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Preseason power rankings: No. 7

The Vikings already proved they can win the NFC North without much help from their quarterback. The signing of Brett Favre is all about winning a championship.

The question that the Vikings season hinges on, then, is whether Favre is really that much of an upgrade at quarterback?  (Especially after missing the entire offseason.)

Favre’s play with the Jets was slightly above average for most of last season, and sub T-Jacksonian down the stretch. 

Forget the “schism.”  Let’s see Favre prove he’s not Just Another Guy at quarterback in a division with two young guns that are superior — Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers.

The North is undoubtedly an improved division this year, but the Vikings are the favorites because of their line play.  Steve Hutchinson and the boys will plow open holes for the best pure running back in football — Adrian Peterson.  (Second-round pick, right tackle Phil Loadholt, might live up to his awesome name.)

The line will also keep Favre clean, as long as he doesn’t throw any more crackback blocks.

The receiver group isn’t inspiring, but it’s better than it has been in Minnesota since early in the Mike Tice years.  Bernard Berrian is a quality starter, rookie Percy Harvin could be special, and the Vikings felt good enough about Sidney Rice to release Bobby Wade.

On defense, the ageless Pat Williams and buddy Kevin Williams form the best run-stopping duo in football and won’t miss any games to suspension.  They make life much easier on pass-rushing demon Jared Allen, and underrated linebackers Chad Greenway and EJ Henderson.

The secondary is mediocre after Antoine Winfield, but oppositing quarterbacks don’t usually get much time to survey the field against the Vikings.

Go through the roster, and you realize that Favre is just a small piece to a rugged collection of talent.

It’s up to him and coach Brad Childress not to screw things up too badly.

Key Player: Pat Williams.  We already talked about Favre enough.  This is the Williams that is the key to the defense.  And his always excellent play makes it easy to forget that Pat is turning 37 years old.  He has to slow down eventually, right?

Rookie to watch: Harvin.  The Vikings added another threat that can make plays on his own.  Which is good, since Childress’ offense tends to lack imagination. 

Best veteran acquisition: Greg Lewis.  Favre.  That doesn’t mean he will be worth the trouble.

Key Game: Week Eight, at Green Bay.  Minnesota’s early schedule is very favorable, but they face the Ravens and Steelers before Favre’s return to Lambeau.

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23 Responses to “Preseason power rankings: No. 7”
  1. NoFootballtalk says: Sep 12, 2009 9:43 PM

    Let me get this straight, the Vikings are ahead of the Eagles and Ravens just because they added a 40 year old QB who will ineveitably fade down the stretch? Did Favre show up to OTAs? NO. Did he go to training camp? No. But it makes perfect sense that he will carry the Vikings, right? With AD having his fumbling problem, the Vikings would do well with a game manager QB who takes care of the ball. Favre is a turnover machine. This ranking makes no sense at all

  2. True Fan says: Sep 12, 2009 10:34 PM

    NoFootballtalk should live by his own name. I’m sick of hearing about this inevitability when it comes to Favre and injury/bad play down the stretch. He has a fantastic line keeping him safe, a fantastic running back to take off pressure, and a young talented receiver corp. This is not wimbledon and Favre is not playing a 1 on 1 match. It is a team sport and the Vikings have a fantastic squad who by all indications has a great deal of chemistry

  3. CanadianVikingFan says: Sep 12, 2009 10:38 PM

    @ NoFootballtalk
    You are truly an idiot. If you knew anything about the history of football you’d know that alot of the greatest runningbacks had fumbling issues at certain points in their career.
    Wow Florio I seriously thought you would of put down every player the Vikings had, thanks for proving me wrong. But you have to give props to Cedric Griffin, he also did an amazing job last year, hes really coming along as a corner since his first year. I used to hate on him all the time but hes really developing.
    I never liked Favre, never wanted him on the team and didn’t jump for joy when he came, but I do recognize the things he can do. He can manage the game and because he won’t be asked to sling it out there like in New York and he will be benched if his arm becomes bad I can see him leading the Vikes far.
    Now about Chilly. Play calling and lack of aggressiveness are his biggest problems. He never puts teams away, and always gets too conservative at the end. He needs to step up his game.
    And finally if Favre is benched it should definately be Tarvaris as backup. He knows the playbook and scheme better than Rosengoof. He is more atheletic, and I’d say they are close in passing skill. But Tarvaris said because of what Brett told him he is going to start using his legs again. Its his biggest advantage. When hes trying to sit in the pocket its not who he truly is, hes a scrambler.
    I see a good season this year for the Vikes, but I won’t rule out the Bears or the Packers. Though theres always the new defence factor for the Packers. But if they have it they should be great. Who knows maybe the NFC North will take both Wildcard spots.

