The Minnesota Vikings will win the Super Bowl.
Deep breaths, knee bends, shadowbox, second thoughts.
Yep, that’s right, the Minnesota Vikings will win Super Bowl XLVIII and, for the first time in franchise history, hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
The Vikings have the best player in football; running back Adrian Peterson, a Pro Bowl fullback; Jerome Felton, one of the NFL’s most reliable receivers; Greg Jennings, (in his first year in the purple since defecting from the Green Bay Packers) three (yes, three) good tight ends in Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson and Rhett Ellison; a great offensive line (ranked in the top ten by rotoworld and fantasy pros) and a gritty and improving starting quarterback in Christian Ponder. The Vikes also have a respectable backup QB in Matt Cassel.
On defense the Vikings are led by perennial Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen and outside linebacker Chad Greenway, who has been voted to Hawaii the last two seasons and is still very much in his prime. Former Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kevin Williams seems as if he played for Norm Van Brocklin and has certainly seen his better days but is only 33 and still good.
Vikings kicker Blair Walsh made the Pro Bowl last season, his rookie year.
The Vikings had one of the best drafts this year; some have said the very best. Bucky Brooks, of NFL.com, gave the Vikes an A+ for drafting cornerback Xavier Rhodes, (Florida State) defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, (Florida) and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, (Tennessee) all in the first round.
Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier is entering his third full season. Last year he took a team that most experts didn’t think would do much and led them to a 10-6 mark and a playoff berth. Frazier played for Mike Ditka and coached under Tony Dungy so he knows fire, ice, and winning football. He was long considered one of the top assistants in the NFL and has more talent this year than he has ever had before.
The Vikings are the best team in the NFC North. The Green Bay Packers will always be good as long as Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy are alive but the Packers have lost Jennings to the Vikes, fellow receiver Donald Driver to retirement, cornerback Charles Woodson bolted for the Oakland Raiders, (why?) and running back Cedric Benson is also gone. The Pack will be good, but losing all those guys and having to now face Jennings instead of throw to him will hurt too much. The Chicago Bears will be an exciting team with an improved offense but have an old defense and, under first year head coach Marc Trestman, too many question marks. The Detroit Lions refuse to ignite hope or praise.
The Vikings will win the NFC North and who will knock them off in the playoffs? The San Francisco 49ers are loaded but the bet here is that their strength will be their weakness, meaning there is no way quarterback Colin Kaepernick will duplicate last year’s entrancing breakout season. Plus, that Super Bowl hangover is always difficult to overcome. It’s tough to argue against the Niners and if they have home field advantage in the postseason the smart money will be on them. But smart money doesn’t live here right now, and the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC will have to go through the Purple Kingdom, which brings us to the Atlanta Falcons. Fifteen seasons ago the Falcons beat the Vikings in the NFC title game in Minnesota. It’s time for revenge. Who really thinks the Falcons will reach the Super Bowl?
What about the rock ‘em-sock ‘em Seattle Seahawks? The thinking here is, like San Francisco’s QB, enigmatic Seattle signal-caller Russell Wilson will also take a step back after an amazing first year at the helm. Plus, no self-respecting person ever picks Pete Carroll.
The Minnesota Vikings will win the NFC and advance to their first Super Bowl since the 1976 season, which was their fourth Super Bowl appearance under Bud Grant and their fourth loss. This year’s Vikings, who play under a dome will, strangely, play in their natural climate, the first cold weather Super Bowl ever, when they take the field at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey on February 2, Groundhog Day, but Vikes fans will not relive their past defeats. This time the Purple People Eaters will get outstanding running from Adrian Peterson, efficient passing from Christian Ponder, clutch catches from Jennings and Patterson, an attacking, gritty defense, and a 40-yard field goal through the snow from Blair Walsh as time expires and will top the Denver Broncos, 23-20.
Bud Grant, Fran Tarkenton, Alan Page, Joey Browner, Paul Krause, Chuck Foreman, Robert Smith, Tommy Kramer, Joe Kapp, Ron Yary, Randall McDaniel, Mick Tinglehoff and Jim Marshall will smile. Snow will fall on New Jersey and stretch under a victorious wind all the way to the Twin Cities.
The Minnesota Vikings will win the Super Bowl.
Really, Christian Ponder is good enough.