Sporting Fools
Sporting Fools
Sporting Fools

Sporting Fools

The frequent and occasional humorous musings behind two of the World's greatest underappreciated sports minds.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Offseason Adjustments: Minnesota

Of all the playoff teams, Minnesota remains the most complicated. They generally start strong and fade horribly down the stretch. Defensively they probably don't have one good lineman and they are almost a non-factor on the road. So without further adieu.

-- Draft at least two defensive lineman: Much like the Chicago Bears did last season when they drafted Tommie Harris and "Tank" Johnson, the Vikings defensive line needs a major overhaul. It seemed like Donovan McNabb had enough time to make a pot roast on several plays last week. The Minnesota defense has been rebuilding for about 12 years, but it's impossible to see any real results without a strong front four. As for their most recent drafts, Kenechi Udeze has some potential while Kevin Williams appears to be a servicable tackle, but not the star they need. Chris Hovan will walk and no one seems to care, nor should they.

-- The Running Ratio: No one expects Randy Moss to go anywhere in the off season and I fully expect him to have a career year in 2005 to push up his free agent value. However, the Vikings have three good running backs and the biggest decision the team has to make is to choose who will be their feature back between Michael Bennent and Onterrio Smith. Moe Williams is an excellent receiver and his job appears to be safe. Bennett is the speedier back, but Smith provides durability and flexibility with his receiving skills. Bennett is injury prone, but Smith is on the NFL drug watch list. Whoever the Vikings choose, it's pertinent that they improve on their 18th-ranked rushing attack.

-- Sign at least one tough veteran: This team needs leadership desparately, they need a Willie McGinest type, a Jon Runyan type, someone that can keep this group focused down the stretch. If Rodney Harrison is available in the offseason, grab him. Do they need a safety? Maybe. Maybe not. But they need the leadership in the locker room. The late-season collapses are less about talent and more about the lack of character.

Offensively the Vikings are more than sufficient, Daunte Culpepper is starting to turn his game up to the next level, the running backs have great potential, the receivers have done an excellent job. The good news is they don't have so much money tied into long-term contracts on offense that they can invest a good amount of cash into the defensive unit. My first suggestion would be to invest in a major free agent (John Abraham?) and draft another potential difference maker in the first round. Then post-draft add a few character guys. The NFC North is the weakest division of the weak NFC, so the Vikes can run away with this division and enjoy some of the next postseason in the comfort of their dome.

Posted by TPrincess 3:21 PM ||
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