  4. willieteal says: Sep 13, 2009 12:38 AM

    I have only one word for NoFootballtalk – Waaaaaa!

  5. cliffcla says: Sep 13, 2009 2:10 AM

    Nofootballtalk…Your Father smells of Elderberrys….I just wanted to bash on NoFootballtalk, Because everyone else was…

  6. NoFootballtalk says: Sep 13, 2009 3:35 AM

    Look I’m not bashing the Vikings or anything but this is way too high. The Vikings hurt themsevles with turnovers, and Favre will inevitably turn it over. Last year he was NOT asked to sling it. He had more than capable backs with Thomas Jones and Leon Washington. Favre almost singlehandedly destroyerd teh Jets last year. His body isn’t up to the challenge of a 16 game season and he even admits it. Saying that his failure down the streath wouldn’t bring down the team is ridiculous. We saw what happened to the Vikings once they made the playoffs last season, now add a rusty old QB and you don’t have a big difference. And you guys are retarded. The problems that I previously pointed out are real issues with the team and it’s a fact. But you’re pretending Favre is 32 again and can be the same. Sorry to break it to you but currently, AD has a fumbling problem, too. I don’t care if he’s a great back or not, if you can’t take care of the ball, ultimately you’ll need a qb who can pick up the slack. AD is the most explosive runner in the league but his fumbling tends to be an issue and is the one thing that opposing defenses gameplan around. But if you guys want to live in la-la land, go ahead. I’m only stating the facts. They’re a borderline wildcard team, nothing more, nothing less.

  7. DailyNorseman says: Sep 13, 2009 8:54 AM

    The whole “Adrian Peterson has a fumbling problem” meme is a joke and is beyond idiotic.
    In 1984, Eric Dickerson fumbled the ball 14 times in 16 games. Of course nobody noticed, because Dickerson was too busy rushing for 2,105 yards and setting the single-season record that year.
    Hell, in the first four years of his career, Dickerson averaged 12 fumbles a year. . .and yet was still, easily, the most dominant back in the league during that stretch.
    Peterson will be fine, and anybody that thinks otherwise is an idiot.
    Oh, and if you’re a defense that “gameplans” around a running back fumbling the football, you should really put some consideration towards firing your defensive coordinator, because he’s an idiot, too.

  8. BurtReynoldsToupee says: Sep 13, 2009 9:28 AM

    I agree with what CanadianVikingFan said. The talent is there. The biggest problem this team faces is the play calling of Childress.
    I’ve started to realize that perhaps all the quarterbacks we’ve seen come and go during Childress’ time in Minnesota may not have been as talentless as they appeared. He so seldom calls a pass play over ten yards that defenses end up cheating toward the line. I think that played a role in the consecutive picks we saw last week by Booty and Rosenfels.
    If Farve is able to open the offense up, the Vikings can make it to Miami. If Childress insists on his Turtle Offense (slow, cautious and pull your head in your shell if you sense danger) the Vikings will be lucky to make the playoffs.

  9. wintermath says: Sep 13, 2009 9:57 AM

    NO FOOTBALL TALK said, “Last year he was NOT asked to sling it. He had more than capable backs with Thomas Jones and Leon Washington.”
    Your really think TH and LW are MORE capable backs then Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor? I’m not even going to try to bash your for what your are saying, because you have already destroyed your own credibility by your idiotic statements. Have a good year watching football while eating crow.

  10. odin says: Sep 13, 2009 10:58 AM

    I don’t know what you were thinking when you wrote: “the line will also keep Favre clean”. Minnesota has one of the worst pass-blocking lines in the league, despite all the “names”. Favre will be frequently harassed, knocked down and sacked; hopefully he will refrain from throwing “chuck and duck” interceptions when he is under duress.
    Childress is also apparently limiting the run blocking effectiveness by sticking with a zone-blocking scheme, which I thought was supposed to be used with smaller, quicker linemen, not maulers.

  11. odin says: Sep 13, 2009 11:20 AM

    Also, regarding your comment: “the Vikings felt good enough about Sidney Rice to release Bobby Wade”; Rice had nothing to do with the release of Wade. Rice is a tall, physical red-zone threat and Wade would have been the 2nd or 3rd-string slot receiver.

