Jason Gay’s 2012 NFL Season Kickoff in today’s WSJ contained this sobering nugget for local football fans:
Which teams will be fun to watch?
The Carolina Panthers because of Cam Newton. The Seattle Seahawks because of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. The Detroit Lions because they're pretty nutty. The Houston Texans. Andrew Luck in Indianapolis. The Iggles. Look, we could do this all day, I'm not saying the Vikings.
I’m afraid that Mr. Gay’s assessment of the viewing prospects for the Purple is an accurate one. This will not be a fun Vikings team to watch (again). They may post a marginally better record than last year-I’m going with 4-12 with none of those wins coming against divisional opponents (again)-but it’s going to a long and usually ugly season for fans to endure (again).
They will not only not be mediocre from a wins/losses standpoint, they will also not offer much from an entertainment angle. Bad teams can be interesting to watch if they are either historically inept (like the 0-16 2008 Detroit Lions) or if they have a profusion of young talent with the potential to develop into future stars (like the 1-15 1989 Dallas Cowboys with Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin). This Vikings team is neither that bad nor that young and talented (unless you buy into Christian Ponder as a diamond in the rough).
On the defensive side, what talent there is either past their prime or close to it (Winfield and Allen). On the offensive side, the most exciting player is coming off a serious injury. Until AP gets back to his normal self, the only reason to watch the Vikings on offense is Percy Harvin. And with no other credible receiving threats on the field (especially in the first three games when Jerome Simpson is sidelined), it’s likely that defenses will focus on him and largely shut him down.
So once again Vikings fans will have to suffer through another season that will offer few rewards for the fans. One that starts on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Are you ready for some football? Some really, really bad football?