I’ll begin my series of previews of NFC North teams with the Minnesota Vikings. After being a play away from going to the Super Bowl, the Vikings followed that season up with a dismal 2010 campaign. The season started off with the annual Brett Favre mania during training camp. With Brett Favre came drama between him and head coach, Brad Childress. The fighting between coach and player was the beginning of the tumultuous season that included the firing of Brad Childress after ten games, the injury to Sidney Rice, the Metrodome losing it’s roof, Brett Favre being concussed and him losing his streak of consecutive games started. The Vikings ended up finishing the season 6-10.
Leslie Frazier will enter his first full year as head coach with the Vikes. The Vikings drafted future franchise quarterback Christian Ponder (Florida St.) in the first round and tight end Kyle Rudolph (Notre Dame) in the second to help out the offense. The Vikings made a splash after the lockout when they signed veteran QB Donavan McNabb to a one-year contract. Don’t be scared fellow Lions fans, I’m not expecting much out of McNabb. As you probably remember, last year when McNabb and the ‘Skins took on the Lions McNabb was awful and was later benched in the game. Also, McNabb doesn’t have Sidney Rice as an option at receiver this year as he left for Seattle.
A positive for the Minnesota Vikings is that they still have one of the best halfbacks in the league in Adrian Peterson. Peterson ran for about 1,300 yards last year in 15 games. Another threat for the Vikings is explosive WR Percy Harvin. However, last year Harvin struggled with constant migranes and it may have hindered his performance. After an inconsistent year, the offensive line will need to improve if they want to have sucess this year.
On the other side of the ball, the Vikings ranked 25th in total defense last year. The team is especially weak in the secondary. Last year, cornerbacks Cedric Griffin and Chris Cook missed a combined 24 games. In a division with pretty good quarterbacks, that spells trouble. The Vikings spent their third-round selection on defensive end Christian Ballard out of Iowa. Ballard will join former Iowa Hawkeye player, Chad Greenway on defense. Greenway led the team in tackles last year with 144 tackles and will be they key to the defence this year.
My Prediction for the 2011 Minnesota Vikings: 5-11, 4th in NFC North