A few folks out there have complained, or voiced their concerns, or otherwise raised an eyebrow at how much money our beloved Purple have allotted to prize free-agent signee, Jared Allen. Others, like Washington Redskins tight-end, Chris Cooley, have expressed their concerns over how much money rookies get without ever playing in the NFL. For my money (which it isn't, thankfully—it's the Wilfs' money), I would certainly pay for the guy who's been productive in the NFL over the guy who's only been productive in college. Sure, there are mega-free-agents who don't work out (see: Hershel Walker), but there are many more rookies who just don't get it together as professionals (see: Vikings 2005 draft). As per the risk factor inherent in hiring a guy with a bad record for inappropriately mixing booze, cars, and cops. . . well, there's a lot to that. First of all, though, we need to remember that if Allen keeps his nose clean through the end of September '08, then he's no longer on the hook for his past DUI's: that is, in all likelihood, he won't be suspended for a year if he gets in trouble in, say, a late-November playoff push.
In other free-agent news, Vikes Geek surmises that the reason the Vikings have made it rain signing-bonuses this offseason is to impress the good folks in the Minnesota state legislature, who have yet to warm to a publicly-funded stadium. That seems reasonable enough to me, though that logic almost assumes that Zygi isn't interested so much in winning for winning's sake, but rather winning to make money. When I recall how excited he got when the Vikes drubbed the in-two-months-world-champion Giants, I see a man who just likes winning. At the same time, I'll take Zygi's word that he wants to keep the Vikings in Minnesota at face value, and so I buy VG's analysis that Purple want to show that they're trying.
so far away
Over at Grant's Tomb, my favourite blog out of the Northwest Territories, DC puts down a hearty layer of good, old-fashioned, Norse pessimism and doubt. It's a self-protective measure that every long-time Vikings fan has developed. We've come to expect a mid-season collapse, or at the very least, a choke-job for the ages. So, even when our beloved Purple go out of their way to address the glaring weaknesses of a mediocre team, there's still that voice that reminds us that the Vikings just can't win a Super Bowl. They're cursed.
So, DC tries to temper the recent assertion that the Vikings will field the best D-line in all of football by pointing out that Kevin Williams' sack numbers are down as of recent years. It's a point well-taken. But even so, I can't help but keep up that stupid optimism that keeps me thinking that this year will be our year.
What really worries me is that Peter King thinks so, too.
the man's too strong
What really has me worried, though, is the Green Bay Packers. They've always got me worried, but this past year, they were really good (affected understatement). Though we don't have to worry about Brett Farve anymore, we do have to worry about a very athletic front-seven, a very good secondary, an offensive line that gets the job done, and a gang of pretty capable wide-receivers. Aaron Rodgers—though he's got almost no experience—is no slouch either. So, that season-opening game at Lambeau, on Monday Night Football, while retiring Brett Favre's jersey: that'll be tough.
brothers in arms
By now it's old news that E.J. Henderson's little brother, Erin Henderson, who also plays linebacker, has signed with the Vikings as a rookie free-agent. Finally! Two Vikings of the same name who are related. So many times have we heard, "Pat and Kevin Williams—no relation— . . ." Also, we'll now have a third Williams—no relation—playing saftey: Madieu Williams. We used to have a Williams back there on the rare occasion that Tank Williams saw the field. Another, less-heralded last name duo: Marcus and Chase Johnson, our bookend, back-up tackles. Imagine if McKinnie gets suspended (let's hope not) and Ryan Cook doesn't cut it (a distinct possibility); Johnson and Johnson would be blocking for Jackson and Peterson. If 6th-round pick Jaymar Johnson makes the team, then we might see three Johnsons on the field for the Vikings offense. More likely, those three Johnsons, on the second-team offense, will be practicing against the three Williamses—no relation.