It's a day after the season. We love the NFL playoffs and will blog the hell out of them. And soon the obsession of the season will recede, and we'll write about other things (HH, wwtb?, and I have other things to write about and we sometimes do, more likely in the Viking offseason). But why the hell shouldn't we go ahead and start talking about the Vikings' offseason needs? It's on our minds, so here we go.
The 8-8 2007 Vikings had one major weakness: their offensive passing game was inadequate. Thus improving the quarterbacks and wide receivers must be the priority of the 2008 offseason.
I see only two possible options.
Plan A: acquire Donovan McNabb
We're at a stage where Tarvaris Jackson may turn into a competent or good quarterback. We're at a stage where Donovan McNabb is a very good quarterback. He has been and may be again an elite quarterback. No matter what you think of Tarvaris Jackson, is is better than may turn into. If Donovan McNabb is really available, the Vikings should do whatever they can to acquire him. He's good now, and with McNabb at quarterback, the Vikings would immediately be a major contender for the NFC North, and the NFC. I don't know whether he will be available, but if he is, the Vikings would be utterly foolish to pass on him.
There's a secondary benefit: Donovan McNabb would put asses in the seats. The Vikes struggled to sell out the Metrodome in 2007; I doubt that would be a problem in 2008 with Donovan McNabb (I'm leaning against renewing my season tickets for personal reasons: the time and money commitment is too high for this stage of my life. However, if the Vikings had McNabb, I would pretty much ignore the time and money commitment and get myself to the Metrodome for every home game).
If McNabb is really not available, only then should they move to the second plan.
Plan B: acquire a legitimate, competent veteran backup quarterback to Tarvaris Jackson
Tarvaris Jackson can go into 2008 as the Viking starting quarterback. But given that he's still at the may turn into stage, a team that can win now needs to have another option if Jackson fails. Furthermore, Jackson missed games with injury for three separate injuries in 2007; the Vikes need a reliable backup option if Jackson gets injured again.
Those are the only two options I would consider. It would be pointless to draft a quarterback in the first round to start 2008: the Vikings can win immediately, and 3rd year Tarvaris Jackson is probably better than rookie anybody. And I don't think there's a veteran QB worth acquiring to compete with or replace Jackson.
There's no reason Kelly Holcomb or Brooks Bollinger need to be on the roster in 2008.
There are three current Viking WRs who should be on the 2008 roster.
Sidney Rice: at worst, he's going to turn into a playmaking #2 or #3 WR. At best, he's going to turn into a playmaking #1 WR.
Bobby Wade: Wade is a reliable #3 WR: he's good in the slot, he blocks hard, and he catches the ball when it gets to him. He doesn't have the ability to get separation or get downfield consistently, so he really shouldn't be a #1 or #2 WR.
Aundrae Allison: He's good enough to return as a kick returner, and so he can be a part of the wide receiver mix.
Robert Ferguson is just below OK, and there's no pressing need to bring him back. Troy Williamson really needs to be finished with the Vikings. I can't even remember if there are any other WRs on the roster, so they probably don't need to return.
And then the Vikings need to exhaust all possible resources and outlets to acquire playmaking WRs. It's such a pressing need that the Vikings may even need to sign talented malcontents. Javon Walker was unhappy in Green Bay and now he's unhappy in Denver. He'd probably be unhappy in Minnesota, but he's still really good. We can't realistically expect some of the possibly available talented but occasionally pissy WRs to want to come to the Viking QB situation (Chad Johnson, Randy Moss). Larry Fitzgerald makes a lot of money, but he can't really be available, right? But the Vikes need to explore every possible good WR. They can't assume a player isn't available: they must find out for sure.
The draft, free agency, and trades: anything to get any good wide receivers.
Obsession. We have a problem. If we didn't, this blog wouldnt' even exist.