Archive for the Tarvaris Jackson Category


Minnesota Vikings Win 38-10; Coach Brad, Is This The Kick Ass Offense?

Coach Brad Childress’ offensive play calling over his first three years at the helm of the Vikings has been unimaginative, too conservative and worst of all . . . utterly predictable.  

When Childress came to Minnesota he boasted that his offensive scheme was a “kick-ass offense.” Vikings fans were giddy over the prospect of seeing the purple post numbers similar to when Randy Moss and Chris Carter were catching passes from Randall Cunningham and Daunte Culpepper.

Instead fans saw simple running plays up the middle and too often saw short passes designed for receivers to earn a first down by fighting for yards after the catch.   

The Vikings offense finished 12th overall in the NFL last year.  The finish for the offensive unit was especially underwhelming given that the team boasted the league leading rusher in Adrian Peterson.

Expectations for this year were high with the addition of Brett Favre and Percy Harvin.  The offense point total has not disappointed with the Vikings scoring at least 27 points in each game this year.   

The play calling this year however has occasionally been reminiscent of the past—too conservative and too predictable.  Case in point, the fourth quarter playing calling by the Vikings on Monday Night against Green Bay during Week Four allowed the Packers to get back in the game.

Going into the St. Louis Rams game this weekend, fans were curious to see if the Vikings would unveil their kick ass offense or revert back to their old playing calling ways. 

In evaluating the Vikings play calling against the Rams, fans were left with mixed emotions.  There was nothing really imaginative about the plays called.  Yet, the Vikings did mix up their play  calling enough to keep the Rams guessing.

Simple Plays

The running game was pure vanilla ice cream without a hint of syrup.  The Vikings did not a run a single counter trap for Peterson or Chester Taylor. 

The Vikings were content to go straight ahead running primarily behind All-Pro Steve Hutchinson and Bryant McKinnie.  The result was a very pedestrian 89 yards on 24 carries.  The longest run of the day was 15 yards by Peterson.

The passing game was a little more exotic; imagine an additional scoop of chocolate or strawberry ice cream.

The Vikings really used only four passing plays to dissect the Rams secondary.

First, the Vikings ran their play action with a naked bootleg to perfection all day. 

During their first series, Favre hit a wide open Harvin who subsequently broke tackles down field on his way to a 24 yard gain.  Peterson then took the ball into the end zone on the next play.

During the second series of the second quarter, Favre again hooked up with Harvin on the same play for a nice 19 yard gain.  The Vikings subsequently kicked a field goal.

Second, the Vikings used the screen pass to take advantage of the aggressiveness of the Rams defense.   Favre hit Peterson and Visanthe Shiancoe for gains of 9 and 11 yards respectively.

The Vikings quarterback who used the play most effectively however was Tarvaris Jackson.

The Rams sought to rattle Jackson with blitzes in hopes of an interception that they could take to the house to get themselves back in the game.  

On a 3rd down and 1 at the Vikings 29 yard line, the Rams came with a blitz. Jackson very patiently waited for a screen to develop for his Fullback Naufahu Tahi.   Tahi welcomed the spotlight and went rumbling down field for a 32 yard gain. 3 plays later with the ball on the Rams 36 yard line, the Vikings were faced with a 3rd down and 7.  The Rams expecting Jackson to drop back came up the middle the hard.

The Vikings guessed correctly by calling a center screen for Chester Taylor.  Again, Jackson patiently dropped back and waited for defense to sell out.  Jackson saw the fruits of his patience as Taylor took the screen 33 yards down to the Rams 3.

Third, when the Rams were in zone coverage the Vikings would hit their second receiver after sending their first receiver through the zone as a decoy.

The beneficiaries of this play were Shiancoe and Taylor.  Favre’s value to the Vikings is likely most evident on this play because of his early recognition of the zone defense at the line and his willingness to not to lock on to one receiver.

The best example of this play was the Vikings touchdown pass to Shiancoe in the third quarter.  

