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Monday (The Vikings of ... 2005?) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Vikings Updated: October 1, 2012 - 9:27 AM

We still don't know what to make of these Vikings, but we do know this: These are not the light up the scoreboard and hold on tight Vikings of 1998, 2000 and 2009, the last three teams to tease us by getting within a game of the Super Bowl.

Nor are they the mid-90s Denny Green Vikings or the early 2000s Mike Tice Vikings, undone at every turn by baffling errors.

They are not the Vikings of our youth -- those Jerry Burns teams always seemed to move the ball better. They are not nearly proven enough yet to be compared to the heyday Vikings of the early 1970s.

When searching for comparisons of what this current team reminds us of, we really only have one: the 2005 Vikings. After Daunte Culpepper shredded his knee, Minnesota sat at 2-5. Its defense was all kinds of garbage, giving up 28 points per game to that point. But then Brad Johnson took over, and they magically went on a six-game winning streak. Johnson played the careful game to near-perfection, throwing 8 TD passes and just two INTs during that run -- just as Christian Ponder is doing now. They won games with defense and special teams -- sometimes to the extreme, like that game against the Giants when they scored on an INT return, punt return and kickoff return. Sounds a lot like yesterday.

Their leading receiver had 604 yards (Travis Taylor), and the guy with the most catches (69) was tight end Jermaine Wiggins.

The team ultimately went 9-7 that season, narrowly missing the playoffs but surprising plenty of people after that awful start. (Mike Tice was fired afterward; Leslie Frazier would most definitely not be fired if he went 9-7). This 2012 Vikings team has more offensive weapons and, yes we're going to say it, more defensive playmakers. It's a tried and true way to win. It's a narrow way to win, but it's also a good way to give yourself a chance in every game. If the 2005 Vikings could win 9 games, and the 2012 Vikings could win back-to-back games against 2011 playoff teams, then maybe they are onto something.

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