After watching the game yesterday I came up with an observationÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
People who say defense wins championships are full of it. Maybe in hockey or baseball, a hot goaltender or pitcher can carry an average team to a title (see Marlins)Ã¢â‚¬Â¦but not in football. You need to be stellar and deep at every spot. Sometimes an obnoxiously dominant D or O can compensate a little, like the 85 Bears, 00 Ravens Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ even the 98 VikesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ but this is very rare, and still they had at least reliable pieces everywhere else. With the 07 Vikes, two of the three pieces may be quietly in place, and the other is being slowly molded.
In the Tice/Green era, only the 98 team had most pieces, but more often then not, a crappy D and ST was the norm with a hot O. With this team the D and ST are pretty solid. The trenches are firm on both sides of the ball. Are they perfect? Not yet. We need more consistent pass rush from the ends (go Robison and Edwards!) and more experience on the right side of the O-line. But the foundation is there and this is the first and most crucial area on the team to nail down. The Vikes also have some veteran playmakers and some very promising young players on D. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got the toughest part of defense (stopping the run) nailed down to an art form. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not just Kevin and Pat stuffing runners either; we have stellar run-stuffing and tackling coming from our LBs and DBs. The D is only some scheming and experience away from being Ã¢â‚¬Å“Bears-likeÃ¢â‚¬Â dominant. Special teams? Reliable kicker, booming punter and more reliable kick-coverage seems to be in place.
On the offense-side, if you peel away the layers here, you realize that there was no real experience out there on offense beyond the O-line. A virtual-rook QB, rookie running back, untested tight end (sans Kliensasser), hot-prospect-only rookie receivers and a couple of veteran #3-only receivers (sans TWilliamson who should only be returning kicks). Even Chester Taylor, when healthy again, has only one year as a starter under his belt. I am not yet ready to say that we have no players because in time, many of them could be very good. It seems Childress has completely dismantled our offense to start molding something from scratch. I liken this O to Dallas after Johnson got there and the Walker trade.
LotÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s of talented, unproven, inexperienced players cutting their teeth all at the same time. As the unit gels, matures and lives up to itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s potential, with TJack getting comfortable, Rice, Williamson and Allison making plays, and Peterson wreaking havoc, things could get very good in a year or two. Remember Dallas went 1-15 before later winning 3 Super Bowls.
Bottom line: LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all see how it plays out. We probably wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make the playoffs this year, but we may be pleasantly surprised by the progress at the end of the season - we may not be as far away as it seems. But, as with anything including football, most want quick resultsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ continued slow progress with the O could eventually cost Chilly his job.