2014 Season Preview:
Minnesota has one strong thing, RB Adrian Peterson, and, a defense that fell apart to dead last in the NFL. The Vikings allowed 30 points a game, partially due to playing the Lions, Packers and Bears (oh my!) twice a year, but even gave up 31 points to the Browns and 27 to the Redskins.
The Vikings had a NFL rarity this offseason with all five starters coming back, problem is, this line was very inconsistent.
There is no bigger fan of Teddy Ballgame than I. None. I could not be happier that Norv Turner is his coach. My biggest issue is he went to the wrong team. I don’t feel the great outdoors of lower Canada is the best place for him. Bridgewater shouldn’t have to worry about that until next year, as Matt Cassel is the day 1 starter. He’s playing for a new contract with a new team, and while not the gem he was thought to be under Brady, he did better than Josh Freeman or Ponder, and can’t help but be better under the Norv.
Never heard of this guy. But, I’ve heard rumors that he is pretty good.
Lets keep in mind that while “only” 29, Peterson has taken a lot of hits and has been going against 8 man fronts pretty much since 2nd grade, and, he’s going to see them a lot this year. I do wonder if the Vikings might be better served trading him as they rebuild. Imagine if the Colts had given the pick they gave for Trent Richardson, next years number 1 and a pair of 3s for Peterson.
Speaking of third rounders the Vikings used one on Jerick McKinnon, who replaces Toby Gerhart as the backup back, but lets face it, if anyone but ADP gets more than 50 carries, that could either be very bad for Peterson (injury) or a be a great thing (Winning). Peterson has consistently played the good soldier, but I wonder how happy he’s going to be, if he has to go through another first round bust at QB aka losing season.
Greg Jennings is still here, after a disappointing year coming over from Green Bay, and, Cordarrelle Patterson has been a stud since day 1. The Vikings have to get the ball into both of these guys hands and do it often. Of course the QBs have to improve a good bit for that to happen.
First Round, top 10 pick Anthony Barr is going to be the centerpiece here. He’s going to be given the left side, and off he goes. If he comes off the field for anything, it will be a bad thing.
Brian Walsh had a shaky second year, but the coaching staff is more than willing to give him another shot.
If I’m the Vikings, I have a list of problems.
My offense has a QB that we can’t play out of the gate, and a guy playing for a contract. I have weapons a plenty and the best running back in the game by a wide margin. My line can be very good, but has a tendency to let my QB get hit way too often. If, I could freeze Peterson for a year, and have him at 29 next year, or better yet, the year after that – I would in a heartbeat.
My defense stinks on ice. I have talented players and quite a few guys that can play in the NFL. These are not the Canadian Jaguars, full of guys that don’t belong, these guys do, they just don’t show it. IF Barr is the guy they need him to be, then Zimmer’s job just got easier, if not, then its going to be a long year. The final issue is they play in a division just like them. Offensive Weapons-a-Plenty, and shaky front-seven play.
I have faith in Norv Turner, as long as he’s the OC and not the HC. I want Zimmer to do well, but the track record for guys that have been top-rated DCs forever and finally getting that shot is not good. They also get the NFC South, where look! More Good QBs! Only those teams have good defenses. Plus the AFC East where – ok, they play Brady. I’m looking at a 4-12 record, but to be honest with you, I’m perfectly fine with that if I’m a Viking Fan. Get me another top 7 pick, and take the best defensive player out there and then look to make an assault on the Packers/Lions at the top of the heap.
EJ: I won’t sugar coat this. I do not like the Minnesota Vikings, but I have a sneaky suspicion that they can be better than what most people think. They have Adrian Peterson, still one of the best running backs in the game, they have an emerging talent in Cordarelle Patterson at wide receiver, and they still have a decent vet at that position in Greg Jennings. Minnesota’s problem is at quarterback, but I think that would be rectified if they roll the dice on rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Bridgewater had a disappointing audition process for the NFL. He had a horiffic pro day, and he wasn’t all that impressive in his interviews, but look at his stats at Louisville. You can’t fake success. You look at his film, and you see a ready made NFL quarterback. He didn’t show the strongest arm, but his accuracy was impressive. Instead of going with the placeholder Matt Cassel, new head coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner just need to hand the starting job to Bridgewater and let him take his lumps.
The Vikings defense? One big question mark. There are some interesting players at defensive tackle in Linval Joseph, and Sharrif Floyd. Now, Linval was recently shot by a stray bullet in the leg in a club incident in Minneapolis, so he might not start the season at full strength, and Floyd was a bit of a disappointment as a rookie, but both tackles have the potential to stuff the run. Losing Jared Allen hurts the defensive line, but it’ll be up to some young defensive ends to fill his spots.
Linebacker and the secondary are also question marks. Chad Greenway is probably the biggest name on the team, and while he puts up numbers, he doesn’t do anything at all impressive. In the secondary look for a bunch of players to rotate in and out for the four spots. Both corner and safety spots are in flux. It would be telling of the Vikings season, if the four players who seize their spots actually have good seasons. I’m fairly doubtful as to their impact.
After reading this, you’re thinking I’m going to say the Vikings finish 2-14 or 3-13. No. I will not go that low on the Vikes. Why? This is a bad team, and their defense will be challenged all season by some very good offenses, but I look at the Vikings offense and I see an offense that should be better than advertised. Especially if they go with Bridgewater. So, I have the Vikings last in the NFC North with a 6-10 record.
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