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A Few Good Questions With.....Gonzo, Head Blogger,

You Can See My Answers To His Questions HERE!!

With our final regular season game against the Vikings approaching, we took the time to ask Gonzo from a few questions about his beloved Vikings.  Thanks to everyone who posted questions!!!

MHR -- What are the major needs the Vikes need to address in the offseason?

DN -- Well, for starters, we're going to need a safety.  After Dwight Smith's recent brush with the law and his pathetic performance last Sunday against Washington, I personally can't be rid of the guy fast enough.  On the offensive side of the ball, we need one more WR, whether we get him in the draft or through free agency.  The two big questions for the Vikings this off-season are --

  1. What are they going to do at quarterback? As far as this is concerned, I'm a bit torn.  Jackson has shown a lot of flashes this season of being "the guy" for Minnesota in the future, but he's also had some pretty terrible games.  A lot of rumors have been circling about Donovan McNabb coming to Minnesota, or possibly even a Chad Pennington-type QB.  The former is a pipe dream, I think. . .there's no way the Eagles trade that guy.  Pennington is sort of intriguing, even though he's got no arm strength. . .he does make the quick, smart decisions that are an essential part of the type of offense Brad Childress wants to run.
  2. Will they trade Chester Taylor? My answer to this is "I hope not."  We saw what happened to the Bears when they traded away half of their two-headed backfield, and it wasn't pretty.  Granted, Adrian Peterson is approximately 100 times more talented than Cedric Benson, but in the event of an injury to Peterson, I'd rather have Taylor to turn to than a relative unknown.  If the Bears could get a second-round pick for Thomas Jones, I would assume the Vikings could get that for Taylor, but I really hope he's back in Minnesota next year.
MHR -- In Super Bowl XXXIII Denver played Atlanta, but Minnesota should have gone to the game in the opinion of many fans.  How would you handicap a theoretical match-up between Denver and Minnesota that year in the SB?

DN -- It would have been a hell of a lot of fun to watch, that's for sure.  The Vikings had lost a couple of defensive players to injuries late in the game against Atlanta, and I can't remember for sure how serious those injuries were, so I'm not sure what kind of role they would have played.  On the other hand, I'm not sure how the Broncos would have handled what I. . .in my somewhat biased opinion. . .consider to be the greatest offense in NFL history.  I'm not sure who would have won, and I probably can't even really put a point spread on it.  It probably would have come down to which team could limit their own mistakes and capitalize on the mistakes made by the other team.

MHR -- Other than your great HB, who else on the Vikes is an emerging star for us to watch for next year?

DN -- It's not sure whether he'll play today or not, but our other emerging offensive star is WR Sidney Rice, #18.  He was our second-round pick in this last year's draft out of South Carolina.  After Minnesota traded down in Round 2 this past year, they were faced with a decision to take either Rice or USC's Dwayne Jarrett.  Many folks. . .including myself. . .thought that Jarrett was a no-brainer selection.  I wasn't displeased with Rice, but I thought they were going to go with Jarrett.  But, this season, Rice has outproduced Jarrett in terms of catches (31 to 6), yards (396 to 73) and touchdowns (4 to 0).  Heck, Aundrae Allison. . .our fifth-round pick. . .has even outproduced Jarrett thus far (7/113/0 thus far for #14).  With the inconsistency at QB for the Vikings this year, we couldn't ask for much more out of Rice than that.  He's got the size, speed, and hands to be a great WR in the NFL.

MHR -- What does MINN need to do to take over the NFC North?  How much time do you expect this to take?

DN -- I probably sound like a broken record, but they need more consistency from the QB position.  People will say what they will about Tarvaris Jackson, but all 8 of Minnesota's victories this season have come when he took the first snap from center.  Now, he's gotten a lot of help from the ground game, and over the last couple of weeks, teams have shut the ground game down relatively well.  When that happens, it's up to Jackson to make teams pay for putting extra defenders in the box.  If he can continue developing and find a way to do that, it will keep Peterson and Taylor from having to run into 8 and 9-man boxes on every carry.  On Sunday, Jackson will be making his 14th career NFL start, so he doesn't even have an entire season's worth of starting experience yet, but the big key for him is to simply keep progressing.

As far as a time limit, if Jackson continues to develop, there's no reason to think that the Vikings can't take over the NFC North as soon as next season.  All of the other components are there. . .the defense is solid, the O-line is solid, and the running game is the best in the league.  If Jackson can continue improving, then Minnesota will be a force to be reckoned with in 2008.

MHR -- I hear from time to time that the Vikings may try to move to LA or another city.  Is there any truth to that?

DN -- The reason this rumor persists is that the Vikings' lease with the Metrodome expires in 2011.  The efforts to get a new Vikings' stadium in Minnesota has gone on ever since Red McCombs bought the team in 1998.  McCombs presented various proposals, including threatening to move the team to San Antonio, but couldn't get anything through the legislature of the People's Republic of Minnesota.  Since Zygi Wilf bought the team, there have been several other proposals presented, but still nothing successful as of now, and they've pretty much been told to not even try for 2008.

There are a couple of other things that complicate the situation further, the biggest being the I-35W bridge collapse this past year.  It's hard to justify money for a new stadium when there's a big ol' gap in the road not far from where the current stadium stands.  That, obviously, needs to come first.  The other is that during the 2007 legislative session, new stadiums were approved for both the Minnesota Twins and the Minnesota Golden Gophers.  The Gophers' new stadium is set to open in 2009, while the Twins' stadium is set to open in 2010.

In the end, I have faith that the People's Repbulic of Minnesota will eventually pull its head out far enough to see what the Vikings mean to the state.  When it comes to Minnesota sports teams, people like the Twins, but they LOVE the Vikings.  I think that, eventually, the crisis will be averted and the Vikings will be staying in Minnesota for many, many years to come.

MHR -- Jumping the gun a bit, what is your feelings regarding the NFC playoff picture?  How far can the Vikings go?

DN -- If the Vikings were to make it. . .which, at the moment, looks like a pipe dream. . .I'm not sure if they'd win a game at this point.  They'd have to road trip to Seattle to take on a very tough Seahawks team.  Seattle's strength. . .their pass offense. . .goes directly at Minnesota's defensive weakness, and the Seahawks are a very good defensive team as well.  The Vikings might stand a puncher's chance, but I really think that that would be about it.

As far as the NFC as a whole, Dallas is clearly the best team in the conference, and I don't see a whole lot standing between them and the Super Bowl at this point.  I think we're going to get a Dallas/Seattle NFC Championship game, with the Cowboys earning the right to get their teeth kicked in by New England.

MHR -- If you could have one Broncos player straight up from our current roster, who would you take?

DN -- Given the current composition of the Vikings' roster, I'd say the one Broncos' player that I'd jump on would have to be Brandon Marshall.  Marshall and Rice would make an outstanding young WR combo for the Vikings, and would allow us to open up the offense even further .  Champ Bailey would be a close second, but like I said, with the way the Vikings' roster is built at the moment, a great WR would trump a great CB.

Hey everybody, don't forget to get over to the dailynorseman and check out some fine answers from Guru on the flipside of the is QandA- styg