The Purple Point Machine

With an easy schedule and the league's most exciting rookie added to an already potent offense, this year's Vikings need to deliver on suddenly high expectations

In other words, Billick prefers to contemplate how opponents will have trouble coping with his team's three-headed wideout monster. "Other than say a team like Kansas City, that can go three deep with some of the best man-to-man, pressure guys in the league, most defenses are going to have a tough time coming up with a third guy, if that's what you want to do, pressing up on a Randy Moss."

Fair enough. With so many weapons on offense and John Randle, Dwayne Rudd, and nine other guys on defense, this team should have enough to deal with much of the 1998 schedule. Glancing ahead, road games against Green Bay, Tampa Bay, and Detroit look like logical losses. Add in a home defeat versus Jacksonville or Washington along with a defeat at Dallas, which will struggle but has the best cornerback tandem in football. There are your five L's.

Of course, pro football being pro football, some of those logical losses will turn into upset victories, but these things have a way of evening out--e.g., the Vikes break Green Bay's winning streak at Lambeau Field but then find a way to lose at home against da Bears. In any event, you can roll out the purple carpet for a wild-card playoff game at good ol' Thunderdome. And if this year's model of the Vikings goes belly-up on its home field, there really will be no room for crybabies.

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