The Vikings were in the red zone at the Rams 13 yard line.  The Vikings sent a player in motion; the player was a decoy and it appeared sending him  in  motion had its intended effect of getting the Rams attention.

Favre did not give the play away by locking on to Shiancoe.  Instead as soon as Shiancoe broke open, Favre turned, fired, and hit him in stride preventing the Rams defenders from putting a hand on Shiancoe.

In fairness to the Vikings coaching staff, they probably didn’t open up their playbook to keep their next three opponents in the dark. 

Predictable

While the plays were simple, the Vikings did a good job mixing things up to keep the Rams guessing.

Peterson had not gained more than 100 yards in his past 3 games.  Last year, everyone would have expected the Vikings to hand off the ball to Peterson early and often.

Instead, the Vikings threw the Rams a curve ball by starting with a pass to Sidney Rice followed up with short screen pass to Peterson. 

The message sent by the Vikings is a good message to the Rams and the League. 

In passing to Rice, the Vikings are stating that they feel confident beating teams with their passing game. 

The screen pass to Peterson says he can no longer  be thought of as only a threat to run the ball.  Last year, Peterson had 21 receptions whereas after 5 games this year Peterson has already hauled in 10 catches.

On their second series, the Vikings increased their lead to 14-0 by virtue of Jared Allen taking a fumble into the end zone.

The series starts on the Vikings 34.  Last year, the Vikings would have been content to slowly grind the ball with running plays.

This year, the Vikings stayed aggressive with a pass play.  Unfortunately, Favre was sacked as Tahi failed to pick up a blitz.   Chester Taylor gained 7 yards on the next play with a run.

In his first year, Childress would have probably gone with a running play.  This year, Favre throws a deep skinny flag route to Harvin.  Harvin is behind the defender and it appears that it would be a 40 yard play for the Vikings but Harvin can’t hold on to the ball.

Good call, Coach.  Why not go for the early knock-out punch—you are up 14-0 and you are on the road.  If Harvin catches the ball, the fight in the Rams and their fans might have left at halftime.  Bags on the heads of the remaining fans would probably have followed.

Most fans probably don’t feel that the Vikings offense is a kick ass offense.  The only pass that was beyond 30 yards that was not a screen pass was Favre’s 47 yard pass to Sidney Rice pictured above.

While the Vikings are not as explosive as Moss and Company,the Vikings offense might just be good enough to get the job done if they can continue to keep defenses guessing as to their next move.

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NFL Football Picks: 2009 Minnesota Vikings Predictions

The last year for the Vikings was a successful one in terms of making the playoffs and having a good record. They finished 10-6 and made the playoffs.

However, once they got there, it was apparent that they weren’t equipped to make a run, as they lost to the Eagles in the first round. Although they had a solid defense and a great rushing attack, their passing game left something to be desired.

Did they do enough in the offseason to get the job done this time around? As far as free football picks go, expect the Vikings to make a run this season deep into the playoffs.

The Good News:

The biggest news of the offseason was obviously Brett Favre. Right up until the last minute, no one was sure if he’d play for them or not.

As it turns out, he rode in on his white horse and was immediately handed the keys to the team. While it might seem irresponsible at a glance, it is really the only option for the Vikings.

Jackson has proven that he’s not going to be anything special, and Sage Rosenfels is basically a career backup. Favre is a surefire Hall-of-Famer, and he will instantly upgrade the passing attack in Minny.

In addition to Favre, they have what many people believe is the best player in the NFL in Adrian Peterson. Peterson led the league in rushing last year and his explosiveness makes him a threat to score at any point. Combined with Favre, they should have a pretty solid offense.

On the other side of the ball, the defense will dominate again. Last year, they were the No. 1 team against the run, and they had a fierce pass rush.

With Jared Allen and the Williams brothers on the defensive line, they should again be formidable. If I’m an offensive coordinator, I know the Vikings’ defense is going to present some headaches.

The Bad News:

This also falls in the good news column, but Brett Favre could be a big distraction for the Vikes. Last year, it was a media circus in New York and Favre failed to get them to the playoffs. Many Jets’ players have said that Favre was not a good teammate and even got dressed in a separate locker room.

