"The teams that died - what could have been"
10 important questions
QB: Whoever the 1814s have brought in (Jon Walker) has probably been so on the advice of former coach Vince McGee. McGee's previous recruits ? Dan Luedtke and Greg Korstrom. Not bad. Not bad at all. Dennis Johansson is a Swedish national team player. If he's not playing, the Vikings can turn to athletically gifted David Rødsand. No Norwegian team can compete with that kind of depth. Vålerenga has heralded Norwegian passer Roger Kjær, who must come back from a serious injury. Kaj Hopland of Bergen is a veteran with knowledge and a decent arm.
RB: The Vikings without Nanhed and Fröhlich were left with "only" Nicolay Aslaksen to carry the load. They brought in Anthony Brown, which seems to have resurrected what could have been a fatally wounded department. Eidsvoll's Lars Bråten has the speed, smarts and moves to be the nation's top back for years to come. Trolls' Espen Stovnmo may be older, but he still has the tough running style that makes him a top back, and FBs Niclas Haugen and Fredrik Markhus are very solid. The Domers' Toni Piirto, Sølve Olsen and Jason Ready may be underrated for now, but we're not hearing much of their accomplishments yet.
REC: Oslo Vikings' David Rødsand, Snorre Sønju, Hans Christian Vear and Tord Magnusson have everything; hands, speed, blocking ability and crisp patterns. Eidsvoll's Roy André Høgseth, Tor-Helge Bakken and Dan McCarthy certainly provide speed. McCarthy could be good for 100 yards in every game this year. The Oilers' Joakim Rød has speed only matched by Eidsvoll's RB Lars Bråten, Svein Martin Dahle have hands close to those of Vikings' Rødsand, while Stian Breivik has the potential to become a solid TE.
OL: After years of being underrated, the 1814s O-line won't be overlooked this season. A line that has size, strength and mobility will lead the way for speedster Lars Bråten. All the way to the title ? The Vikings will have to rebuild what has been one of Europe's best O-lines the last couple of seasons, although that rebuilding seems to have gone well as the season has progressed. Vålerenga's Bernt-Helge Hammer and Karl Petter Jansen have what it takes, but the question mark is whether they have the supporting cast to be the leaders of Norway's best line. Right now they don't.
DL: Christian Paulsboe and the Vikings still have power and speed to create havoc for any Norwegian team. The 1814s' have never been overly impressive on the defensive line, but lack of competition hands them the #2 spot in the Unit Rankings. Nidaros' line could surprise, although several of their players may be playing both ways, which does not help them. Erik Eriksen, Tommy Jensen, P. Jonas Lie and Hans Petter Henriksen of the Gladiators have the same problem, but the talent of Kristiansand on the D-line is unquestionable.
LB: 1814s get this one. One name: Roger Graber. Other top teams wish he was theirs. Actually, every team wish he was theirs. Leif Snilsberg makes plays, but never gets enough credit from the opposition. Oslo Vikings have tough Einar Korneliussen, heavyweigth Anders Raaer and speedy Gerry Fraser. Names such as Eivind Skeie and Bård Beylich should figure in the picture as well, but the downfall from Sissener and Weatherall is considerable. Trolls' Jan Løken and Kent Sneve are players any team would like to have starting.
DB: No one is close to the Vikings' secondary of Christian Laupsa, Tord Magnusson and Howie Inniss. Doesn't matter who takes the fourth spot; they're still miles ahead of the rest. The 1814s do however have hard-hitting safety Lars Bråten and underrated Espen Bøhnsmoen. Sandnes Oilers' Kenneth Haugland is a miniature Ronnie Lott, and Rune Egeland complements him well.
- Football Network - TNFJ.com
© 1998-2001 TNFJ.com. All rights reserved.