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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Media picks Chicago in NFC North

    Posted on Sat, Jul. 29, 2006

    [size=18px]Media picks Chicago in NFC North[/size]

    Columnists predict Vikings need a season to adapt

    By Don Seeholzer
    Knight Ridder Newspapers


    A year ago at this time, the Minnesota Vikings' bandwagon was filled to overflowing with predictions of an NFC North title and possible Super Bowl berth.

    This time around, a random sampling of preseason magazines reveals Chicago as the consensus choice to repeat as division champion, with the Vikings relegated to also-ran status. The Sporting News picked them to finish third, behind Green Bay, with a 6-10 record.

    Sporting News

    Sporting News NFL columnist Dan Pompei didn't make that prediction, but he has modest expectations for the Vikings in their first season under coach Brad Childress.

    "I think any time you have a new coach you probably have to expect a transition period," Pompei said. "That's kind of what I expect from the Vikings this season. Last year, everything had kind of been established and in place for a number of seasons. They had a better shot at being successful last year, I think, than they probably do this year. I would think the Vikings probably are going to take a little bit of time before everyone understands what they're supposed to do and Brad Childress figures out if he's got the right players in the right spots."

    USA Today

    USA Today's Larry Weisman has yet to make his predictions, but he also sees the Bears as the team to beat.

    As for the Vikings ... hey, wait until next year.

    "I think they're probably going to need a year of figuring out who and what they are before they can reach any great heights," Weisman said. "But I like Brad Childress. I think he's going to implement a good system, and I like the idea of them going to the Tampa 2 scheme defensively. Often there, if you just get talent, you can find a way to use it. Where in the past, when they got players you thought might be pretty good, they just couldn't get the production."

    Sports Illustrated

    Sports Illustrated's Don Banks takes a more optimistic view than his national colleagues.

    In a recent column for SI.com, he predicted the Vikings could contend for a playoff spot this season and push Chicago for the division title.

    "I think Brad Johnson, if he can stay healthy, is going to play a lot like he did in that 7-2 stretch after Daunte Culpepper got hurt last year," Banks said. "I think he's going to take care of the football. I think he's going to run Childress' version of the West Coast very, very efficiently.

    "I also think that they're probably going to get a bump from the fresh start in Minnesota. Obviously, things had gotten pretty chaotic, and I happen to think Childress is kind of what the doctor ordered for the organization. I think they need calm, stability and a plan that doesn't change every 6-12 weeks. I don't think they're in for an easy playoff berth by any means, but I do think that division is ripe for them if they put two halves of the season together this time."

    Banks isn't completely sold on the Bears, who rode their defense to an 11-5 record last season but were pushed around during the final four weeks. He isn't ready, though, to go out on a limb and predict a Super Bowl appearance for the Vikings, as Sports Illustrated teammate Peter King did last offseason.

    "I wouldn't go that far," Banks said. "I think Carolina's the class of the NFC, but I expect the calm to be worth quite a bit to the Vikings. Put me down for the Brad Factor. I've covered Brad Johnson, and I'm fairly close with him. I have confidence that, if he can avoid the killer shot that takes him out for six weeks, he's going to put them in position to win most games.

    "I think Childress, while he'll have his own growing pains as a head coach, will be prepared. I think he's going to have a calming influence on the entire organization, if he hasn't already. I just don't think they're going to have the kind of dynamic where they rock from one crisis to another under him."

    Banks, it should be noted, wasn't among those who picked the Vikings to go to the Super Bowl last season.

    Neither was Weisman, who likes the direction in which the team is headed under Childress but thinks it will take more than a year to get there.

    "I think I picked them for the big thing two years ago," he said. "Kool-Aid tends to come in purple, and I was one of those drinking it. To some extent, I think they're going to be finding their way once again defensively this season. Trying to implement a new system, trying to fit some people into it, trying to once again shore up that linebacker corps and find three solid starters. You never say never, but to go 7-9 or 9-7 again, right in that ballpark, I don't know if that's unreasonable to expect."

    Media pick Chicago in NFC North

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    COJOMAY is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Media pick Chicago in NFC North

    These picks don't surprise me. It's the same rehash over again that we've heard before...
    "I think they're probably going to need a year of figuring out who and what they are before they can reach any great heights," Weisman said.
    I don't think this is going to be as much of a factor as everyone thinks. Look at last year - the Vikes kept constantly changing systems in midstream. Talk about not used to a system. While I agree that they supposedly made it more simple, Childress has surrounded himself with players who know this system. Training camp and the pre-season games should smooth out most of the rough edges. While I agree that the first three games on the schedule will be tough and people may blame losses on learning the system, I don't think it's going to be that hard to learn. Rookies always have a hard time breaking into the NFL because of the speed of the game but we don't have that many rookies starting either.

