Football Outsiders/Fox Sports ranks the Viking DL 6th in the league. There might be good news for the pass rush, too: "according to our game-charting project, they ranked eighth in hurries per charted pass play. Look for some of those hurries to turn into sacks this season."
So far, Football Outsiders ranks the Viking DL 6th, the Viking RBs 6th, and the Viking OL 5th in the league. So why are we supposed to be so pessimistic about the Vikings? Certainly the QBs and WRs are questionable at best, but why wouldn't a team with one of the six best defensive lines, six best running backs, and five best offensive lines be competitive?
Be excited, Viking fans. I miss the flashiness of yesteryear's passing attack too, but the strength of the team--the running game, the offensive and defensive lines--suggests a competitive squad capable of winning games.
Good guys in the NFL
A lot of blogs devote energy to mocking athletes with legal and personal problems. A lot of blogs fight back, criticizing negative media portrayals of athletes. But more blogs need to give attention to the lives of athletes that live responsible, respectable, and/or interesting lives.
The Star Tribune offers us a look at Steve Hutchinson at home.
Sports Law Blog looks at Deuce McAllister's entrepreneurial and charitable work.
The Orlando Sentinal examines Ernie Sims' wild collection of pets (via Epic Carnival).
ESPN reports on Ahman Green, who helped pay a down payment on a home for a single mother with an autistic child.
There are a lot of good stories about athletes out there; if you focus your attention on the misdeeds and shady shenanigans, you're missing out.
Goodell's strategy has backfired
I first noted these thoughts at Leave the Man Alone (sorry, H.C.I.C. if I'm continuing to steal thunder--I'll try to leave more specific commentary to you), but I believe Roger Goodell's personal conduct policy has fulfilled the exact opposite of his intent.
Goodell has begun punishing players for off-the-field misconduct in an effort to preserve the image of the league. However, by doing so, he has brought greater attention to off-the-field misconduct. He has prioritized it, and pushed it to the forefront of NFL conversation. Instead of a story either going away or reaching closure on its own, Goodell has created a context in which reporters/fans are forced to continue to talk about various incidents of misconduct, because reporters/ fans first speculate about possible punishment, then discuss the punishment.
In the past, players would get arrested, and it would be a story, but most of us just love football and want to watch it. Now, Goodell has forced us to frequently consider these arrests and misdeeds. Instead of allowing us to put these incidents in the background of our consciousnesses and go on enjoying the games, we're required to consider them,speculate upon them, and allow them more interference into the actual on-the-field entertainment. Rather than preserving the image of the league by cracking down on personal misconduct, Goodell has hurt the image of the league by forcing personal misconduct of players to the forefront of attention.
It may be that Goodell is being preemptive, and a current messy period is a mere necessity to ensuring future stability. Sometimes, a preemptive solution would be a good idea to prevent future disasters. Sometimes, a preemptive solution ends up looking like a very, very bad idea. We can only wait and see, but as of right now, Goodell's strict enforcement of the personal misconduct policy looks like a bad idea.
Empty the Bench ranks the top 10 fantasy TEs. I find TE to be a tricky fantasy position, because as I suggested repeatedly in my team-by-team previews, if you don't get Antonio Gates, a lot of the other TEs are very near each other in potential production.
Outsports offers an excerpt from its new book, asking "Why should I give a damn about sports?"
Gregg Rosenthal includes the Viking WRs in the top 50 position battles.
Peter Schrager looks at "10 guys ready to have breakout years," and it's a good list, because he doesn't just list players we already know are good.
Sean Jensen looks at the questions surrounding the Viking offense.
Vikings.com talks about rookie DE Brian Robison.
Football Outsiders gives a closer look at QB completion percentage.
USA Today has finished its ranking of the 25 best NFL players in the last 25 years. And now that camps are ready to start, I think Irrelevant Controversy Season is coming to a close.
Clark Judge examines NFC North position battles.
The Sports Flow looks at NFC impact rookies.
As changes occur, I'll try to add updates to the team-by-team fantasy previews listed on the right. I'll give honest takes, but I'm also holding back on my stronger opinions until at least August 18th, because the rat bastards in the Hazelweird League are out to screw me.