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Muscle Sport Magazine

2008 NFL Preview: Minnesota Vikings

Purple People Eaters Look to Take a Wide-Open Division in Transition

With the start of NFL training camps, MuscleSport Mag will bring you a team-by-team breakdown of all 32 clubs vying for the Lombardi Trophy on February 1, 2009 in Tampa Bay. We will start with the NFC East and work our way around the league.

The NFC North will be a very different looking division from only a year ago when the Green Bay Packers led the way with a 13-3 record. The 2007 Minnesota Vikings may have finished second at .500, but added the league’s sack leader and hope that quarterback Tarvaris Jackson will take the next step and lead the team to the playoffs, which they have missed since 200.

A strong backfield will go a long way in making that a reality, and adding wide receiver Bernard Berrian will make their offense well-rounded. On the other side of the ball, the Williamses and Jared Allen form a formidable group, which may be able to dominate the division.

Allen was acquired via trade from the Kansas City Chiefs and immediately made an impact with the community. He should be a monster pass rusher, while Kevin and Pat Williams will once again be a huge part of Minnesota’s strong rush defense, which led the NFL last season.

As far as running the ball themselves, second-year player Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor can both take over a game. Berrian was signed away from the Vikings’ divisional rival Chicago, where he proved himself to be a quality possession receiver.

For the team to take advantage of a golden opportunity, Jackson must cut down on turnovers. The front office was actively pursuing Brett Favre before the Packers sent him to the Jets, so they may have some faith – but not totally sold on their current signal-caller. Jackson has many strong traits such as speed and a strong arm, but must hone his skills and learn the decision-making process, one which he struggled with in the past.

Up in Green Bay, the team may take a step or two back as new starter Aaron Rodgers takes his lumps. The Bears have given the job to Kyle Orton, and Detroit is Detroit. If there ever was a season in which the Vikings could earn a spot by winning a division, this is it.

PREDICTION: 10-6, 1st Place, NFC North

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