The Vikings just one of the many surprises in the NFL this year

Mike Miller

Mike Miller

The NFL is full of surprises this year. Four teams are undefeated so far this season: the Cincinatti Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins.

The surprising thing about these teams is the way they are winning.

The Bengals went 8-8 last year and didn’t even make the playoffs. The Bengals team this year is made up of mostly the same players as last year, and that’s why it is a surprise. They have the same quarterback, running back, wide receivers and tight ends from last year. Players in those four positions are doing amazing things this year. Quarterback Carson Palmer, running back Rudi Johnson and wide receivers Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh were not standouts at all last season. However, this season they are making a statement as they humiliated the Vikings in Week Two, 37-8.

The Bucs went 5-11 last year and didn’t make the playoffs either. However, they picked up one of the best running backs in the draft, Carnell Williams, who is setting rookie rushing records. The Bucs made the Vikings look horrible as well. Led by quarterback Brian Griese and a veteran wide receiver, Joey Galloway, the Bucs are strong contenders already for NFC bragging rights.

The Redskins went 6-10 last year. This year, they are led again by Mark Brunell at quarterback and Clinton Portis at running back. Santana Moss and James Thrash are the key wide receivers on the team. So essentially, the same cast of players are doing much better this year.

The Colts went 12-4 last year and had one of the most potent offenses in the league. It’s just too bad their defense was one of the worst in the NFL. The difference this year is it’s not as much about Peyton Manning and the offense, but more about the Colts’ defense. The defense is winning the games.

The big surprise facing many of us, and the question that we all ask ourselves is, “How can Minnesota be so bad?”

Is it because of the quarterback? Is it because of the coaching? Or is it because of the absence of one of the most explosive players in the league: Randy Moss?

It is the loss of Moss. He wowed crowds wherever he went.

To start a season 0-2 and have more turnovers in two games than some teams in a whole season will not get a team anywhere.

Former Viking Randy Moss already has 19 receptions for 466 yards and two touchdowns. A lot of people went to Vikings games just to see Moss play. Everybody knows that he will put on a show, when he wants to play, of course.

Some people try to compare Moss to Jerry Rice and Chris Carter. You can’t really compare him to either one because his “prime” was not the same time as Carter’s and Rice’s. It’s like comparing LeBron James to Michael Jordan. The two never really played at the same time and the game has changed quite a bit from then to now. Comparing Moss to Terrell Owens is reasonable.

T.O., as most know him, is by far one of the greediest players in the league. To draw as much attention and cause as much drama for a ball club as he does is ridiculous. His asking for more money, having disputes with teammates and not showing up right away all caused a lot of media attention for the Philadelphia Eagles.

It seems like the Vikings, on the other hand, do the complete opposite. They offer Daunte Culpepper a raise, acquire numerous other key players from free agency and trades, but unlike the Eagles, the Vikes can’t win.

My prediction for the Vikings in 2005 is that they will go 4-12, fire Coach Mike Tice, get a top-five draft pick and still lose in following years. The Vikes will never win the Super Bowl and Culpepper will never be the same without Moss.

Just because I am from Minnesota, I have to support the home team. People from surrounding states are also Vikings fans. South Dakota residents like the Vikes too. There isn’t anything in South Dakota for football, other than college teams and the Sioux Falls Storm. Nebraska has the Cornhuskers and Iowa . . . I won’t even touch that subject.

Even though the Vikes are sometimes the most thrilling team to watch, sometimes they are the worst thing. We still love them, even though they will never go 15-1 like they did in 1998. They will always have some good players, but will always have bad coaching. They already messed up this year, and I’m willing to bet that some fans are already looking to next year. The Vikings should have traded Culpepper, not Moss. Idiots.