NFL Preview: Minnesota Vikings

Frank Doyle | Updated Aug 19, 2011

Frank Doyle doesn’t see an easy road ahead for the Minnesota Vikings now that You Know Who has finally hung up his helmet.

Love him or hate him, Brett Favre brought the Minnesota Vikings as close as they’re likely to get to that elusive first Super Bowl title two years ago. Even now, Vikings fans can only think of that final pick against the Saints in the NFC Championship Game and wince. The Vikings were a hair’s breadth away; now, they’re as far as they’ve ever been.

Brad Childress got the boot after a 3-7 start and Leslie Frazier was promoted from defensive co-ordinator to head coach last season, but it’s hard to say all the Vikings’ misfortune will be banished with their former head coach.

The NFL betting tells it all: the Vikings are a +950 longshot to win the NFC North, +2200 to get to the Super Bowl and +4000 to win it. The over/under for season wins is 7.5, and even that might be a reach.

Drafting Donovan McNabb and trading Tarvaris Jackson doesn’t really make sense. McNabb looked old in Washington; it’s hard to see how he’ll turn it around in Minnesota, while Tarvaris Jackson never really got a shot at getting out from under Favre’s considerable shadow. Jackson’s gone to Seattle now and Sydney Rice is gone with him. Suddenly the Vikings offense looks very one-dimensional.

Adrian Peterson is the Vikings’ greatest hope, but he’s only one man. Even at forty years of age, defenses had to respect Favre’s arm and that gave Peterson room to run. The evidence of last year in Washington suggests they don’t have to afford McNabb the same respect. Peterson could be in for a battering against defenses that will dare McNabb to go deep.

On the other side of the ball, the defense did not perform to its 2009 level last year. The Vikings front four were one of the best in the League in 2009 but last year they weren’t getting the same level of pressure that they had. It’s sad to say about one of the great franchises but it looks like Minnesota missed a bus in 2009 and might have to wait a long while until the next one come along.