Let me ask a few questions. What did the Vikings do over the offseason to make them such a bad team to the point where they won't make the playoffs?
They lost a backup offensive lineman, a backup running back, and a...oh wait, that's about it.
Meanwhile, they gained Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart to help Adrian Peterson carry the rock, a former two-time Pro Bowler, Lito Sheppard, and a physical cornerback by the name of Chris Cook who has exceeded expectations and performed well in training camp and the preseason.
The Vikings return all 22 starters from a year ago and while some are out experiencing the bite of the injury bug, it's not like they'll be gone all season long.
The key injuries include wide receiver Sidney Rice, cornerbacks Chris Cook and Cedric Griffin, and center John Sullivan. However, both Griffin and Cook will be back in time for the Vikings fourth game of the season and Rice could be back by Week 8.
The first three games that Griffin and Cook will miss are against the Saints, Lions, and Dolphins. In 2009, neither the Lions nor Dolphins finished in the top half of the league in passing offense.
So, the Vikings have one tough week against a passing team before they get their entire secondary back.
While Sidney Rice is injured, the Vikings will face four teams out of seven that finished 20th overall or worse in passing defense in 2009 including the Lions (32), Saints (26), Dolphins (24) and Cowboys (20). Also included in the seven are the Green Bay Packers who Favre torched for seven touchdowns, zero interceptions, and no sacks in 2009.
The other two teams, the Jets and Patriots, have not faced Favre and the Vikings passing attack. However, with the Revis holdout likely extending into the season and stud linebacker Calvin Pace out for the first six weeks, I wouldn't be too worried about the Jets and the new interception machine under center.
The Vikings still have the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year, Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian who averaged over 20 yards per reception in 2008, and a great possession receiver in Greg Camarillo who has not dropped a pass in over two seasons. I think it's safe to say they are pretty set with wide receivers.
As far as Sullivan goes, any Vikings fan that watched him play last season knows that any player in that spot is an upgrade over Sullivan.
It doesn't seem like the "experts" are doing their homework on the Vikings. They see all these injuries—all four of them anyway—and automatically think the Vikings will fall from a Conference Championship appearance to missing the playoffs or barely earning a wild card birth.
What will the Vikings be like in Week nine when their players are back at full strength? I have a feeling that these "experts" will be changing their minds pretty fast.
Remember that Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera are fully healthy this season and the defense gets its MVP, E.J. Henderson back once again. Henderson has had a truly inspirational comeback and the way he has played in the preseason has given the Vikings plenty of reason to be excited.
By no means am I saying that the Vikings will be the best team in the NFL, but there's no reason why they shouldn't coast into the playoffs. People are jumping the gun a little too quick with all these injury concerns.
Yeah Brett Favre is old, but wasn't he old last season too? Wasn't he supposed to be a merely average quarterback? Yet, Favre came out and had one of the best seasons of his historic Hall of Fame career. Using Favre's age as an excuse is rather silly considering the way he played last season.
Experts: quit trying to come up with excuses. The fact remains that the Vikings are still an extremely talented team and won't simply give up because of a few injuries.
The Vikings still have a scary defense and one of the best special teams units in the league. Go ahead and jump off the bandwagon. Us Vikings fans will be here all season long as the Vikings prove to the NFL that they are still an elite team.
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