2013 Record: 3-8
They made a real surprising run in 2012 but really had no chance at beating Green Bay in the playoffs. The Vikings’ offense could not have been more unbalanced. Young Christian Ponder started every game for the first time in his career but threw for just 2,935 yards and 18 touchdowns. He can’t really throw the ball deep at all and it’s not like he had talent that could catch the long ball anyway. His only deep threat would be Percy Harvin, followed by Michael Jenkins and Jerome Simpson. But Ponder would rather dump it off to big tight end Kyle Rudolph. Harvin is now a Seahawk, which makes the signing of Greg Jennings much more important. But at his age, Jennings may not be that big of an upgrade. Not to worry, though, as the Vikings hand it off to Adrian Peterson more often than not. Peterson, an old school bruiser, finished just eight yards short of the all-time single-season rushing record set by Eric Dickerson. He unbelievably maintained a 6.0 yards per carry ratio all season long. He got barely any support from any other running backs (Toby Gerhart had 169 yards) but he didn’t want it and didn’t need it. Peterson is by far the best running back in the league right now and the Vikings offense revolves around him.
Defensively, the Vikings have built up a reputation for their strong defense despite the fact that they were actually just 24th in the league against the pass last year. They did have the fifth-best pass rush with 44 sacks last year, including 12 by Jared Allen, 8.5 by Brian Robison, and eight by Everson Griffen. Longtime Viking Antoine Winfield signed with Seattle in the offseason, so inexperienced Chris Cook and 2013 first-round draftee Xavier Rhodes are expected to start. The secondary could be a problem for the Vikes. They’re not all that strong at linebacker either, with E.J. Henderson in the middle, flanked by Chad Greenway and Gerald Hodges. Minnesota’s defense is most well known for the line, from Robison and Allen to Kevin Williams and even Letroy Guion at defensive tackle. With new uniforms, plans for a new stadium, Jennings, and momentum coming off a surprising playoff season, the Vikings feel like a franchise reborn. No move to Los Angeles, either—they’ll play 2013 in the Metrodome, 2014-15 in the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium, and start 2016 in their own shining new stadium. Get your tickets to the last season in the loud and intimidating Metrodome with Gold Coast Tickets!