Some might consider 2007 a rebuilding year for the Vikings. You might be concerned that focus on the running game will make for some yawn-inducing moments this season. But this is NFL football, right? It's got to be fun or it's not worth watching. With that goal in mind, reporter Kevin Seifert takes an imaginary or maybe not so fantasied look at just how entertaining the running game could be.
SEPT. 9 VS. ATLANTA, NOON
New QB Tarvaris Jackson sets a modern-day record by attempting two passes. RB Chester Taylor carries 47 times for 93 yards. Falcons QB Joey Harrington throws four interceptions, the last of which is returned 7 yards for a touchdown by DT Pat Williams in the Vikings' 7-0 victory.
SEPT. 16 AT DETROIT, 3:05 P.M.
Hoping to recapture the magic of yesteryear, the Vikings open in a wishbone set that includes the burly and unheralded Jeff Dugan. But as the Vikings nurse a 10-9 lead, Dugan collides with Jackson in unfortunate Joe Pisarcik-like fashion. The ball dribbles out of the back of the end zone for a game-losing safety.
SEPT. 23 AT KANSAS CITY, NOON
Just before kickoff, coaches Herm Edwards and Brad Childress announce a side bet: The first team to 30 carries wins the game. After the first quarter, Chiefs RB Larry Johnson, left, leads Vikings RB Adrian Peterson 28-17. But Taylor takes off in the second quarter, ripping off 13 consecutive runs of 4 yards apiece to clinch victory.
SEPT. 30 VS. GREEN BAY, NOON
Jackson sets a season high by passing for 87 yards and his first touchdown of the season, a 1-yard bullet to TE Visanthe Shiancoe. But questions arise when Taylor, who gets a season-low 28 carries in the victory, tells reporters that he wants a bigger role.
OCT. 7 BYE WEEK
Players are off. Coaches? Under the cloak of darkness, they're "tweaking" the scheme.
OCT. 14 AT CHICAGO, NOON
Shocking the world, the Vikings open in their own version of the spread offense: two receivers, two tight ends and Mewelde Moore at running back. Jackson opens in the shotgun and throws a perfect game of sorts: nine series, 0-for-3 on each possession, 0-for-27 in the loss. Coaches kick themselves.
OCT. 21 AT DALLAS, NOON
Ah, back to basics and then some. The Vikings implement their new offense: no quarterback, two tight ends, four running backs. C Matt Birk snaps it to the back of his choice, but Cowboys coach Wade Phillips halts the attack with an 11-man line.
OCT. 28 VS. PHILADELPHIA, NOON
Two old friends, Childress and Eagles coach Andy Reid, get together for a battle of wills. Some say Reid's Eagles throw it too much, and sure enough, QB Donovan McNabb tosses 30 passes in the first half and nearly eclipses Jackson's seven-game total. Taylor's 75 yards on 34 carries are not enough.
NOV. 4 VS. SAN DIEGO, NOON