This preseason, the media have already reported that there is a “schism” in the locker room surrounding Favre. Many people believe that Jackson should be the starting quarterback and don’t like the fact that Favre skipped all of camp. He then comes in late and just gets everything handed to him. This could present a problem at some point in the year.

Outlook:

If you’re looking for free NFL football picks, expect the Vikings to win their division this year. They should even be able to work their way through the playoffs and make a run at the Super Bowl if Favre can stay healthy. If he goes down, it might be another up and down year for the Vikings.

Make sure you check out Vernon Croy`s NFL Football Picks this season.

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Minnesota Vikings: No Rift Between Players on Quarterback Job

The has been multiple national reports stating that the Minnesota Viking’s locker room is divided over who they think is best equipped at the quarterback position for them to win.

Some players are said to be backing Tarvaris Jackson and others are behind veteran Brett Favre.  But the reality seems to be far different, based on conversations with Viking’s players and coaching staff.

There’s nothing to suggest there’s any sort of split, rift, or divide in the Minnesota locker room.

Head Coach Brad Childress and all-pro running back Adrian Peterson said they didn’t sense any widespread split emotions in favor of Jackson or Favre.

Tarvaris Jackson has friends on the team that want to see him succeed and have a productive career with the Vikings, and that is surely to be expected as he enters his fourth year with the franchise.

After Jackson’s performance in the Vikings last game at home against the Kansas City Chiefs, you knew there may be some grumblings of the Favre signing.  Jackson went 12 of 15 for 202 yards and two touchdowns. 

This while the newest Minnesota quarterback (Favre) went 1 of 4 for four yards.

But as always, there is a difference between friends and business.

The players, as of now, seem to be on board with Brett Favre being the starting quarterback.  His leadership and knowledge of this West Coast offense team give them the best shot at victory. 

Only time will tell if there is a mutiny against him.

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Vikings’ Favre Will Divide, Packers Will Conquer

It has started already.

The rumblings out of Minnesota. A team divided. A “schism” it’s being called.

In the words of one NFL source, Favre has “little support” in the locker room.

Ah, it’s music to my ears.

Like Napoleon Bonaparte, the self-proclaimed emperor of France that didn’t know when to stop, has Brett Favre gone too far and agitated his own Minnesota minions?

There are many players in the Viking locker room that don’t want Favre there. Some resent his riding in on his white horse to seemingly “rescue” the Vikings. “We didn’t need rescuing” is the sentiment.

Some resent the special treatment he has received from the Vikings organization and Brad Childress.

What self-respecting NFL coach drives to the airport to pick up a player? None. Except for Brad Childress.

Some are just buddies of Tarvaris Jackson and are incensed at the raw deal he has received. All T-Jack wanted was a fair fight between him and Sage Rosenfels. That scenario is officially dead.

And some are in Rosenfels’ corner. They felt he could bring the consistency that T-Jack lacks.

After all, the Vikings did pretty well when unspectacular, but steady Gus Frerotte was at the helm last year. Why not give Sage a chance? That possibility is also dead.

As Abe Lincoln said (borrowed from the new testament, I believe), “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Will Favre turn the Minnesota Vikings into “Team Turmoil?” It really only depends on one thing—how well he plays. If he is able to play at a high level and lead the Vikings to some wins, most likely all will be forgotten.

I happen to be one Packer fan that still believes he can play and if healthy, he will help the Vikings. But I  don’t regret the Packers’ decision to go with Aaron Rodgers. That decision is looking better every day.

But if Favre playing well doesn’t come to pass, resentment will linger, the “schism” will get larger, and the Vikings divided “house” and season will come tumbling down.

Like the egomaniacal emperor Napoleon, Brett Favre has recorded many victories and conquered many hardships. But will going to Minnesota be his Waterloo and mark the end of his reign as emperor of the NFL?

