All within the span of four months, the Vikings went from the high of drafting one of the best quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft to the low of having their star running back indefinitely suspended. They rebounded and won seven games after many wrote them off immediately after Adrian Peterson’s suspension.
The Vikings have all their main stars back from suspension and injury this season. The experience many of their young players earned last season is priceless. Both Jerick McKinnon and Jarius Wright showed they can step in if needed.
Here is the 2015 NFL team preview for the Minnesota Vikings…also, I have no idea who the Vikings guy in the picture is, but he screams ‘I live in Minnesota’, right?
2014 Win/Loss Record: 7-9
Key Additions: WR Mike Wallace, ILB Casey Matthews, CB Terence Newman & QB Shaun Hill
Key Losses: QB Matt Cassel, QB Christian Ponder, FB Jerome Felton, WR Greg Jennings, OG Charlie Johnson, OG Vladimir Ducasse, DE Corey Wootton, ILB Jasper Brinkley & OG Jordan McCray
2015 Draft Picks: CB Trae Waynes, ILB Eric Kendricks, DE Danielle Hunter, OT T.J. Clemmings, TE MyCole Pruitt, WR Stefon Diggs, OT Tyrus Thompson, DE B.J. Dubose, OT Austin Shepherd & OLB Edmond Robinson
Non-Division Schedule: AFC West, NFC West & (Atlanta/New York Giants)
Fantasy Sleeper: TE Kyle Rudolph – Rudolph has been bitten by the injury bug the last two seasons. He played all sixteen games in 2012 and had 53 catches and nine touchdowns. He then missed 15 of the next 32 games. He’s a big target and has great hands for the position. If he stays healthy, he should be a top-ten fantasy tight end. I expect a big season from Teddy Bridgewater and Rudolph will be key to his growth at quarterback.
Offense – QB Teddy Bridgewater, RB Adrian Peterson, WR Mike Wallace, Charles Johnson, Cordarrelle Patterson, TE Kyle Rudolph, LT Matt Kalil, LG Joe Berger, C John Sullivan, RG Brandon Fusco & RT T.J. Clemmings
Defense – DE Brian Robison, DT Sharrif Floyd, DT Linval Joseph, DE Everson Griffen, OLB Chad Greenway, MLB Eric Kendricks, OLB Anthony Barr, CB Xavier Rhodes, CB Terence Newman, SS Antone Exum & FS Harrison Smith
Team Analysis: Minnesota’s 2014 season derailed early in the season when star running back Adrian Peterson was suspended indefinitely. They had to scramble to redesign their playbook for life without Peterson.They were still able to have a 7-9 season, when most thought they would end up picking near the top of the draft. Peterson is now back with the team and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater got some low-pressure experience under center. They didn’t lose too much talent this offseason and was able to get former Pro Bowl receiver Mike Wallace for pennies on the dollar. The NFC North division race will see Green Bay and Detroit battle for the top spot, but Minnesota should be right behind them. I expect Bridgewater will have a big leap in year two and Peterson will use the year of rest to his benefit. He will have fresh legs and another 1,500+ yard season isn’t out of the question. Minnesota will be in the running for the final Wild Card spot in the NFC.
2015 Wins Over/Under Line: 7.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2015 Projected Win/Loss Record: 9-7 (3rd in NFC North)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.