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  1. #1
    ejmat is offline Jersey Retired
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    Vikings Outlook for 2005

    Minnesota

    Good: The Vikings have finally made significant upgrades on defense

    The Vikings could have six new starters after a heavy-spending offseason that included the addition of free agents such as NT Pat Williams, CB Fred Smoot, FS Darren Sharper and trades for SLB Napoleon Harris and MLB Sam Cowart. WLB Dontarrious Thomas, a second-round pick in 2004, is expected to be the sixth new starter, replacing Chris Claiborne. Claiborne signed as an unrestricted free agent with St. Louis.

    Reynolds’ take: Minnesota could have the best secondary in the NFC (the Ravens’ secondary is tops in the league), and the defensive line, counting on a pair of recent first-round picks in Erasmus James and Kenechi Udeze, might get there. The question mark is the LB corps. Napoleon Harris struggled in coverage with the Raiders and became a two-down linebacker. If the Vikings can use him as a pass rusher and athlete, he’ll be a nice fit. Cowart is on the wrong side of 30, but E.J. Henderson, the starter inside in ’04, has been a horse in the offseason program. Thomas was caught thinking too often last season, which slowed him down. If he adjusts mentally, the LB corps will prosper and the Vikings will have a chance to be a stellar defense.

    Bad: Moss is gone, and there are questions at running back

    The Vikings traded away perhaps the top receiver in the game when they sent Randy Moss to Oakland in exchange for Harris and draft choices, including one that they used to select Moss' eventual replacement, Troy Williamson. The Vikings have a stable of capable running backs, but keeping them on the field has been a problem. Michael Bennett has been plagued by knee and ankle injuries the past two seasons, and Onterrio Smith has been suspended for the entire 2005 season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. In reserve are second-year man Mewelde Moore, versatile veteran Moe Williams and rookie Ciatrick Fason.

    Reynolds’ take: With enough digging and handwringing, there is fault to be found with Mike Tice’s rationale in dealing Moss. But Tice and the Vikings’ organization decided that, given the maturation of Daunte Culpepper, the sum of all parts makes a pretty electric whole, even without Moss. Minnesota battled inconsistency in the running game when Moss was injured last season, and it lacks stability at that position. The Vikings say Bennett is “back,� but we’ll believe that when we see it. Nate Burleson is a solid No. 2 wide receiver, but he doesn’t come with a fear factor for opponents.



    I have to agree with everything being said here except Nate Burleson only being a #2 WR. He has proven he can be a great #1 WR while Moss was out. Give Pep the freedom to do what he wants and not what Moss wants and Burleson will be just fine.

    Hopefully Bennett emerges as a top back. I'll believe it when I see it but hope he does.

  2. #2
    SamDawg84 Guest

    Re: Vikings Outlook for 2005

    Im not so sure Burleson has really emerged as a number 1 quite yet.. Atleast not a really good one quite yet.. I wanna see him take on the likes of Mcallister, Bly, and other great corners like that week in and week out and prove he can make a full year against number 1 corners.. He should be solid atleast..

  3. #3
    Ltrey33 is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Vikings Outlook for 2005

    I'm so damned tired of the media!!!!! At the end of last season, all we F-ing heard was "trade Moss, trade Moss. He's a distraction. He's not a team player. He murders small children." Now they all wanna say how great he is and how it was a mistake to trade him. God damn that makes me angry!

    Anyways, I agree with his take on the D, but I don't know if we have "questions" at running back. It's true we never know if Bennett is going to be healthy (I pray to God he is) but I think Mewelde is a very good back and could fill in as a starter if Bennett goes down. I'd be less worried if Smokey McPot were still around, but I think we're good at RB.

  4. #4
    SamDawg84 Guest

    Re: Vikings Outlook for 2005

    Yah it is kinda funny how the media changes thier perspective after we got rid of him.. I don't understand that at all!

  5. #5
    vikingdude82's Avatar
    vikingdude82 is offline Pro-Bowler
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    Re: Vikings Outlook for 2005

    the LB corps should be better with the addition of Cowart, and E.J getting his playing time, Napoleon should have a decent season, maybe not pro-bowl, James-Pat Williams-Kevin Williams-Udeze.. thats one good sounding line, secondary will have 3 pro-bowl starters, Winfield,Smoot,Sharper,the three amigos, and the offense will do fine with the loss of Randy, Taylors has the catching ability as Moss, but early in Taylors career he never had anyone that could get him the ball like Culpepper will, Williamson will obviously bring the speed, I think he'll draw double team with his speed and catch ability, which Burleson might draw double also, considering his going to be the #1 receiver, and that will open up the run game for Bennett, and if Bennett can hit the hole and get his speed back that will equal another pro-bowl season for Bennett, thats my outlook for 05'

  6. #6
    souls-fan's Avatar
    souls-fan is offline Waterboy
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    Re: Vikings Outlook for 2005

    Our offense still has too many weapons to be stopped...if we just use last season's philosophy of "taking what the defense gives us" we'll still score. Plus, look for some shorter fields than we're used to, because the defense will be much improved. Top 5? TBD, but improved nonetheless. They only need to be top 15 for us to be dramatically improved from years of late. "At this point", "on paper" (and all those other wait and see sayings) we should be top 15 pretty easily.

