Dec 30, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) carries the ball during the third quarter against the Green Bay Packers at the Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Packers 37-34. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Ranking The NFC North: Third Place, The Minnesota Vikings

The NFC North has been one of the most competitive division in the NFL for the last three seasons with each team registering at least one 10 win season over that time. After successful offseason acquisitions through the draft and through free agency this season shouldn’t be much different. This is one of the few divisions in the NFL where each team has a chance of winning the division.

Offseason Moves:

The Vikings acquired the Packers best wide receiver in free agency in Greg Jennings and added three players in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft in Sharrif Floyd, the best defensive tackle in the class on most boards, Xavier Rhodes, a big physical corner, and Cordarrelle Patterson. In the fifth round the Vikings added the best punter in the 2013 draft class in Jeff Locke. Locke will be able to turn the field for the Vikings, which is a huge asset for a team that already controls the tempo of most of the games they play in, because their elite running back Adrian Peterson.

Needless to say the Vikings have positioned themselves to compete and even win the NFC North. I rank the Vikings third in the NFC North for one reason, Christian Ponder.

Why The Vikings finish third in the NFC North:

The Vikings have a solid offensive line, a solid defensive line, an improved secondary, good receivers, but a very average quarterback with an average arm. With Matthew Stafford and Aaron Rodgers in the division, I don’t see the Vikings finishing ahead of either the Lions or Packers,  even with Adrian Peterson in the backfield.

Christian Ponder is entering his third year in the leauge, typically a defining year for quarterbacks. If  Ponder doesn’t build on some of the flashes of talent we’ve seen from him the Vikings will take a step back this year and will have to start questioning if he is a franchise quarterback.

Why the Vikings will win the NFC North:

With Adrian Peterson in the backfield the Vikings are a threat to score every time he touches the ball.  The Vikings filled just about every need they had this season through free agency and through the draft and gave Ponder more weapons along the outside, making life much easier on him and the running game. Anytime the Vikings hand Adrian Peterson the ball they have a chance to score. Not many teams have a player of his caliber which says something. The Vikings could be a very dangerous team this year.

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Tags: Adrian Peterson Christian Ponder Minnesota Vikings NFC North

  • Billy Schwandt

    I love it rated third with all the improvements. Keep telling them they are not that good and just wait and see what happens this year!!! SKOL VIKINGS Superbowl Bound!!!

  • Josh Smith

    Matthew Stafford had a lower completion percentage and a lower QB rating than Ponder last year Plus the Lions have a non existent run game and a horrible baby of a coach. Good luck this year getting above .500. I’m not too worried about a team that won 4 games last year.

  • Wayne Davis

    Is this supposed to be some kind of joke?…it’s almost like the bears aren’t even in the Norse… Even with a whole new coaching staff I’d still put them ahead of the lions …..this years schedule is much hard then last so for a team that struggle against easier team may not fare well just sayin

  • Brandon

    “Braden Shackelford was introduced to Lions football for the first time when his grandpa played an old VHS tape of Barry Sanders. He has been a Lions fan ever since.”
    I am still surprised that Braden put Lions in second place and not first. If I was a writer for my team I would rank my team no 1. SKOL Vikes!!

  • Rob

    Goofy Lions fans must be smoking the same stuff as Toronto’s mayor. The awful Detroit Lions won 4 games last year, and this comedian has them finishing above the Bears and Vikings who each won 10 games last year. Enough said. Lions will be lucky to win 6 games this year.

    • Zac Snyder

      You can disagree with an opinion, but your reasoning for disagreeing is laughable. We’re just a year removed from the Lions coming off a 10-win season while the Vikings won three. The basic premise of your disagreement is invalidated by what transpired during the 2012 season. Weak sauce, bro.

      • Rob

        ‘Weak sauce’ is suggesting that 2011 results are as relevant to 2013 as the more recent 2012 results. Thanks for playing.

        • Zac Snyder

          No man, you’re totally missing the point. It isn’t about using 2011 over 2012 to say anything about 2013. It’s using what happened from 2011 to 2012 to show that your original comment is invalid.

          Based on your logic, the Vikings couldn’t have finished ahead of the Lions last year because the Vikings only had three wins the year before while the Lions had ten.

          • Rob

            Whatever you say. Bottom line — the Lions are in decline. The Vikings are on the rise. The Bears will likely improve, and the Packers will continue to be the bes team in the division. Add it all up, and that puts the Lions in last place. As usual.

  • J-Rod

    Hahaha… What was the prediction last year? 3 wins? Keep up the good work…

  • Daniel Laxen

    I believe the Lions will be better this year. I also believe that the Vikings will be also. Until the Lions have some semblance of a running game they will struggle. The Lions couldn’t control the ball on the ground enough to help their ALL STAR WR Calvin Johnson.

    Matthew Stafford for all his hype has not been the man up there either. Sure he has talent, but struggles more often than not it seems. The Lions have the personality of their goofy coach and there in lies the struggles. My assessment is he’s a bit immature and this has translated to the way the players also preform.

    The Vikings have addressed many needs and the 3 first round picks appear to be just what the Dr. ordered. Should Ponder continue to grow and NOT turn the ball over this team will be a tough out for years to come.

    The Bears are the team I see sliding this season. A new head coach will be trying for a team that has failed to maintain pace as the year has went on 2 years in a row…Cutler has a rather cavalier attitude in my eyes. While I admire him he doesn’t strike me as a competitor the likes of Brady or Manning.

    The Packers have the best QB in the league and are the team to beat this year again. They too have issues running the ball and we all know how 1 dimensional teams fare especially in the playoffs. They have a great core of WRs and that helps, but the lack of any threat in the backfield does hurt. Their O-lines needs to be upgraded also. Rodgers getting sacked a bunch doesn’t bode well for the Packers…
    How I rate them as of June 3rd,

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