Rand: Signs pointing to a Viking funeral

  • Article by: MICHAEL RAND , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 27, 2013 - 12:15 PM

The team's preseason play certainly isn't inspiring optimism.

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Vikings running back Toby Gerhart picked up a first down in Sunday’s preseason game against San Francisco.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

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We want to be wrong.

We want all the warning signs to be nothing but false clues — red herrings, if you will. We want all of the “ifs” to be smoothed out, and we want to believe the offense needs nothing but its best player back carrying the load.

We want all these things because as the summer turns to fall, and the leaves give way to snow, things are a lot more interesting in these parts when the Vikings are having a relevant season. We root for stories, and around here the purple are still as big as it gets.

But we have a growing suspicion that something just isn’t right here. Remember 2010, when the Vikings were a presumed favorite in the NFC after coming oh-so-close to the Super Bowl the previous season?

And then Sidney Rice waited until August to have hip surgery. Everyone was a year older, and at key positions that meant something. Brett Favre came back for another go-round, but the perfect script (minus the ending) from 2009 was flipped from the start. Eventually, Randy Moss came and went ... Brad Childress was fired ... the roof collapsed on the Metrodome ... and that was that.

We’re not suggesting anything that quite approaches the 2010 Vikings or even the 2011 Twins — another team with great expectations that tried to copy a blueprint only to set it on fire instead.

Still, little things are mounting. On Monday, Pro Bowl fullback Jerome Felton was suspended for three games for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. Kevin Williams suffered a hyperextended right knee, a bone contusion and a posterior capsular strain — and this was good news.

The preseason is the preseason, but we have yet to see any of these “ifs” resolved: If Christian Ponder can turn a corner (which he has yet to do in August play that is generously described as “uneven”) ... if the team’s young secondary can hold up ... if the wide receivers are, indeed, upgraded ... if the special teams can possibly be as good as they were last year ... if the offensive line can keep it together.

We’re waiting on one more: If Adrian Peterson can put a team on his back again — and prove us wrong.

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