    So "knock on wood" 'cause "time will tell".

    Happy 4th!

  7. #7
    BBQ Platypus's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings Outlook for 2005

    I agree with all the strengths and weaknesses listed in the article except for running back. We still have a lot of depth at RB, especially since we drafted Fason. I agree that we aren't as strong at receiver as we were when Moss was around, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem for our offense as a whole, since Culpepper is excellent at spreading the ball.


    "This is my timey-wimey detector. It goes ding when there's stuff."

  8. #8
    V4L's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings Outlook for 2005

    Im predicting we get a first round bye in the playoffs.. and atleast make it to the NFC championship...


    Prowbowlers- Pep.. Birk.. Bennett(?)... K-will.. Sharper

  9. #9
    ejmat is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Vikings Outlook for 2005

    I guess we will see what happens. I don't think the media is doing anything wrong about the Moss trade. Let's face it, no one ever down-played his ability. Whether we like it or not, the Vikings are a different team without him. Moss is a loss no matter how it's looked at. We do however have the talent to make up for Moss. Kleinsasser is back to help block and come out of the backfield. the question at RB is one to respect. Not because of lack of talent but because of unproven players. The only real proven player we have there is Moe Williams. MeMo did well but not enough to call him proven. C4 hasn't played a down yet. Bennett, well, we don't know and he is the one starting. So I would agree it is a question at this point. Again, the talent pool is good but is very unproven.

    Burleson had a 1,000 yard year last year even though Moss played nine games. That's pretty damn good enough to be a #1 on a lot of teams by itself. now imagine if Moss wasn't on the team last year. Maybe he would have been doubled more often but he seemed to handle it just fine during the games he was the #q receiver. Besides, that is one position you really don't need a #1 at. There is enough proven talent there to have to cover all the WRs. Even Williamson yu have to respect his speed. Like someone stated, Pep is pretty good at spreading the ball around and now he will be able to do that without being questioned.

  10. #10
    BigMoInAZ's Avatar
    BigMoInAZ is offline Pro-Bowler
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    Re: Vikings Outlook for 2005

    "vikingdude82" wrote:
    the LB corps should be better with the addition of Cowart, and E.J getting his playing time, Napoleon should have a decent season, maybe not pro-bowl, James-Pat Williams-Kevin Williams-Udeze.. thats one good sounding line, secondary will have 3 pro-bowl starters, Winfield,Smoot,Sharper,the three amigos, and the offense will do fine with the loss of Randy, Taylors has the catching ability as Moss, but early in Taylors career he never had anyone that could get him the ball like Culpepper will, Williamson will obviously bring the speed, I think he'll draw double team with his speed and catch ability, which Burleson might draw double also, considering his going to be the #1 receiver, and that will open up the run game for Bennett, and if Bennett can hit the hole and get his speed back that will equal another pro-bowl season for Bennett, thats my outlook for 05'
    [size=13px]Looks like we have quite a few options, but until I see it in game action 6-7 man coverages might be enough to stiffle our younger WR corp. If Robinson can step up to the plate and lead by example, staying healthy and being our best or at least most capable red zone target! DC's not gonna forget so easily some of the strikes he made to Robinson in his biggest game last season against the Texans! It was good enough to hold a lead even if the game went into overtime! Robinson could be very key to the Vikings not missing a beat with the loss of Moss in 2004! Taylor is an unknown but could turn into a very big surprise if he can establish a repor with Culpepper to be another alternative short to mid range reciepient! If Taylor along with first round draft pick Williamson, can be succesfull options out of the slot in 3 and 4 WR sets than this offense could explode with a wider range of calls out of the option calls that Culpepper has mastered going into his 6th season at the helm of the Vikings offense. His 98 TD's, 16 rushing, are 2nd in the league to only Peyton Manning's 107 over the last 3 NFL seasons! Interestingly enough Donovan McNabbs 76 TDs are 13 short of Bret Favre's 89 TDs over that same period!(Got, don't you hate any little praise a Packer actually might deserve?) I think Pepp is gonna be just fine in leading this team completely to the next level! Time to step up "PLAYERS!"[/size]

    Lo there, do I see the line of my People...Back to the Beginning.
    Lo do They call to me...They bid me take my Place among Them...in the Halls of VALHALLA where t

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