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Thursday's Notebook: Taking on Vegas

Over or Under?

With a tip o' the hat to The Big Lead, the blog Vegas Watch has a nice recap of the 2009 NFL win total over/unders as released by Vegas' sports gurus.  Vegas is projecting the Vikings to win nine games this season -- neck-and neck with two of our NFC North foes (looking strictly at the projected totals, they're projecting the Packers to win nine and the Bears to win 8.5 -- the Lions are a few games back of the NFC North crowd with a predicted total of five wins).

Even if you wouldn't be in for much of a payday by taking the over, I think nine seems about right for the Vikes.  As the roster currently stands, they're a solid 10-win team in my book...with a roster that has remained mostly intact from last season, a second-consecutive 10-6 season would seem to be a fairly conservative prediction at the moment.  True, a break or two either in their favor or against them could swing that to 9-7 or perhaps even 11-5, but I don't see this current Vikings team finishing the season anywhere below 9-7 or anywhere above 11-5.

That prediction assumes either Tarvaris Jackson's ability to continue playing at the level he finished the 2008 regular season at or Sage Rosenfels' ability to improve on two of T-Jack's major shortfalls -- completion percentage and sack avoidance.  If one of those assumptions is broken, that 10-win season could fall through in a hurry.

With a certain major addition to the roster that is approaching the point of being imminent, though, that's not the question currently on the minds of Vikings fans: the big question is how many wins Brett Favre is worth.  If we consider the Vikings a team that can win nine or 10 games without Favre, they can probably win 11 or 12 games with him.  I understand the reasons that people are uncomfortable with the idea of Favre in purple -- I really do.  But in an increasingly-competitive NFC North, every single win counts.  As much as I hate to admit it myself, Favre could very well be the difference between the Vikings repeating in the North or not repeating.

Alrighty -- I'm interested to hear your thoughts on the Vegas win total projection for the Vikings. (Is nine too high, too low, or just about right?)  And after the jump, I've got a quote from Purple Jesus on his fumblitis, a rumor Steve Mariucci's cooked up over the last couple days, and a lunch with Chilly...

Purple Jesus Unconcerned About Fumblitis

Zulgad caught up with Adrian Peterson on Wednesday and had the chance to ask him about his fumbling problem -- Purple Jesus finished last season with nine fumbles and led the league by a long-shot in rushing fumbles.  I was a bit surprised by Adrian's response, which was somewhat dismissive of his fumbling issues:

"When I watched the film, it really wasn’t the guys, the blows they were hitting [me with]. It was me being careless with the ball, trying to go the extra yard. Get to the end zone, because that’s my mindset. There’s so many things I can work on. Fumbling the ball, that’s not my main concern at all. I do a good job holding onto the ball. I guess you could argue from last year, but that’s definitely not my main concern."

It's damn near impossible to single out an aspect of Purple Jesus' game that can be criticized, but this is it: He's gotta figure something out to start taking better care of the football. And sure, it might be a little picky to criticize him for his fumblitis given that he led the league in rushing last year, but damn...many of those fumbles really stung an offense that just wasn't built to handle setbacks like that.  After fumbling just four times in his rookie season, Peterson fumbled four times in a span of three games at one point last year.

Anyway, do you find his response just a tad odd?  I'd certainly hope he's concerned about his tendency to fumble the football because...well, he led the freaking league in that category.  If he matched his rookie season total of four fumbles last year, his statement "I do a good job holding onto the ball" would be completely justifiable, but not when he's the league-leader.  At that point, he needs to make some sort of correction or tweak.

Mooch Jumps Into Favre Circus

It wouldn't be a proper recap of the latest Vikings news without another vague Brett Favre rumor being thrown out there, and luckily, Steve Mariucci stepped up to the plate earlier this week with a tidbit of his own:

He's trying to determine if his shoulder is going to allow him to throw the ball well enough. Of course, the Vikings want to know, and are trying to determine, if the torn biceps tendon will be healed enough to play well. So both sides are evaluating the situation.

Brett prefers not to have surgery unless it's a last resort. He has consulted a physician to get another opinion. I supposed that was the Vikings' request. There's enough time for him to get in shape and get ready if they can work it out.

I suppose that's a new morsel of information: the Vikings requested that Favre consult another physician for a second opinion on his right shoulder.  Not anything that's at all surprising, but there you have it.

A Lunch with Brad Childress

When you least expect it...Brad Childress might be entering a restaurant you're eating in, enjoying a California burger with fries at a table next to you, and joking about the Brett Favre drama:

Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress paid an unannounced visit to Hudson on Friday, May 8, stopping by Barker’s Bar & Grill for lunch while on a car trip to Chicago.

Patron Mike Laatsch, who was at a table next to Childress’, commented as the coach was about to leave that it was too bad that the Vikings wouldn’t be getting Favre.

"That’s what you think," Childress reportedly told Laatsch as he exited the restaurant.

Ha!  Love it.  Not anything newsworthy in this article, but it's a solid story to show that there is -- as implausible as it occasionally seems -- a softer side to Chilly.  Although he obviously enjoys protraying himself as a stoic, serious type of guy, I don't think he'd be half bad as company during a quick lunch.