If so, then perhaps the Packers will conquer the NFC North. As a Packer fan, it’s what I have to hope for.

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You can find more of Jersey Al Bracco’s articles on several sports websites: Jersey Al’s Blog, Packer Chatters , Packers Lounge, NFL Touchdown and of course,  Bleacher Report.

You can also follow Jersey Al on twitter.

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Tarvaris Jackson Might Have Done Himself a Favor

Unless you have been under a rock that last week you now know that Brett Favre has come out of retirement (yet again) to sign with the NFC North winners from last season the Minnesota Vikings.  The Vikes, already this offseason, went out and signed free agent Sage Rosenfels from the Houston Texans.  Assumedly to sure up the quarterback spot to their liking and away from Tarvaris Jackson.

On Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd at the Metrodome, No. 4 took the field for the first time in the NFC North for another team other than the Green Bay Packers. 

Cheered loudly by the same fans who used to boo him when he played for the Packers, Favre played two series and went 1-for-4 for an amazing four yards. He moved around ok and his passes had some zip, just no direction.  Unless the yardage lines play for the Vikings.  He hit them more than he hit his receivers.

Enter un-wanted and shunned Tarvaris Jackson into the game for the Vikings.

Jackson, who actually prompted some mild booing from the fans when he jogged to the huddle, because that meant Favre was done; and rightfully so, evaded a blitz on 3rd-and-8 in the second quarter and found Visanthe Shiancoe for a 13-yard score. In the third, Jackson hit Darius Reynaud on a post pattern for a 64-yard touchdown to put Minnesota in front 14-13.

“Whenever you play well, you always feel good,” Jackson said. “Regardless of the situation or the circumstances, it felt good. It was a long week for me. It just shows that if you just stay focused, you’ll be fine.”

The spotlight and much of the flashbulbs from cameras I’m sure were pointed square on #4 and his return/beginning of his Vikings “career.”  But Tarvaris Jackson stole the show on the QB front this night.

Amongst trade and release rumors, Jackson with his play on Saturday night, just may have done himself a favor.  If the Vikings are looking to release or trade him, surely his performance against the Chiefs was a good reminder he still can be an effective QB in this league. 

The only knock on Tarvaris Jackson is can he replicate that performance on a consistent basis?  This remains to be seen.

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Why Are People Hating on T-Jack? The Case for Tarvaris Jackson

Why are people hating on Tarvaris Jackson, especially those Minnesota Vikings fans out there?

Vikings fans, why are you being so negative on your quarterback? If you say something negative, something negative is going to happen. If you say something positive about T-Jack, then yes, he’ll most probably have a good performance.

I hate when people hate on Jackson, I absolutely do. It’s no wonder a CFL team, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, have added him to their negotiation list, according to the CFL report.

You may ask, “Josh, nobody is hating on Tarvaris Jackson.” Well, if you go to NFL.com and click on “Blogs,” take a look on the latest post there.

After Brett Favre’s performance, going one-of-four for four passing yards, Tarvaris Jackson stepped in to replace him, and as you could see, fans were booing during the team’s preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

But even though Jackson took the criticism, it just made him better. He went twelve-of-15 for 202 passing yards and two touchdowns, with a big damn 158.3 quarterback rating.

How the hell can people boo at that?

But look, people aren’t booing at Sage Rosenfels, who was a freaking choker in all the games I usually saw him play, especially against the Indianapolis Colts last year. Then you have John David Booty, who has yet to make a regular-season snap.

Jackson had a 95.4 rating last year, the best out of all the Vikings quarterbacks that year. I just don’t understand what’s wrong with him.

Yes, I know, Jackson isn’t all that great.

I do have to point out some negatives. I’ve seen Jackson as a choker, but it was during the start of regular season, and it was the season where he would actually be a 16-game starter…his first time.

Yes, he did get sacked a lot last year, and he took time, but it wasn’t entirely his fault. Nobody expected it, and more than likely, neither did Jackson. Can anyone give him some love? Many others have.

