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Inexperience at the skill positions

Posted by Doug on May 30, 2007

Check out the Minnesota Vikings likely skill-position starters for 2007:

Player           Career-to-date touches
Tarvaris Jackson           96
Adrian Peterson             0
Troy Williamson            64
Bobby Wade                119
Jim Kleinsasser           154
TOTAL                     433

To put it in perspective, last year's greenest team according to this metric --- total career touches by the top QB, top RB, two top RBs, and top TE --- was the San Francisco 49ers. Smith, Gore, Bryant, Battle, and Johnson had 766 touches going into last season. The next greenest was the Raiders with 847, followed by the Browns with 1165.

The Vikings could conceivably be as low as 200 if you call Shiancoe the tight end or if one of the rookies beats out Williamson or Wade. Even if you use Chester Taylor instead of Peterson as the running back and/or Bollinger at quarterback, it's probably going to be under 1300. Two questions:

1. How does this rank historically?

2. Is there any precedent of such a young team scoring points and/or winning games?

Second question first: not much. But optimistic Viking fans can point with hope toward the 2001 Seattle Seahawks, who added rookie receiver Koren Robinson to second-year players Shaun Alexander (who played very little as a rookie) and Darrell Jackson and first-year starter Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback. Christian Fauria was the tight end. This group had only 307 touches prior to that season, but the offense was competent and the team finished 9-7.

And then there is the 2001 Bears (Miller, Thomas, Booker, White, Baxter - 502) who surprised everyone by going 13-3. The 1984 Dolphins (Marino, Bennett, Clayton, Duper, Johnson - 555) went to the Super Bowl. The 1992 Steelers (O'Donnell, Foster, Graham, Stone, Cooper - 599) went 11-5.

But, as you would guess, those are rare exceptions. Here are the greenest teams since 1970. Mouse over for details:

1976 Seattle Seahawks - 9. Record: 2-12-0
Jim Zorn, Sherman Smith, Steve Largent, Sam McCullum, Ron Howard

1977 New York Giants - 22. Record: 5- 9-0
Joe Pisarcik, Bob Hammond, Jim Robinson, Johnny Perkins, Gary Shirk

1970 Pittsburgh Steelers - 49. Record: 5- 9-0
Terry Bradshaw, Preston Pearson, Dave Smith, Ron Shanklin, Dennis Hughes

1989 Detroit Lions - 53. Record: 7- 9-0
Bob Gagliano, Barry Sanders, Richard Johnson, Robert Clark,

2002 Houston Texans - 77. Record: 4-12-0
David Carr, Jonathan Wells, Corey Bradford, Jabar Gaffney, Billy Miller

1995 Jacksonville Jaguars - 90. Record: 4-12-0
Mark Brunell, James Stewart, Willie Jackson, Cedric Tillman, Pete Mitchell

1974 Chicago Bears - 137. Record: 4-10-0
Gary Huff, Ken Grandberry, Charlie Wade, Bo Rather, Jim Kelly

1996 St. Louis Rams - 144. Record: 6-10-0
Tony Banks, Lawrence Phillips, Isaac Bruce, Eddie Kennison, Ernie Conwell

1986 Buffalo Bills - 147. Record: 4-12-0
Jim Kelly, Robb Riddick, Andre Reed, Chris Burkett, Pete Metzelaars

1979 New York Giants - 165. Record: 6-10-0
Phil Simms, Billy Taylor, Earnest Gray, Johnny Perkins, Gary Shirk

1984 Houston Oilers - 204. Record: 3-13-0
Warren Moon, Larry Moriarty, Tim Smith, Mike Holston, Jamie Williams

1979 Kansas City Chiefs - 231. Record: 7- 9-0
Steve Fuller, Ted McKnight, JT Smith, Henry Marshall, Tony Samuels

1988 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 246. Record: 5-11-0
Vinny Testaverde, Lars Tate, Bruce Hill, Mark Carrier, Ron Hall

1978 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 249. Record: 5-11-0
Doug Williams, Ricky Bell, Morris Owens, Larry Mucker, Jimmie Giles

1982 Baltimore Colts - 281. Record: 0- 8-1
Mike Pagel, Randy McMillan, Matt Bouza, Ray Butler, Tim Sherwin

1988 Pittsburgh Steelers - 286. Record: 5-11-0
Bubby Brister, Merril Hoge, Louis Lipps, Charles Lockett, Preston Gothard

1988 Green Bay Packers - 288. Record: 4-12-0
Don Majkowski, Brent Fullwood, Sterling Sharpe, Perry Kemp, Ed West

2001 Seattle Seahawks - 307. Record: 9- 7-0
Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun Alexander, Darrell Jackson, Koren Robinson, Christian Fauria

1978 Green Bay Packers - 309. Record: 8- 7-1
David Whitehurst, Terdell Middleton, James Lofton, Aundra Thompson, Rich McGeorge

1989 Dallas Cowboys - 315. Record: 1-15-0
Troy Aikman, Paul Palmer, Kelvin Martin, Michael Irvin, Steve Folsom

1978 New York Jets - 329. Record: 8- 8-0
Matt Robinson, Kevin Long, Wesley Walker, Derrick Gaffney, Jerome Barkum

1971 New England Patriots - 342. Record: 6- 8-0
Jim Plunkett, Carl Garrett, Randy Vataha, Hubie Bryant, Tom Beer

1981 Kansas City Chiefs - 352. Record: 9- 7-0
Bill Kenney, Joe Delaney, JT Smith, Henry Marshall, Al Dixon

1976 Chicago Bears - 375. Record: 7- 7-0
Bob Avellini, Walter Payton, James Scott, Brian Baschnagel, Greg Latta

1992 Seattle Seahawks - 381. Record: 2-14-0
Stan Gelbaugh, Chris Warren, Tommy Kane, Louis Clark, Ron Heller

1971 Green Bay Packers - 396. Record: 4- 8-2
Scott Hunter, John Brockington, Carroll Dale, John Spilis, Rich McGeorge

1972 Philadelphia Eagles - 427. Record: 2-11-1
John Reaves, Po James, Harold Jackson, Ben Hawkins, Kent Kramer

1970 Buffalo Bills - 427. Record: 3-10-1
Dennis Shaw, O.J. Simpson, Marlin Briscoe, Haven Moses, Austin Denney

1991 Phoenix Cardinals - 434. Record: 4-12-0
Stan Gelbaugh, Johnny Johnson, Ernie Jones, Ricky Proehl, Tim Jorden

1999 Chicago Bears - 438. Record: 6-10-0
Shane Matthews, Curtis Enis, Bobby Engram, Marcus Robinson, Ryan Wetnight

1988 Atlanta Falcons - 441. Record: 5-11-0
Chris Miller, John Settle, Floyd Dixon, Stacey Bailey, Ken Whisenhunt

1972 Baltimore Colts - 460. Record: 5- 9-0
Marty Domres, Don McCauley, Eddie Hinton, Cotton Speyrer, Tom Mitchell

1992 Green Bay Packers - 471. Record: 9- 7-0
Brett Favre, Vince Workman, Sterling Sharpe, Sanjay Beach, Jackie Harris

1978 Baltimore Colts - 487. Record: 5-11-0
Bill Troup, Joe Washington, Roger Carr, Glenn Doughty, Mack Alston

1984 Kansas City Chiefs - 498. Record: 8- 8-0
Todd Blackledge, Herman Heard, Henry Marshall, Carlos Carson, Willie Scott