NFL Season Preview: The Minnesota Adrian Petersons

NFL Season Preview: The Minnesota Adrian Petersons

 

The Minnesota Vikings rode into the 2012 playoffs almost solely due to the efforts of all-world RB Adrian Peterson, who gained 2,096 rushing yards – all while on limited carries in the first few weeks of the season, and leaving a couple of games early. The man is a machine, and singlehandedly carried the Vikings into the playoffs down the stretch of the season. Such fortune will not find the Vikings if they do not improve their QB play, however. QB Christian Ponder seemed to carve out a niche in his role as a dink and dunk passer, while locking onto TE Kyle Rudolph when he absolutely needed a completion. Because the WR corps were completely decimated due to WR Percy Harvin’s annual injuries, and now his trade to the Seattle Seahawks, the Vikes had to secure another WR to buoy their receiving unit.

Greg Jennings was acquired via free agency from divisional rival Green Bay, but the Vikings will need more than Jerome Simpson and Jarius Wright. Rodney Smith (Florida State) and Cordarrelle Patterson (Tennessee) figure to have plentiful chances to prove themselves during training camp, and throughout the 2013 season. The Vikings will need it, because Peterson doesn’t figure to have the same 2,100-yard success in 2013 (albeit he is capable). What the Vikings need is more balance and variety offensively, despite what Peterson provides, or individual numbers will be all that this team will be able to boast about after the 2013 season ends.

The Vikings have a few nice pieces defensively, but they really had some troubles in pass coverage (which were sometimes covered by Peterson’s mammoth success). The defensive line figures to be a strong point once again, anchored by DT Kevin Williams and DEs Jared Allen, Brian Robison (who must not tail off during the season as he did in 2012), and Everson Griffen, while working in a rotation of Letroy Guion, Anthony McCloud and rookie Sharrif Floyd (Florida). The Vikings are committed to being tough in the trenches, which will help their secondary, which is loaded with youth and talent, but also inexperience.

The Vikings expect CB Xavier Rhodes to come in and contribute readily, after releasing Antoine Winfield during the offseason. Chris Cook, AJ Jefferson and Mistral Raymond must begin to fulfill their massive promise, respectively. Harrison Smith came in as a rookie in 2012 and immediately anchored the secondary. Expect him to continue to be a hard-hitting, ball hawk that cleans up the mistakes that the secondary will undoubtedly continue to commit at times for the Vikings.

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