2016 NFL Preview: Minnesota Vikings

Last year was a great year for the Minnesota Vikings who made their return to the playoffs after a two-year absence. Even though their season ended on a bad note, can the Vikings build on the momentum from last season and keep their winning ways going?

Can Teddy Bridgewater elevate his game to the next step?

Will the Vikings defense continue to be one of the NFL’s best?

Is this the year the Vikings win their first ever Super Bowl title?

Let’s find out!

 

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Minnesota Vikings

The Stats:

Record Last Ten Seasons: 11-5 (2015), 7-9 (2014), 5-10-1 (2013), 10-6 (2012), 3-13 (2011), 6-10 (2010), 12-4 (2009), 10-6 (2008), 8-8 (2007), 6-10 (2006)

Last Playoff Appearance: 2015 Wildcard vs. Seattle Seahawks

Last Playoff Win: 2009 Divisional vs. Dallas Cowboys

Super Bowl Titles Won: 0

Passing Leader for 2015: Teddy Bridgewater (3,231 yards, 14 touchdowns, 9 interceptions)

Rushing Leader for 2015: Adrian Peterson (1,485 yards, 11 touchdowns)

Receiving Leader for 2015: Stefon Diggs (720 yards, 4 touchdowns)

The Head Coach:

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Mike Zimmer

Overall Record (as a head coach): 18-14

Record With Team: 18-14

Previous NFL Jobs: Dallas Cowboys Defensive Backs Coach (1994-1999), Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinator (2000-2006), Atlanta Falcons Defensive Coordinator (2007), Cincinnati Bengals Defensive Coordinator (2008-2013)

My Grade: B-

The Team:

(Depth Charts will change as training camps progress obviously….)

Player Grade Guide:

Blue = Elite Player

Green = Really Good Player

Orange = Average Player

Pink = Meh

Red = NO THANKS

Gray = Rookie

Offense:

QB: Teddy Bridgewater

RB: Adrian Peterson

FB: Zach Line

WR: Stefon Diggs

WR: Charles Johnson

TE: Kyle Rudolph

OC: John Sullivan

OG: Brandon Fusco

OG: Alex Boone

OT: Andre Smith

OT: Matt Kalil

Defense:

DE: Everson Griffen

DT: Linval Joseph

DT: Shariff Floyd

DE: Brian Robison

LB: Anthony Barr

LB: Eric Kendricks

LB: Chad Greenway

CB: Xavier Rhodes

CB: Terence Newman

SS: Andrew Sendejo

FS: Harrison Smith

The Schedule:

vs. @ Tennessee Titans (September 11)

vs. Green Bay Packers (September 18)

vs. @ Carolina Panthers (September 25)

vs. New York Giants (October 3)

vs. Houston Texans (October 9)

BYE WEEK

vs. @ Philadelphia Eagles (October 23)

vs. @ Chicago Bears (October 31)

vs. Detroit Lions (November 6)

vs. @ Washington Redskins (November 13)

vs. Arizona Cardinals (November 20)

vs. @ Detroit Lions (November 24)

vs. Dallas Cowboys (December 1)

vs. @ Jacksonville Jaguars (December 11)

vs. Indianapolis Colts (December 18)

vs. @ Green Bay Packers (December 24)

vs. Chicago Bears (January 1)

The Prediction:

9-7

Brief Synopsis:

Last year ended on a sour note for fans of the Minnesota Vikings. I shouldn’t have to remind you what happened, but in case you have a short-term memory, I’ll go ahead and do just that. The Vikings were down by one point to the Seattle Seahawks in the Wildcard Round of the playoffs, but they still had a chance. With the ball on the nine-yard line, all Blair Walsh had to do was kick a field goal between the uprights and the Vikings would have scored their first playoff win in six years. But it didn’t happen. The ball went wide left and Vikings fans were left with their dreams crushed while the Seahawks went on to the next round. It just wasn’t meant to be for Minnesota fans last year and it really put a damper on what was otherwise a good season. The good news is, the Vikings should continue to be one of the NFL’s top teams as far as talent is concerned. The bad news is, it’s hard to get back to the playoffs, especially with a team like the Packers in your division. Do the Vikings have the fire power to do just that?

Offensively, the Vikings are pretty good. Their offensive line is absolute garbage though and if Teddy Bridgewater ends up having a bad season this year, you can go ahead and chalk it up to these guys being awful at their jobs. Speaking of Bridgewater, he really needs to elevate his game this season. I like Teddy and I love what he’s accomplished so far in his short NFL career, but he needs to take that next step. Right now he looks like a decent “game manager”, but Minnesota needs him to be a violent gun-slinger. This year, he definitely has his best weapons yet. He should have more chemistry with #1 WR Stefon Diggs, who is heading into his second year. The Vikings drafted Laquon Treadwell in the first-round of the NFL Draft this year and something tells me he’ll be efficient in the Vikings offense in no time. Plus, he still has Kyle Rudolph, Charles Johnson, and some guy named Adrian Peterson running the ball. The Vikings should be just fine on offense this season as long as everyone stays healthy.

Where I really like this Vikings team is on the defensive side of the ball. Minnesota had one of the top-ranked defenses last season and that trend will continue this year. The defensive line is absolutely outstanding and downright scary. The linebackers are OK. I personally love me some Anthony Barr (who doesn’t?), but we need to see some improvement from the other guys in this unit. As for the secondary? It’s fine. There really isn’t a whole lot to not love about Minnesota on this side of the ball. Head coach Mike Zimmer is a defensive specialist and he has a lot of weapons to work with.

So, what should we expect from the Vikings this season? Personally, I think they could fall anywhere from 11-5 to 7-9. I think an 11-5 season with a potential division title is a best case scenario. I would be extremely disappointed if the Vikings end up with a record that is worse than 7-9 with the talent that they have on the team. It just can’t happen and if it does, heads will need to roll. I think they are a fringe Super Bowl team. If they ended up making the Super Bowl at the end of the season, I wouldn’t be shocked. There’s no way I’m going to call them a Super Bowl contender though until Teddy Bridgewater takes that next step as an NFL QB. Will that happen this season? We shall see.

2 thoughts on “2016 NFL Preview: Minnesota Vikings

  1. Pingback: Casual Fan Preview: NFC North – The Ultimate Sports Blog

  2. Pingback: Full NFL Coverage – The Ultimate Sports Blog

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