Here is what Leroy Watson, a very impassioned sportswriter (you have to see his work), commented about Jackson in one of my old Vikings post about T-Jack:

I remember seeing Jackson for one game way back in his Alabama State days, and the guy was remarkable. I still think he has some serious potential. Who knows what will become of it, but it’s there.

I admire your passion, Josh, and agree that Jackson would be a better fit long term than either Favre or Rosenfels. It just doesn’t look like he’s going to get the chance, barring injury.

Many others had very similar comments like this, including Andy Smith. There were many comments for people supporting Jackson and it really was great to see. I agree with those that commented on Jackson’s days back with Alabama State. This guy truly was remarkable.

In his career at Alabama State, he had thrown for over 7,300 yards, 64 touchdowns and 25 interceptions, and a 136.5 rating. On the ground: 924 rushing yards and eleven touchdowns.

So, you still hating or what? Jackson needs two to four more years to develop as a great quarterback. He has been getting better and better each year and continues to impress me each game. 

And with Brett Favre in for Minny, Jackson will be learning a lot. Wait and see.

When Favre is gone for good, which will happen in about two-to-three years, watch what Jackson will be doing in training camp.

No more haters. Jackson has a good future ahead of him. Many teams are requesting to have Jackson as their backup. And also, look what I realized. When Jackson is not starting, he is actually much better.

When he came off the bench to fill in for somebody, like he did last year with Gus Frerotte, Jackson was remarkable. So when he comes off the bench for number four, he’ll be amazing.

You have to believe me on this. This guy has the arm; he is going to get better. This kid can also run.

This is my case for Tarvaris Jackson.

Sources

Jackson Booed After Replacing Favre–NFL.com
Jackson Added to Blue Bombers List–The CFL Report
Josh Dhani–Bleacher Report
Leroy Watson B/R Profile
KC at MIN–NFL.com

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Tarvaris Jackson Is Making It Harder To Trade Him

Just when we lose all hope in Tarvaris Jackson, he come through and plays great.

In a game when he needed to perform, Jackson answered with a 12-for-15 night for 202 yards and two touchdowns. He also scrambled once for five yards.

He threw a very impressive 64-yard touchdown pass to Darius Reynaud where he split a couple defenders and hit Reynaud perfectly in stride.

On a night that Favre was to debut for his formal rival, Jackson stole the show. He threw nice passes all over the field and more importantly, they were catchable.

When the Vikings played the Colts last week, it seemed that Jackson was out in his own world, barely completing 50 percent of his passes with an interception. Balls were flying everywhere, five to ten yards off target nearly every time.

That obviously wasn’t the case against the Chiefs.

So why is Jackson making it harder to trade him?

After a night that he had, it should raise some interest in teams around the league who are looking for a solid backup.

The team that may not want to pull the trigger on a trade yet is the Vikings.

They have seen signs of brilliance in the young quarterback, but also seen him struggle mightily.

What happens if Favre goes down to injury early in the season? We are left with Sage Rosenfels and John David Booty. Is that really what we want?

I don’t have any faith in JDB to be a quality backup yet. I think Sage could be a great quarterback for the Vikings, but I would feel more comfortable with Jackson as a backup or starting than I would with JDB.

If the Vikings do trade Jackson, will he turn around and bring a team to the playoffs? That is what may scare the Vikings right now.

They’ve given up some big money to Sage Rosenfels and can’t afford to cut or trade him right now. They just drafted Booty and don’t want to give up on him yet.

What will the Vikings do? Jackson has put them in a pickle that could come back to haunt them.

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Brett Favre Debuts; Tarvaris Jackson Keeps Job; Vikings Beat Chiefs

On a day that both Minnesota sports teams defeated a Kansas City sports team with the Twins defeating the Royals 5-4 in 10 innings and the Vikings denying the Chiefs victory in the final seconds 17-13; the game of least relevance seemed to be the one that drew the most attention.

Brett Favre did the unthinkable as he walked out of the tunnel at the Metrodome in purple as a Minnesota Viking. Never has a Vikings preseason game been so packed and so loud prior to kickoff. However, Favre’s debut wasn’t exactly eye-popping.

