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Minnesota Vikings Betting – Rookie QB, Free-Agent Questions Threatens Vikings’ Hopes

Posted by Stan Simmons on 7/20/2011 6:46:44 PM
minnesota vikings betting

When it comes to sports betting disappointments, there weren’t many bigger last season in the NFL than Minnesota, who completely imploded and fired their head coach late in the season. Now, the Vikings will probably have a head coach in his first full season paired with a rookie quarterback, and while the defense is impressive, it isn’t enough to save Minnesota in 2011.

  • Head Coach: Leslie Frazier
  • Offensive Coordinator: Bill Musgrave
  • Defensive Coordinator: Fred Pagac  
  • Owner: Zygi Wilf
  • Stadium: Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 
  • Capacity: 64,111
  • Super Bowl Wins: 0

Offense

The Vikings were 23rd in offense last season as a number of things conspired to doom them. Age caught up to Brett Favre after his resurgent 2009 season as he managed to throw 19 picks against 11 touchdowns, and too often, we saw the bad Favre who would throw into triple coverage to make a play, instead of throwing it away, and he was hit so much that Favre’s career will end with three straight games of injury, although you can never be sure if he is actually going to retire. Receiver Sidney Rice played in just six games because of an ailing hip and robbed the Vikings of their best deep threat, which allowed teams to focus on tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and Percy Harvin. Head coach Brad Childress, who shared play-calling duties with coordinator Darrell Bevell, was then fired after Week 11 and both are now gone, leaving new coordinator Bill Musgrave to work with an offense that could be very dependent on running back Adrian Petersen, who was sixth in the league in rushing.

But there are a number of questions on this side of the ball, starting at quarterback: who replaces Favre, first-round pick Christian Ponder or any of the other five pivots on the roster? Tarvaris Jackson is likely gone as a free agent, and the others are, well, awful. Rice is also a free agent, and even though he was hurt last year, he’ll still garner some attention on the market. The line is also going through a big transition, But the big question is under center: is Favre really done and if so, can Ponder step in and play immediately? That will be the key to Minnesota’s NFL betting odds.

Grade: C+

Defense

Head coach Leslie Frazier was the defensive coordinator of a unit that finished eighth in the league, but they did give up 27 points or more six times on the season, and when you have an anemic offense, that isn’t enough. They were balanced, coming in ninth against the run and 10th against the pass, and end Jared Allen still managed 11 sacks on the season despite facing an extraordinary amount of double teams. Linebacker Chad Greenway was fourth in the NFL in tackles and seemed to be everywhere on the field, while fellow linebacker E.J. Henderson showed that he was fully recovered from a gruesome leg break he suffered in 2009. Cornerback Antoine Winfield continues to trek on at 34 years old, and 23-year-old Asher Allen is doing a good job on the other side of the field, while safeties Husain Abdullah and Madieu Williams are equally as good against the pass as they are against the run, which sets the tone for the defense.

However, the Vikings have a few free agents to take care of before the NFL betting season begins, as end Ray Edwards takes some of the pressure off of Allen up front, along with 38-year-old Pat Williams, who has already announced that he won’t be in Minnesota next year. The Vikings have to replace Williams, one half of an interior duo with Kevin Williams that made Minnesota one of the toughest teams in the NFL to run on. Linebacker Ben Leben is a free agent as well, and cornerback Lito Sheppard is also out of a contract. Still, the Vikings are on good shape on this side of the ball under new coordinator Fred Pagac, who has been with the team since 2006. He will be joined by Frazier of course, and new assistant head coach, Mike Singletary, who was brought into mentor the linebackers after being let go by San Francisco.

Grade: B

Special Teams

Harvin took the majority of Minnesota’s kickoffs and the Vikings finished 17th in that category, while Greg Camarillo led them to 21st in punt returns. The Vikings would love to have Harvin doing double-duty, but with his concussion history, they are cautious with him. When it came to covering on special teams, the Vikings were 23rd on kickoffs and eighth on punts, which helped out their defense.

Chris Kluwe was 21st in average punting, but 10th in net punting, so he’ll be back, but Minnesota has to re-sign kicker Ryan Longwell, who led the NFL in conversion percentage, missing just one of his 18 attempts. With the offense likely to struggle under a rookie quarterback, the Vikings will need all possible points, which means that Longwell may be their most important re-signing of the offseason when the lockout ends.

Grade: C

Prediction

NFL betting odds have the Vikings at +1000 to win the NFC North, +2000 to win the NFC and +3200 to win their first Super Bowl, but the offense could be a stumbling block. Minnesota is a mess at quarterback right now, and they may try to go out and find a veteran quarterback to start the first part of the season as Ponder will be behind the eight-ball because of the lockout. Also, with a rookie quarterback at the helm, will Rice want to come back?

The NFL is a quarterback-driven league and you don’t win unless you have a good one. Ponder will turn out to be a decent quarterback, but it’s going to take time, so stay away from Minnesota’s online betting odds this season

2011 Schedule

  • Week 1 – at San Diego (4:15 PM ET)
  • Week 2 – vs. Tampa Bay (1:00 PM ET)
  • Week 3 – vs. Detroit (1:00 PM ET)
  • Week 4 – at Kansas City (1:00 PM ET)
  • Week 5 – vs. Arizona (1:00 PM ET)
  • Week 6 – at Chicago (Sunday, 8:20 PM ET)
  • Week 7 - vs. Green Bay (4:15 PM ET)
  • Week 8 – at Carolina (1:00 PM ET)
  • Week 10 – at Green Bay (Monday, 8:30 PM ET)
  • Week 11 – vs. Oakland (1:00 PM ET)
  • Week 12 – at Atlanta (1:00 PM ET)
  • Week 13 – vs. Denver (4:05 PM ET)
  • Week 14 – at Detroit (1:00 PM ET)
  • Week 15 – vs. New Orleans (1:00 PM ET)
  • Week 16 – at Washington (Saturday, 1:00 PM ET)
  • Week 17 – vs. Chicago (1:00 PM ET)

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