Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
The Vikings trumpeted in 2009 that they were "all in" as an organization with the celebrated arrival of Brett Favre and a roster that already featured a collection of Pro Bowl talent.
A playoff heartbreak in the NFC title game fueled talk of "unfinished business" the following training camp. Instead, a calamitous -- and, at times, bizarre -- soap opera season triggered what team officials described as a "retooling" approach in 2011.
That, of course, resulted in a 3-13 record and historic ineptitude, which necessitated a dramatic roster overhaul and 2012 season outlook that stands in stark contrast to the big, bold declarations three years ago.
"We're not going to have too many people barking up our tree for playoff berths or division titles," linebacker Chad Greenway said.
Nope, this looks like a classic rebuilding job, even if that phrase is widely viewed in professional sports as taboo because of what it suggests.
"We don't use that word around here," Percy Harvin declared.
OK then, so what are expectations for this Vikings team?
"I think this is the first year where there are no real expectations going into camp, which isn't necessarily a bad thing," Jared Allen said. "Our expectations as a team are always the same. It's always to win the [NFC] North, get into the playoffs and go that route. But as far as any preseason hype, there is none. We went 3-13 last year and have a completely new team and a lot of young guys. But that's a good thing."
Well, it's certainly different. General Manager Rick Spielman orchestrated a roster makeover this offseason that saw a core group of veterans exit and fresh faces enter. Nearly half of the 90-man camp roster is new. That is expected when an aging roster produces ugly results.
Maybe the Vikings marketing folks should steal a page from the Twins manual and launch a get-to-know-them campaign with this team. That might even be beneficial for some veterans who need a little help.
"I'm going to have to go introduce myself to some people because there's only a handful of guys that I know," Allen said, perhaps only half-joking.
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