Monday, September 06, 2010

National Friday League, Week One (update below)

What's that, you say? It's Monday? Well, National Friday League is meant to be discuss the NFL (and whatever else the parenthetical tangents take me to) right before the weekend (though I'll generally post it Thursday evening--busy working on Friday and all), but this week the Vikes play Thursday, so I'm popping out a massive National Friday League right away this week (includes some week one preview, some league preview stuff). If' I've got more to add throughout the week, I'll add updates.

During the actual football season, there will be two regular weekly posts at PV: National Friday League, which brings together stories from the week and preview of the weekend in a fun, wandering post, and a post commenting on the Viking game (usually posted on the same day as the game, with possible updates added later). So, enjoy?

Last year was the Favre year. I have a bad feeling this year will either be the "Last season was our year and we blew it; it's not happening" year or the "This Brett Favre thing went on just longer than it should have" year. Maybe I've become desperately pessimistic, though (about the fate of human life on this earth we're wrecking, mostly, but about football too). On that cheery parenthetical, welcome back, everybody!

Vikings-Saints
Since the NFL started giving week one Thursday Night home games to the defending champion in ‘04, the home team defending champion has yet to lose that game. That hasn’t always been a harbinger for the season (the ’06 and ’09 Steelers missed the playoffs, for example), though the loser of this game has missed the playoffs for five straight seasons. But that’s the way this game has gone for six straight years: the defending champ wins its Thursday Night home opener. Emotional momentum wins, with a defending champ home team energized by celebration and cheering? Maybe. Scheduling, as an obviously good team is sometimes matched up against an intriguing but underwhelming opponent? Absolutely. Luck, as the first game is often too early for the random things (injuries, the bounces of an odd-shaped ball, etc.) that went right the previous season to go wrong in the followup season? Maybe.

I see this as a lose-lose situation. For one thing, all of the images we see are going to be so similar to the images we saw last January (white Viking uniforms, black Saint uniforms, the Superdome as backdrop, plus the network will show a lot of actual footage from that game) that it’s going to be hard not to scratch off old scabs. But if the Vikings win, while it will feel emotionally and psychologically wonderful, and the Vikes would start 1-0, there would still be that feeling that, well, this one doesn’t really matter (remember when the Vikes opened with a win against Atlanta in ’99?). Obviously a Viking win would bring joy, but bittersweet joy at that.

And if the Vikings lose, it means seeing the Vikings lose. It also means seeing the Saints win again, it means seeing the Vikes lose an important NFC game, it means seeing the Vikes start 0-1, and it means nine days of doubt before the Vikings play again.

I don’t have much confidence, but I also see the Viking pass rush being disruptive and the possibility of Adrian Peterson going for 150.

Other Intriguing Week One Matchups
Week One Schedule

In week one, isn’t every game at least mildly intriguing? I’d prefer some games, but I’d watch any. So here are some comments on either each game, or a team in each game.

Bengals-Patriots
Randy Moss looks like he’s ready to party again, and bring Tom Brady along for the fun of it.

Colts-Texans
For any new readers (or long-time readers that have forgotten): for a Viking blogger, I talk way too much about the Indianapolis Colts. Somewhere along the line Peyton Manning became my favorite non-Viking and I watch him whenever I can, and somewhere else along the line I started drafting Colts in fantasy football as if they were the only team in the league (and yes, every Week 17, that sucks).

Broncos-Jaguars
I’ve always been pretty good at simply not paying attention to cultural things that I’m just not interested in. Maybe I’ve mellowed a lot, but I also have no interest in tearing down those things I don’t care about: if other people really enjoy something that I don’t, well, what do I care? I find Two and a Half Men wildly unfunny, but a lot of people seem to like it. I care precisely zero about soccer, but when everybody was talking about the World Cup this summer, I didn’t bother complaining or ranting about soccer sucking or anything like that. I don’t enjoy the sport, I recognize others do, so I just don’t pay attention and let others enjoy what they enjoy. I pay virtually no attention to popular music: the first and often only time I hear recent hits is on Glee. I really like the ‘80s version of The Twilight Zone: whatever, don’t bug me. Maybe I’m just comfortable being outside the mainstream on many things, but I just let the things I don’t care about go, becoming moderately aware of them when necessary.