  12. CanadianVikingFan says: Sep 13, 2009 11:20 AM

    @ Odin
    It’s not so much bad pass blocking as it is bad QB play. Time and time again the horrible QBs that Chilly picks up tend to want to sit in the pocket for a rediculous amount of time. They all try to pull a Big Ben Roethlisberger move. Sadly none are capable of being sucessful.

  13. NoFootballtalk says: Sep 13, 2009 12:28 PM

    You guys are truly stupid. I know that Peterson is an amazing player, but you can’t ignore the fumbling problem. Same thing with Favre, you can’t ignore his tendency to turn it over. Thomas Jones was great last year. Favre threw the ball way less than he had been asked to in the past and he still turned it over. Now Adrian Peterson is a better back, no doubt, but remember that Favre is a year older and is already injured heading into the season. Favre is not the same guy he used to be. And remember the Bears and Packers are supposedly going to be much better this year. But go ahead, believe what you want. The Vikings will stay competetive in the NFC. But beyond maybe playing in the Divisional round of the playoffs, I don’t see much. If the Vikings managed to sign a guy like Kurt Warner or traded up in the draft for a good QB, I would say that they are a Super Bowl contender. But Brett Favre surely isn’t the answer

  14. DeweyGeddaroom says: Sep 13, 2009 6:14 PM

    NoFootball – you keep hurting yourself with your comments. So a 39 y.o. ironman Favre is a bad move, but a 38 y.o. fragile Warner is a good one? Warner is 18 months removed from riding the bench behind Leinart and Favre is 18 months removed from NFC Championship.
    Trade up in the draft? With what and for whom? Freeman isn’t playing. No way they could have put together a package for Stafford or Sanchez without sacrificing next years.
    The problem is that you are insisting that your arguments are fact rather than opinion.
    BTW, apparently you can overlook the turnovers. None today. Nothing close to a poor pass. Game managed to a 34 point output. Yes, it was just Cleveland, but a Bob Ryan defensive scheme (creativity) vs a Chilly offensive scheme (boring).

  15. NoFootballtalk says: Sep 13, 2009 10:47 PM

    My god you all are idiots. Every day I begin to hate this website more and more because of people like you.
    They played the BROWNS. No need to get overly excited that you beat such a bad team. Warner is definitely a better player RIGHT NOW. Also, why wouldn’t anyone Morgage the future to win this year. Honestly, Childress is laying it out on the line for Favre. I would much rather have a young QB. The fact of the matter is that the Vikings are a very dangerous team filled with a lot of young talent, but they can’t make the step to greatness without a young, talented QB that you can see being a productive player in the future.
    Most people realize that the Vikings are a very good team, but only Vikings homers and bandwagon fans will tell you that Brett Favre will take them over the hump.
    I definitely would think that the Favre acquisition was a better move if he was being used to mentor a young QB. He would be fantastic in that role. But the Vikings don’t seem to be looking to the future. How many teams win the Super Bowl after adding a 40 year old QB without participating in training camp? Chances are that the Vikings win maybe one or 2 playoff games at most. If you add a young accurate QB, you get the most dangerous offense in the NFC

  16. bornstar25 says: Sep 14, 2009 8:59 AM

    Nofootballidiot:
    When the Vikes win two playoff games, that takes them to the Superbowl.
    I hated Favre’s 2nd half drop off in 2007. Why does no one bring that up? I wonder how many QB’s with a 98.8 rating, 66.5% completion percentage and with 15 TDs are out there floating around now.
    Also since you’re not smart enough to do the math, Favre’s 21 attempts put him on pace for 336 for the year, almost 200 short of last year’s 522. Say he averages 28-30 for the year, which is still too high (because you get DET twice, CLE, CIN & SF), that’s 448-480.

  17. bornstar25 says: Sep 14, 2009 11:20 AM

    P.S. Favre threw it 471 times when Ahman Green went for 1883 rushing yards in 2003-2004. Expect more of the same from AP!

