The Vikings have signed KR and RB Maurice Hicks (Access Vikings). Hicks essentially replaces Mewelde Moore on the roster. Running back depth is important, and Hicks has a 4.2 average for his career; he'll be a solid third running back on the roster.
But Hicks is also, presumably, being brought in to return kicks and punts; after all, he's primarily been a kick returner in his career, and punt returner Mewelde Moore is no longer on the roster.
But is Hicks an upgrade? Moore averaged a solid 10.4 yards per punt return in his career with two touchdowns, while Hicks has never returned a punt in the NFL. Can Hicks return punts? Why hasn't he in the past? Will he next year?
Hicks has a career 22.7 yards per kick return with no touchdowns, but last year rookie Aundrae Allison averaged 28.7 yards per kick return, including one touchdown. Of course, Allison had just 20 kick returns, hardly a large sample size, while Hicks has 187 career returns. And it is possible that Allison will be used more as a WR in 2008, limiting his use as a KR.
Hicks is a solid addition to the RB roster depth, but I'm skeptical of what he brings to the return game.
Why Donovan McNabb's completion percentage is low
I'm a big fan of Donovan McNabb, but his career 58.7% completion percentage is a bit low for a great quarterback in this era. But I have a kooky theory about why. McNabb is left-handed, but he throws right-handed. He probably has more natural ability with his left arm--why does he throw with his right arm? Was he pressured as a young athlete? If he wanted to play quarterback, was he basically told he couldn't do it throwing left handed? What happened? I want to know. I already consider McNabb a great quarterback. But if he had developed as a thrower with his natural writing hand, who knows? He might be the greatest quarterback of all-time.
The NFC North is there for the taking
It will probably take nine wins for an NFC North team to win the division next year, and it is a completely open race. At this point, I don't see any favorite.
Of course, our goal is to see a Super Bowl win, not a 9-7 division winner (I don't know why I call it a "goal," since as fans we have no control whatsoever in the achievement of this "goal." I also don't know why I don't just go back and revise the word. Oh wait, I do: I'm addicted to parentheses. Parentheses are my crutch). The point is, the division is open, and the Vikes have a chance to rise up.
Weintraub on Favre Love
Slate re-posted Robert Weintraub's "Favre from Heaven: Why Journalists Deify the Green Bay Packers Quarterback." An excerpt:
"Favre and Owens make for an intriguing contrast. If you've watched even a single Green Bay game in the last few seasons, you've heard the misfortune that has befallen the quarterback recently: the death of his father, the death of his brother-in-law, his wife's cancer diagnosis. [...]
While Favre is lionized for playing through tragedy, Terrell Owens' success has never been given the same kind of context. As Catch This! reveals, the fact that T.O. made it to the NFL is a miracle. Owens, who grew up destitute and fatherless in backwater Alabama, wasn't allowed to leave his front yard as a child for fear of getting whipped. Favre grew up in small town bliss surrounded by his loving family. Not to demean the loss of loved ones, but who has overcome more here? Why is every hurdle Favre has jumped over presented as the Pillars of Hercules, while a guy like Owens is dismissed as a loudmouth?"
I remember a game when WR Darrell Jackson utterly destroyed the Vikings shortly after his father died. Do you?
Football Outsiders does an "Audibles at the Line" for free agency.
I found a lot of amusing stuff at Ballhype recently. The New York Times talks about Favre's last pass (an interception) and where the ball is. I laughed out loud at Kissing Suzy Kolber's title for a post about Peter King and Brett Favre. MJD says Brett Favre's consecutive games started streak is more impressive than Cal Ripken's (there's only one problem, as MJD points out himself: Favre's streak isn't the record for consecutive games started. Jim Marshall has that). Let's Talk Sports says the Vikes are now the best team in the NFC North (the Vikes have never won the NFC North, and I won't feel comfortable saying they're the best in the NFC North until they do). Minnesota Sports Daily talks about the Vikings' free agent signings.
Dave Zirin points out that Arlen Specter, dogging the NFL for "spygate," gets a lot of contributions from Comcast.
I Dislike Your Favorite Team is the latest to discover the brilliance of "Garfield Minus Garfield." I was pushing "Garfield Minus Garfield" before pushing "Garfield Minus Garfield" was cool (um, last week. And it was already cool then. Nevermind).
SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION: At We Have Mixed Feelings About Sven Sundgaard, Cruelty-Free Mommy discusses that "Ask Gary" ad.
And don't stop celebrating.