    "I think Brad Johnson, if he can stay healthy,
    Everyone is using this line. In fact, most people here feel the same way. While I agree that BJ is the key to the offense, I feel he has less chance of being injured this year than he did with the poor offensive scheme we had last year. Brad will take care of the ball and play a controlled type of offense.

    Banks isn't completely sold on the Bears, who rode their defense to an 11-5 record last season but were pushed around during the final four weeks.
    While the Bear defense was good last year, and that is why most are picking them to win the division again, I am impressed with the defense the Vikes have this year. I can easily see our defense being in the top 10 and maybe in the top 5.

    After what the Vikes went through last year with all the controversy, the lousy coaching and still came up with a 9-7 record I am amazed they did as well as they did. This year with a much improved coaching staff and several great upgrades, especially on the offensive line, I think the Vikes are gonna surprise a lot of the so-called experts and win the division. Although I don't see them as a Super Bowl contender, I can see them winning at least the first game of the playoffs.
    Kentucky Vikes Fan

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  3. #3
    Braddock's Avatar
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    Re: Media pick Chicago in NFC North

    Actually I thought the article, and opinions expressed in it, was well done. The opinions aren't too terribly biased, but rather realistic. COJO, you sound mad, saying it's what everyone says, and this is true to a certain extent. The tone presented by these writers is one that shows they aren't trying to predict the future necessarily, just trying to use the information available to make judgements on the ability of the Vikes. They aren't completely counting us out, realizing anything can happen, but they are saying we're heading in the right direction, it just may take time to get to our destination. It would be silly to expect Superbowl predictions now more than ever.
    Trying to bring rationale to an irrational site

  4. #4
    VikesfaninWis's Avatar
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    Re: Media pick Chicago in NFC North

    I can't stand people that think they know everything.. They say because we have a new coach and a new system that we will take a year to adapt.. Well they predict us to take 3rd in the division behing GB at 6-10.. We were 9-7 last season, GB was last at 4-12, and they also have new coach and new system.. So what makes them think GB is going to win more games then us? Just a bunch of idiots showing more hate towards the Vikes..

  5. #5
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    Re: Media pick Chicago in NFC North

    I feel that is a very realistic article. Unless we get help at QB we will not win our division,pure and simple.

  6. #6
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    Re: Media pick Chicago in NFC North

    I thought the article was pretty well done as well. I do however have higher expectations than those in the article. This is a very difficult team to predict things with right now. Lets hope for the best.

  7. #7
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    Re: Media pick Chicago in NFC North

    "purpleFavreEaters" wrote:
    I feel that is a very realistic article. Unless we get help at QB we will not win our division,pure and simple.
    What kind of help?

    Is everybody miffed into believing we need a guy to throw for 400+ yards and 4 TD's to win? I guess a lot of people were just a little used to Cunningham, George, and Culpepper. Although those games were fun to watch, it did not do us a lot of good. We have an efficient passer and a guy who can make the 3rd down conversion. That is the recipe for winning. Out of the guys who "air" the ball out, how many rings do they have? Maybe Favre was the last one to do so.

  8. #8
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    Re: Media pick Chicago in NFC North

    of corse everyone picks chicago, they were the only dominant force in the division last year, yes we played well, but not as well as we could have given the circumstances

    everyone chooses (ok, most people) the easiest choice


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  9. #9
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    Re: Media pick Chicago in NFC North

    "ultravikingfan" wrote:
    "purpleFavreEaters" wrote:
    I feel that is a very realistic article. Unless we get help at QB we will not win our division,pure and simple.
    What kind of help?

    Is everybody miffed into believing we need a guy to throw for 400+ yards and 4 TD's to win? I guess a lot of people were just a little used to Cunningham, George, and Culpepper. Although those games were fun to watch, it did not do us a lot of good. We have an efficient passer and a guy who can make the 3rd down conversion. That is the recipe for winning. Out of the guys who "air" the ball out, how many rings do they have? Maybe Favre was the last one to do so.
    Good point. This Bears team that most analysts have us coming in second to didn't exactly have stellar play from the QB position. They won through a solid, run-heavy, ball control type offense and a dominant defense; sounds a lot like the team we're trying to put on the field this year.

    I think we'll be allright and have a great chance to contend for the division this year.
    I am a dipshit!!!

  10. #10
    ultravikingfan's Avatar
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    Re: Media pick Chicago in NFC North

    Honestly, the Bears will be a big, stinking pile of crap this year. Every year they do good they come back the next and totally flop...as if the other teams figured them out.

    Last year was a joke. They truly blow (like all their fans) and they will suck for years to come.

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