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mountainviking
07-10-2014, 11:53 AM
Preseason Power Rankings No. 27: Minnesota Vikings | ProFootballTalk (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/07/09/preseason-power-rankings-no-27-minnesota-vikings/)

NFL Power Rankings: Packers rise after draft, while Panthers slip - NFL.com (http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000349990/article/nfl-power-rankings-packers-rise-after-draft-while-panthers-slip)

NFL Power Rankings Preseason - National Football League - ESPN (http://espn.go.com/nfl/powerrankings)

NFL Power Rankings: Post-draft edition - Audibles - SI.com (http://www.si.com/nfl/audibles/2014/05/21/nfl-power-rankings-post-2014-nfl-draft)

So, we've got two 27s, a 29 and one way up at 24...going by last year's results, that means these pundits expect us to be somewhere between 4-12 and 6-10. I think a big part of the Vikes' low rankings comes from 2 major things: the assumed strength of the other teams in our division (due mostly to their QBs vs. ours) and the fact that it is just easier to assume that the bottom teams from last year will end up there again and that the same will happen at the top.

But the reality is that the NFL is definitely Not-For-Long these days and every year there are bottom feeders from the year before who surprisingly win their divisions, and a sizable chunk of former playoff teams who are home for the holidays. As PFT not so subtly points out, the Vikings have been a perfect example of this in recent years with their roller coaster ride of being within seconds of winning an NFC Championship game down to 6 and then 3 win seasons followed by a surprising 10-6 rebound playoff season and then back down to last year's 5-10-1 record.

All the talking heads on TV want to talk about is QBs and while this is definitely a big part of the puzzle, it is still the ultimate team game and even the best QBs need some help to win the ultimate prize (perfect example: Peyton Manning.) What I see is that when our team stays mostly healthy, we win more than we lose and when we suffer a large rash of injuries at one or two spots, we don't have much of a chance.

Going into the playoffs with the Favre in '09 I specifically recall looking at the starting roster and thinking 'Wow. Pretty much every starter is still starting!?' Last year, on the other hand, we had to sign Free Agents and Waiver Wire fodder just to field a complete secondary. A similar situation hit the Texans and they fell from 12-4 (weren't they the top AFC seed!?) the year before to 2-14 as their OL fell to shambles causing many, many hits on their QB(s) and leading not just to tons of turnovers but also to more injuries to both of their RBs and eventually their QB too.

I am a huge fan of our new coaches and their records of success seem to indicate we have a very good chance for a quick turn around...specially compared to the questionable at best and certainly outdated schemes of the last regime!?!! Perhaps I'm a bit on the glass is half full side but I see much of the potential of that 10-6 team a year removed still in place, but bolstered with youth and veteran additions on defense and some serious up and coming talent on offense. I think that Ponder in '12 and Cassel in '13 have shown that even mediocre QB play combined with a healthy Adrian Peterson, solid Special Teams and decent defense can take this team to the playoffs. Teddy B's accuracy and work habits seem to look like a major step up, and I think we will see him win some games for us this year...as long as we don't pile up too many injuries around him.

Additionally, I don't see any of the other NFCN teams being that far ahead of us and for proof all I have to say is that last year, with all those injuries and those old school schemes still in use, the Vikings had the best, and only winning record of our division over the last 8 games of the season.

Sure, Rodgers was injured and missed a big chunk of games, but their reluctance to invest in protection for him may lead them down a similar road this year. In Chicago it was not missing Cutler that was their demise as McCown played very well in substitution, but their shoddy defense where they are in full on rebuilding mode. They've added some talent there again, but most of that side of the ball is very young and prone to mistakes and growing pains. Detroit was saddest of all, as they seemed poised to easily win the North and maybe even make a splash in the playoffs at 6-3...until they found a way to fail week after week on their way to losing 6 of their last 7 games.

As far as off season additions go, I don't really see that any of our division rivals had much more success than we did so I still see a roughly equal division, with competitive teams, but nothing as complete, and thus a true championship contender, as say the Seahawks or 49ers. Of course, individual and team progress can change this in a positive way, and like the Texans realized last year, injuries can bring even the best teams crashing down hard in under a year.

I suspect our division will all be in the 6 to 10 win range and that whoever wins it will very likely be kicked out of the playoffs in a game or two. We could easily end up as the 5th worst record, but I think and hope, that it would require some terrible luck on the injury front, and that there's a better chance we end up right in the middle at 8-8 or better.

SKOL VIKINGS!!!!

drewlovs
07-10-2014, 02:17 PM
I don't have a lot of time to discuss, perhaps later; but I have to agree on the "Not-for-long" point you make. Remember, the Seahawks sucked ass for years, and they STILL have yet to beat the 49ers in San Francisco since they have joined that division. Now, apparently, they are the next potential dynasty.

Everyone makes the point that the 49ers need to find a way to beat the Seahawks IN Seattle, but you could easily say the same for the other side of that... but we don't. The paradigm changed that fast.

Things change quickly these days in the NFL... why not for us as well?

tastywaves
07-11-2014, 12:03 PM
These power rankings at the beginning of the year are simply how teams finished last year give or take a couple spots, with favoritism given to the perennial winning franchises.

They should just use Zeus' system and be done with it. It's the only one that matters anyways.

thorshammer
07-12-2014, 03:33 PM
We will do better than the early guesses that are flying around now among the talking heads.

faninphx
07-13-2014, 02:14 AM
Awesome post and analysis, mountainvike!

I can't say that I blame them. We were absolutely putrid in September/October last year. We weren't all that bad the last two months of the season but our fate had been sealed by then. Plus we're losing our beloved home-field advantage and we haven't really settled our QB debate yet, so I can't really argue with these rankings.
With that being said, I kind of like being the underdog. I dislike most sports commentators so it's nice to prove them wrong. I think we are a good young team that is definitely on the rise. By the time we move into our dome, we should be very dangerous. I think we will definitely be better than the prognosticators predict. We're stepping in the right direction with our coaching staff, draft picks and free agents. I can't wait for the season to start!

Minniman
07-19-2014, 12:37 PM
The Packers and Bears both had their starting quarterbacks out last season. They should both be improved.

The Vikings let go a few good players with some gas still in the tank, but they will get some injured players back on the field as well. Some players were let go because they did not play well. We do not yet know if that poor play was more coaching ability or playing ability. Let us see how Chris Cook does with the 49ers and how well Derek Cox looks with the Vikings.

With new coaches, things could turn around quickly, or it could take a couple years. Let us hope these coaches do not have to go backwards before going forwards like Childress and his regime.

purplehelmut
07-21-2014, 08:58 AM
The talking/writing heads always miss out on the surprise teams and over-rate other teams. With the league the way it is now, a not very good team can turn it around quickly. It will be tough for the Vikings because we are going to be in an improved division, but it is not impossible for us to compete at the level required. We have a new coaching staff and questions at QB and on defense- some things the heads don't like. But if those question marks turn out to be positives, we will surprise a lot of people.

VKG4LFE
08-05-2014, 11:50 PM
Maybe it will be better to be the hunter rather than the hunted.....

Traveling_Vike
08-06-2014, 04:54 PM
We always seem to do better when expectation are low, and worse when they are high. I will take this as an encouraging sign.

thorshammer
08-07-2014, 08:25 PM
Predictionmachine.com has us looking vastly improved ....
NFL Team Rankings 2014 Preview @ PredictionMachine.com (http://www.predictionmachine.com/Team-Rankings)

PackSux!
08-07-2014, 09:44 PM
We are going to be sneaky good and take the NFC North.