Anyway: so this fellow named Tim Tebow used to play football at the University of Florida, and now he’s on the Denver Broncos? Or so I hear. He's left-handed, huh? So that's cool.

Raiders-Titans
I will never stop believing in Vince Young. Every season I expect Young to go romp all over everybody. It starts here.

Lions-Bears
These are human beings who play football.

Falcons-Steelers
I find the Steelers without Roethlisberger all sorts of intriguing. I just hope either Leftwich or Dixon don’t screw up the supreme joy that is Mike Wallace.

Packers-Eagles
Before the game, Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb can talk about how much pleasure they got/get from killing animals. Vick’s version of killing animals makes him a national pariah; Kolb’s version of killing animals makes him an outdoorsman. Social mores, everybody! Anyway, I hope the Eagles blitz the shit out of Rodgers.

Dolphins-Bills
I suspect Miami will not be good this year because offensively, they are relying on one RB (Ricky Williams) in his 30s with an historically anomalous career that seems difficult to count on, one RB (Ronnie Brown) that is good but has had some major injuries that may diminish his game, and a young unproven quarterback (Chad Henne) that for all we know will never be more than mediocre. That seems like a lot to worry about. Of course, that anomalous RB might produce again (he is a vegetarian, so I’ve got a soft spot and a rooting interest in him), that RB returning from injury might still have his burst and stay healthy all season, and that unproven quarterback might actually emerge (it happens). Not a team I'd rely on for 16 games, but not a team to be surprised by if they’re good, either.

Browns-Buccaneers
Expect a lot from Jake Delhomme, and he’ll probably disappoint you. Stick him on a lousy team that’s mostly counted out, and he’ll probably make them competitive. My prediction: Delhomme leads the Browns to a respectably competitive season (7-9 wins, let’s say), going into 2011 (assuming there's football in 2011) you’ll read some “Hey, how about those Browns emerging” articles, and then Delhomme will not be able to get them above that mediocrity.

Panthers-Giants
The '08 Giants had two 1,000 yard RBs; the ’09 Panthers had two 1,000 yard RBs. If any of you have ever had a video game football team with THREE 1,000 yard rushers in one season, you can actually describe it in detail in the comments section, and I will actually be legitimately interested.

49ers-Seahawks
I’m thinking career year for Frank Gore, a top-5 RB fantasy season.

Cardinals-Rams
The post-Warner Cards have so many offensive questions, yet they start the season with a game that probably won’t answer a single one of them. Of course, if they suck against the Rams, we can guess they probably suck.

Cowboys-Washington
Is it just the distortions of self-selective memory, or do we get to see NFC East teams play each other in Prime Time approximately a dozen times a season?

Ravens-Jets
I don’t think the Jets will possibly live up to the hype, but defensively, they provide a good opening test and show for the Ravens’ offense. It’s weird: I’m really high on Joe Flacco as a fantasy QB, then recall that in last year’s playoffs he did precisely nothing. Does that mean anything? Probably not.

Chargers-Chiefs
How many of you will watch this game closely because it’s week one and you love the chance to watch pro football, but when these teams play again in December, you’ll only notice for the fantasy stats?

Irrational Viking Fan
This is a new feature. While I’m obviously biased and emotional, at this blog I actually generally seek reason and evidence. Now, a weekly feature where I offer irrational feelings.

I believe the national media loves the Green Bay Packers. They love the city, the fans, the stadium, the tradition, the city ownership, the cold, even the bratwurst. This national love of the Packers has led many national media members to anoint Aaron Rodgers the new Jesus. Rodgers now gets the Favre treatment, where whatever he does broadcasters will spew words of wonderment. A decade from now, Rodgers will still be getting praised for the poise he showed taking over the team from Brett Favre. If there’s any sense, national fans will one day be as tired of the media salivation of Rodgers as they’ve become with the media salivation of Brett Favre.

