Five questions: Minnesota Vikings


The Vikings have had a strange few years, coming dangerously close to a Super Bowl before bottoming out before unexpectedly making it to the playoffs before slumping to another subpar season.

It won’t be easy to turn things around in 2014, where it will be a major accomplishment not if the Vikings win the NFC North, but if they simply avoid finishing behind the Packers, Bears, and Lions.

As the season approaches, here are five questions that will go a long way toward determining whether the franchise can compete for third place, and maybe even contend for first.

1.  When does the Teddy Bridgewater era begin?

The Vikings didn’t trade back into round one for the privilege of selecting a quarterback who would be relegated to the bench for the next four years.  While Matt Cassel and his two-year, $5 million deal puts him atop the depth chart for now, Teddy Bridgewater’s draft pedigree and his splitting of reps with Cassel strongly suggest that it’s only a matter of time before Bridgewater will be under center.

Of course, if Cassel gets the nod to start the season and plays at a high level in new coordinator Norv Turner’s offense, it could be difficult to flip the switch to the rookie.  And if Cassel somehow leads the Vikings to the playoffs, it could be even harder to elevate Bridgewater next year.

Some would call that a good problem to have.  Others would simply call it a problem.

2.  Will Adrian Peterson ever slow down?

With more than 2,000 regular-season carries and another 200-plus receptions in seven years, Peterson averages more than 300 touches per season.  While an extremely rare physical specimen, he remains human.  We think.

At some point, he’ll need to slow down if he hopes to play at a high level beyond his 30th birthday.  It’s one thing to say it, and quite another for Peterson to set aside his ultra-competitive nature and do it.

Don’t count on it happening.  Absent injury or illness, Peterson will be playing and running and catching as much as he always has.  Even with injury or illness, he’ll likely still find a way to focus on maxing out his performance today, and worrying about his ability to keep doing it later.

3.  Can Kyle Rudolph live up to his contract?

The Vikings have made a major wager on tight end Kyle Rudolph becoming one of the best players at his position, opting to make him the fifth highest-paid tight end before his contract year in lieu of coughing up even more after the 2014 season.

Now, it’s on the Vikings and Rudolph to prove that the Vikings made a good investment.

With Norv Turner drawing up the plays and calling them, Rudolph could indeed make an even bigger impact than he has in his first three seasons.  If he does, the Vikings definitely won’t finish in the basement of the division.

4.  Can the pass rush thrive without Jared Allen?

He arrived in 2008, cashed every check of a six-year contract, and then moved on to the Bears.  Now, the Vikings will have to fashion a competent pass rush with newly-minted (and possibly overpaid) multi-millionaire Everson Griffin and Brian Robison on the outside, 2013 first-rounder Sharrif Floyd and 2014 free-agent arrival Linval Joseph on the inside, and 2014 first-rounder Anthony Barr wreaking havoc from anywhere/everywhere along and behind the line of scrimmage.

With new coach Mike Zimmer bringing his ability to get a defense to play better than the sum of its parts, the Vikings may not miss Allen very much.  Until they have to play him twice.

5.  Are the Vikings ready to take the show outdoors?

After decades of playing in a dome, the Vikings will spend two years outside again, in elements that will become elements as the season rolls on.

It won’t affect Adrian Peterson very much, and Teddy Bridgewater’s glove habit will make more sense after the weather turns.  But the move to the University of Minnesota campus will represent a major change for a team that was built to play indoors.  Based on three of the last four seasons, however, it’s not as if the Greatest Show on Turf has been banished to Siberia.

51 responses to “Five questions: Minnesota Vikings

  1. Good questions. Throwing a rookie into the fires of the NFL. I do not know if that is the best idea.
    AND he has not played one down in the NFL.
    ” Father of the year Peterson ” …I do not see him slowing down. He is just a freak.
    Rudolph…..with a good QB should prosper….but who is the GOOD QB Stay tuned I guess.
    Allen was there best defensive player. And why did he leave ? Money , or get off a sinking ship…again stay tuned…
    Will they survive outdoors. This team was made for indoors. BUT , its not the end of the world. But it will affect them.

    The Vikes need a QB to build around. Is it Bridgewater who knows. Stay tuned.
    With Green Bay and Chicago in front of them , the Vikes will be hard pressed to climb out of the NFC north basement.
    Some of the fans preach Dynasty….Come on grow up. They have an unproven QB. This is the NFL,,,,not college. The Eagles had the DREAM TEAM now the Vikes have THE DYNASTY come on grow up….The Vikes are best case scenerio a 8/8 team…mosy likely a 6/10 team

  2. Go and take what’s yours Vikings!
    Prove the doubters and haters wrong and win the division!
    This team has the makings with the player/coaching combo to not only be very good this year, but a Super Bowl contender for the next 5-6 years.
    The Puzzle that “Slick Rick” is putting together is now coming together piece by piece.
    It’s going to be an amazing journey for this group and all Vikings fans will soon be rejoicing!

