Now that the Super Bowl is over, it's time to really start to think about the Vikings offseason plans. There aren't any NFL football games to divert our attention even a little bit. All of our thoughts are on what the Vikings need to do to get better in 2013 and then assessing what they did do.
February will be spent speculating what the Vikings will do during free agency – resign Phil Loadholt? Woo Mike Wallace, Dwayne Bowe or Greg Jennings? (My view: don't get your hopes up. I think the Vikings will make a run at one of those wideouts, but won't overpay insanely for them and other than Wr, general manager Rick Spielman will do what he did last year, which is sign guys with potential, but who will come on the cheap for a variety of reasons.)
In March, we'll complain about who the Vikings did and didn't sign during free agency and shift our focus to the NFL draft. And in April, draft fever should be at an all-time high. If Spielman drafts as well as he did in 2012, the Vikings will be setting themselves up as a consistent playoff team and Super Bowl contender for the next five-to-seven years - as long as starting quarterback Christian Ponder's develops into a solid player.
So, compared to January, which was a dud month with the club flaming out in the playoffs to the Packers (with plenty of assistance from Joe Webb) and not much other Vikings news happening, the next three months will be a lot more interesting and a lot more fun to follow.
I didn't really care if Adrian Peterson won the NFL's Most Valuable Player award on Saturday or not. That he did get it was a nice way to cap off a season where he defied all expectations from just about everybody but himself. And I have no problem with writers and football fans who feel that Peyton Manning or Tom Brady deserved it more than Peterson. You can make valid arguments (here is Kevin Seifert's post supporting the Peterson selection) for any of these players that each guy should have won it (although none of these MVP candidates were able to get their teams to the Super Bowl, and Peterson and Manning were both one-and-done in the playoffs, so maybe none of these guys was the real MVP.)
I'm content that I got to watch every minute of a historic season from Peterson. He brought me a lot of joy and got me off of my chair and cheering countless times during the season. I didn't need him to win the MVP award and be validated by outsiders that he was the NFL's best player. I still have the Vikings-Packers season finale on my PVR and I've watched the game about five times since it was played. That was about as fine a rushing performance as you will see a running back ever have. And Peterson did this sort of thing routinely in 2012. Amazing, really.
I was actually more interested to see Carter get selected to the NFL Hall of Fame than to see Peterson get the nod as league MVP. It took him six tries to get in, which bugged me because Carter still ranks fourth all-time in career receptions and touchdown receptions. It's true Carter was never a deep threat, but he was an eight-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All-Pro - meaning he was viewed as one of the elite Wrs in the game for a long stretch of his career. How could this guy not get elected in his first year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame?
We've read various arguments as to why Carter didn't make it in previous years, or didn't deserve to be in the Hall at all. One bizarre reason that's cropped up is that with the rule changes and explosion in passing numbers over the past decade, anybody can post big numbers at the Wr spot and numbers like Carter put up don't mean as much as they once did. I'm not sure Vikings fans would agree after watching guys like Travis Taylor, Troy Williamson, Devin Aromashodu and Bernard Berrian man the Wr position of late. Elite players will always rise above the rest and that's exactly what Cris Carter did during his Vikings career. I'm glad to see he got in.
We've seen a flurry of former Vikings get inducted into the Hall of late - Randall McDaniel (2009), John Randle (2010) and Chris Doleman (2011). It's good to see Carter added to the list.
Was the Super Bowl loss the last we'll see of Randy Moss playing football? I hope so. Despite playing all 16 games this season with San Francisco, Moss only had 28 catches this year, and even when 49ers receivers Kyle Williams and Mario Manningham went down with season-ending injuries and Moss was given more snaps, his production didn't go up. In the Super Bowl, Moss started and caught two passes for 41 yards (49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick did seem to miss him on their final unsuccessful drive when Moss had at least two strides on Baltimore defenders deep down the middle of the field. It could have been a game-winning touchdown pass giving Moss his Super Bowl ring.) I just don't think Moss has anything left as he is about to turn 36 on February 13. It would be disappointing for me as a fan to watch him hang on for another year and turn in even shittier numbers in 2013.