Welcome to the Wednesday edition of The Cooler. Are you ready for some football? No, really. Can you handle this NFL season and all that it entails? You hesitated. Let’s get to it.
*I’m going to spend the entire session today taking a look at what other people are saying about the Vikings, and I’ll start with an unlikely source: The podcast of Tony Kornheiser.
Kornheiser, known first for his work as a Washington Post columnist and more recently as the co-host of ESPN’s Pardon The Interruption, went on an interesting tangent while talking about Pulitzer Prize-winning author Thomas Friedman, a Minnesota native. Kornheiser referenced wanting to have Friedman on his podcast to talk about golf and … the Minnesota Vikings. He asserted that Friedman is a huge Vikings fan. But here was the big take about the purple:
“I’m going to say this, and I’ve said this to other people. There are 122 teams in the four major (men’s) sports in America,” he began. “Minnesota Vikings fans are the most passionate, the most rabid, the most self-delusional, the most totally consumed with their team of any of these teams. I know this. I know Vikings fans.”
Kornheiser might have spent more time around Vikings fans than Packers fans with that take, but it’s his opinion. Also, regarding former Washington QB Kirk Cousins, Kornheiser said this about the new $84 million Vikings man:
“This is the most inordinate amount of pressure on any athlete in the world, including LeBron James. That’s on Kirk Cousins. They live and die with the Vikings.”
You can find the full audio here on the Aug. 27 show, right around the 1 hour mark. (Thanks to colleague Phil Miller for the heads up).
*SI.com’s Andy Benoit has some unusual takes in his Vikings preview, singing the praises of Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo among other things. But his assessment of Cousins and the Vikings’ faith in him is spot on:
The Vikings know their Super Bowl window will never be opened wider than it is now; they didn’t want to gamble on Case Keenum catching the same lightning in a bottle that he did in 2017. The return on the expensive Cousins investment will come down to how well the QB does when things break down.
He concludes with this: On paper, this Vikings team is better than last year’s Viking team. But history has shown that doesn’t guarantee more wins.
*ESPN’s Bill Barnwell takes a look at all 32 teams and their path to the Super Bowl, ranking them in order of their Football Power Index rating. The Vikings are No. 5 and are given a 6.9 percent chance to win it all.
Barnwell points to the usual suspects — offensive line play, health and the kicking game — as reasons the Vikings could stumble.
He ends like this: Otherwise, this might be the most talented roster in the league.
*And finally, Deadspin’s Drew Magary — an unabashed Vikings fan — previews the Vikings as only he can. Included in his “Why Your Team …” series is this on the Vikings (language warning):
That incredible play against the Saints? It means nothing. It was rendered less important than the approximately 700 touchdowns Philly rained down on them the following week. It may as well have never happened.
The past is the past, but Drew is not wrong in this: There could be a strange emotional hangover from last season.