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singersp
09-10-2006, 09:45 AM
Posted on Sun, Sep. 10, 2006

Pre-season grades (http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/sports/15474007.htm)

BY DON SEEHOLZER
Pioneer Press


QUARTERBACKS

Brad Johnson went 7-2 as the Vikings' starting quarterback last season, but he turns 38 this week, and there's a big dropoff to new No. 2 Brooks Bollinger, right. In the violent world of the NFL, that's what's known as living dangerously.

Grade: B-

Running backs

Chester Taylor, left, didn't set the world on fire during the exhibition season. You don't need to be Walter Payton, though, to run behind this offensive line. Tony Richardson is 34, but he still is one of the best blocking fullbacks in the NFL.

GRADE: C

Wide receivers

The Vikings had questions at this position even before No. 1 receiver Koren Robinson's DUI arrest. With no Koren, the pressure is on Travis Taylor and especially Troy Williamson, right, to step up. Unless you believe Todd Pinkston is the answer.

Grade: D

Tight ends

Only one will start in the West Coast offense, so the Vikings will attempt to find enough playing time for pass catcher Jermaine Wiggins, left, and blocker Jim Kleinsasser without locking them into stereotypical roles. Too bad they can't be morphed into one player.

GRADE: C

Offensive line

On paper, the left side is one of the best in football, with all-pro guard Steve Hutchinson, right, joining center Matt Birk and massive tackle Bryant McKinnie. The right side of guard Artis Hicks and tackle Marcus Johnson isn't nearly as formidable, and the exhibition rushing numbers prove the line has yet to jell as a unit.

GRADE: B-

Defensive line

The Vikings have two proven tackles in Pat Williams,left,and Kevin Williams. There isn't much blitzing in the Tampa 2 defense, which puts the pass-rushing pressure on young defensive ends Kenechi Udeze and Erasmus James, but they had a strong exhibition season.

GRADE: B

Linebackers

The Vikings didn't do much to address their weakest area, adding Ben Leber, right, as the only new starter to team with holdover E.J. Henderson outside and 2005 bust Napoleon Harris in the middle. Henderson was playing well enough to keep No. 1 pick Chad Greenway in a backup role even before he suffered a season-ending knee injury, but the jury still is out on this group.

GRADE: C-

Cornerbacks

Fred Smoot, left, is hoping for a fresh start after a nightmarish 2005 season and planning to make good on his promise to give the team a pair of shutdown corners (including Antoine Winfield). With Brian Williams gone to Jacksonville, the Vikings aren't as deep at this position, and nickel back Dovonte Edwards had to be put on season-ending injured reserve after breaking his right arm at Dallas.

GRADE: C

Safeties

The Vikings' depth took a blow when Tank Williams went down with a season-ending knee injury early in training camp, but they already had signed Dwight Smith, who slid neatly into the starting spot opposite Pro Bowler Darren Sharper, right. Smith gives the secondary a pair of ballhawking safeties in addition to four years of experience in the Tampa 2 defense.

GRADE: B

Special teams

Punter Chris Kluwe, left, came back strong from offseason knee surgery, and kicker Ryan Longwell should be an upgrade on Paul Edinger when it comes to accuracy and kickoffs. The return game is another story, with tentative Troy Williamson and injury-prone Mewelde Moore at least temporarily No. 1 on the depth chart at kickoff and punt returner, respectively.

GRADE: C

Coaches

First-year NFL head coach Brad Childress, right, also will be calling plays full time for the first time, so he has a lot on his plate. The defense is in the energetic young hands of first-time coordinator Mike Tomlin, who will be playing the same aggressive cover 2 system he helped run as defensive backs coach in Tampa Bay.

Grade: C (as in, wait and see)

Caine
09-10-2006, 09:50 AM
This guy must be a closet Packer/Bear fan.
Nothing positive to say about the team, just harping on the negatives...real or imaginary.
Are you sure his real name isn't Dan Seahawkser?

Caine

Purple Floyd
09-10-2006, 10:00 AM
The reporters can say what they want, IMO he gave the team marks that were too low in some areas, but it is the job of the team to go out and prove him wrong. They can pin this to the bulletin board for motivation if they need it.

NaryBim
09-10-2006, 10:16 AM
Odd, Don S.
calls this bit preseason grades but doesn't appear to base the grades on preseason performance.
How does anyone consider the d-line's performance a B-?
The corners get a C because they're not deep enough? BJ & T-jack get a preseason grade of B- because Bollinger is inexperienced?
::) This evaluation makes no sense--just empty fluff to meet a deadline, I'd guess.

gregair13
09-10-2006, 11:42 AM
Defensive line

The Vikings have two proven tackles in Pat Williams,left,and Kevin Williams. There isn't much blitzing in the Tampa 2 defense, which puts the pass-rushing pressure on young defensive ends Kenechi Udeze and Erasmus James, but they had a strong exhibition season.

GRADE: B


that is pretty positive. and also right on the money.