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Where We Look At Pro Football Weekly And Say, "Really?"

So I saw a link to the latest "Audibles" column from Pro Football Weekly come across the Twitter this afternoon, and saw this rather confusing quote from an "anonymous" NFL executive.

"I don't think they have any expectations at all of winning in Minnesota this year. I fully expect they will start from scratch after the season ­­- whether that involves a head coach and a GM or just a head coach is still to be decided."

Color me crazy or biased or whatever if you want, but it appears to me that, if anything, this is the year that the Vikings will be "starting from scratch." As I pointed out in a post last month, the Vikings have exactly eight players currently over the age of 30 in camp this year. Three of those players. . .Antoine Winfield (35), Kevin Williams (31), and Jared Allen (30). . .could be described as prominent. Two of them are punter Chris Kluwe (30) and long snapper Cullen Loeffler (31). The other three are backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels (34), backup offensive lineman Joe Berger (30), and backup wide receiver Michael Jenkins (30).

On top of that, if you take the ages of the projected starting offense as of today, it comes out to an average of 25.1 years old. The "old man" on offense, as it stands now, is 28-year old guard Charlie Johnson (ten days older than tight end John Carlson. . .I had Carlson and Kyle Rudolph starting in a two tight end, one back, two receiver set with Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, and Jerome Simpson). Seriously. . .how much further can you (proverbially) "blow that up?" Honestly, if that's not the youngest offense in the league, it has to be very close.

Then, I remembered that I had a copy of PFW's 2012 NFL preview issue sitting in the house here. After I found it and thumbed through it, I had one simple reaction, documented below. After the jump, you'll see why.

For starters, in their article about the Vikings, they show the Metrodome as having a capacity of 80,242. Somebody better tell Zygi Wilf, because apparently about 20% of the crowd at the Metrodome has been getting in free. (The Dome's capacity for football is actually 64,111, according to the team's official site.)

Moving on, the magazine has the "grades" for each position group, somewhat similar to the folks from Lindy's did in a post I did a while back. Allow me to list what they have for the NFC North teams, in the order they have the teams predicted to finish in. They do a school-type scale (A, B, C, D, and F), so the "overall" is an approximation of all the grades.

QB RB Rec OL DL LB DB ST Overall
Green Bay A C+ A+ B- C+ B+ C+ B+ 3.03
Chicago B+ A- B D B B C A 2.88
Detroit B+ D A C A- B- C C 2.59
Minnesota D B+ C C C+ D+ C+ C- 2.00

Ugh, there is so much wrong here, I'm not even sure where to start. . .but I'll try.

-According to PFW, the Vikings' defensive line (which tied for the NFL lead in sacks in 2011 and is led by the guy that probably should have been Defensive Player of the Year last season) is just as good as the Vikings' secondary. . .a unit that allowed the second-highest passer rating against in NFL history, went nearly ten full games without an interception (setting an NFL record in the process), and allowed more touchdown passes than any team in the league last year. Yep. . .the same.

-Not only that, but the Vikings' secondary is (according to PFW) just as good as Green Bay's secondary. Yes, the Packers allowed the most passing yards in a season in NFL history in 2011 and only allowed five fewer TD passes than Minnesota did (34 to 29). The Packers also intercepted twenty-three more passes than the Vikings did (31 to 8) despite collecting about half as many sacks (50 for Minnesota, 29 for Green Bay) and their passer rating allowed was a full 27 points lower (107.6 for Minnesota, 80.6 for Green Bay). According to Pro Football Weekly? The secondaries are basically interchangeable. Seriously.

-Is Minnesota's defensive line that much worse than Detroit's, to the point where the Lions get an A- and the Vikings get the aforementioned C+? I really don't think so. In fact, until Nick Fairley can become known for something other than personal fouls (in college) and getting arrested (since reaching the NFL), I fail to see where Detroit's front four is better than Minnesota's at all. (Sure, I'm biased. . .but come on.)

-The running back ratings I can actually agree with. . .though I think if Adrian Peterson hadn't torn his ACL last Christmas Eve, the Vikings would have the top spot in that category over the Bears.

-To put the quarterback rating in a bit of perspective, the only other team in the NFL that was given a "D" at the position was the Cleveland Browns. Really, really laughable, that is.

Don't get me wrong. . .I'm sure that the folks at Pro Football Weekly were angry that they had to bother themselves with a Vikings preview at all, and this sort of thing is the result. But, really. . .it's like they didn't even try.