  3. 5 games last year within 3 points of a win…C’mon now. We all know the only things holding back a team with great players is new coaching chemistry, injury, or both.
    Zimmer is a helluva coach. Newly appointed as a head coach. But, he is due.
    Turner, a former longtime head coach.
    Prefier, last season was mentioned as a possible head coach in his career…may be dampened by Kluwe. Nevertheless, a great coach.
    Welcome to getting screwed 30 other teams in 2014. (that novelty act in cheesebay doesn’t qualify as a “team”).

  4. big Pack guy here. I think the Vikin’s will compete this year if they improve the defense. Couldn’t get much worse than last year, and I dont think Zimmer will put up with much of what happened. go pack!

  5. Did Bridgewater ‘ s hands grow in the offseason?

    Did Patterson graduate to a junior level in reading so he can pick up offense?

    Is Griffen going to average more than his customers 4 sacks and 24 tackles like he has done for the past 4 seasons while making a whopping 9 million a year?

    Will Jennings exceed his 65 catches of a year ago for his whopping 10 million?

    Will Rudolph get more than his average of 300 yards?

    Will the posters disappear or change usernames rather than take it like a man when their team takes its annual dive.

    These are the burning questions?

    What will be more likely to come out of Petersons the word Me or team?

  6. ok I’m starting to actually think Vikes fans think they can win the division….yikes. Just be realistic and than it won’t hurt so bad.

  7. 1) Bridgewater should play as soon as they can’t are out of a chance at the playoffs. That should be around the bye week.

    2) Peterson will continue to get yards because the passing game is so poor. When behind late in games, he still their best offense even when running the clock out on themselves. He is a fantasy football back, numbers without points.

    3) Rudolph can’t live up to his contract. The passing attack is so poor. That doesn’t matter to the vikings who are also overpaying Griffen and Jennings.

    4) No Allen, no problem. It is great they got rid of that contract.

    5) Playing outdoors? It doesn’t matter. They will be used to it this season. Only one dome game after week 3.

    The vikings have the advantage of low expectations.

  8. An 8 or 9 win season is a realistic expectation. The Vikes were really not all that bad in a tightly wound up league despite what some summertime kiddies would say.

  9. Lets be honest here folks, with a new staff, questions at QB, and a young developing team, 8-8 would be an accomplishment. the future may be bright, but the present in this division will be tough.

  10. If Cassel leads the Vikings to the playoffs, Bridgewater will still be the quarterback next year. You know why? Because he’s ridiculously talented. Therefore, making the playoffs this year is not a problem. Kind of weird that anyone would think it would be.

  11. With Norv Turner drawing up the plays and calling them, Rudolph could indeed make an even bigger impact than he has in his first three seasons. If he does, the Vikings definitely won’t finish in the basement of the division.

    I’m not sure if I agree that Kyle Rudolph making a bigger impact would keep the Vikings out of the division if nothing else changes. Of course, a lot of other things have changed for the positive. Since we know that Rudolph will make a bigger impact, I guess the Vikings will do pretty well.

  12. I don’t get how the Vikings were built to play indoors. People keep saying it, but it doesn’t make sense to me. They have artificial turf both indoors and outdoors. They’re a team with a great running game, so isn’t that supposed to counteract the effects of wind and rain? They played in a blizzard in Baltimore last year and the only reason they lost was because of two historically bad calls for which the NFL apologized.

  13. A poor team last year lost many games due to an incredible lack of defense. they lost 3 in the last 2 minutes. The packers went for almost every 4th down in one game knowing the defense couldn’t hold. A move upward from the bottom of the defensive standings is worth 4-5 games alone. Take away one win from last year (they beat at least on team they shouldn’t have) and you still have a winning season. Call me deluded but I see a good, not great, but good year in 2014

  14. Jennings had low numbers last season because Ponder didn’t know he was on the team. Once Cassel took over the Jennings show began. Regardless if it’s TB or MC under center this year – Jennings will be #1 in stats.

    Rudolph would have had more yards last year, but you can’t put up numbers when you aren’t on the field. He played 8 games last season, so was on pace for 600 yards.

    Patterson doesn’t need a junior reading level, he needs a coach who knows how to teach, and a green light. He’s got both this year. Catch him if you can.

    Yeah…..I smell fear.

