The Vikings game up a small ransom in draft picks (a first rounder, #17 overall, and two third rounders, in this weekend’s NFL draft), and a large ransom in cash (over $70 million, $31 million guaranteed) to acquire defensive end Jared Allen from the Chiefs.
But make no mistake: This was a move they had to make. And it’s a move that will make the Vikings a formidable team in 2008. Allen gives them a bona fide star and pass-rusher at the defensive end position, turning a glaring weakness into a sudden strength, especially when you consider that defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams were already seeing double-teams on nearly every play. Now offenses have to game-plan for an entirely different front four, and there are only so many blockers available.
Combine that with the upgrade at SS with the Madieu Williams signing, the continued improvement of the LB’s, and the Vikings have a formidable defense with play makers at multiple positions.
On offense, they have brought in Bernard Berrian, a dramatic upgrade over Troy “Dropsy” Williamson, which should give Tarvaris Jackson a better safety blanket to continue to improve. Jackson took a ton of heat, deservedly so, last season, but he was substantially better in the second half, with an 82.9 passer rating. He should continue to improve.
Obviously, the favorite to win the Super Bowl will come from the AFC. But I think the Vikings are putting together a team that can legitimately contend for the NFC title.