The four deep defenders will come from a group composed of Sharockman, Dale Hackbart, Larry Vargo, Lee Calland, Karl Kassulke and George Rose. All of them are experienced and most of them are good; the only rookie given a chance to make the squad as a defensive back is reed-slim Jeff Jordan from Tulsa.
In Bobby Walden, Van Brocklin has the league's No. 1 punter. Fred Cox, the field-goal and kickoff specialist, ranked third in the league on 21 field goals in 33 attempts.
Blessed with unaccustomed riches, Van Brocklin believes that, barring injuries, the Vikings should be a contender for the Western championship. "You have to pick Green Bay," he said at Jack's. "They've got the studs. They are young, and Lombardi is deep everywhere. They have a higher percentage of superior ballplayers on their club than any other team in football. But if our front-line players hold up and if we don't get any injuries to key men, we'll be right in there. Tarkenton is better than he ever was. When he went to the Pro Bowl last year he found out for himself that he's as good as any quarterback in pro football. He went in and moved the club when Johnny Unitas couldn't, and that had quite an effect on him. He is sure of himself and cool and in charge."
With ability and depth at quarterback, strong running from Mason and Brown, a big group of good receivers bolstered by the addition of Jim Phillips from the Rams and a better-than-adequate offensive line, the Vikings could take over the league offensive lead from the Packers. The defensive secondary still seems a bit unsettled, but it performed well enough last year and should be better now. If the Dutchman had two more good running backs and a little more depth in both lines, this would be the year of the Vikings.
It may be anyway, with luck. The Dutchman has always been a lucky man.