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  1. #1
    aaeyers's Avatar
    aaeyers is offline Pro-Bowler
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    Sep 2007

    10 Vikings To Watch

    1. Tarvaris Jackson
    Starting with the obvious, the QB is always the most scrutinized player on the team, and rightfully so. Going into his third year in the league, its time for Jackson to show that he can be the guy here in Minnesota. If he can stay healthy, Tarvaris certainly has all the tools to be a legitimate franchise quarterback. But if he struggles, we could be hearing a lot of 'Booty calls' in the Dome next year.

    2. Visanthe Shiancoe
    After a somewhat disappointing first season here in Minnesota, Shiancoe also has something to prove in 2008. He was only targeted a total of 43 times throughout the season, so his lack of production was not solely his doing, however the Vikings would certainly like to see more production from their starting TE next year. If he can't put up some better numbers this year, the scouting team could be spending a lot time looking at TEs for next year's draft.

    3. Cedric Griffin
    Another one of the Vikings' 2nd round pick in the 2006 draft, Griffin also is facing a critical point his career. He will be the starting corner opposite of Antoine Winfield this year, but if he struggles don't expect much hesitation from the coaching staff to try out Marcus McCauley or Charles Gordon. If he shows that he can be a reliable corner, he could be a long time starter in this defense, but if he struggles he may never have a chance to win a starting job again.

    4. Ryan Cook
    A converted center, Cook is the only player on the offensive line that is not signed to a long term deal. Like Griffin and Jackson, Cook was also taken in the second round of the 2006 draft, and likewise is facing a turning point in his career. If he continues to progress and to solidify the right side of the line, Cook could be joining his fellow linemen with a long term deal. Good offensive tackles are hard to come by, and although Cook struggled at times last year, he also made a lot of progress and helped give Minnesota the top ranked rushing attack in 2007. Whether or not he is the starting tackle a year from now is completely up to him.

    5. Erasmus James
    A first round pick back in 2005, James has never had a chance to display his talent. Set back by injuries, James has only seen action in 8 games since his rookie year and only accounting for one sack since 2005. If he can't stay healthy and demonstrate why he was first round pick, this could be his last year wearing purple and gold.

    6. Aundrae Allison
    Although he was only a 5th round pick in last year's draft, by the end of the season Allison had developed into a solid contributor as he became one of the league's leading kick returners. In addition to being the primary kick returner, Allison also averaged 15.8 yards per reception when he was utilized on offense. Look for Allison to continue to add excitement to the return game this year, and also to become a more prominent contributor on offense.

    7. Ray Edwards
    After being suspended for the final four games of the 2007 season, look for Edwards to be playing with a chip on his shoulder. After splitting time for Robison on the right side of the line last year, Edwards should be the predominant starting left end, due to the acquisition of Jared Allen and the unfortunate illness to Kenechi Udeze. On the left side, Edwards will be facing the slower, more run-blocking oriented offensive tackles, and thanks to the 3 pro bowlers on the defensive line next to him, he will also be free from double teams. Look for Edwards to greatly improve on his 5 sacks from last year as he tries to establish himself as a player worthy of consistently starting in the NFL.

    8. Sidney Rice
    While all the attention from the Vikings draft in 2007 was directed towards Adrian Peterson, Sidney Rice is a player that fans should be equally excited about. In his rookie year, Rice showed off his amazing hands, his ability to win jump balls in the end zone, and he even set a Vikings record for the longest pass ever thrown by a non-quarterback. This year Rice needs to establish himself as a reliable option for Jackson, and he needs to show he can stay healthy for a full 16 game season. With defenses focusing on stopping our ground attack, Bernard Berrian on the other side of the field, and a big-armed quarterback, Rice has the perfect opportunity to break out this year.

    9. Chase Johnson
    Thanks to Bryant McKinnie's newest run-in with the law, the left tackle spot in Minnesota might be vacant for at least a few games this year. Its a good thing that the Vikings have Johnson, a 6-8, 330 pound monster who spent all year last year learning the Vikings' blocking schemes. If the Vikings don't acquire a veteran left tackle to fill in for McKinnie while he serves his inevitable suspension (if not jail time), look for Chase Johnson to get his first taste of playing in the NFL. And who knows, if Johnson plays well, he might give the front office enough reason to ship out McKinnie.

    10. Adrian Peterson
    Forget about players to watch on the Vikings, Adrian Peterson is one of the top players to watch in all of sports. Last year's rookie of the year, pro bowl MVP and all-time single game rushing record holder, Peterson has the kind of flash that will have fans and coaches holding their breath every time he touches the ball. The only question mark with Peterson going into the 2008 season is which record is he going to break this year?

  2. #2
    SKOL's Avatar
    SKOL is offline Ring of Fame
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    Apr 2004

    Re: 10 Vikings To Watch

    Wow, thanks Aayers.
    You put a lot of time into that.

    The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good -Samuel Johnson - lexicographer
    The word genius isn t applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein - Joe Theisman

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Phoenix, AZ

    Re: 10 Vikings To Watch

    Good read.

  4. #4
    midgensa's Avatar
    midgensa is offline Jersey Retired Free Kick Specialist 3 Champion
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    Dec 1969

    Re: 10 Vikings To Watch

    Another fantastic post ... and seems to be right on the money.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Re: 10 Vikings To Watch

    Great post man - right on the money imo
    "A head coach needs 3 things. A good wife, a loyal dog and a helluva Quaterback!" John Gruden

  6. #6
    jmcdon00's Avatar
    jmcdon00 is offline Jersey Retired Snake Champion, Moto Trial Fest 2: Mountain Pack Champion, LL City Truck 2 Champion, Arithmetic sequence Champion, Troops Tower Defense Champion
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    Aug 2006

    Re: 10 Vikings To Watch

    I plan to watch the whole team, not just 10 players. :P

  7. #7
    skol_vikes! is offline Rookie
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    Dec 1969

    Re: 10 Vikings To Watch

    You definitely hit the nail on the head, man.
    Fantastic commentary.
    "If it's not fun, you're not doing it right. "
    ~ Fran Tarkenton

  8. #8
    marstc09's Avatar
    marstc09 is offline Jersey Retired
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    Phoenix, Arizona

    Re: 10 Vikings To Watch

    thanks for the read. Very well thought out.

  9. #9
    gagarr's Avatar
    gagarr is offline Team Alumni
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    Aug 2006

    Re: 10 Vikings To Watch

    Love the analysis... good post!

    But I think you should have included Jared Allen.
    On defense I'm going to be watching him... we gave up alot, so I have some expectations.
    Page 148.5 **Doleman 150.5 **Randle 137.5 **Allen 73+

  10. #10
    nareg is offline Rookie
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    Dec 1969

    Re: 10 Vikings To Watch

    very well thought out post !!! and with a majority of these things put together will make or break our season!!!!!

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