Yes, in his Monday Morning Quarterback column for today, SI.com's Peter King decided to fill a couple of pages worth of space with a fresh set of Power Rankings. In May. Before training camps. Before mini-camps. Before Memorial Day, for crying out loud.
But, since it's football-related material, I decided to check it out, if for no other reason than to look and see where King placed the Minnesota Vikings. You remember the Vikings. . .the team that was a play or two away from the Super Bowl and might have an argument for being the best and most talented team in the NFL? Yeah, those Minnesota Vikings. Well, you'll never guess where Mr. King has those Minnesota Vikings ranked.
"Obviously they have to be in the Top Five," you might say. And, in response, I would have to say, "Ha, ha! You would think that a team with the #2 scoring offense in the NFL and a top five defense in 2009 would be among the five best teams in the NFL. . .but you'd be wrong!"
And you might follow my laughter with, "well, if King doesn't have the Vikings in the top five, then they certainly have to be in the top ten!" And verily unto you, I would again say, "Ha, ha! You would think that a team that earned a first-round bye in the 2009 playoffs and was clearly one of the best teams in the league for the entirety of the 2009 season would be listed among the ten best teams in the NFL. . .but they're not!"No, ladies and gentlemen. . .Peter King has determined that the Minnesota Vikings. . .12-4 in 2009, returning pretty much everybody from that team, and possessing as much talent on paper as any team out there. . .are currently the thirteenth best team in the National Football League. This means that a team that was as good as Minnesota was just four short months ago is now, apparently, not good enough to make the post-season.
And the reasoning?
13. Minnesota. Whether old What's His Name comes back or not will determine Minnesota's fate. Brett Favre or no Brett Favre, the Vikings have an offensive line in decline.
Holy crap, are you serious? An offensive line in decline? How's about "not so much." Because, see, the Minnesota offensive line that I saw had a starting left tackle and a starting left guard that played with significant injuries for the majority of the 2009 season. . .you're not going to convince me that Steve Hutchinson was 100% last year with the way he looked at times. And, oh yeah, the Vikings started two rookies on the offensive line last year. . .one of whom, Phil Loadholt, was very good for most of the year and the other, John Sullivan, showed flashes at times as well. And the Vikings' offensive line was so far "in decline" last year that the Minnesota offense scored the second-most points in the NFL (with the aid of only one defensive touchdown and two Percy Harvin kickoff returns for scores to pad the offense's total).
But if you think that's funny. . .you should see the NFC teams that King has ranked ahead of Minnesota.
His top choice in the NFL. . .and his #1 team overall. . .is none other than the Green Bay Packers. A team that Brett Favre slapped around twice last season in front of nationwide audiences. A team that registered zero sacks against Minnesota while allowing the Vikings to collect 13. A team that allowed Ben Roethlisberger to drop over 500 passing yards on them. And, if you'll recall, a team that was last seen giving up half a hundred points to the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Wild Card playoffs.
Mr. King, sir. . .if you're going to declare a team to be #1 in the NFL, they should at least be the #1 team in their division. At this point, the Green Bay Packers are not, and nothing has happened over the last four months to make me believe that the gap between the Vikings and the Packers has even narrowed, let alone indicate that the Packers have passed the Vikings. Seriously, now, get a grip on reality here.
The other NFC teams that King has listed ahead of the Vikings? New Orleans (the only one that makes any sense), Carolina (8-8 last year, though they did beat Minnesota), the New York Giants (a team that was last seen quitting on the field and losing to the Vikings 44-7 in last year's regular season finale), the Dallas Cowboys (who were last seen getting annihilated by the Vikings in the playoffs), and the Seattle Seahawks (a team that went 5-11 last year despite playing in what might have been the weakest division in the NFL and hired a coach that has never had any success at the NFL level).
I mean, really. . .I know stuff like this is done largely to get hits and page views and stuff like that. . .but would it have killed Peter King to have based his views just a little, teeny, tiny bit in reality? There are not 12 teams in the National Football League better than the Minnesota Vikings. You'd have a hard time convincing most people that there are five teams in the NFL better than Minnesota. So, I guess we can put Peter King's name at the top of the list of folks that will be proven laughably wrong by the Vikings in 2010.