in both running the football and stopping the run. . .and, quite frankly, Minnesota is the best in the NFL in both categories. The first of those two can be debated. . .the second one most certainly can not. He also goes on to praise the Jared Allen acquisition, and says that Allen isn't just a looping speed rusher that leaves big gaps on the inside, but rather a technician that "honors the down home of the game."
Surprisingly, he also goes on to say that Tarvaris Jackson. . .get this. . .might not be a completely horrible, terrible, God-awful NFL quarterback! He looks at the situation that Jackson is in, and how it's set up to his benefit. . .great O-line, great run game, upgraded receiving corps, and so forth. This kid is going to have a lot of people believing in him by the end of the season, and if Dr. Z. wants to jump on the bandwagon now, by all means, we can clear off a seat for him.
Hell, at least if Dr. Z. is on the bandwagon, we'll have the best damn wine list of any bandwagon anywhere. But I digress. . .
So, while I love Dr. Z.'s optimism, I wonder what it will mean for all of us in the 2008 season. So, it's time for another brand spanking new poll. What does everyone think? Is Dr. Z.'s rosy prediction an indicator of good times ahead, or is it the kiss of death? Discuss it right here, and we'll be back with more Viking goodness tomorrow.