The Minnesota Vikings entered camp last year as the defending NFC North champions, and for a team with playoff aspirations, losing their starting quarterback for the season during training camp could have been a crippling blow. The Vikings though pulled a quick about face, acquiring Sam Bradford from the Eagles to replace the injured Teddy Bridgewater, and the move worked, at least early on, as Minnesota won each of their first five contests. Unfortunately, they went just 3-8 the rest of the way, as their dynamic defense just couldn’t make enough stops to hide the offense’s deficiency. The Vikings tried to import some playmakers this offseason, and with Bridgewater’s timetable still not totally known, Bradford will again be leading the charge.
2016 Record: 8-8
Notable Additions: WR Michael Floyd, RB Latavius Murray, RT Mike Remmers, QB Case Keenum, DE Datone Jones, OT Riley Reiff
Notable Subtractions: RB Adrian Peterson, LT Matt Kalil, CB Captain Munnerlyn, WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson, OT Andre Smith
Notable Rookies: RB Dalvin Cook, C Pat Elflein, DT Jaleel Johnson
With Teddy Bridewater’s status still completely up in the air Minnesota will have to put a lot of trust in Sam Bradford, and while the former number one overall pick did set an NFL record for completion percentage last season, an overwhelming majority of his completions came on short dump offs, and he was never really a threat to make a game changing throw downfield. In an effort to help their second year quarterback, the Vikings will attempt to rediscover their running game of old, as with the oft injured Adrian Peterson now in New Orleans, the team spent a lot of their resources to import Latavius Murray (F/A Oakland) and Dalvin Cook (2nd round pick) in an effort to improve their ball carrying talent, and added two tackles in Mike Remmers and Riley Reiff who bring elite run blocking skill sets to the table. Defensively Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter, Anthony Barr and company should continue to harass opposing quarterbacks, while Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith highlight one of the game’s top secondaries. Losing elite kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson will hurt Minnesota’s ability to win the field position battle, and at the end of the day while this team does have talent, expecting them to be a playoff team may be asking too much.