I'm going to give a serious attempt at keeping the football-related posts down to a minimum this year. Last fall I was trying to do a sports blog thing and it wasn't really, um, read. But with Vikings training camp opening up tomorrow, I think it's the proper time to give my analysis.
O-line: They have one year under their belts together, so I have no reason to think that they won't become the dominating force everyone is waiting for. Hutchinson better step it up, or a trade won't be far off.
QB: I'm really excited to see what Jackson can do. However, it will get ugly at times as well. It's a learning year I suppose, but Dante did pretty well in the same role years ago. (Of course, he had Randy Moss and Cris Carter. Which leads us to...)
Receivers: This bunch makes me really nervous. It could work out, sure, but I'm not betting on it. Troy Williamson better not drop a pass all year, or fans will turn on him so fast.
RB: Adrian Peterson is the real deal. Teamed with Chester Taylor, I'd say this is easily the strongest position on the team. The running game will have to be huge for the Purple to have any success.
D-line: Great against the run, and I expect that to continue. But. I have week 4 for Kenechi Udeze and week 2 for Erasmus James in the DE Injury Pool. I remember the days of Keith Millard, Chris Doleman, and John Randle. Very faintly, of course, but I can still remember seeing a pass rush.
LB: Chad Greenway should be a year-long feel good story. This is, surprisingly, an adequate to very good squad. It's about time.
DB: Yeah, um... I expect the long-standing tradition of giving average quarterbacks career days to continue. It's just something that you come to expect as a Vikings fan.
Coaches: Mike Tomlin will be missed. Brad Childress needs to hand off the play-calling duties. I'm really not confident at all in this staff. Makes me pine for Denny Green in some ways. I'll now go stand in front of a train.
So the final analysis is this: I'm not quite as optimistic as last year. Realistically I think this is an 8-8 squad at best. The Vikes just have a way of perpetually regressing to the mean. If Jackson steps up, if the receivers hang on to the ball, if the DEs stay healthy, and if the secondary miraculously stops somebody, then this team has playoff potential. Honestly, the 2000 Ravens weren't terribly far away from this point, and they won the Super Bowl. It's possible. But at the same time (and if you're a Vikings fan, you profoundly know this), it's impossible.