This has been Irrational Viking Fan.

Adrian Peterson
In 2008, Peterson averaged 4.15 yards per attempt or better in 15 of 17 games.
In 2009, Peterson was held under 4.0 yards per attempt in 10 of 18 games.

That difference is huge. In ’08, Peterson was a consistently dominant running back, capable of carrying the Vikings (10 games with 100+ yards, three games of 160+ yards). In ’09, he was more of a conventionally good elite RB, and was frequently contained or shut down.*

Peterson needs to return to his ’07 and ’08 form, when he could bust out a dominant game at any moment, and when he could generally be relied on to be a productive offensive fource.

*Being under 4.0 yards per attempt is not always being contained. In Peterson’s game against a tough Cincinnati run defense (26-97-2, 3-40), he had 3.73 yards per attempt, but was really a force in beating the Bengals. His second Packer game (25-97-1, 1-44) was also effective, though he had 3.88 yards per attempt. Even so, I think it’s this difference between ’08 and ’09 that highlights the difference between all-timer Peterson and very-good Peterson.

Viking Defense
While I have a lot of questions about where the Viking offense is going right now, the defense seems very familiar. The strength of the team is still the defensive line, arguably the league’s best and dominant stopping the run and rushing the passer. The weakness of the team is the secondary, a unit that frequently gives up big plays and seems to lack enough playmakers (especially at safety), but also a unit that gets covered by the regular pass rush from the front.

Brett Favre and the Media
One strange column on Favre I’ve encountered recently was this one at Cold, Hard Football Facts. After a summer of regular criticism of Brett Favre on all sorts of football websites (including mainstream media sites), CHFF puts out this column complaining that the media doesn’t criticize Brett Favre enough for his problems. CHFF: if you don’t think the media criticizes Brett Favre, you’re really just not paying attention. Yes, game announcers slather him with adulation (as they do for most big-time quarterbacks--Dan Dierdorf is to Peyton Manning as John Madden was to Favre--though the effusive praise for Favre gets a bit much). And there was a time, yes, when Favre got a lot of free media passes. But things have changed. A few years ago I loved Dr. Z because he was one of the mainstream sportswriters that regularly criticized Brett Favre. Today, it is commonplace. I mean, so commonplace that as blinkered praise for Brett Favre was a cliché five years ago, blinkered criticism of Brett Favre is a cliché today. This CHFF column is really about the media situation of 2006 or earlier, not today.

My point here isn’t to defend Favre, or to claim that criticism of Favre is unjustified. In fact, if I weren’t a Viking fan, I would find the ubiquitous and overwhelming coverage of Favre in the national media annoying, too. My point is that to claim the media doesn’t criticize Favre enough is just not accurate. I’ve written this before: there was a time when Brett Favre got heaped with so much praise that even his mistakes were either blamed on teammates, or inspired even more praise (this time still exists for the game announcers, by the way). But then a backlash occurred: more writers (especially on the internet) criticized Favre, more fans found an outlet (especially on the internet) to express their opinions against Favre and the media, and more people shared their annoyance (especially on the internet) for the way the mainstream sports media covers Favre. Now, it’s commonplace. There are many, many people writing about sports who dislike Favre, root against Favre, and express negative opinions of Favre. Again, that’s fine (though a lot of the criticisms are now, in my opinion, as clichéd as a lot of the praise). But to pretend that criticism of Favre is rare is to distort or ignore reality.

And while I’m repeating myself, here’s an argument that I’ve been making since long before Brett Favre became a Viking:

Brett Favre has made more positive plays than any quarterback in NFL history (hence, the all-time TD record). Brett Favre has also made more negative plays than any quarterback in NFL history (hence, the all-time INT record). Thus, if you are in an argument about Favre and you’re in the “praise Favre” position, you can find plenty of arguments, based on statistics and observation, to make your case. And if you are in the “tear Favre down” position, you can find plenty of arguments, based on statistics and observation, to make your case.