  18. NoFootballtalk says: Sep 14, 2009 12:00 PM

    pornstar25:
    “When the Vikes win two playoff games, that takes them to the Superbowl.”
    Wild card game + divisional round= NFC championship game. Last I checked that is not the Superbowl. Thats as far as I think the can get, and even that might be a stretch.
    When it was time to shine over the last 2 seasons, Favre couldn’t get it done. He definitely had the help on offense. He singlehandedly blew the NFC Championship game with a pick, and he was bad down the stretch in 2008 as well.
    Favre will definitely have to throw more than 21 times a game. Again, this is the BROWNS defense that they played. When the Vikings have to play catch-up or need an important drive, you almost have to abandon the run for a little bit.
    You would have a valid point if they destroyed one of the better defenses in the league, like the Steelers, Ravens, Giants, or Eagles. If they managed to beat one of those teams without making him throw too much, then I would say, ok, the Vikings have a legitimate shot.
    Also, remember, the Jets had to play from behind a lot towards the end of the season. Mostly due to Favre’s turnovers. So we’ll see how good of a decision the acquisition of Favre really is by weeks 8-10. I’m not rooting for the Vikings to collapse because I think they have a good foundation at every position except QB, but with Brett Favre who claims to have a cracked rib, polio, swine flu, shoulder problems, a partially torn rotator cuff, and whatever else, I’m not sure how good they will be able to do down the stretch.
    Now, to a dress the game vs Cleveland yesterday, What did Favre do that Sage Rosenfels couldn’t have. All I saw from Favre was a ton of checkdowns. ESPN showed his stats that he was like 15-17 on attempts of 5 yards or less with a high QB rating. And he only completed 2-4 from beyond that. Honestly, I didn’t see anything from him that I wouldn’t see from Sage Rosenfels. If the idea to pick up Favre was to add the threat of him going deep on defenses, he really didn’t show it against a soft Browns D. Maybe I’ll see him prove me wrong week 2.

  19. NoFootballtalk says: Sep 14, 2009 1:02 PM

    And how old was Favre when Ahman Green was good? That’s right: 33 turning 34. You have no point. I agree Peterson is a beast but to think that Favre will be at the same level as 6 years ago is ridiculous

  20. bornstar25 says: Sep 14, 2009 6:39 PM

    I’m not saying Favre is at the same level as he was in 2003-04. I’m saying he’s going to be throwing as many balls as he was that year, if not less. When the Vikes get ahead, Chili shuts down the offense and the Vikes pound it with AP & Chester. Favre will be throwing less than ever this year.
    P.S. Bye, Win & Win gets you to the Super Bowl. You’re kidding yourself if this team is anything less than 11-5. They should be 5-0 heading into Baltimore, and it for sure won’t be less than .500 from there on out.
    P.P.S. I sure loved the checkdown Rosenfelds made in preseason game 4 when he checked down to the out route and threw a TAINT six. I’d rather have a HOF QB who knows what he’s doing over Rosenfelds anyday.

  21. NoFootballtalk says: Sep 14, 2009 8:34 PM

    First of all, Favre probably didn’t have a cracked rib, shoulder issues, torn rotator cuff, swine flu, polio, etc and overall wear and tear on his body in 2003-2004. Throwing the same amount of passes that year could still have a damaging effect on his body down the line.
    Secondly, the problem with the Vikings is not preserving leads. If anything they need to have the peace of mind that they have a QB who would be capable of leading a late game comeback. Based on what happened last year with the Jets with the injuries and collapse late in the year, I can’t confidently say that Favre will get it done late in games, especially in the 2nd half of the season.
    P.S.- We saw last year that 11-5 is not good enough to get a bye in the NFC. There are some really good teams in the NFC and I think the Vikes are 3rd or 4th best.
    But hey, we’ll see how accurate these power rankings are when the season really gets underway. Sometimes they’re accurate, other times they are way off. If the $12 million, 40 year old Favre proves me wrong, then good for him. My main problem was that the Ravens and Eagles were ranked lower, anyway. Only time will tell who’s right and who’s wrong.

  22. bornstar25 says: Sep 15, 2009 9:28 AM

    11-5 easily could be good enough for a bye this year in the NFC.
    I don’t think the West or South really can top that record. Maybe NO if the defense puts it together (and they were bad against the Lions), but definitely no to the other contenders in SEA, ARI, CAR and ATL.

  23. NoFootballtalk says: Sep 15, 2009 10:52 AM

    It wasn’t good enough 2 years ago, either. Cowboys and Packers went 13-3. 11-5 can take a division but is not good enough to get a bye anymore. The NFC has gotten much more competetive over the last few seasons. 11-5 might be good enough, but it’s no lock for a bye

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