That's right, ladies and gentlemen, it's the start of a new year here at your favorite Vikings' site. . .well, hopefully it's your favorite. . .and we're coming off what is easily the biggest month in Daily Norseman history.
December 2008 was the first time in DN history that the site went over 50,000 hits in a single month, and on the day of the Falcons game, we broke the 500,000 overall hit mark since the site was launched in July of 2006. It was also the first time the site had more than 100,000 page views in a single month. The five biggest months in terms of traffic as far as this site goes all occurred in 2008. . .for you numbers types out there, here are those months:
December 2008 - 51,213 hits/121,434 page views (Vikings making run to post-season)
September 2008 - 43,768 hits/79,915 page views (start of a brand new season)
August 2008 - 40,248 hits/63,708 page views (training camp/pre-season)
April 2008 - 37,441 hits/61,413 page views (draft time/Jared Allen trade craziness)
October 2008 - 36,512 hits/78,818 page views (just during the season/no special reason)
But we're not stopping there, that's for damn sure! We'll have some new writers offering new perspective during the off-season and draft time, and there will be some other off-season features to keep things exciting while we're waiting for 2009 to kick off. However, I'd like to thank all of you for your patronage (as I so often do), because without you guys, this site wouldn't be here, and I wouldn't have the privilege of offering my perspective to you guys on a daily basis.
But enough about that. . .let's get some actual football tidbits out here, shall we?
The preliminary injury reports are out, and the Vikings only have four names listed, but they're all pretty big ones. . .well, as far as the Vikings' game plan is concerned, anyway.
There are two big stories connected to the injury list today. The first is that DE Ray Edwards suffered a knee injury in the season finale against the Giants, and all the signs are pointing to #91 not suiting up this Sunday against the Eagles. If Edwards can't go, Brian Robison would more than likely start in his place, and that could be trouble for the Beloved Purple.
While Edwards finished a mere 18 sacks shy of his stated pre-season goal of breaking Michael Strahan's single-season record, he HAS been a very good defender in the running game and has gotten a decent amount of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Robison has a very good motor, but is a bit undersized and might not be able to hold the edge against the Eagles' running game. I wouldn't be surprised to see Otis Grigsby up and active for this one and/or more of Ellis Wyms lining up at that DE spot.
But whoever lines up at the LDE position, it sounds like there's a pretty good chance that they'll have the benefit of the best run-stuffing DT in the NFL occupying blockers on the inside. After missing two weeks with a broken shoulder blade, it appears that Pat Williams is going to pull out all the stops in an attempt to play this Sunday. While the Vikings did still finish with the #1 rush defense in football for the third consecutive season and held up okay against the Atlanta Falcons' rushing attack, things were a bit rough against the New York Giants without Phat Pat in the middle. Just the psychological lift from seeing the big man back on the field would be huge, to say nothing of what it would do for the performance of the Minnesota defense.
The other injuries on the report belong to Bernard Berrian (ankle) and Artis Hicks (tricep). Berrian will play, particularly given the way he looked this past Sunday. Hicks was active last week but did not start. . .for the Vikings' sake, and particularly for Tarvaris Jackson's sake, I hope that he's healthy enough to start this weekend.
The good folks at the Great Blue North Draft Report have the order for the 2009 NFL Draft posted on their site, and barring something dramatic happening, the Vikings will have the 23rd pick in the first round of this April's selection meeting. The only things that could move the Vikings from that spot would be if the Vikings made it to the Super Bowl (in which case they'd pick either 31st or 32nd) or if the Eagles or Cardinals made the Super Bowl (in which case they'd move up to #22).
But hopefully we won't be talking about the draft in-depth for a couple of weeks.
The Vikings have said that there are still 8,000 tickets left for this Sunday's game. I hope to heck they get sold out. I mean, personally, I'm going to be seeing the game down here regardless of what happens in the Twin Cities, but I'd prefer for everyone to be able to see it. . .and, naturally, to discuss it here!
And that's all for tonight, ladies and gentlemen. Hopefully everyone has gotten their 2009 off to an outstanding start, and we'll see you back here tomorrow!