Let's start, as we often do, with a couple of caveats:

*The 2009 Vikings and the 2013 Seahawks were obviously constructed in different ways. Seattle is a young team on the rise, while the 2009 Vikings had a lot of veterans -- most notably Brett Favre -- with a narrow window for success.

*Those Vikings were also tilted heavily toward offensive prowess, while the Seahawks lean heavily on their defense. Both, however, were no slouches on the other side of ball when need be.

That said, the ex-Vikings factor on the Super Bowl champion Seahawks serves notice as to just how good Seattle is.

In 2009, Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice combined for nearly half of Minnesota's receiving yards. Take those guys out of the Vikings' offense, and they would have been quite ordinary. In fact, when you took Rice out of the offense for much of 2010, we saw what happened (that year was abysmal for many reasons, but an injured Rice getting just 17 catches was chief among them). For the 2013 Seahawks, both guys could have been primed for big years. Instead, both were injured much of the season. Rice had just 15 catches; Harvin had just one during the regular season. True, Harvin came back to contribute in the Super Bowl, but he looked like a luxury instead of a key cog at that point. And Seattle still had a more than functional offense, finishing among the top 10 in the NFL in points scored in the regular season.

In 2009, and for much of his Vikings tenure, Antoine Winfield was the team's best corner. He wasn't a shut-down guy, but he was a ferocious tackler for his size. He went to Seattle as a veteran in 2013 ... and they were so deep on defense that they didn't even keep him. True, he is 36 now. But he was also coming off one of his best seasons as a pro with the Vikings in 2012 (101 tackles, 12 pass breakups, 3 INTs) and we saw how lost the 2013 Vikings were without him (or someone like him).

That is insane organizational depth, and that is the best way to build a consistent winner in the NFL. We saw the Vikings go all-in for 2009 (and 2010), and it almost paid off ... but then we saw the drop-off, which was precipitous. Those Vikings had nowhere near Seattle's depth, and now they are digging out of the hole in an attempt to try to catch up to where the Seahawks are now.

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