Moss & 'Pepper makes the Vikes charge
The Minnesota Vikings have seen a great number
of players come through their franchise. Many of them have been
enshrined in Canton in the Hall of Fame but none of them have
been quite as amazing as quarterback Fran Tarkenton and defensive
lineman Alan Page. Tarkenton was one of the National Football
League’s most prolific passers of all-time.
When Tarkenton retired after the 1978 season he held the records
for career passes attempted, career passes completed, career yards
gained, career touchdowns thrown, and career rushing yards by
a quarterback. He also led the Vikings to Super Bowls VIII, IX,
and XI. Page also enjoyed a great deal of success while with the
Vikings and was also part of the Super Bowl teams that played
in Super Bowls IV, VIII, IX, and XI. Page was a two time NFL Defensive
Player of the Year. He also was the first Viking to ever be named
the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1971 and the most amazing
part of it was that he did it from the defensive tackle position.
He also led the Vikings to their sole NFL championship in 1969.
Last season the Vikings didn’t fare all too well. The team
started out the season scorching and racked up a 6-0 record. After
that the team only managed a 3-7 record and missed the playoffs
by allowing a touchdown on the last play of the last game of their
season. It was a heartbreaking game for the team and the fans
to say the least.
The Vikings have needed to upgrade their defense for years now
and this year the team seemed to make some significant improvements
to it. Their big defensive offseason aquisition was former Buffalo
Bill and free agent cornerback Antoine Winfield. Many scouts thought
that Winfield was the best cornerback on the market behind Broncos
cornerback Champ Bailey. They also picked up former Houston Texan
defensive tackle Steve Martin to help add some depth to the defensive
The draft is where the Vikings made the most drastic improvements to their defense.
With the #20 pick they grabbed USC defensive end Kenechi Udeze. Udeze was thought
to be a steal with the #20 pick since most draft experts expected him to go in
the top 15 picks. With their two 2nd round picks the Vikings picked up two more
defensive players. They picked Auburn middle linebacker Dontarrious Thomas and
Ohio State defensive end Darrion Scott. With these big pick-ups the Viking defense
shouldn’t collapse like they did last year after their six game winning
Minnesota is known for their explosive offense. With players
like quarterback Daunte Culpepper and wide receiver Randy Moss,
Vikings tickets will be a hot commodity with fans trying to catch
a glimpse of their vaunted their aerial attack. Since his first
season as a regular starter in 2000 Culpepper has averaged 3470
passing yards, 22 passing touchdowns, 480 rushing yards, and 6
rushing touchdowns per season. As impressive as Culpepper’s
numbers may be Moss’ number are awe inspiring. Moss has
averaged 87 catches, 1375 yards and almost 13 touchdowns since
breaking into the NFL in ‘98 and all but a few think he
is the best wide receiver in the NFL. The Vikings ranked number
one in total offense in the NFL boasting the 3rd best passing
and 4th best rushing offense in the NFL.
The defense really let the offense down at times last year. After the first six
games of the season the Vikings had the number one ranked defense in the NFL
and when the season was all said and done they finished with the 24th ranked
defense in the NFL. The Vikings are banking on the new acquisitions plugging
up the holes in the holey defense they displayed in 2003.
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