  15. Don’t know how they’ll do against the rest of the NFL but you can guarantee an 0-6 record within the division. Rodgers, Cutler, and Stafford will carve up that MN defense every time they play. That may not be a popular prediction to read but it is the truth as many of us see it.

  16. In regard to #3 and #1, I think Rudolph and Bridgewater (I don’t think Zim, shades of Carroll, cares what Cassel is getting paid) could (and probably will) have good seasons, and the Vikings will still finish in the basement of the division. They need more talent on defense to be able to keep up with the Lions and Bears right now. I could see them passing one or both of those teams in the next few years, though, with some good drafting. Several poor drafts are the reason the team is bad right now.

  17. The Vikings are going to rock it this year. Last year, defense was the problem and a mediocre offense kept them in nearly every game. With Zim at the helm our defense is going to return to top 10. With Norv at the hip our offense is going to be top 10. Get your kleenex ready NFC North because the Vikings are going to sweep ya – Lets go! SKOL

  18. There’s only one question for the Vikes, “why bother?”

    They’re running on a 5yr plan for building a decent team for their new stadium, until then it’s a series of top 5 picks. Maybe Winston is their future QB.

    There’s no way they finish ahead of the Lions, let alone get a sniff of the Bears or Packers.

  19. The Vikings are realistically trying to win 3rd place. If they do, their season will be considered a success.

    Their own homer announcer (Paul Allen)already said that Peterson is an unnatural pass catcher who isn’t very fluid at it. Guess what Turner expects from his RB’s?

    Zimmer thought he had Mike Johnson in his back pocket and when that failed they gave the mediocre Everson Griffith a big contract extension. This again was per Paul Allen.

    This team was so bad it has nowhere to go but up. But the cap is 7 games at most. Book it!

  20. Five questions for the Vikings are
    1. Who will they draft next year as the teams franchise quarterback
    2. How long to ap wants to play for a real team like the patriots
    3.when will Vikings fans realize they haven’t won anything ever long till Vikings trolls admit they have man crush on patriots
    5. How long till Vikings fans realize there will never be asterisks next to Super Bowl wins that were completely legal

  21. Well, it’s the season for predictions, and there have been a few for the Vikings so far:

    1) Bridgewater is 7-1 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, 5th best odds.

    2) Anthony Barr is 10-1 to win Defensive Rookie of the Year, 5th best odds.

    3) Cordarrelle Patterson is #1 on the list of players most likely to have a break-out year, and is one of the ‘rising stars’ on

    4) Mike Zimmer took the Bengals from the #27 ranked defense to the #12 ranked defense his first year in Cincinnati. The Vikings have the talent to make a similar leap under Zimmer.

    5) Norv Turner’s Air Coryll offense is a perfect fit for the Viking’s players on offense. Most people talk about Turner’s offenses in Dallas and San Diego, which had tremendous success, and how he was able to develop QBs like Aikman, Rivers, and Brees. Most forget that even in Washington in 1999, with an aging Brad Johnson at QB, he had the 2nd best offense in the league.

    Turner’s offense is going to make stars out of a lot of players on the Vikings offense- and extend AP’s career by adding him as a dual threat by using him more as a receiver. Turner has worked with Emmitt Smith and LaDanian Tomlinson – he knows how to get the most from AP.

    Keep in mind that the Vikings had the #13 ranked offense last year- despite Ponder and the cluster f@#k at QB. Don’t be surprised if the Vikings offense is hanging with the others in the NFC North- all of which could be top 10- while the Viking defense is the most improved in the division.

    Worst to first this year? Could be. Vikings have the best chance among last year’s division cellar-dwellers to be this year’s division winner.

  22. Five questions for the Vikings are
    1. Who will they draft next year as the teams franchise quarterback
    2. How long until AP wants to play for a real team like the Packers
    3.When will Vikings fans realize they haven’t won anything ever
    4.How long till Vikings trolls admit they have man crush on Packers that drives their inferiority complex?
    5. How long till Vikings fans realize that losing a Super Bowl does not equal a championship?

  23. People talk about the North like the Bears and Packers have all time great teams and it’s near impossible for anybody else to win the division. How quickly you forget that they division was won last year by an 8-7-1 team. It’s not unrealistic for any of the 4 teams to win this division.

  24. Hey dong guy (or are you the formerly whatthehell guy), give it a rest — your posts weren’t entertaining or original the first 4 times. Try to read what Tokyo and Gerbschmidt post for clues on how to troll in an entertaining fashion.

  25. 5 questions for rising star Cordarelle Patterson:

    1. How do you spell dog?

    No further questions until this one is solved.

