I told you guys I would have some football for you eventually. Here it is. This week's 5 Questions, with the Daily Norseman.
Big Blue View: Obviously, we know Adrian Peterson is the real deal. Chester Taylor has played well also. Is Taylor a guy who could be a legitimate No. 1 back for another team?
Norseman: The thing that a lot of people forget about Chester Taylor is that, before Adrian Peterson came along, this was HIS offense. Last year was his first season as a full-time starter, and he ran for over 1,200 yards despite wearing down later in the season. I think that, given the opportunity, Taylor certainly could be a #1 back for another team in the NFL, and the Vikings' decision whether to deal him or not is going to be one of the more intriguing story lines of this off-season for Minnesota.
BBV: Quarterback has been an issue for the Vikings this year. I know Tarvaris Jackson has been hurt, but is he the long-term answer at that spot?
Norseman: Well, at this point, the best answer I can give you is a good, solid ... hell, I don't know. Honestly, he's had games this season where he's looked pretty good, such as last week, and he's had games where he's looked completely lost, like the game against Dallas. He's been hurt, and as a result has only gotten six starts in a year that was supposed to tell us whether he could be "the guy" or not. A lot of people like to trash the kid, but the truth is that if Ryan Longwell's field goal attempt in Detroit had been 6" further to the right, he'd be 5-1 as the starting QB right now. As it stands, he's 4-2 right now, which still isn't bad. He has all the physical tools, and I don't think anyone can question that ... if the game starts "slowing down" for him sooner rather than later, I think he'll be fine.
BBV: The Vikings gave career backup Visanthe Shiancoe, a former Giant, a big contract during the off-season. Would you say that was a mistake, or has Shiancoe played better than Giants fans thought he would?
Norseman: I actually like Shiancoe a lot. When he's been called upon, he's performed pretty well ... unfortunately, he hasn't been called upon anywhere near as frequently as I'd like him to be. But he appears to have pretty decent hands, and doesn't seem to have a lot of trouble getting open. Did the Vikings overpay him? Yeah, they probably did. But I think that given more opportunities, he could flourish. With the game of quarterback roulette Minnesota has been playing thus far because of injuries, it's hard to know how many more opportunities he's going to get.
BBV: Who are the key players to watch for the Vikings? I'm particularly interested in guys who Giants fans might not be aware of.
Norseman: Well, when it comes to the Vikings' defensive line, everyone knows about the law firm of Williams & Williams occupying the middle. The guys that people are going to be talking about soon, in my opinion, are our two young defensive ends. One is Ray Edwards, our 4th round selection in 2006 out of Purdue, and the other is Brian Robison, our 4th round selection this year from Texas. Thus far, Robison is second among NFL rookies in sacks with 4.5 (only half a sack behind Houston's Amobi Okoye for the lead in that category) and Edwards has added on 4 of his own while forcing three fumbles as well. The two of them have brought a lot of life to a pass rush that, while still not great, is much better than what we saw from Minnesota last year. If the Giants find themselves in a lot of long-yardage situations, they may get to find out first-hand who these two guys are.
BBV: If you could have one player off the Giants roster, who would it be? Why?
Norseman: My first instinct on this one was to immediately say Eli Manning. But going back to the earlier question you asked about Tarvaris Jackson, I don't think I'm quite ready to give up on him yet. So, I'll go with the guy that is, in my opinion, the best player on the Giants' offense, and that's Plaxico Burress. Burress would give the Vikings the one thing on offense that they truly lack ... a big, physical wide receiver that can consistently beat the jam at the line and get open downfield. I think that having a receiver like Burress would help Jackson's development a lot, and I think that Sidney Rice, our 2nd round pick this year and probably our most talented receiver, could learn a lot from him as well.