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This is another TSN column from early Feb. I liked it enough to post here to try and generate some questions to the serious nature of the Vikings upcoming offseason. Read on. -Kron
What's on tap Patching up the Vikings February 12, 2001
Archived Sports Bahr It wouldn't be an offseason for the Minnesota Vikings unless there was some kind of controversy, so this year certainly qualifies. When we last saw the Vikings on the field, they were getting spanked by the Giants in the NFC title game. Once again, they fell short of the Super Bowl. And that was just the start of the fun. Since that humiliating loss, Robert Smith has retired, Randy Moss and his teammates have fired shots back and forth and the defense has taken a beating from just about every direction. Last offseason was very similar, as the Vikings lost two veteran QBs, two Pro-Bowl offensive linemen and were picked to finish out of the playoff hunt. They survived, but will they be able to do it again? Minnesota certainly has its hands full, but what is the biggest concern for the team? Is it Moss' mouth, the holes on defense, Dennis Green, the loss of Smith, John Randle's trade requests, or something else entirely? As you can see, there are plenty of areas that need to be addressed. Personally, I would focus on defense first if I were running this organization. I think Moss can get his head on straight, and the internal bickering can be attributed to frustration -- at least for now. Smith is a huge loss because the running game helped make that passing attack so potent. Still, the Vikings can trade for a running back good enough to keep the offense in gear. Defensively, the solutions aren't as obvious. Randle is as good as gone, and although he had a disappointing season, he still is one of the best defensive linemen out there. For the defense, Smith's retirement was a blessing in disguise. The team already has cap issues, and re-signing Smith would have cost a pretty penny. Now, that money can be used to acquire some defensive help. And considering the young defensive line, the porous secondary, the lackluster linebacker play and the lack of a pass rush, plenty of help is needed. It took a little longer, but the high-powered Minnesota offense joined the Rams' offense on the sidelines in the postseason. It became obvious to both teams that explosive attacks only can take you so far. You don't necessarily need a great defense to win it all, but you do need good balance. That's why the Vikings' top priority should be defense, and that includes the draft, free agency and trades. With the right moves, they still can be serious contenders in the NFC. What do you think? What is the Vikings' biggest problem? How should they address it? Will they compete in 2001? Send your thoughts to email@example.com, and look for them in my next column.
-- Chris Morales (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 19, 2001