I have been in countless arguments about Favre. I’ve now been on multiple sides of those arguments (as I loathe the Packers, I loathed Favre, and as I love the Vikings, I’ve loved Favre). I’ve observed many more arguments about Favre. In all these arguments, the pro-Favre or anti-Favre side is able to find plentiful “evidence” to support either position convincingly. It’s there: it’s there in the numbers, and it’s there in the games. You can write a masterful argument for or against Favre, supported with stats, observations, citations to specific games, whatever you want. It’s not even hard.

Now before you let any of this sink in too deeply, allow me to undermine my credibility.

When the Vikings are criticized, I feel like I’m being criticized.
It’s a problem. When people who aren’t Viking fans criticize the Vikings or players on the Vikings, I take it personally. I know, too, from talking to other Viking fans that I’m not the only one. It’s irrational and it’s nonsensical.

MVP Box
The only players eligible for the NFL MVP award are quarterbacks and running backs on playoff teams. More specifically, the MVP will be a playoff QB unless a playoff RB has a massive statistical season, and usually the MVP is on a conference #1 seed. Generally, the NFL MVP is a player that is already established as a superstar prior to the season. That's the criteria for the award (tell me I'm wrong).

This year, I'm limiting the serious candidates to the following:

Tony Romo
He'll deserve it if he leads the Cowboys to a #1 seed behind that line.

Aaron Rodgers
I'm telling you, pay attention: the national media loves Rodgers.

Drew Brees
Might win on the "this is the year after your year, and we didn't give you the award last year" principle that may have never actually been put into play for NFL MVP, but I'm inventing it now.

Adrian Peterson
I think he'd need a rushing title and a #1 seed from his team to get it.

Tom Brady
Established superstar with great WRs--he can put up wild numbers again, and he'll be in the playoffs.

Peyton Manning
I was surprised voters gave him the award last year--not because he wasn't deserving of contention (he usually is) but because he had already won three MVPs (well, two and a half), including the year before, and I thought voters were done giving him MVPs at that point. Plus, it was a legitimately competitive field in '09, including incredible seasons from Brett Favre (I thought he deserved it, but I'm biased) and Drew Brees (Chris Johnson too, if he had been a playoff RB). Now I really think voters are done giving Manning MVPs: even if he deserves it, will they give him three in a row for a total of five (well, four and a half)? I'd be surprised.

Chris Johnson
It will take a combination of three things: leading the league in yards from scrimmage, the Titans making the playoffs, and no standout statistical seasons from elite playoff QBs.

I'm leaving out some possibilities--I think the league MVP will be one of these players.

Fantasy Box: Fantasy Superstars.
No one player can be counted on to make your fantasy team a contender. But there are some players out there that can reliably lead your team to contention. You still need to catch a few breaks and manage your team well (not just good drafting and trading, but savvy free agent pickups), but right now I count on these two theories:

Peyton Manning + Elite RB = Contender
I think if you draft Peyton Manning and an elite RB, you will have to manage your team terribly to finish lower than fourth place.

Adrian Peterson = Contender
A team with Peterson can contend for a title; he's a great RB that consistently brings the points. For most of the ‘00s, Ladanian Tomlinson = Contender, and certainly last season Chris Johnson was the guy whose massive numbers made championship contenders last season, but I’ll take Peterson for the next 3-5 years.

Links
Here are the fundamental bookmarks you should have for the NFL season.

Based on detailed statistics and close observation of the games: the commentators at FO don't just say things, but look for evidence. I rely on them regularly throughout the season.

I've never cared for Mike Florio's commentary; however, the site is a time saver by bringing together NFL news onto one easy-to-read site. Good for news, links, and Sunday morning injury updates.

A must: I can't write about football without constantly checking player and team stats (from a current season and seasons' past), and this site makes finding the needed stats incredibly easy. I've bookmarked the Viking page separately, since I go there so often. They have a good blog too.

