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Changes In Latitudes – Changes In Attitudes

Posted by LOTGK on August 3, 2006

It’s those changes in latitudes,
Changes in attitudes nothing remains quite the same.
With all of our running and all of our cunning,
If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.

Today, while writing this first installment of Viking Thunder, I felt a little like Pontius Pilot washing my hands of all the past iniquity of Vikings seasons past. The 2006 season brings eternal hope and a new regime. A sort of out with the old and in with the new.

Gone is Coach Mike Tice and the embarrassing headlines of our beloved head coach caught in a super bowl ticket scandal.

Gone is cheap ass Red McCombs, the former owner of the Vikings. Perhaps if he ever would have opened the purse strings and spent the cap money on building the team instead of pocketing every extra penny, we would have had a super bowl ring or two. I truly believe that.

Gone is Daunte Culpepper, all pro QB. Also gone are his league leading fumbles, interceptions, and misreads.

Gone is Michael Bennett, speedy running back. Perchance if he ever would have stayed healthy, he coulda been a contenda…. “STELLA!”

Gone is Brian Williams, disgruntled cornerback.

Gone is Nate Burleson, wide receiver still hanging on departed wide receiver Randy Moss coat tails and double teams.

Gone is Paul Edinger, kicker.

Gone are the entire coaching and training staff. Not just head coach Tice, but the entire staff. Zygi Wilf cleaned house, and he started 10 minutes after the last game of the Vikings season. (Yes, we missed the playoffs)

Gone are the headlines of the scandalous “Love Boat” saga involving several Viking players.

Gone are the lengthy rookie holdouts waiting for a contract.

Gone are the botched draft day selection process and the embarrassment of not being ready to select a player in the time allotted.

With the nasty taste of the past washed out, lets look at the the additions.

In, Zygi Wilf. Took control of the team after last years draft, cleaned house, and righted the listless Viking ship opening the pocket book signing key free agents to bolster the team talent.

In, Brad Childress, head coach, from Philadelphia. A no nonsense coach bringing an attention to detail philosophy, and oh yes, a new offense as well.

In, Bevel and Tomlin. O and D coordinators. Bevel installs a variation of the West Coast Offense and Tomlin brings his coveted “Tampa 2” style defense.

In, Ryan Longwell, Kicker. His experience in inclement weather and accurate aim will bolster the special teams immediately.

In, Tank Williams, a hard hitting safety suited for Tomlins new defensive scheme.

In, Chester Taylor, RB from the Ravens, has been given the starting position. Has the tools and the talent, now needs to prove he’s worthy.

In, Tony Richardson, FB from Kansas City. For the new offense to flourish, the FB must open up holes for the RB. Richardson is one of the best.

In, Ben Leber, LB from the Chargers. Leber is much needed presence at linebacker.

In, Chad Greenway, rookie linebacker, selected #17 overall. Has the speed, motor, size, and smarts to start, and adds much needed depth to the linebackers position.

In, Dwight Smith, Safety from new Orleans, very familiar with the new defense, and flourished in it during his tenure at Tampa.

In, Steve Hutchinson, all pro guard. Considered one of the best offensive linemen in the league. Make the left side of the Viking line formidable. That was a tough pill to swallow.

In, Artis Hicks, Guard from Philadelphia. Starter from Philadelphia, comfortable in the new offense, has the size and talent to dominate.

In, draft picks that are suited to the new style of offense and defense the Vikings will field in 2006. No more trying to pound a square peg into a round hole. (Remember the Herschel Walker Experiment) Greg Blue and Cedric Griffin, hard hitting defensive backs with good speed and coverage skills. Ryan Cook, a raw O-line talent with plenty of upside. Tarvaris Jackson, surprise pick, QB with big arm, mobility, and will learn behind Big Bad Brad Johnson.

It is now prediction time. Yes, I will stick my neck out and lay it all on the line early. (After all, I have Nostradamus on my side)
The Vikings will have a very quiet training camp. No big bad news headlines. Just news that the team is absorbing the new offense and defense and the new personality (Or lack of one) that coach Childress brings.

Brad Johnson will run the offense like a well oiled machine. The offensive line is one of the best, if not the best in the league. He will excel in this environment.

Chester Taylor will do an admirable job at running back but by mid-season, Mewelde Moore will be equal with him. And that’s not a bad thing. Two good backs for the playoff run. (First hint there, playoff run)

K. Rob has a chip on his shoulder, and with the West Coast style offense, he will put up all pro numbers. Travis Taylor will win the slot position and will be very productive. Troy Williamson, on the other hand, will see plenty of playing time but will still need another year to hone his skills. Dez White will make the team because of his kick and punt return skills.

The O line will gel and be a formidable force opening up holes and protecting Johnson.

The offense will wind up in the top 12 in total offense.

The defense will wind up in the top 12 in total defense.

The defensive line will record 40 sacks this season as a unit. That’s right, 40 sacks.

The Packers will kick themselves once again in the ass as Ryan Longwell will beat the slackers in Green Bay this year.

Dwight Smith will beat out Tank Williams for the starting role. Tank will still play plenty.

Chad Greenway, the rookie linebacker, will begin the season on the bench but by mid-season assume the starting position.

Fred Smoot will rebound from his subpar 2005 season.

Ok, Ok, I know what you all want. Its all about wins and losses isn’t it? The Vikings record will be 10-6 this season and will win the NFC North division. A home field wild card victory against the Cowboys, an away victory at Carolina, and an away victory against the Giants in the championship game. A week later, finally a Super Bowl victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Final score, 27-23 Vikings.

Agree or disagree? Leave your comments below.


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