How quickly can a team drop to rock bottom? Just ask the Minnesota Vikings, who went from a 10-6 playoff team just two years ago to a 5-11 embarrassment. Last season, I projected the Vikings would fall to 22nd in 2013 and 90% of you said I was crazy. It appears, I wasn't crazy enough! However, given how that all played out, I am already doubting this ranking as far too much of an overreaction to last season. What do you think?
26. Minnesota Vikings (2013 Record: 5-10-1)
With a rookie quarterback, I am doubtful we will see any improvement despite the solid draft. With the Vikings having Bridgewater up against Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder in training camp, I do believe the Vikings will be starting a rookie in 2014 at the quarterback position. There is always a chance he lights it up from the start, but only a fool would bet on a rookie to succeed immediately.
Key Losses: Jared Allen, Toby Gerhart, Letroy Guion, Josh Freeman
Key Acquisitions: Captain Munnerlyn, Linval Joseph, Jasper Brinkley, Corey Wootton, Kurt Coleman, Tom Johnson
The only saving grace is that the Vikings finished the 2013 season strong, going 4-3-1 down the stretch after a horrendous 1-7 start. With Adrian Peterson his usual beastly self, this team could finish either 4-12 or 12-4. It's easily the most frustrating pick so far, but it does appear all of us expect something closer to 4-12.
We will know more after the first six weeks of the 2014 season, as the Vikings schedule features some pretty talented opponents with the St. Louis Rams, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. If the Vikings somehow make it through that beginning stretch with a .500 record, then they could easily "coast" into the playoffs from there as the only quality non-divisional opponent left on their schedule would be the Carolina Panthers.
Projected Record: 5-11
Kyle: They could be a lot better with Bridgewater, but even then, they’d still have the fourth best team in the division.
Jon: Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson will be fun to watch. With that said, Minnesota is still a few pieces away from being an above .500 team.
Topher: People forget this team has some serious talent and went to the playoffs just a few years ago with an arguably worse roster. While they are still near the bottom of the league new head coach Mike Zimmer could potentially be building a team to compete for that #2 spot with Chicago and Detroit. They have a long way to go but with stout defense and young offense, there is potential long term, but struggles short term.
Jacob: The Vikings had one of the better drafts of any team in the NFL; Barr and Chrichton gives them an immediate upgrade in the pass rush, Antone Exum was a nice late-round pick at corner, and Bridgewater is the franchise QB that Christian Ponder wasn’t. The Vikings are a team who could surprise in 2014, but that all hinges on how Bridgewater can adjust to the NFL game. 5-7 wins.
Laurie: I haven’t jumped on the Norv Turner bandwagon, and although I like Teddy Bridgewater, he’s a rookie and playing rookie QBs is a mistake in my opinion. Even the best in the game – such as, maybe, John Elway and Peyton Manning maybe? – struggled their first seasons. If the defense performs better – and it should – and Bridgewater isn’t on the field the entire game, he may have a decent season but not enough to make the Vikings contenders.
Pete: I love the Teddy Bridgewater pick. I would have been ecstatic had Elway drafted him, however, they will come in last place in their division and won’t sniff the playoffs.