Vikings appear to be Super Bowl bound

Mike Miller

Mike Miller

I must retract my previous statement about the Minnesota Vikings. I said before that the Vikings would go through the season with only four wins, but they managed to pull off a four-game winning streak mid-season.

The miracle man of Minnesota, Brad Johnson, returns after a six-season absence from his original team. Johnson has helped carry the Vikes to a four-game winning streak. As a starter in 2005, Johnson has yet to lose a game.

Johnson, a 6 -foot-5-inch, 225-pound quarterback out of Florida State, was drafted by the Vikings in 1992 in the ninth round. He was the 14th quarterback overall to go in the draft. He is one of the few current Vikings players to have a Super Bowl ring, even though he did not get it playing for the Vikes.

The remainder of the season, the Vikings have to defeat the Detroit Lions, Saint Louis Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears. Can they win the rest of their games? I guess after the show that Johnson has been putting on, it is quite possible. With a 6-5 record, the Vikes are just two games behind the division-leading Bears. Winning out is looking pretty promising, with only two of the remaining teams on the schedule having winning records.

The Vikes have found new life after the absence of starting quarterback Daunte Culpepper. Safety Darren Sharper, acquired from the Packers, has been like a vacuum in the secondary. He has seven interceptions on the year. Paul Edinger has made some very big kicks this year, including game-winning kicks against the New York Giants and two against the Green Bay Packers.

Johnson, after 13 years in the league, is attempting to take the Vikes to the Super Bowl. Yes, you read that right, the Vikes to the Super Bowl. Granted, defensive tackle Kevin Williams is out right now, after injuring his right knee, and the Vikes have been to the Super Bowl and never won. With Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb done for the season for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Atlanta Falcons are not as intimidating as they’ve been. The Bears can definitely be beaten and, in general, the NFC is not that tough this season. The Seattle Seahawks, at 9-2, would probably be the toughest game, but I am now saying that it is a definite possibility for the Vikes to make it to the Super Bowl, if not deep into the playoffs.

This new found life in Minnesota can only raise the question: will Brad Johnson or Daunte Culpepper be the starting quarterback next year? Johnson is getting old, but can obviously still get the job done. Culpepper is just worthless, and will probably be like a lot of other Viking quarterbacks, worthless in Minnesota, but go on to play elsewhere and succeed. Jay Fiedler led the Miami Dolphins to winning seasons in all but one of his years as their quarterback. Johnson did decently in Minnesota, but then went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and led them to a Super Bowl victory. Warren Moon did the opposite. He was remarkable as a Houstan Oiler, and then came to Minnesota and threw 19 interceptions his first year. So we will probably get rid of Culpepper, and he will succeed in some way, shape or form for another team.

In general, last year it was Culpepper and Randy Moss. This year, it is Johnson and Marcus Robinson. Wide receiver Troy Williamson, the Vikings’ first round pick of 2005, has not played a big role in the success of the Vikings this year. However, he does spread out the field.

So my revised prediction is that the Vikes will make it to the Super Bowl, but probably not win, although it is possible. I will admit that I had my doubts with the Vikings starting out 1-4, but I didn’t know that Culpepper would get hurt and 13-year veteran Brad Johnson would takeover the helm.

The questions left are: who will be quarterback next year? Who will be the head coach? How many more game winning field goals will Edinger make?

#1.884540:51327780.jpg:mikegray_tc.jpg:Mike Miller, Ball Talk:Ty Carlson