Yesterday came and went with much drama, but without WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh signing a contract with the Vikings. Apparently he wanted to discuss things with his wife. . .something that, as any married man will tell you, is an advisable tact. . .and sleep on it before making his decision today.
Now, to those of us Viking fans who are incredibly biased towards our team, this decision is a no-brainer. Sure, Minnesota would appear, on the surface, to be the best situation. But what could be going through Houshmandzadeh's mind at this point? In an attempt to take an objective look at this, let's attempt to weigh the pros and cons of all three teams that he's considering. I'll put these in the order that I feel represents who has the best chance of signing Houshmandzadeh.
Pros: Most ready to win now, top-notch running game, top-notch defense, weather not a factor in most games.
Cons: Instability/uncertainty at quarterback, not terribly spectacular on offense in Brad Childress era
If Houshmandzadeh is looking for somewhere that he can win now and, hopefully, compete for a championship, then Minnesota should be his choice. As he's already pointed out himself, with Adrian Peterson in the backfield and Bernard Berrian lined up on the other side of the formation, T.J. probably wouldn't see double coverage for the entire time he was in Minnesota. However, one can only hope that he hasn't seen any video footage of the Prevent Offense to this point, because that would sour damn near anybody on coming here.
The instability at quarterback is probably going to be a big factor for him to consider, too. Yes, the Vikings just traded for Sage Rosenfels, and I think that Rosenfels is going to be the Vikings' starter in September. . .but how much confidence does that really inspire in a guy that's going to be 32 when the season starts?
Pros: Familiarity, best friend (Chad Johnson) plays for team, outstanding quarterback
Cons: Not overly competitive, very tough division, quarterback has health issues
I firmly believe that the Bengals are the Vikings' main competition for Houshmandzadeh's services. He's played his entire eight-year career in Cincinnati, and he's known Chad Johnson ever since his college days at Oregon State. If Carson Palmer is healthy, then the Bengals have (in my opinion) the best QB situation of the three teams that are in this race.
However, the Bengals don't have much in the way of a running game, Palmer is apparently a bad pass away from needing Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm, and it's Cincinnati. . .with the Marvin Lewis situation, things could blow up there at pretty much any time. Then again, maybe Houshmandzadeh is thinking that it's better to stick with the devil he knows.
Pros: Closest to home, apparently offering most money, good chance at a turnaround in 2009, solid QB situation
Cons: Zero running game, not a great defense, new coaching staff installing new system
The Seahawks are, from all accounts, offering Houshmandzadeh the most money and Seattle is the closest market to his home. Matt Hasselbeck gives the Seahawks stability at QB, even if he is getting up in years and has had trouble staying healthy in recent seasons. With the 4th overall pick in this year's draft and the turmoil going on in Arizona at the moment, the Seahawks have a chance of getting back to the top of the NFC West this season.
However, their running game is not very good, and their offensive line isn't anything to write home about, either. Also, Mike Holmgren is no longer in charge and Jim Mora, Jr. has taken the reins in Starbucks country.
If I were to put Vegas-type odds on this, I'd have to put the Vikings at even money, the Bengals at 2:1, and the Seahawks at around 4:1. And, no, I'm not accepting wagers.
All there is to do now is hurry up and wait. If anything happens, we'll be sure to have it up here ASAP. Continue enjoying your Monday, folks!