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  1. #1
    Prophet Guest

    Florio: Vikings @ 23.

    POSTED 11:44 p.m. EDT, July 10, 2006

    PFT PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS: NO. 23
    Mike Florio

    Okay, time to shake things up. In honor of the fact we're often accused by Packers fans of being Vikings fans, and that we're often accused by Vikings fans of being assholes, we've decided to give both demographics a treat by installing in position No. 23 the franchise that has for most of the past four decades combined above-average performances on the field with close-but-no-cigar outcomes when it matters most and all-too-embarrassing off-field incidents.

    The Minnesota Vikings.

    Last year at this time, the Vikes were on the short list of Super Bowl contenders. And for good reason. We thought. Sure, receiver Randy Moss was gone, but quarterback Daunte Culpepper had put together an MVP-caliber season in 2004, which featured several impressive performances while Moss was nursing a hamstring injury.

    In addition to trading Moss, the Vikes continued to upgrade a traditionally porous defense by adding guys like cornerback Fred Smoot, safety Darren Sharper, and defensive tackle Pat Williams.

    But the team inexplicably limped to a 2-5 start, fueled by an anything-but-limp Love Boat cruise and capped by a nightmare before Halloween in Charlotte, during which Culpepper's right knee got transformed into a bowl of soggy corn flakes.

    And then, just as the team had the inside track on the rights to Reggie Bush, the Vikings turned it around, winning six in a row.

    Of course, it was all too good to last. The Vikes got banged around at home by the Steelers and lost on the road to the Ravens before thumping the Bears' second-stringers on New Year's Day.

    About 15 minutes after the final gun, the real fun began. The team parted ways with head coach Mike Tice via a terse statement circulated by hand through the locker room. Archie Bunker's son-in-law was replaced not long thereafter by Brad Childress, former Eagles offensive coordinator who didn't fully coordinate the offense because, well, he never actually called the plays. Then after Philly convinced personnel guru Tom Heckert to stay put and guys like Pats director of college scouting Tom Dimitroff said "no thanks," the Vikes named Fran Foley the V.P. of Player Personnel, coining along the way the term "Triangle of Authority," a phrase rivaled in team history only by the ill-advised "Randy Ratio."

    Foley lasted all of three months before a string of resume inaccuracies -- and a reputation for being too hard on the help -- resulted in his extremely premature departure.

    Eventually, Foley was replaced by former Miami G.M. Rick Spielman, who has the personality to build consensus . . . and the incentive to make folks forget about the personnel moves that preceded his departure from the Fins.

    If possible, the game of musical chairs that played out in the front office was overshadowed by an ugly divorce with quarterback Daunte Culpepper, who made a surprise turn for the turdish after trying to make a play for more money despite a horrendous 2005 season. He fired his agent and then decided to communicate directly with the media by e-mail. Eventually, the Vikings put him on the trading block, lied to him about the fact that he was on the trading block, and then of course proceeded to trade him.

    After Culpepper left, Brad Childress spent nearly as much time talking publicly about his former quarterback in Minny as T.O. has spent talking about their mutual former quarterback in Philly.

    To help make the fans quit thinking about the guy whom Childress couldn't seem to forget, the Vikings plunked down huge money for Seahawks guard Steve Hutchinson, using a contentious poison-pill provision to back Seattle into a corner. The Vikes also added linebacker Ben Leber, running back Chester Taylor, and kicker Ryan Longwell in the early days of free agency. Later came quarterback Mike McMahon, safety Tank Williams, and fullback Tony Richardson.

    Other key departures include cornerback Brian Williams, safety Corey Chavous, defensive end Lance Johnstone, linebacker Keith Newman, running back Michael Bennett, and receiver Nate Burleson, who signed with Seattle a tit-for-tat offer sheet that pushed the poison-pill concept to a new level, using features such as the number of games played in Minnesota as a trigger for guaranteeing the full amount of the seven-year, $49 million deal.

    In the draft, the Vikings added linebacker Chad Greenway, cornerback Cedric Griffin, center Ryan Cook, and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.

    So why have we put this team so much lower than its finish in 2005 might merit? Put simply, there's been too much upheaval in just one offseason. A first-time head coach. A first-time offensive coordinator installing a new offense. A first-time defensive coordinator installing a new defense. A loud-mouthed goofball (in our opinion) running the personnel department during free agency and the draft, the most important stages of the offseason. Criminal cases resulting from the Love Boat fiasco. The Culpepper saga. The lingering stink of giving up on Randy Moss at a time when perhaps the real doofis was Daunte.