Brett would only play two series and go 1-for-4 for four yards and took a few shots, but overall drew the largest standing ovation ever for a Vikings quarterback in recent memory.

Despite a lackluster day, Brett made a lot of decisions that made him look like a veteran star quarterback. On top of that, his lone completed pass to Percy Harvin showed the true arm-strength of Favre and catching ability of young Harvin in double coverage.


Two-Cents on Favre’s Start

If anyone was expecting 80 yard passes out of the gates, they were sadly mistaken. Favre is as nervous as the next guy playing for the team he had as a sworn enemy for 16 seasons. Lets not forget, he did just sign Tuesday.

Not to mention, who said this guy wasn’t going to make good chemistry with the team? Word has it that’s going with defensive end phenom Jared Allen hunting.

Percy Harvin only caught two passes for 9 yards, but nothing can be determined of his versatile value as the Vikings never did unveil Harvin passing or running the ball, however he did line up in the backfield on a couple plays.

The true gem of Friday’s game against the Chiefs however was the unexpected play of Tarvaris Jackson. Word on the street is that T-Jack’s job was suspect with the Vikings having four quarterbacks on the current roster. Childress has expressed the thought of keeping four and after Friday, he just might.

Jackson threw 12-for-15 for 202 yards and two touchdowns including a 64 yard strike to Darius Reynaud. A lot of rumors said that Jackson needed at least a 150 yard passing performence, at least one or two touchdown passes, and no foul ups (sacks or interceptions) which he easily was able to accomplish.

Jackson said of his performence, “Whenever you play well, you always feel good.Regardless of the situation or the circumstances, it felt good. It was a long week for me. It just shows that if you just stay focused, you’ll be fine.”

Jackson’s other strike included a 13 yard throw to tight end Visanthe Shaincoe on a jump ball.

A battle that seems to be drawing interest is surrounding third year running back Albert Young and the undrafted rookie free agent out of Boise State University, Ian Johnson. Both gathered good playing time and although Young got 17 yards to Johnson’s 9, the rookie also proved to be a receiving threat out of the backfield with two catches for 24 yards.

The Vikings will obviously have quite a fix with their crowd of four at quarterback and running back.

Notes:

Jared Allen (ankle), Sage Rosenfels (ankle sprain), and Bernard Berrian (hamstring) sat out of the game to rest fatigue-related injuries.

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Brett Favre: The Best Thing that Could Happen for Tarvaris Jackson?

Just ask Chad Pennington who was the odd man out for the Jets in Brett Favre’s previous change of heart on retirement. He only went to the Jets’s rival Miami and was comeback player of the year, leading them to their first division title since 2000 which included a victory the last weekend of the season against the very same man who replaced him.
Now Jackson must be the one on his way out since Sage Rosenfels was traded for in the offseason.  Plus, we haven’t really seen what Rosenfels can do.  He’s had some moments as a backup but never fully as the guy.  Jackson on the other hand has had many an opportunity.
I doubt if and when Jackson is released the same scenario will happen with Chad Pennington.  FIrst of all, the rest of that division is pretty much set at the quarterback position, and at this point his best possible choice is competing for a backup role.  But if something happens to the one he’s backing up, look who’s back in.
So many players especially quarterbacks have been released then showed what they could do in other cities.  Again, look at Chad Pennington for exhibit A. Jim Plunkett was run out of New England and then San Francisco before winning two Super Bowls with the Raiders.  And pretty much any quarterback ever exiled from Tampa Bay (Doug Williams, Steve Young, and even Trent Dilfer) lands on their feet.
Even if Favre didn’t play or even if he gets injured, he’ll still most likely have to wait in line behind Sage Rosenfels. And if he does get in the game, you can expect not only the crowd, but perhaps some of the team to lose confidence.
Someone who may be more affected won’t even suit up for the Vikings.  Head coach Brad Childress knows his job is on the line.  But having Brett Favre might not be the boost he needs.  Just ask Eric Mangini, Favre’s ex-coach with the Jets who was fired after the team had a meltdown.
Mangini was able to find another head coaching position in Cleveland, a place where losing is common place so there won’t be as much of a rush to win.  But depending on job availability, Childress might have to wait out a season or two for a head coaching job or go back to being an assistant again.
If he does lose his job and Brett Favre unretires again next year with another team, Childress could always be Favre’s chauffer, a role he didn’t have a problem with on Tuesday.
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The Difficulties Of The Vikings Faithful…

It’s that time of year again. 

