Over the course of 32 days (or so) I will be previewing all 32 NFL teams, followed by an overall season prediction post, leading up to the start of the 2014 season. This post is previewing the Minnesota Vikings.
When you have one of league’s five best running backs on your team, a 5-10-1 record has to be a disappointment, But RB Adrian Peterson‘s 1266 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, including one receiving, weren’t enough to avoid a last-place finish in the division for the Vikings. Perhaps that’s why Leslie Frazier was relieved of his duties as head coach in the offseason and replaced with former Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. But in the tough NFC North, it won’t be easy for the Vikings to climb out of the cellar in 2014.
The passing game wasn’t good in 2013, with QBs Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder and, for one game, Josh Freeman combining for just over 3400 yards — 23rd best in the league — and 18 touchdowns, seven below the league average and tied for 27th best in the NFL. WR Greg Jennings led the receiving game with just over 800 yards and just four touchdowns, but rookie WR Cordarrelle Patterson showed promise in limited work: 469 yards and four receiving touchdowns — with two more touchdowns returning kickoffs — in just six starts. The defense wasn’t just bad, it was the worst in the league in terms of yards allowed (6632).
To try to improve the offense, the Vikings made a draft-day trade to get a second pick in the first round, selecting QB Teddy Bridgewater with the 32nd overall pick. While he may not be much help this season, and may not even get many starts this year, the potential of Bridgewater and Patterson could help get the Vikings on the right track within the next couple of years. But it’s looking like it’ll be another bottom-of-the-division finish for the Vikings in 2014.