There's no question about the greatest quarterback in the Vikings' franchise history: that's Fran Tarkenton, and anybody who says differently has some odd issues. But who is the second-greatest QB in franchise history? Arguments could be made for Tommy Kramer, Warren Moon, Joe Kapp, Daunte Culpepper, and Brad Johnson. Other QBs, such as Jeff George, Randall Cunningham, and Wade Wilson, had great success for a brief period in the team's history. I don't even know who to pick.
With one TD pass and no interceptions, Brett Favre moves to 14 TD passes away from Dan Marino's record, and remains 17 INTs away from George Blanda's record. Favre's achievement is more impressive when you consider that he has suffered from sensitive teeth and heartburn. Still, Dan Marino was better in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective than Favre was in There's Something About Mary.
Harrison is always on the right
Perhaps you've noticed that Marvin Harrison ALWAYS lines up on the right side of the Colts' formation. Most elite WRs get moved around the field to try and take advantage of matchups; the Colts keep Harrison in one spot so that the timing between he and Manning is pristine. It's hard to argue with the results (or do Harrison's mediocre playoff numbers suggest more creativity is needed?). However, if Harrison is on your fantasy team, you will scream in frustration every time Manning drops back and only looks left. I think at this point Manning just knows exactly what is going on with Harrison without looking.
Everybody who had gotten comfortable starting Tatum Bell in your fantasy team, please stop punching your forehead.
Rhythm and Fandom
In eight weeks, there have been three Sundays in which the Vikings didn't play. Through nine weeks, the Vikings will have played four games Sunday at 12:00, two games Sunday at 3:15, one game Monday at 6:00, and another Monday at 7:30. They've still got a Thursday game in late December (against the Packers no less), and might just get one of their games moved to Sunday night. This has made it difficult for me to get into the rhythm of the Vikings' season. I don't know when to expect to see them play. I know other teams have been more uneven (Dallas and Denver have each played three night games already), but it's frustrating. As the Vikes suffered through mediocrity from 2001 through 2005, I got accustomed to watching them Sundays at noon. Now they're all over the place, and I never know when to expect to play them. Of course teaching class on Mondays doesn't help. Luckily, seven of their last eight games are schedules for Sundays at noon, so the spectating could get a bit more comfortable and predictable.
That's a lot of Football
When the Vikings don't play, I end up watching somewhere around 10 hours of football games for which the outcome is of mild concern to me. Watching my favorite team goes by fast; watching all these other games just for the pleasure of the spectating slows down quite a bit. By 6:00 I can't believe there's still another game to watch, and eventually I wonder just what the hell I'm doing with my life if I'm spending my entire Sunday (maybe the last mild Minnesota weekend until March, by the way) watching games for which the outcomes only interest me slightly.
Making sense of the NFC
Chicago has 7 wins and should be a playoff lock (but I believe they are beatable in the playoffs). Green Bay has 3 wins and could become a factor. After that, there are a whopping 9 NFC teams with 4 or 5 wins.That's 10 teams fighting for 5 playoff spots, and at this point, we have absolutely no idea how this will go. Any of the 4-5 win teams could make or miss the playoffs. Most could win their division. I suppose almost any of them could end up with the #2 seed. Any of the other teams could win out or lose out as far as I can tell.
Making sense of the AFC
A little easier. New England and Indianapolis are virtual playoff locks; Denver and San Diego are highly probable playoff teams (but who is betting against a Plummer or Schottenheimer collapse?). I still don't know who will win the AFC North (though Pittsburgh has the same record as Oakland and Cleveland, it's hard to give up on a defending champ), but somebody will. That leaves one playoff spot for KC, Jacksonville, or the AFC North's second-place team.
Monday Night Preview to come...
...a little later today from a new contributor to this blog. The new contributor's energy about the Vikings should provide some nice balance for my anxiety. Look for his preview a little later today.