Once again the Viking faithful have had their team talked up for a deep playoff, and possible championship, run. 

Is this the year we finally shake off years of disappointment and reach our expectations, or will we once again be let down by the greatest tease in all of professional sports?

With all the talk about Brett Favre joining the Vikings, many other stories about this year’s squad have been overlooked. After a strong showing last year the team has improved in every questionable area. 

The defense, which ranked 6th overall and 1st against the run, will be getting E.J. Henderson back. Before getting injured last year, E.J. was playing very well and his return should give the defense a boost. 

Last year’s acquisition of Jared Allen added strength to an already solid defensive line, adding 14 sacks. Chad Greenway also had a great year, leading the team with 115 tackles. 

The only real loss on defense was Darren Sharper. While being an excellent leader, he only had one interception and, being 33, the team decided not to resign the veteran; starting duties will go to 2nd year man Tyrell Johnson. 

The offense last year again relied on the strong running of rushing leader Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor, finishing 5th in the league for team rushing, but also showed signs of things to come in the passing game. 

Bernard Berrian led the league in yards-per-catch and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe finally overcame a case of the dropsies, ending up with seven touchdowns.

The only major loss on offense was the departure of center Matt Birk, an intelligent leader for the offensive line. Birk’s duties are projected to be taken over by rookie John Sullivan and it will be interesting to see how the newcomer handles the pro game. 

Also new to the offensive line is massive rookie tackle Phil Loadholt who is expected to start opposite gigantic Bryant McKinnie, giving Favre a wall of muscle for protection. 

First round draft pick Percy Harvin is expected to be a versatile weapon both on offense as a wide receiver and possible “wildcat” option, and special teams as a return man. His speed will add more firepower to the already explosive skill position players.

The special teams, which struggled last year, also received a few changes by promoting assistant coach Brian Murphy. How he will change up the poor coverage teams has yet to be seen but the resigning of ace Heath Farwell will make his job easier. 

Chris Kluwe finished 6th among punters by averaging 47.6 yards a punt. If Murphy can straighten up the coverage problems, this unit can be solid.

I have talked about many areas of this year’s squad, saying very little about the one most interesting element; what about Brett Favre?

His addition should make the Vikings passing attack worthy of some defensive attention, opening up opportunities for the dangerous Peterson. If Favre can get opposing defenses to not stack the line with eight players keying in on the run, his acquisition will be worth the drama. 

But bringing in Favre also adds another, less talked about story to the squad. Which quarterbacks will secure spots on the roster?

Tavaris Jackson was expected to compete for the starting job with newly acquired Sage Rosenfels while the Favre drama played out. Now there are four quarterbacks gunning for three roster spots. 

Rosenfels looked composed in the preseason opener, while Jackson struggled, leaving the back up position up in the air. Also, what to do with 2nd year man John David Booty. 

Favre adds hall of fame experience and knowledge which could be used to mentor a young gunslinger, but who is the team going to stick with? Will it carry Jackson, and his contract, or groom in the young Booty? 

Seeking outside help from Favre shows the organizations doubt about Jackson being the future of the team and I think he may end up being the odd man out, being potential trade bait.

Once again, I sit brimming with excitement over the potential of this year’s squad, hoping against hope that they can bring it all together. Will our expectations be let down once again? 

We can only watch and see how it turns out, sitting on our couches with family and friends, appetizers and refreshing drinks by our side.  Doesn’t sound too bad to me.

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