Let's make one thing clear before we start: if the Green Bay Packers win the Super Bowl, I'm going to have a complete sports nervous breakdown. If the Vikings' biggest rival wins its 13th championship before the Vikings win one, I'm just not going to be able to take it, and I'm going to go into a tailspin of sports despair that can't even be conceived of until it is experienced. I don't know what will happen, but it will be filled with dread and loathing. You may never hear from me again--I may disavow all association with sports. I may go into my basement and sit cross-legged reading Paradise Lost over and over again until September. I might not eat again for days. I might put all my football cards into a Magic Bullet. I just really don't know.
When Dr. Z does his final power rankings, he notes the record he predicted for each team in the preseason. Every writer should do that. Here is my preseason preview.
Pro-football-reference.com looks at the "It's hard to beat a team three times in one season" myth.
Cold, Hard Football Facts provides links and reviews of a lot of football analysis sites. When I get a little time to check them out, they'll probably be in the blogroll soon.
I'm going to be honest: at this point I loathe the Timberwolves. Whenever they enter my mind, an dull, empty, sick feeling enters my soul. Jordi at Epic Carnival looks closer.
A few days ago there was some discussion about exploitation of college athletes. For those interested, Allen Sack's book looks like a good examination of the issue (you also might read Sack's article at Inside Higher Ed on Notre Dame football, with an intriguing proposal for academic requirements for athletes). I, however, don't read books about sports anymore. It should be obvious to anybody that I spend too much time reading about sports on the internet already, and since there are so many classics of world literature I haven't read yet, I prefer to devote my heavy reading time to spiritually invigorating classics. I follow sports for fun--I read for the edification of my soul.
The Ragnarok has been looking at offseason possibilities for the Vikings. Wide receiver must be the top offseason priority for the Vikings; via The Ragnarok, Football's Future lists the top free agent wide receivers. My top two choices are D.J. Hackett (upside!) and Devery Henderson (a speed guy that can stretch the field and might actually catch it when he gets down there). Slim pickings, but each (or both!) would make the Vikings a much better team.
Ladies... tries to convince you to fall in love with Braylon Edwards. They note that "he pledged $1 million in scholarship money for 100 needy eighth-grade students in Cleveland." Sounds like a good guy. Plus he's a terrific football player. If the Vikings knew then what they know now, they would have traded every pick they had in 2005 for Cleveland's 3rd pick.