Spectacular for two reasons. First, they put up a lot of highlight videos. My favorite part of being a football fan is, you know, actually watching the games, and I want to see plays from the games I couldn't watch. It's all there. Second, I've found NFL.com to be a very smooth site to follow games that I can't watch on TV. I do find ESPN's box scores easier to read after the games are completed, however.

Why did I bother recommending a bunch of sites that you almost certainly already know about? As Doc Brown says in a wonderful deleted scene from Back to the Future, "beats the shit out of me." And there are other good football sites to read throughout the season (see the links on the side), but these are the bookmarks I absolutely have to have.

Week
Last winter I bought a shirt that said "Up 'n' Autumn," and haven't felt like I can wear it out of season. Now I'm ready to rock! September also means the beginning of vegan chili season at the PV household. I love autumn: the return of football, return of school, return of cooler weather.

Have a good weekend, suckers. Except Packer, Bear, and Saint fans. Well, have a good week and all, but not too good a time during your team's game.

***UPDATE*** (Wednesday evening)
The Viking season starts tomorrow: the whole PV family will be donning Viking clothing. Our fandom is like good musical theater: knowingly over-the-top and full of outrageous spectacle.

Here are some links of interest to add. Normally when I see links I want to post I'll save them for the next week's National Friday League, but since we started early this week, and some of these links are timely, and next week there will be a full week of post-week-one links, blah blah blah, here is bonus coverage and here is a run-on sentence, just for you.

Adrian Peterson says he's better than Chris Johnson (Star Tribune). In sports commentary, whatever happened the year before becomes gospel: Chris Johnson had a better season in 2009 than Adrian Peterson had, so he's the best running back in the NFL. And very likely if somebody other than Chris Johnson has the best RB season in 2010, next offseason that new guy will be the best running back in the NFL. I think there is a legitimate debate about who is better, but I don't think when a guy outperforms another guy in a given year, he's therefore just better. He was better that year.

Percy Harvin: ready to play (Star Tribune). In one sense, the impact of Harvin's migraine issues is overblown. When he's not suffering from migraines, Harvin should be 100%. When he doesn't have the migraine, there should be no impact on his performance, right?

Linebacker issues for the Saints (Star Tribune). Vikes have a shot if they can run successfully on the Saints.

Doug Farrar on some NFL "strategies and schemes" that seem to be going out of vogue (Yahoo!).

Mike Tanier and Doug Farrar on what you don't see from TV angles (Football Outsiders). There are many reasons I love watching games live. I've seen games at the Metrodome from a lot of different angles, very rarely from a sideline type view that would be similar to TV. Even from a good distance, there's a better sense of pass coverage, routes, movement of the front seven, blocking, etc. Attending a game at the Metrodome is, for me, almost an experience of communal ecstasy. It's also great for seeing football.

The bard of the Vikings, Jim Klobuchar (MinnPost).

Terrell Owens, who once said that if the Eagles had Brett Favre instead of Donovan McNabb they'd be undefeated, has a point about Brett Favre and skipping camp (PFT). I've made it clear above that there are plenty of voices criticizing Favre, including for some of his offseason moves of recent years. But there would be many, many more voices criticizing such moves if it were Terrell Owens pulling them.

Regression toward the mean, if you want more football details on it (Football Outsiders).

Adrian Peterson and fumbling (National Football Post).

One more day, suckers!

17 comments:

  1. I enjoyed the column.

    I am telling you right now if the Packers win the North and lock up the #1 seed in the NFC...Aaron Rodgers will be the MVP and not because of some "media love" but because he will have proven he is a great QB.

    I have a sick feeling that this year as Vikings fans is going to be filled with heartache. Not only will we not match the offensive output we got used to last year, but we will have to watch as a young and very talented Packers team excels.

