Vikings Finding Diamonds In The Rough
I had the good fortune to meet John Madden at the Super Bowl when the game was played at the Metrodome. Madden was at the top of his broadcasting prowess, he was calling the game with Pat Summerall. They were the NFL’s trusted voice of football.
When I ran into John Madden I asked him a few questions about the game, the league, and of course, about the Vikings. It was the end of the Jerry Burns era and the Vikings finished 8-8, missing the playoffs for the second consecutive year. I wasn’t surprised that he said he thought the Vikings would be going through a rebuilding period under Denny Green. I mentioned, “How about the emerging, young players that came on for the Vikings: Cris Carter, Rich Gannon, Terry Allen, and John Randle?” Madden shook his head and stated that they just don’t have enough blue chip talent. It was hard to criticize Madden’s take. Rich Gannon was still a young quarterback (who wound up developing late), Cris Carter was a mid-season pickup off the waivers, Terry Allen was a 9th round pick with 2 surgically repaired knees, and although Randle collected 9.5 sacks that season, he still was a relative unknown in the pre-Twitter era.
In Green’s rookie season, all those players stepped up. Gannon wound up being benched late in the season, but contributed heavily to the Vikings 11 regular season wins. Randle picked up 11.5 sacks, Terry Allen had a monster 1,200 rushing yard, 13 touchdown season, and of course it was the beginning of Cris Carter’s hall of fame career as a Minnesota Viking.
Those winds of change are certainly returning. Teddy Bridgewater will be the starting quarterback for at least the near future. Everson Griffin is stepping forward like John Randle did. And the Vikings might be seeing other emerging players on their own roster fill the void like that 1992 team. Charles Johnson and Jarius Wright have come up with big games recently. Both have shown the potential to make big plays. In the background are young talents like Cordarrelle Patterson and Kyle Rudolph. We have yet to see their best seasons. At running back, the 1992 team said good bye to the high profile Herschel Walker. The Vikings will most likely be doing the same next year with Adrian Peterson and have stocked their backfield with diverse talents. The front runner is young veteran, Ben Tate. The Vikings will work the committee and hope to get proven contributors like that 1992 season.
The phrase history repeats itself is very appropriate here. The Vikings are trying to finish the season with 8 or 9 wins. More importantly there are some on the current roster trying to prove their talents can be leaned upon for future playoff runs.