Minnesota Vikings 2009 Season Preview
by Badger of Predictem.com
2008 Record 10-6 (6-10 ATS) NFC North Division Champions
Stadium: Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
Head Coach: Brad Childress (4th Season 24-24)
Current 2009 Super Bowl Odds 12-to-1
Training Camp Site: Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minn.
Training Camp Opens: July 31st
The Minnesota Vikings finally got a taste of an NFC North title and a
playoff game in a breakthrough 2009 season, but a one-and-done in the
wild card round to the Philadelphia Eagles (lost 26-14) surely made
that taste bittersweet.
As of press time the Vikings still havent signed Brett Favre yet, but by the time youre reading this he could finally have ended the
drama-queen act. The million-dollar question for the Vikings and
their fans is whether an aging Favre is worth blowing up a team that
is sitting on the doorstep of an NFL Super Bowl run this season
regardless of whether or not he plays.
Whos In/Whos Out
Did I mention that Brett Favre might un-retire, again, and play for
the Vikings. Oh, you heard? Sorry.
The problem is the Vikings traded for a quarterback already this
offseason, but apparently Sage Rosenfels isnt the answer they were
looking for at the position anymore despite tossing a 4th-round pick
to Houston to get him in purple. They ditched on Tarvaris Jackson
early last season and still have a solid third-stinger with Jon David
Booty, so the Vikings have nothing but a heap of quarterbacks but no
Minnesota parted ways with former Pro Bowl center Matt Birk in the
offseason, as the longtime Viking signed with Baltimore as a free
agent. The Vikings prepared themselves for the exit though, as last
years 6th-round pick John Sullivan from Notre Dame was groomed for
the starting job anyway.
The Vikings also allowed safety Darren Sharper to walk away as a free
agent, but they did resign corner Cedric Griffin and nickel-back
Benny Sapp to team with last years big free agent pickup safety
Madieu Williams in the secondary, so they wont miss the aging and
step-slower Sharper much at all.
Draft Class 2009
The Vikings added an instant weapon to their arsenal when they took
Florida Gator speedster Percy Harvin in the first-round. Harvin
should and will contribute in a bunch of positions, including some
gimmick formations like a wildcat set with Adrian Peterson standing
The Vikings are also hoping to catch lightening in a bottle by having
second-round pick Phil Loadholt assume a starting role at right
tackle, but hes still a rookie and has yet to prove himself better
than incumbent Ryan Cook.
The three picks the Vikings used to finish out their 09 Draft added
defensive depth, as 3rd-round CB Asher Allen, 5th-round LB Jasper
Brinkley and 7th-round FS Jamarca Sanford all have a decent shot at
making the team as backups.
The Vikings finished 08 ranked 12th in the NFL in scoring with a
23.7 points per game average, but just 25th in passing yards per game
(184.8), hence the no stone left unturned approach to finding a
quarterback in the offseason.
Finding a passing game surely will help Peterson out, as he followed
up his 1,341 yard-12TD rookie season with a 1,760-yard, 10-TD
sophomore campaign. Harvin will likely get some of back-up Chester
Taylors carries, but those three form fantasy-league-like depth in
the backfield that was already 5th in the league at 146.1 ypg before
Bernard Berrian (7 TD), Sidney Rice (4) and tight end Visanthe
Shiancoe (7) all should benefit as well from Harvins addition to the
offense, with more space to go around for everyone.
Offense certainly is not a problem for the Vikings, but the big if
still boils down to who is standing behind center calling signals.
Its July and the Vikings are still waiting for Favre, and the
questions and distractions might make it hard to gel in such a short
time frame even with Favres familiarity with Childress and his scheme.
The only lingering questions about the Vikings defense going into the
season is whether or not defensive tackles Pat Williams and Kevin
Williams will continue to win their legal battle against the NFL and
avoid their 4-game suspensions. Its been eight months so far, so
theres no doubt their attorneys will continue to delay it until it
Those two anchor the leagues top-ranked run defense, allowing only
76.9 yards a game. But overall the Vikings were 13th in points
allowed (20.8) and 6th in yards allowed per game (292.4), so they
felt no major need for improvement via free agency or trade.
The secondary should improve (allowed 215.6 18th) with another
season with Jared Allen at pass-rush end. Allen had 14.5 sacks and
two safeties last season and continues to be a game-changer off the
Kicker Ryan Longwell (29-of-34, 6-of-6 from 50+) and punter Chris
Kluwe (47.6 ave, 35.0 net) form one of the leagues best kicking games
if not the best.
Harvin has done some returning of punts and kicks in Florida and
could likely make an impact here as well.
Sept. 13 at Cleveland Browns
Sept. 20 at Detroit Lions
Sept. 27 SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Oct. 5 GREEN BAY PACKERS
Oct. 11 at St. Louis Rams
Oct. 18 BALTIMORE RAVENS
Oct. 25 at Pittsburgh Steelers
Nov. 1 at Green Bay Packers
Nov. 8 Bye
Nov. 15 DETROIT LIONS
Nov. 22 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Nov. 29 CHICAGO BEARS
Dec. 6 at Arizona Cardinals
Dec. 13 CINCINNATI BENGALS
Dec. 20 at Carolina Panthers
Dec. 28 at Chicago Bears
Jan. 3 NEW YORK GIANTS
Betting Odds and Projections
With a 6-10 against the spread record the Vikings were one of thee
worst teams to bet on in 08. Only the Rams (6-10), Broncos (4-11-1)
and Jaguars (4-12) had worse ATS numbers last season, so Minnesota
didnt do bettors any favors at the window. Even their over/under
record of 9-7 reflects the up-and-down ride the Vikings were at the
window last year.
But last year is last year, right?
Even with QB questions, oddsmakers in Las Vegas recognize a solid
team when they see one, which is why the Vikings are currently listed
at 12-to-1 odds to win the Super Bowl. Those are solid odds and
worthy of a middle pick in any bettors futures card, but be
prepared for those numbers to change once the Favre drama finally
The Vikings schedule features a friendly three-game homestand
starting right after a bye week on November 15th. Thats a months
worth a home-cooking, against a friendly Detroit-Seattle-Chicago
schedule, surely a rarity in the NFL that they will need to
capitalize on to be in the hunt for a division title. For the second
straight year they end the regular season against the New York
Giants, which could be for home-field advantage if things go right.