    I admit that AP wasn't the dynamic runner last year that he was in other years, but I can't help but believe that Childress' play calling was as much (if not mostly) to blame as something going on with AP. Before when we had T-Jack at QB, Childress was forced to use AP often and AP rewarded him in places that Childress normally would have called a pass (but couldn't because he didn't trust his QB) while last year Favre (or Childress) went with the pass because they could.

    I will always contend that the Vikings would have won a Super Bowl by now if we had a great (not just a capable) coach.

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  2. I think AP's statistical decline from '08 to '09 was more about offensive line performance than either Childress or Peterson.

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  3. Anonymous9:39 AM

    The Packers went 2-4 last year against play off teams. They've lost Al Harris. They are a year older on the tackles, at corner. They've lost Johnny Jolly. The rest of the league knows how their defense will be played. Ryan Grant has been slowed with injuries. They should be improved at tight end. How does that team automatically outclass a team that dominated them last year, went 5-2 against play off teams, and should be deeper and more talented in the secondary (in a few weeks we'll have Cook and Griffin back), linebacker, and defensive line? I'm not one of those who is automatically assuming the offense will regress. I think there's room to grow, with our without Rice. Brett Favre has had more than 1 #1 reciever fall off or get injured after a break out year. It's more the rule than the exception. He will be fine. Already this preseason Peterson has looked quicker and more explosive in run and pass situations. Harvin is a year wiser. Shiancoe is a year wiser with Favre. Berrian is healthy. The line, supposedly, is a year healthier and wiser. Why does it have to regress? Because teams "know" Brett Favre now? They know to blitz Favre? Isn't that what we heard over and over at the beginning of the year last year?

    RK

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  4. RK, Saying a young and talented Packers team excels does not mean I think they are going to "outclass" the Vikings.

    You might want to be careful not to project on to other people what you think they are saying. Also, that was contained within a paragraph where I started by saying, "I have a sick feeling...."

    No where did I say they "automatically outclass" and I just have a feeling the Vikings offense is not going to score as much as they did last year. They were 2nd overall in the NFL in offensive scoring last year, they are without their best WR for 6 weeks or longer. Favre (who is amazing) is less mobile then he was last year (however he still can get it done and it shouldn't dramatically drop him), Chester Taylor leaving I think will have a slight impact on the overall offensive production.

    Is Favre going to throw 33 TDs again? I don't think so (purely from the fact that Rice isn't there....I know Favre can do what he can do even without his star WR...we saw it on the Packers...yada yada yada...but I look down at the talent of the 4 WRs we have and I don't see a WR emerging like Brooks, Freeman, Walker, etc. did for him time and time again in Green Bay

    Are AP/Tahi/Gerhart going to combine for 20 tds like last years rushing trio (AP getting 18 of those)? I don't believe so if not for the simple reason that the schedule is harder this year as compared to last year.

    So yeah, I don't think we are going to be as high scoring. I have a feeling Favre will throw for 26-28 tds and AP (and the other backs) will rush from 13-15 tds.....or about 4 pts less a game over the year average.

    On a side note...I feel like I am in a weird bizarro world...

    RK, now a Vikings fan and arguing against the Packers and Pacifist Viking a Favre fan after he could barely even recognize that he was a great quarterback (yes when Favre was a Packer, PV would refuse to acknowledge this and as mentioned above would easily site all the reasons why (see INT king).....

    Ah, fandom and the ability to throw all reason out the window.

    My predictions for the NFC North

    Packers 13-3 (one loss to Vikes) and #1 seed
    Vikings 10-6
    Bears 7-9
    Lions 6-10

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  5. PV- Good point about offensive line performance, but I still believe Childress play calling had more to do with it then AP (outside the offensive line).

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  6. Justin:

    I think you're 10-6 prediction for the Vikings is right on. I don't know about the Pack and a 13-3 record though. The offense should be very, very good. But the defense could be very, very bad, like the Saints '07-08 defense bad, and that is what kept the Saints a 9-7, 8-8 kind of team during those years.

