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 PFW, "Vikings remain the team to watch" 
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Post PFW, "Vikings remain the team to watch"
Pro Football Weekly wrote:
For a variety of reasons, Vikings remain the team to watch this spring


Upon announcing the trade that sent a potential Hall of Fame wide receiver out of town in exchange for a middle-of-the-road linebacker and a pair of draft picks, many pundits expected the forever-frugal Vikings to saunter into hibernation.

Potential team owner Reggie Fowler, whose credentials and assets are being reviewed by the NFL Finance Committee before the approval process begins, landed in Minneapolis in February to relay his intentions in a joint press conference with present owner Red McCombs. Business was not put on hold, however, as the Vikings? front office vowed to spend its $33 million of cap space as it saw fit. Even as Fowler?s credibility was questioned along with his financial clout, there has been no deep freeze in Minnesota this March. After thrusting themselves to the front of the line with the Randy Moss trade on March 4, the Vikings have remained an attention-grabbing story.

Less than 12 hours into free agency, they signed NT Pat Williams, the first of five new defensive starters that have been acquired. The others are SLB Napoleon Harris (from Oakland in the Moss trade), CB Fred Smoot, FS Darren Sharper and MLB Sam Cowart (via trade with the Jets).

In the midst of the roster reloading, the news broke on March 8 that head coach Mike Tice, the NFL?s lowest-paid head coach at $1.1 million annually, was being investigated by NFL security for scalping Super Bowl tickets, initially as an assistant coach from 1996 to 2001. RB coach Dean Dalton also has been linked to the investigation. Each NFL player and coach has the right to purchase up to two Super Bowl tickets at face value, which this year ranged from $500 to $600, depending on the location of the seat. After initial denials that he took part in any profit made from scalping tickets since becoming a head coach in January 2002, Tice admitted to SI.com that he had sold some of his 12 tickets to this year?s game for $1,900 apiece, profiting a minimum of $1,300 per ticket. Under NFL rules, players, coaches and other personnel who buy Super Bowl tickets must sign a release agreeing not to resell tickets at a profit.

Tice faces a fine or possibly a suspension from the NFL at the conclusion of the investigation. McCombs continues to vow support for Tice but said any decision on his status would be delayed until the investigation is complete. One option we hear McCombs might consider is a joint suspension agreed upon by the team and the league.

The issue of Fowler?s ownership also is on hold. The 10-man Finance Committee, of which Broncos owner Pat Bowlen is a member, has voiced confidence that the deal will go through by May 24-25, when owners are scheduled to meet in Washington. Fowler has not yet met the requirement for such transactions of having a 30 percent share of the team and its $625 million price. Fowler has attempted to sell part of his aviation simulation subsidiary, SATCO, which he claims to be worth $300 million, while others have suggested it is worth considerably less.

Meanwhile, the Vikings plan to sail forward. With two picks in the first round, the No. 7 from Oakland and their original No. 18 pick, Tice and the Vikings will remain a story through the draft on April 23-24. Team sources say Tice would like to replace Moss? production with one of the deepest WR corps in football. As of this writing, the assembled cast of Nate Burleson, Marcus Robinson, Travis Taylor and Kelly Campbell was a bit thin up top. Tice has spent time with USC WR Mike Williams and Michigan WR Braylon Edwards and might use the pick the Vikings received for Moss to help replace him. If not, Minnesota would likely spend a third straight first-round pick on a defensive lineman. After filling out the roster and building what Tice called a ?veteran leadership core,? the defense still could use a top-flight defensive end. With two picks in the top 18 and three in the top 49, more than enough firepower exists to deal into the top of the draft, guaranteeing that the Vikings will land their most coveted prospect.

Remember, though, this is the Vikings we?re talking about, a team known for its D-Day gaffes in recent years.

Right up up to the moment they make their first pick in the upcoming draft, there?s no denying that they will be impossible to ignore.


Is it good or bad that we get ignored? They do look like a tougher team on the defensive side. But Moss really was their man :?

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April 5th, 2005, 1:14 pm
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I don't think you can go out and just buy a good defense like that though. 5 new starters :roll: and they will not all pan out.

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April 5th, 2005, 1:24 pm
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Napolean Harris, Sam Cowart...these aren't very good LB quality guys though. I would start Holmes over Cowart and I don't think Harris is a starter; a quality backup. I don't think their backfield will be as impressive as they hope.

The only huge additions I see are Pat Williams and Darren Sharper. I don't think Sharper's all that good, but he's a huge upgrade over Brian Russell.


