2015 NFL Preview: Minnesota Vikings

2015 NFL Preview: Minnesota Vikings

Lost amid all the Adrian Peterson noise from a year ago was the fact that the Minnesota Vikings were actually decent. Despite losing Peterson after Week 1, the Vikes managed to eek out a 7-9 record with a rookie quarterback under center. Now that Peterson is back, and Teddy Bridgewater is entering Year 2 of the maturation process, many pundits and talking heads are predicting big things for the purple and gold. Head coach Mike Zimmer has several talented pieces on defense to deploy, and a highly motivated Peterson itching to prove his critics wrong. Of course the pressure of raised expectations has a tendency to impact young teams in a negative way. Here’s a preview of the 2015 Minnesota Vikings.

Outlook: A season away from the rigors of the NFL could do wonders for Peterson. Or it could monumentally implode in a cloud of backlash and nagging injuries. He’s obviously an athletic freak of nature, but he’s also 30 years old. At some point he’s going to hit the proverbial wall and should it happen this season, the team is in trouble. Bridgewater finished strong in 2014, but he’s still a developing quarterback with weaknesses; opposing defenses will no doubt throw looks and schemes at him that he has never seen before. How he reacts will go a long way in deciding how the offense functions. The Vikes’ defense has Top 10 potential and added a pair of standout rookies to aid the cause. Playoffs are a possibility, but the hype is a tad premature.

Later, dude: Veteran receiver Greg Jennings was merely adequate in his two seasons in the twin cities, so he’ll be merely adequate in Miami after inking a free agent contract worth $8 million over two years. Fullback Jerome Felton helped pave the way for Peterson and now he’ll do the same for LeSean McCoy in Buffalo. Linebacker Jasper Brinkley’s second stint in Minnesota only lasted one season; he signed a two-year deal with Dallas in March. Defensive tackle Corey Wootton didn’t do much in 2014 as a reserve, so he joined Detroit to help fill the void left by a guy named Suh. Christian Ponder was a mid-round talent that the Vikings foolishly selected 12th overall in the 2011 Draft. Him joining the Raiders to backup Derek Carr seems fitting.

Welcome aboard: Mike Wallace has been an overpaid disappointment for the last three years. Maybe he’s learned some lessons and will start earning that absurd salary. Cornerback Terrance Newman brings 13 seasons of experience to a secondary that also added first-round pick Trae Waynes, who could push for a starting job sooner than later. Fellow rookie Eric Kendricks was a stud linebacker all four years at UCLA; he’ll upgrade the depth immediately. Drafted tackles T.J. Clemmings and Tyrus Thompson bring excellent potential to an offensive line struggling to find consistency.

Over/Under wins – 7.5: The schedule isn’t exactly easy, but most of their toughest out of division matchups are at home. Eight or nine wins doesn’t sound unreasonable as long as Bridgewater doesn’t flop.

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