The 2011 NFL season is currently on hold, but come August I believe that we will have issues resolved and training camps open. Although, it could be the end of August. I also believe that the Minnesota Vikings have set up a blueprint that will see the team finish in last place in their division for the second straight season. This is unfortunate, because I also think that the Vikes made the right move by keeping Leslie Frazier as the head coach. The saga of the Childress era, however, is going to leak into this coming season. That, along with a very questionable move, will probably place Minnesota behind most of the NFC in 2011.
You can’t talk about the Vikings under Brad Childress, or about their future without uttering the word quarterback. First, we have to mention that Minnesota did win two consecutive NFC North titles with three different QB’s. In 2008, the combination of Tarvaris Jackson and Gus Frerotte netted the guys in purple their first ever North title. Then in 2009, Brett Favre led the team within yards of a Super Bowl appearance. On a side note, since LeBron James had an ESPN special titled “The Decision”, couldn’t some network make a lot of money with an annual show featuring Favre labeled “The Indecision”. Just a thought. Next, we have to point out that Brad Childress was an idiot. He took a division winning team with a young QB, one that he drafted, and turned it over to a senior citizen that he was stalking. This is the decision that will be haunting Viking fans for years. Now in 2011, Minnesota has to start over with the most important position in the game.
With the 12th pick in the 2011 draft, the Minnesota Vikings selected Christian Ponder. Christian Ponder? Rick Spielman apparently decided that he wanted to take Brady Quinn, but he was off the board, and he had mistakenly drafted Adrian Peterson ahead of Quinn in 2007. Christian Ponder? Most experts agree that there wasn’t a “can’t miss” QB prospect in this years draft, but if you wanted Ponder, he would have been there in round 2 and probably round 3. Not to mention, at least three of the quarterbacks taken after him will, in my opinion, be better NFL players. The Vikes could have picked Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick, or Ryan Mallet and been better off. If you have listened to NFL analysts, the best review of the #12 pick I have heard is that he is Chad Pennington, but not as good. Perfect. Minnesota brass will tell you how smart Ponder is and I think they are hoping for a Matt Ryan type of first year. These two QB’s may both be intelligent, multi-year starters for college teams that wear burgundy and gold, but they are not the same player. So now the Vikings are left with the same question that they had for three years. Who will be the starting QB? Christian Ponder? Even if they believe this, the NFL lockout isn’t helping him. Joe Webb? Maybe, but he is a longshot at best to ever be a starting QB. Do the Vikings go after a veteran to start and tutor Ponder? Great idea, but who do you get? I don’t want to hear about McNabb, or Carson Palmer. They both want to be starters for more than a year and neither has looked good recently. Some fans have suggested calling on Brett again. No. Does Minnesota bring back Tarvaris for another year? Probably not, though he is familiar with the personnel, and if he played well he would provide the team with trade options entering 2012. Of course, this idea is also affected by the lockout because TJack is a free agent. So once again, for the Vikings QB=?.
The Minnesota Vikings have other things to settle besides the quarterback position. The team still has an unsettled stadium issue, though the Metrodome will be ready for the upcoming season after undergoing repairs to the roof. Other than the first round selection, I think Vikes did an excellent job in the draft. As with any draft, only time will tell, but the guys in the war room really seemed to address the areas of need, like both sides of the line and the secondary. I also really like the pick of Kyle Rudolph in round 2. Minnesota should really benefit from getting another good tight end to go with Visanthe Shiancoe. The Vikings will again have plenty of weapons, but who will get the ball to them. Peterson might be the best running back in the league. Barry Sanders and Walter Payton were the best in the NFL during their time too. Both of those guys played for a lot of losing teams when they didn’t have a quarterback. These are just facts, and unfortunately for Viking fans everywhere, all of this seems to point to another last place finish for a team that is not accustomed to losing.
About the Author
Written by Sean Eckhardt
Univ of Alabama alumni. Born and raised outside Chicago, IL. Currently live in Florida. Some of my favorite teams include the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Heat, and the Florida Panthers. My interests outside of sports include music, outdoor activities, and anything with a motor(cars, bikes, boats, etc...).