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The Best, The Surprises, And The Predictions

July 6, 2010

The NFL Network has been doing a lot of talking lately (I suppose that’s what you do if it’s the offseason of the sport for which you are dedicated). Not surprisingly, there has been quite a bit of talk surrounding both the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers. Most of the Vikings’ chatter has revolved around a certain quarterback, but there are also times when the network gives some love to the other players on the two teams.

NFL Network commentator and former lineman Jamie Dukes recently named his Top-5 offensive linemen in the league (Thanks to The Vikings Official Blog for the link). Who was number one on that list? 7-time Pro Bowler, Steve Hutchinson. Dukes offered a caveat, however. He said a “healthy Hutchinson is the best in the league.” Hutchinson was at the top of a very talented list of linemen. Following Hutchinson were Denver’s Ryan Clady, Cleveland’s Joe Thomas, New York’s Nick Mangold, and New Orleans’ Jahri Evans. That’s some pretty good company, and I’d say it looks like a pretty accurate list.

In another NFL Network segment, Dukes chose a surprise pick for next season. Although I wouldn’t exactly call it a “surprise” pick, Dukes cited the Green Bay Packers. He stated that the expectation (and therefore the “surprise”) for the Packers is to beat the Minnesota Vikings this year. Fellow commentator Charles Davis then wondered aloud, “What have the Vikings done to fall off so much?” I have to say he has a point; this Vikings team is pretty much the same as the one that beat up the Packers twice last year, but this year the Packers seem to be the popular pick in the NFC North and beyond. Having said that, I highly doubt the Vikings pull off another sweep next season. My prediction is a series split with each team winning their home game.

Finally, Nick Barnett made an appearance (Hat tip: Acme Packing Company) on the network to make his prediction for the upcoming season: “Super Bowl or die.” Some would say the prediction is bold, but Barnett followed his comment by stating that his goal every year is to win the Super Bowl. I don’t think that prediction is all that bold; I think it represents the thinking of every player in the NFL. That’s why they play the game, right? Well, everyone but Albert Haynesworth because he clearly plays the game to get paid.

That’s the round-up of the Vikings and Packers on the NFL Network. If you simply can’t watch enough video of your favorite team, the NFL Network archives all of its videos on their website. They also organize them by team. Here are the Minnesota Vikings videos, and here are the Green Bay Packers videos.

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