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Drama in Minnesota continues, but plenty more to go around

  • By Vic Carucci NFL.com
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The Minnesota Vikings aren't the only team steeped in drama.

Though perhaps nothing could top the Vikings' begging Brett Favre to take a pay raise to return for a 20th season and the, uh, differences of opinion between the star quarterback and coach Brad Childress. Chances are, we haven't heard the end of their disagreements or of Favre's general frame of mind throughout the balance of the season.

Before you know it, the will-he-or-won't-he game will be starting all over again.

That self-induced drama was followed by an actual scare, when receiver Percy Harvin collapsed last week due to a migraine attack. Now the news that Pro Bowl receiver Sidney Rice could miss half the season after hip surgery only adds to the tension.

But that's only one soap opera that will play itself out during the season. There are plenty of others that can be found within the following clubs:

Arizona Cardinals

So far this summer, Matt Leinart has hardly looked like the answer to replace the retired Kurt Warner. Derek Anderson isn't much of an alternative, so it's hard to see any sort of quarterback controversy brewing between them. What one can envision, however, is a clamoring for Warner to come out of retirement ... or for the Cardinals to do something, anything, to get someone decent under center.

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Washington Redskins

If you thought the dispute between Albert Haynesworth and Mike Shanahan couldn't get any uglier, guess again. This is a classic battle of wills, and neither is going to give up an inch. Shanahan will maintain his hard-line stance of keeping Haynesworth out of the starting lineup if he doesn't practice. Haynesworth will continue to defend himself by citing health issues that he says Shanahan chooses to ignore. The smart money here is on Shanahan, who has been fully empowered to run the team his way. Haynesworth hurts whatever credibility he has by announcing he won't participate in offseason workouts next year, a hallow-sounding threat from a player who might very well not be a Redskin by then.

New York Jets

Where do we start? There's holdout of cornerback Darrelle Revis, who not only is the Jets' best defensive player but the best player on their roster. There's the what-will-he-say-next coach, Rex Ryan, who is capable of causing a major controversy every time he clears his throat. And last, but certainly not least, there's the Super Bowl expectation that Ryan has had a lot to do with creating. With Ryan and other large personalities on the roster, the Jets don't seem like a team that is built to handle the bitter disappointment of a poor start, let alone a bad finish.

Cincinnati Bengals

Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens. Need we say more?

Philadelphia Eagles

Kevin Kolb isn't getting much, if any, honeymoon period as a first-time regular starter. It can't be said enough that the Eagles made an incredibly risky decision by trading Donovan McNabb, the greatest quarterback in franchise history and still one of the NFL's best at the position, to the Redskins. Should Kolb encounter any prolonged struggle, hyper-critical fans and media in Philadelphia are unlikely to cut him or the Eagles' brass much slack. There will be calls for him to be replaced by Michael Vick. And there will be harsher criticism than ever of the Eagles' brain trust.

Denver Broncos

In Year 2, the heat keeps building under coach Josh McDaniels, who is trying to build an explosive offense without two more highly talented players who got the boot after last season -- receiver Brandon Marshall and tight end Tony Scheffler. McDaniels also is going to be without his most dynamic defensive player, Elvis Dumervil, for a while.

Chicago Bears

There is plenty of heat on coach Lovie Smith. It will only get hotter if defensive end Julius Peppers and the Bears' other big offseason acquisitions don't get this team back into serious contention.

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» Player and team predictions

Dallas Cowboys

Just because they're the Cowboys.

Cleveland Browns

Mike Holmgren, the Browns' new president, decided to keep Eric Mangini as coach for a second season. He did so because he was convinced the two could co-exist, but that's easier said than done. Holmgren's coaching instincts surfaced throughout the offseason and training camp, and aren't likely to disappear any time soon ... especially if the Browns struggle badly.

Carolina Panthers

The starting quarterback job is in the shaky hands of Matt Moore, although his high-profile backup -- second-round pick Jimmy Clausen -- has been every bit as shaky in the preseason. Even if the Panthers want to retain coach John Fox after this season, does he want to remain in Carolina?

San Francisco 49ers

Anything short of winning the wide-open NFC West is bound to make things uncomfortable for coach Mike Singletary. And if Alex Smith isn't leading the way to a division crown and a strong postseason run, he, too, is going to be squirming.

Stop talking

From the questionable, if not bad, idea department: Buffalo Bills cornerback Drayton Florence and safety Donte Whitner have done some trash-talk tweeting to the NFL's version of Batman and Robin -- Owens and Ochocinco.

The gist of their messages was that they plan on shutting out the Bengals' receivers when they face them in Saturday night's preseason game at Ralph Wilson Stadium. In his tweet, Florence made a reference to "Mr. Freeze," a nemesis of Batman and Robin. In his tweet, Whitner made a reference to the Bills' 34-21 victory over the Colts last Thursday, asking Owens and Ochocinco, " ...did u guys watch our Indy Film yet? Hope so, have a great day guys."

Two thoughts: Don't Batman and Robin always end up triumphing over Mr. Freeze and every other bad guy? And what difference does it make if the Bills handle Owens and Ochocinco Saturday night? Isn't the more important time for that to happen Nov. 21, when the teams meet in the regular season at Cincinnati?

White's future in Miami uncertain

From what I understand, Miami Dolphins vice president Bill Parcells wasn't a fan of the club's decision to draft Pat White. That explains plenty with regard to the fact he is at the bottom of the Dolphins' quarterback depth chart and seems destined for the waiver wire.

Tomlinson has a spring in his step

LaDainian Tomlinson looks rejuvenated in a Jets uniform. He shows a lot of that familiar explosiveness in his runs, although it would be wise not to get too carried away, that's especially true for the Jets' coaches. Tomlinson is still 31 years old and entering his 10th NFL season. Twenty-five-year-old Shonn Greene, beginning his second year in the league, is still the back who figures to get the bulk of the rushing load. Tomlinson should still be exactly what the Jets signed him for: A back who can be utilized in the passing game because he catches the ball well and knows how to pick up the blitz, and who can occasionally spell Greene.

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