Last edited by conversion02 on April 5th, 2005, 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.



April 5th, 2005, 1:38 pm
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I am aginst buying a team. I dont think it works,Look at the deadskins. I think the vikes could be competive but probley will not finsh no better than they have the past two years. I agree with conversion, that is not a good corp of LBs.


April 5th, 2005, 1:44 pm
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The Vikings really need a WR. My suspicion is actually that they want Williamson and they are scared he might go before 12.

Maybe they will be late heading to the table again when there pick is up and we, Arizona, Wash can slip ahead before they panic and take Clarrett?


April 5th, 2005, 7:23 pm
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I should add that if their desired WR is not available I would expect them to go DE, possibly Merriman. Contrary to some I do not see DJ as a candidate for them.


April 5th, 2005, 7:24 pm
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Yorick wrote:
I should add that if their desired WR is not available I would expect them to go DE, possibly Merriman. Contrary to some I do not see DJ as a candidate for them.


I'm tending to think so, especially with 2 FA pick ups (Cowart and Harris). A full starting LB corps wouldn't be good for their D IMO.


April 5th, 2005, 10:35 pm
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How many starting LBs do you need for a 4-3 defense?


April 6th, 2005, 4:36 am
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2 FAs, 1 drafted. I would start DJ over Newman or Nattiel. That wouldn't be good (IMO) for their D, having all LBs new to the team.


April 6th, 2005, 8:18 am
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Newman and Nattiel are back-ups/special teams guys. They have O. Thomas and that ILB from Maryland they drafted last year penciled in as starters. Cowart is in the mix as competition probably at OLB. I am not saying they would not draft DJ, just that my sense is that is unlikely. Williamson is the perfect replacement part for Moss.


April 6th, 2005, 8:59 am
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Yorick wrote:
Newman and Nattiel are back-ups/special teams guys. They have O. Thomas and that ILB from Maryland they drafted last year penciled in as starters. Cowart is in the mix as competition probably at OLB. I am not saying they would not draft DJ, just that my sense is that is unlikely. Williamson is the perfect replacement part for Moss.


E.J Henderson is from Maryland, but he was drafted in 2003.

As far as the O. Thomas, Dontarrious Thomas? He's the only Thomas they have at LB. Both him and Henderson are MLBs. I can't see them keeping 3 MLBs (Thomas, Henderson, Harris).

Newman started at OLB last year, I look at him to be replaced by Cowart and Nattiel was behind Claiborne at the other OLB spot.

I hope they don't get Williamson, he's fast.and our DBs are getting old. He is a great replacement for Moss, I agree.


April 6th, 2005, 9:18 am
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Yorick wrote:
I should add that if their desired WR is not available I would expect them to go DE, possibly Merriman. Contrary to some I do not see DJ as a candidate for them.

I have to agree with you Yorick, with the addition of P. Williams the only thing keeping them from a formidable d-line is another bookend to put opposite Udeze, if the top teir receivers(Edwards, Williams, Williamson) are gone then I do think they will try to finish off their line. D-line is their only choice if they go d with there picks, with the addition of Sharper and Smoot, and their plethora of LBs, one of the stud ends looks like a good choice for them.

The Vikes should be our only real compition this year, but I kinda see them as a paper tiger, their team looks solid on paper and I bet they will be fun to use in madden next year but I find it hard to believe that that 5 new defensive starters learning a new system will be able to pick it up very quickly, I would not be surprized if they do not perform well at all early in the season. Although I would like to say that if they finally figure out who their number 1 back is and their receivers perform well(either by drafting a stud or Culpepper actually turning out to be as good as he was with Moss) then I think they're goin to be a scary team in the second half of the season when there defence gels.


April 7th, 2005, 2:57 pm
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Moss had a huge impact on their offense. Their offense carried them for many years. Also, Culpepper although one of the top 5 players in the league now, did benefit immensely from Moss. Also, psychologically this team is weak. If their offense is only average and their defense takes a while jelling they could be in last place quick-I am not kidding. Even if they get a stud WR that guy will be no Roy Williams. The Vikings, like you said, may be a paper tiger. It will depend on how smart they are in the draft. Something tells me they will hit it wrong with their first rounders and they will not contribute much. That is a recipe for disaster.


April 10th, 2005, 4:29 pm
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Heres a scary thought....! what if the vikes trade down to the 3 spot to get Mike williams (using the 18th pick overall and a second round pick) and keep the 7 spot to get DJ(Derrick Johnson). I would hate them!

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April 10th, 2005, 11:02 pm
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