    On another note, my cable company informed me this week it won't be offering NFL Sunday Ticket as part of its cable package this year for "technical" reasons. I'm not going out and buying a dish, so this could be the first year since 2006 that I won't have the ability to watch every Vikings game.

    But that could be good considering I expect them to disappoint me this year.

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  7. Justin, there's a fair chance RK wasn't responding to you, but to the "Media loves the Packer" concept (based on his emails to me, that seems to be what he's referring to).

    I, for one, have wondered why nearly everybody assumes the Packers will be improved. What did they do to improve? They drafted players--like everybody else. There's just an assumption that the players on the team will improve, I guess because they're mostly young. But there are some reasons to think there could be a defensive decline, even a major defensive decline. Sure, maybe the Packers will improve, but I don't know why it's just a given assumption that they will.

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  8. By the way, when I went through the schedule I had the Vikes at 11-5: right around .500 midway through the season, and then a late-season tear as the schedule lightens.

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  9. Got you PV...RK if not intended at me, I apologize for the misinterpretation.

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  10. Just a few words in support of Chilly.

    The guy is starting to grow on me. He shows up, his syntax is awkward and clunky, but consistent: you know where you stand with him. I actually agree with letting Sage go -- Tarvaris is at least as good as he was when he was all we had (both Chilly and Favre say so), and Webb is something you would have to be crazy to give away at this point. The D keeps on getting stronger, which is where Chilly has cred. Those dropped balls in the NFC final were not by him, and with any one of them not being dropped...

    The one thing I would like to see is no more questioning Chilly on taking Favre out. I want to see a lot more Tarvaris and as much Webb as can possibly be justified, mostly because I want Favre there and as healthy as possible at the end. Because MY feeling is that the NFC North is going to be one brutal place for injuries this year: the Bears picked up Peppers, who is a force of nature, and the Lions got themselves the next FON in the boy named Suh. I see it taking a lot of bodies, with a lot of depth and a lot of substituting to get through this.

    And I also think the Pack is a lot more vulnerable to key injuries. Give the Pack the attention, as much as they can handle; they have the best ownership set-up, one only the Steelers approach, and they are certainly not getting moved; all credit where due. I would rather we find a boring way to survive this schedule and grind our way into the playoffs. A for jobs that require boring and grinding, Chilly is as capable as anyone.

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  11. Peppers has dominated the Vikings so regularly in the Vikings' games against the Panthers, that I am terrified of having him in the division. I agree: the division is getting loaded up with dominant defensive players.

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  12. Anonymous10:32 AM

    justin, don't mind me, i was probably still ranting from something i saw on espn or whatever. i think 99pct of all the predictions i've seen are slanted toward the packers and rodgers and it never fails to bother me.

    you are right it is a strange new day with my Purple glasses.

    rk

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  13. Not trying to pessimistic here PV, but do you expect the Vikings to win Thursday? I honestly am not getting my hopes up just because of the fact we don't have Sid the Kid and are lacking a healthy 4th DB. Please try to convince me that I'm wrong!

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  14. *Not trying to (BE) pessimistic, forgot to proof read it

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  15. Josh, no, I don't expect the Vikings to win. The best hopes are for the pass rush to be effective (which it probably will be). if the offensive line opens holes for Peterson and gives Favre time to throw, they've got a shot, but I'm doubtful they'll win.

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  16. I agree, realistically the Vikings just aren't healthy enough right now. Let's hope we're pleasantly surprised! I'm hoping this realistic view of the game tomorrow will help me deal with a loss. However, Greg Lewis will be in there with Favre so you never know, PA may have to repeat his "Oh my goodness" from the SF game. As the last words of The Count of Monte Cristo say, "wait and hope."

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  17. Anonymous8:49 AM

    Outstanding stuff! I tend to agree with you that this season may be a letdown to a lot of Vikings fans. Of course, I inherited my father's pessimism about the team (I think, going into a season, he's been positive about just one Vikings squad in my lifetime), and I thought Favre was cooked last year. So who knows?

    --jianfu

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