  26. Why yes, he has. When he was an offensive coordinator, he left the job for a promotion to head coach three times. That’s how good an offensive coordinator he is. Guess what? Now he’s the Vikings’ offensive coordinator. You know who isn’t? Bill Musgrave. Get your popcorn ready.

  27. Yes. He has held 4 jobs that he wasn’t fired from.

    He was hired away from the Rams by Dallas to be their OC (was WR coach for Rams at the time).

    He was then hired away from Dallas to be Redskins HC.

    While 49ers OC, he was hired away to be San Diego’s HC.

    Lastly, he was hired away from Cleveland by the Vikings.

  28. It’ll come on the defensive side. The Vikings have lost too many games in the last part of the fourth quarter. Everyone rips on the QB’s, but it was the defense that lost the games last year. If the secondary can hold their own it’ll be a lot better this year.

    As for the team being “built for indoors” these are some young guys who can adapt. It’s one thing to live in MN and deal with the cold weather and another to come from a warm State and then play outdoors.

    TCF Bank Stadium is mostly a major upgrade than the Metrodome.

    In the end Packers will trash talk and there will be some close games. Over the years both teams have blown each other out of the water, but most games usually come down to heart-breakers which is why Packer and Vikings fans have such animosity towards each other.

  29. They’re all professionals and the weather and conditions shouldn’t make a difference. There is a fine line between the good teams and the bad teams every year. Bridgewater is no more heralded coming out of college than Tarvaris Jackson and slightly smaller. If he gets his chance and does not succeed, the fans will become more bitter and resentful than ever. Peterson can only carry so many seasons on his back and he will want to be adaptable to the schemes and visions of the new staff. Too late I think. He’s going to try too hard and mess himself up again. This season has the potential to be disastrous. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am.

  30. Z and T are the two closest men you could call coaches at Minn in my lifetime, or even men. Here we come!

  31. I hear vikings fans talk all the time about how great the roster is and i just never see it.


    QB – sucks
    RB – one of the best ever
    WR – Jennings is decent to good but can’t get the ball from a bad QB.
    WR – Patterson flashed but is in his 2nd year. Maybe he’s great, maybe he’s good and maybe he disappears.
    OL – decent, nobody to write home about but no real pansies either.
    TE – good.

    DE- Robison has been a good rusher but is 31 and doesn’t have Allen opposite him any longer. I doubt he can match his 9 sack total. Probably closer to 5-6 this year.
    DE – Griffen. We’ll see if he’s an every down player. But he certainly hasn’t been anything special.
    DT – Floyd was a disappointment as a rookie. I don’t hold out hope for any big improvement. Joseph is a decent nose.
    LBs – Barr is a total unknown. Is Brinkley going to be the MLB? Not good. Always liked Greenway.
    DBs – Love Smith at S but Rhodes Munnerlyn and Blanton? Toast.

    So one great player, a handful of decent to good players and a crappy QB. That’s a good recipe to finish at the bottom a division that has two good QBs, one great QB and a number of top end players at key positions.

  32. Not bad questions, but I think the bigger questions are about the defense, and the OL, not the skill position players on offense.

    Can the OL keep the QB (whomever that is) off his back and allow him time to throw instead of running for his life? Can the middle of that defense improve enough to become a force instead of a liability? Can the DBs improve enough to prevent a late game-tying or game winning drive? Can Anthony Barr actually function as a 4-3 LB, or would he be better as a DE in that defense? Can Mike Zimmer get the most out of his talent instead of allowing it to languish like his predecessors did for the first half of last season?

  33. says: Aug 4, 2014 12:24 PM

    Don’t know how they’ll do against the rest of the NFL but you can guarantee an 0-6 record within the division. Rodgers, Cutler, and Stafford will carve up that MN defense every time they play. That may not be a popular prediction to read but it is the truth as many of us see it.

    Uh, coach killa,
    Would you want to bet on this? I will give you 100 to 1 odds

  34. Vikings this year? Super Bowl.
    T-Wolves this year? NBA finals.
    Twins next year? World Series.
    Wild next year? Stanley Cup finals.

    You heard it here first, fans.

  35. Last year, the Vikings won 5 games, and had the lead in the last 30 seconds of 4 others games…only to lose all 4 (5 if you count the tie with GB). All this despite being decimated by injuries and having the worst QB situation in the league. All things being equal, if Zimmer can just get his D to play better in the last two minutes of the game, this team has an excellent shot at being a 9-10 win playoff team. And with Norv running the show on O, it won’t be hard for the pass game to improve in 2014 as well. Still a tough road when you have to play GB, CHI and DET 6 times a year…but the Vikes are not as bad as fans of those three teams would like to believe.

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