What was that bang? gave us a great Viking offseason plan, but he didn't give us the best case scenario. The REAL best case scenario is to trade Brad Johnson straight up for Peyton Manning, trade the rest of the offense to the Chargers for their offense, and trade the defense (sans KW and PW) to Baltimore for their defense, then trade a late-round pick to the Patriots for Belichik.
But let's try be reasonably realistic. I want to give a projection for the best case scenario that we could realistically expect from the Vikings.
Trade for David Carr; hope he's good.
I'm always looking around for the next Jim Plunkett. Plunkett was a the #1 pick in the draft, and never seemed like much of a QB with the Patriots. But when he got to a talented Raider team, he was good enough at QB to help them win two Super Bowls (and he was MVP of one of those games). Perhaps it's overly optimistic to think that an early-round pick that bottoms out could flip into a career of decency as a championship QB, but it's always possible.
In five seasons with the expansion Texans, David Carr hasn't looked like much of a QB. But he has been the most sacked QB. We know he has played behind an atrocious offensive line and that he hasn't had a load of talent around him (Domanick Davis had a few decent years as a RB, and Andre Johnson looks like a really good WR, but that's it). He's never put up good numbers (though Dom Capers has never had a QB throw for 20 TDs); he's never won many games.
Maybe, just maybe, he can turn things around.
Chad Greenway, Erasmus James, and Tank Williams recover 100%.
Greenway and James are first-round picks who haven't had much chance to contribute for the Vikings. If they can recover to be contributors, the Vikings can be much improved. Maybe Greenway could move to MLB, since E.J. Henderson and Ben Leber are solid OLBs. James might be able to provide that outside pass rush the Vikings missed so badly in 2006.
Sign Dwight Freeney or Jared Allen
There are solid pass rushers in free agency. The Vikes could go get one of them.
Draft a WR at #7; hope he's an all-pro quality player.
It's hard to get stud WRs in free agency; the Vikes have to work hard at scouting, draft a WR, and hope he is their stud. But they don't just need one new WR
Sign a decent WR to be a #2.
Drew Bennett's available and he's fast.
Acquire a TE with speed.
Whether it's through the draft, trade, or free agency, the Vikes need a TE that can get separation from linebackers and even make plays downfield. Jermaine Wiggins is a solid possession TE, but he isn't fast, he doesn't get open easily, and he doesn't do anything downfield.
Get improvement from players already on the roster at key spots.
Bryant McKinnie was lousy in 2006, but I believe he was dealing with an arm injury. If he can improve into a dominant LT (it is possible), and Hutchinson and Birk do more, the Viking offensive line could be potent. Can Ryan Cook improve and play competently at RT? Can Cedric Griffin handle being a starting CB? There are players on the team with the possibility for improvement.
Get no regression.
We don't know how many great years Pat Williams has left; let's hope a lot. Kevin Williams is young enough that we can expect more good years, as is E.J. Henderson. Antoine Winfield is a talented, versatile CB, and he needs to maintain his skills.
What I've listed here is, as I said, a best case scenario. But it's a reasonably realistic best case scenario. There's a lot of hope and unknown in these suggestions, but there is a possibility in all of them and even a probability in some. Football always gives us the chance to hope for next year, because there's real opportunity to improve in the offseason.
(Blue Viking Devil used a very deception title of his previous post. There's going to be no "Blog Hiatus" just because he's not posting for a few days. He's just one man; I'll still be blogging like a madman).