Head Coach: Leslie Frazier
2012 Record: 10-6-0 (2nd in NFC North)
New Players: WR Greg Jennings; QB Matt Cassel.
Gone Elsewhere: WR/RB Percy Harvin; WR Michael Jenkins; LB Jasper Brinkley; P Chris Kluwe; CB Antoine Winfield.
Offense: Adrian Peterson!
What a year that guy had in 2012, rushing for 2,097 (just nine yards from breaking the single season rushing record) while averaging six yards a carry and scoring twelve touchdowns. WOW!
Peterson did this coming off major knee surgery following the serious setback in Week 16 of the 2011 season.
Other than AP, Minnesota has quarterback Christian Ponder (2,935 passing yards with 18 TD and 12 interceptions) back for another go round with former Chiefs' QB Matt Cassel coming over as a free agent to provide backup.
The wide receivers will have a new look this year as Percy Harvin was traded to Seattle and Michael Jenkins departed for free agency.
Greg Jennings comes over from Green Bay and along with rookie Jarius Wright (Arkansas) will form the starting tandem. Stephen Burton and Cordarrelle Patterson and Jerome Simpson will also be on hand in training camp. Of those mentioned, only Jennings has starting experience in the NFL.
The offensive line has center John Sullivan, tackles Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt and guards Charlie Johnson and Brandon Fusco.
Defense: Jared Allen (12 QB sacks) leads this unit at Defensive End along with ends Brian Robison (8 1/2 sacks) and Everson Griffen (eight sacks) and tackles Kevin Williams and Letroy Guion. Rookie Sharrif Floyd (Florida) will add depth to this talented squad.
The linebackers include Chad Greenway, Erin Henderson and rookie Gerald Hodges (Penn State) along
The secondary, which was lit up frequently last year, will feature Chris Cook and rookie Xavier Rhodes (Florida State) at the corner spots while Jamarca Sanford and Harrison Smith (three interceptions, two returned for scores) play safety. Josh Robinson had two picks in 2012 and adds depth to the secondary.
OUTLOOK: The Vikings made big strides last year going 10-6 and making the playoffs after a disastrous 2011 season.
For the team to take the next step and advance further in the post-season, QB Christian Ponder has to step up to the next level and help lead the team along with Peterson.
Minnesota was ranked 31st in the NFL in passing (just 172 yards per game) last season while Peterson led the ground game to 165 yards per game, which was second in the NFL.
The defense was good against the run, ranking number eleven in the league but struggled against the pass (24th ranked in NFL allowing 244 yards passing per game) and thus the move to bring in new faces in the secondary and up front with first round picks Sharrif Floyd (DE) and cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
Head Coach Leslie Frazier saw his job spared with the success last season but in today's NFL, you are only as good as last week and the Vikings will not be sneaking up on anybody this year.
The NFC North is a rugged division and a tough schedule looms large in the 2013 season for the Vikings as well.
An 8-8 season is likely as the team attempts to show that last season was not a fluke.
Sept. 8- at Detroit
Sept. 15- at Chicago
Sept. 22- vs. Cleveland
Sept. 29- vs. Pittsburgh
Oct. 6- BYE WEEK
Oct. 13- vs. Carolina
Oct. 21- at NY Giants
Oct. 27- vs. Green Bay
Nov. 3- at Dallas
Nov. 7- vs. Washington
Nov. 17- at Seattle
Nov. 24- at Green Bay
Dec. 1- vs. Chicago
Dec. 8- at Baltimore
Dec. 15- vs. Philadelphia
Dec. 22- at Cincinnati
Dec. 29- vs. Detroit