TSN Likes Vikes Players, Not Team

Another national voice has chimed in with a regular refrain about the Vikings -- gloom and doom.


The Sporting News, which has made a point to love the Vikings players but hate the Vikings as a team, is at it again with their own particular flair. TSN came out with its 2001 preview and, once again, doesn't expect the Vikings to go anywhere this season -- picking them to finish fourth in the NFC Central with an 8-8 record. However, it must be noted that these same "experts" picked the Vikings 8-8 in 1998 when the team tied an NFL record with a 15-1 record and picked the team 6-10 and in last place in the NFC Central last year.

While TSN doesn't like the team in general, it handed out several high marks to individual players and coaches in its annual rankings section. It named Denny Green as the NFC's best coach, Daunte Culpepper as the league's best long passer, Randy Moss as the NFL's fastest receiver and running back Michael Bennett was picked as the NFL Rookie of the Year.

In individual positional rankings, the Vikings again scored high. Culpepper was rated No. 1 in the category of "Next Generation Quarterbacks," Jim Kleinsasser was rated the No. 2 blocking fullback in the league, Korey Stringer was rated the fourth-best right tackle, Matt Birk was No. 5 at center, Moss was No. 1 for WR with deep speed and Cris Carter was named the No. 2 blocking wide receiver.

As expected, the defensive accolades were harder to come by. Robert Griffith was named as the No. 3 strong safety in the league -- the only Viking defender to make the top lists. In the coaching ranks, Green was rated No. 5 among NFL head coaches and Gary Zauner was No. 5 among special teams coaches.

So, the bottom line is much the same as it has been in past years -- the "experts" at TSN have a lot to like about the players on the Vikings, but, when it comes to giving props to the team, they're nowhere to be seen.

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