With the 2015-2016 NFL Season rapidly approaching, a lot of teams in the NFC are hoping to reverse their misfortunes with the goal of making it to the playoffs. In my opinion, the Minnesota Vikings are one of those teams. Minnesota, who finished in third place in the NFC North last year with a 7-9 record, are a young team who are just getting better and better. In addition to that, they also are getting their veteran Pro Bowl running back, Adrian Peterson, back from suspension.
Even without Peterson in the backfield last season, the Vikings were still able to rack up seven wins with a young offense lead by rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater was one of the best rookie quarterbacks last season, and his talents have nowhere to go but up. He has shown some good intelligence and awareness, and has the ability to stay in the pocket, as well as the quickness and athleticism to roll out to the side in order to make a play. In addition to that, with Adrian Peterson returning to the team, the Vikings will have a much more lethal running game that will keep the opposing defenses on their toes in regards to what they need to expect, (run or pass). I mean Peterson was basically their offense in 2012 when he almost broke the all-time rushing record, so he definitely has the ability to add a few more wins on to their record. This combination of a growing (but still good) quarterback paired with their lethal running attack will make their play-action probably one of the best in the league. Then, not only do the Vikings have a growing offense, but their defense is also not to bad.
The Vikings defense was also pretty good last year, and are continuing to get better. Last year, according to ESPN.com’s 2014 Total Defense Statistics page, the Vikings were ranked 11th in points given up per game at 21.4. Their defense didn’t lose many games last year giving up 21.4 points per game, and with Adrian Peterson coming back, their offense should be able to provide enough cushion for the defense to work with. Even though I do believe that the Vikings will get one of the two Wild Card spots, that doesn’t mean that I am handing it to them outright; there’s still going to be some competition.
Besides the Vikings, the Arizona Cardinals and the Detroit Lions will be the other two teams that I believe will be in major competition for one of the two Wild Card spots. The Lions and Cardinals, both who ended last season with identical 11-5 records, both represented the NFC as Wild Card teams. I personally don’t see either of these teams winning their respective divisions because the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks are the favorites to win those divisions. And then, there is the NFC South, which had a very dismal season last year. Personally, I do not see any of those teams having what it takes to get a Wild Card spot; so they will probably have to chase after the division. Then finally, we have the NFC East. Now if DeMarco Murray was still with the Cowboys, I would say either them or the Eagles would have a chance at the Wild Card. But, since Murray left, I see the Eagles wining the East by a close margin and that’s it.
So all in all, Vikings fans, I believe in your team! They do have a legitimate chance in making something out of this season. If they stay healthy for the season and the young guys continue to grow and mature, then I believe that this team will be very good for the next few seasons.
Elias Sports Bureau. “NFL Team Total Defense Statistics-2014.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 2014. Web. 01 Aug. 2015. <http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/team/_/stat/total/sort/totalPointsPerGame/position/defense>.