Watching the North: Minnesota Vikings
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The Minnesota Vikings were already struggling when star running back Adrian Peterson was suspended for the duration of the 2014 season. Now Peterson looks to return to the Vikings after a year off. The Vikings are hoping that the maturation of last years first round pick QB Teddy Bridgewater coupled with the return of AP will help the Vikings take a step up this season.
After finishing just 7-9 last season, if Minnesota is to be competitive this season, the Vikings two stars will have to do most of the heavy lifting. The Norsemen didn’t help themselves much in the draft despite having ten picks, six of which came prior to the 6th round. Only of couple of those draft picks figure to contribute in a major way for the Vikings this season.
2015 Draft: Impact Players
The Viking Age
Trae Waynes – CB The Michigan State Spartan standout should be able to jump in and help the Minnesota secondary right away. Waynes is relentless in man-to-man coverage and should prove a useful weapon against the gunslingers in the NFC North.
Eric Kendricks – LB The UCLA linebacker will slide in right in next to his former teammate Anthony Barr whom the Vikings drafted the season before. Kendricks has excellent awareness and should be a force in the center of the Vikings defense.
Stefon Diggs – WR Versatility is the primary characteristic of this player’s game. Norv Turner will use Diggs all over the field and should figure into return game as well.
Early 2015 Outlook
The Viking’s offense is no longer one-dimensional with the return of Adrian Peterson. Assuming Peterson is on the field in time to start the season, opposing teams will have to figure out how to stop two potential ground threats with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s scrambling ability.
Although Bridgewater showed off his big arm last season he still must prove that he can beat teams with the pass. Until that time, the best way to stop the Vikings will be to defend the run.