They've got new coaches, players, systems, playing facilities and so on. And while it's hard to know what all this new stuff is going to do, we can always bank on the barbershop pundits to wax poetic, comical, sometimes even biblical, about everything ... including the Vikings.
"I think they're going to be good," offered Julian Gray, owner of Fades of Gray barbershop.
First round drafted quarterbacks are often the focal point of conversation for any team that has them. With a name like Teddy Bridgewater, well, fans from the Land of 10,000 Lakes can only hope that such an ideal name could be the deliverer of Minnesota Super Bowl glory. Yet while many excitable fans get fuzzy over Teddy, a grizzled veteran quarterback named Matt Cassel is the clear starter to begin the 2014 season.
Solid veteran quarterbacks can be a football team's best gift. The fundamental goals of a football team are to protect the ball on offense and to stop the ball on defense. In professional sports, the opposition is professional, and thus professional experience can best serve the goal of protecting the ball. That is to say, in order for the Vikings to win games, they likely need to play the sensible, not exciting choice for starting quarterback ... Matt Cassel.
"They don't need to rush (Bridgewater). It's going to be to the whole team's benefit to let him develop," explained Keith Dawson of Diamond Tip Enterprises. "Let him learn the game and learn the defense."
Note; typically at the barbershop, one person refuses to allow the conversation to be tranquil and diplomatic.
"You heard the crowd. The crowd was yelling, 'Te-ddy, Te-ddy, Te-ddy." clamored barber Marcus Bennett. "I think they'll be 3-3 by week six, and if not that, then Bridgewater (should start)."
"He fumbled the ball already," retorted Gray, referring to Bridgewater's performance in the first pre-season game.
"I'm just saying, they should give (Bridgewater) some clock if they're up 35-14," followed Bennett.
Of course if the Vikings are up 35-14 in any game this season, many will consider them halfway to a season considered successful.
"I don't think Bridgewater is ready yet. They don't need to rush him like Tarvaris Jackson," said Gray.
A model deemed ideal for quarterback situations like this was executed by the rival Green Bay Packers in 2005, as they allowed current Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers to prepare from the bench, while future Hall of Famer Brett Favre finished his last few seasons with the team. Rodgers assumed the starting position in 2008. Cassel is no Brett Favre, but in a purposeful game of "keep-away", Cassel has the general approach that can protect the ball better than more physically talented options such as Favre or Bridgewater.
Green Bay with Rodgers is one of the most formidable division foes for the Vikings, but the Chicago Bears are the most favored to win the NFC North this year, touting one of the most impressive combinations of offensive talent. The Vikings have very often been predicted to finish last in the division.
Bears fan Tommy McNeal offered his Viking prediction.
"They're going to do the same thing they do every year," said McNeal, referring to the team's under-performing. "I just gave some (Viking) tickets away."
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times ... the Vikings are the most entertaining team, on and off the field, in all of sports. You can't make up the stuff they do, but it's always entertaining ... just like the barbershop.