    Eventually, this team could step forward. But before it happens we sense a major step backward in 2006.

    Now for the fantasy grades:

    Quarterback: Brad Johnson generated a solid passer rating in nine-plus games last season, but threw only 12 touchdown passes. He's not likely to generate a ton of fantasy points. On the bright side, his four picks shows that he knows how to take care of the ball. Given his age, though, we'll give him a C+.

    Running back: There have been whispers that the team isn't pleased with Chester Taylor, which could mean that Mewelde Moore will eat into Taylor's touches. We'd stay away from either until there's an indication during training camp as to whether either one of them will get the bulk of the carries. There's even a chance, in our view, that Ciatrick Fason steals the starting job.

    Wide receiver: Who's No. 1 on the depth chart? Who knows. Between Travis Taylor, Koren Robinson, Marcus Robinson, and Troy Williamson, the ball got spread around too much in 2005, with none of them putting up great numbers. Taylor had the most catches (50) and yards (604), but not enough to warrant even a C. We'd avoid all of them, perhaps taking a flier on Williamson in the event that he lives up to his top-ten draft status or Robinson, for pretty much the same reason.

    Tight end: Jermaine Wiggins hauled in 69 passes, good for fifth among all tight ends. He has been one of the few consistent factors on the Vikings offense over the past few years, and he's one of the few tight ends we'd take in lieu of a third wideout. He gets a B.

    Defense: If new coordinator Mike Tomlin can get the Tampa 2 to take quickly, the Vikings could have a solid defense. But that's a big "if," especially since the linebackers (key players in the Cover 2 scheme) have been the team's biggest weakness for the past few years, and since defensive tackle Kevin Williams seemed to regress significantly in 2005. Then there's cornerback Fred Smoot in run support -- even with an extra 15 pounds of upper body weight the notion of Smoot making tackles near the line of scrimmage as part of the Tampa 2 is almost as ridiculous as the accounts of his Love Boat activities.

    Kicker: Ryan Longwell is a seasoned veteran who was stuck in a bad offense last season with the Packers. His chances won't be much more numerous in 2006. He gets a C-.

  2. #2
    COJOMAY is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Florio: Vikings @ 23.

    Just one comment here besides the obvious that we will NOT finish that low...
    How can he rate Longwell a C- just because he feels that Longwell won't get as many chances to show his stuff. The guy is still one of the elite kickers in the NFL last time I looked.
    Kentucky Vikes Fan

    When you require nothing, you get nothing; when you expect nothing, you will find nothing; when you embrace nothing, all you will have is nothing.

  3. #3
    petrodemos's Avatar
    petrodemos is offline Asst. Coach
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    Re: Florio: Vikings @ 23.

    makes you wonder if a 1-15 season would have been worth it to get reggie bush....im just sayin....

  4. #4
    Mr. Purple's Avatar
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    Re: Florio: Vikings @ 23.

    Hater in the house!

    Theres NOTHING greater then a Florida Gator!
    "I promise everyone this. When Childress is let go in two years I can honestly say this.
    "I am not surprised"."-PurplePackerEater

  5. #5
    boognish's Avatar
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    Re: Florio: Vikings @ 23.

    It's just fucking fantasy football analysis dressed up to be real football analysis. He's probably right that our team will struggle this season, at least in the early part of it. As soon as he started talking about fantasy stats though, my brain refused to take him seriously. Fantasy stats do not equate to wins/losses.
    I am a dipshit!!!

  6. #6
    Braddock's Avatar
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    Re: Florio: Vikings @ 23.

    "petrodemos" wrote:
    makes you wonder if a 1-15 season would have been worth it to get reggie bush....im just sayin....
    Why get Reggie? That way we could have made Tarvaris the #1 pick overall :smile:
    Trying to bring rationale to an irrational site

  7. #7
    BloodyHorns82's Avatar
    BloodyHorns82 is offline Jersey Retired Feed The Frog Champion
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    Re: Florio: Vikings @ 23.

    Sure isn't showing the Vikes much love. He does make a few points, and some rediculous ones, but I'll hate him anyways for hating on us!

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