We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2009 fantasy football questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2009 Vikings Fantasy Football Preview comes courtesy of Daily Norseman.
I would like to think that it hasn’t impacted them that much. Right around draft time this year, Viking fans were anticipating an open competition for the starting QB job between Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson. Rosenfels and Jackson have gone through all the camps anticipating as much, I presume, because Favre wasn’t there. Now he’s not going to be there, but I don’t think things have changed that much for T-Jack and the Spicerack. (Pretty catchy, eh?) But the Vikings have a solid veteran core, and I don’t think they’re going to allow this to allow this to affect the team in any meaningful way.
As far as my personal reaction, the only thing that really miffs me is that the mainstream media. . .as well as our site. . .made this THE story of the Vikings’ off-season. We spent so much time covering this that there were a lot of other aspects of the Vikings that went ignored this off-season. Both the national media and our site (on a smaller scale, obviously) did a disservice to the fans of the Vikings by allowing this story to absorb so much of our thought process.
2. Adrian Peterson is a beast and number one on every fantasy top ten I’ve seen. Barring injury what could possibly hold him back from another huge season? Do you foresee any change in Chester Taylor’s 3rd down status?
Outside of injury, the only thing that can stop Adrian Peterson is Adrian Peterson. More specifically, his ability to hold on to the football. Peterson did fumble the ball 9 times in 2008, and some folks are under the impression that that signals some sort of “fumbilitis” that’s going to haunt him forever and ruin his career. While fumbles are potentially devestating, obviously, they’re not necessarily a killer. A prime example of that is a guy that Peterson has been compared favorably too, former Ram/Colt/Raider/Falcon running back Eric Dickerson. The year Dickerson set the single-season rushing mark, he put the ball on the ground fourteen times. Heck, in the first four years of his career, Dickerson averaged over 12 fumbles a season. He also averaged about 1750 yards and 14 TDs a year during that time. Peterson only had four fumbles as a rookie, so I think that calling him “butterfingers” or anything like that is premature at best.
As much as we’d like to see Peterson out there on the field for more third downs, Chester Taylor has established himself as one of the league’s better third down backs, and I would be surprised if he didn’t retain that role this season. Taylor is a good change of pace runner and a great pass catcher when called upon, and utilizing him also gives Brad Childress the ability to keep Peterson fresher through the course of a game. The Peterson/Taylor tandem is right up there with the best 1-2 running back punches in the NFL, and will continue to be in 2009.
3. The wide receiver situation hasn’t been great in Minnesota for a while now. Percy Harvin is getting some praise early on. Who do you see starting behind Berrian?
Ideally, if he can stay healthy and start learning how to run decent routes, Sidney Rice would line up across from Berrian with Harvin in some sort of slot/wild card role and Bobby Wade slipping in as the #4 guy from time to time. I pimped Sidney Rice last year to pretty much anybody that would listen, and he repaid me by going out, getting hurt, and generally being awful. However, he’s got a ton of physical ability, outstanding hands, and great body control. He’s got all the tools to be a very good NFL wide receiver. . .he simply needs to show the desire to ascend to that level. If he doesn’t, the Vikings should put a moratorium on receivers from South Carolina for the next couple of decades (see also: Williamson, Troy).
4. You’ve taken a detailed look at the Vikings schedule on your blog. What does it look like? Do you see a high scoring season fulfilling all our fake football dreams or will it be a grind it out kind of schedule?
Honestly, and this is going to make me sound like a complete homer, but I think this team would have to try very hard to not win at least ten games in 2009. The first five weeks of the schedule are relatively soft. . .which is good, considering that that’s when we might lose Pat and Kevin Williams. . .followed up by what should be a couple of bloodbaths against Baltimore and Pittsburgh in consecutive weeks. The stretch run of the Vikings’ schedule is a bit tricky in spots, too, but I really think that the Vikings should win anywhere between ten and twelve games in 2009 and be celebrating their second straight NFC North division title.
5. Who do you feel will win the starting quarterback job? Who do you hope wins the job?
I honestly don’t know who will win the starting QB job. Well, I do know it won’t be John David Booty, anyway. But it’s interesting. . .the Vikings traded away a fourth-round pick for Rosenfels and gave him a three-year contract worth about $9 million, and you generally don’t do that for somebody that’s going to sit on the bench. On the other hand, Jackson did look like he had improved at the end of last season, and he might be able to carry that momentum forward into 2009.
If you put a gun to my head right now, I’d probably pick Rosenfels to get the first snap of the year. Of course, if you asked me tomorrow, you might get a different answer. I can tell you one thing, though. . .we know what the most intriguing story line in Vikings’ camp this year will be.
6. The NFC North has quickly become a quarterback’s heaven with Cutler going to the Bears, Rodgers playing well for the Packers and Stafford going to the Lions. Do you see the Norris Division turning into the AFC West?
I’m sure that quarterback will be a primary concern of the Vikings over the next couple of seasons, as it should be. Sage Rosenfels has never been a starter on a regular basis, and Tarvaris Jackson is still a pretty unproven commodity. Having said that, though, people need to be reminded sometimes that the 2008 Vikings won ten games and the NFC North with a combination of “bad” Tarvaris Jackson (his first two starts of the year), Gus Frerotte, and “good’ Tarvaris Jackson (his play from the time he relieved Frerotte in Detroit to the end of the regular season). Yes, the Vikings might be deficient at quarterback compared to their other divisional counterparts. . .but they have the best running back in the NFL and arguably the best defense in the NFC, neither of which is something any other team in the NFC North can lay claim to.
7. Of course there is now some speculation of Michael Vick going to Minnesota. Would you be for or against this?
Holy good lord, no, we don’t need Michael Vick anywhere near Minnesota. We have enough talent at running back the way it is.
I’ve always been of the opinion that Michael Vick has never, ever been a good NFL quarterback, and him spending two seasons playing in the Virginia Penal League hasn’t done anything to sway me in that regard. I’d much rather go into battle in 2009 with what we have than risk bringing in a circus like Vick. And that doesn’t even begin to get into the character issue, but in the interest if brevity, I won’t get into that part of things.