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.
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.