NFL 2014 Preview – Minnesota Vikings

In 2012, the Minnesota Vikings surprised almost everyone when they went 10-6 and reached the playoffs.  That team was aided by a historic season from Adrian Peterson, who ran for almost 2,100 yards just a year removed from a torn ACL.  Last season, the Vikings crashed back down to earth, suffering another mediocre season.

 

In 2012, the Minnesota Vikings surprised almost everyone when they went 10-6 and reached the playoffs.  That team was aided by a historic season from Adrian Peterson, who ran for almost 2,100 yards just a year removed from a torn ACL.  Last season, the Vikings crashed back down to earth, suffering another mediocre season.

New head coach Mike Zimmer looks to turn things around, and brings a new energy to town.  However, this is still Adrian Peterson’s team.  Peterson is almost a lock for another dominant campaign.  In fact, he’s even being mentioned as an increased threat in the pass game.

But despite Peterson’s play, this team’s success will be determined by the performance level at other positions.  Matt Cassel will start at quarterback, having beat out rookie Teddy Bridgewater.  Cassel has never been anything more than solid, so he will need help.

Fortunately, the Vikings have a lot of firepower on the outside.  Second-year receiver Cordarrelle Patterson is a game-breaker who’s made people forget about Percy Harvin’s departure.  Talented receivers Greg Jennings and Jerome Simpson and tight end Kyle Rudolph compliment Patterson.  In particular, if Jennings can rebound from a lackluster season, the passing game will be much better off.

Minnesota’s offensive line still needs more talent.  Tackles Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt are decent, but not much more.  Charlie Johnson and Brandon Fusco are the projected starters at guard, while John Sullivan will be the starting center.

The Vikings’ defense is young but has talent.  The starting defensive line will consist of ends Everson Griffen and Brian Robison and tackles Sharrif Floyd and Linval Joseph.

Chad Greenway leads the linebacker corps.  Greenway had 132 tackles last season.  Joining him are Jasper Brinkley and rookie Anthony Barr.  Barr is raw but has a versatile skillset.

The secondary is headlined by free safety Harrison Smith, one of the league’s dynamic young talents.  Robert Blanton will likely start at strong safety.  Meanwhile, second-year player Xavier Rhodes and free agent signee Captain Munnerlyn are slotted as the starting corners.

Minnesota is an extreme longshot to win the Super Bowl at 75-1 and stands at 40-1 to win the NFC.  The Vikings are projected to have the 21st most difficult schedule (.477 opponents’ win percentage).