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Black and Blue all over: Vikings speed

9/9/2009

Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert

Last week, AFC South colleague Paul Kuharsky staged a virtual 100-meter race against the fastest player on each of the four teams in his division. Had he tried the NFC North -- I can assure you I won’t -- he might have had trouble narrowing down the field in Minnesota.

As Chip Scoggins details in the Star Tribune, a friendly banter exists between tailback Adrian Peterson and receiver Percy Harvin on that issue. Harvin might get the title based on raw speed, but you can never count out Peterson’s competitiveness. Here’s what Peterson had to say the other day:

"We all know that you are definitely entitled to your opinion but like I told [Tarvaris Jackson] and Percy, 'You can't beat me.’ The only way I'm going to say, ‘You beat me’ is if we line up and we race a 40-yarder or 100 yards. If you beat me then I can hand the crown over. Until then I'm holding on."

Scoggins explores the different ways Minnesota might try to exploit its collection of offensive playmakers. You might be surprised to know that the Vikings were pretty explosive last season and led the NFL in touchdowns of 20 or more yards. Harvin, Peterson, tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and receivers Bernard Berrian and Sidney Rice give the Vikings more weapons -- and speed -- than they’ve had since the heyday of Randy Moss and Cris Carter.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press examines the relationship between Vikings coach Brad Childress and his players after he went back on his word and signed quarterback Brett Favre: “The prevailing sentiment is that Childress doesn't owe anybody -- especially players -- an explanation.”

  • David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune delves into the mindset of Chicago defensive tackle Tommie Harris: “It would be overdramatic to say this year represents a make-or-break season for Harris in Chicago, given his uncertain health situation -- he is coming off another off-season knee surgery -- but the questions only will mount unless that familiar burst returns. For his part, Harris seems to sense the urgency.”

  • Bears safety Danieal Manning has a chance to be a star, writes Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Sun-Times.

  • Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com looks at the game-day strategies to be expected of new Detroit coach Jim Schwartz.

  • Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News examines the issue of playing or sitting a rookie quarterback.

  • Here’s an analysis of Green Bay’s depth chart from the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

  • Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel profiles Packers receiver Brett Swain, who replaced Ruvell Martin as the No. 5 receiver because of his special-teams talents.