Minnesota Vikings 2015 Season Preview

Last season was a building block for the Minnesota Vikings organization. Losing Adrian Peterson for the year place forced the Vikings to lay everything on the line and evaluate their talent. By the end of the season, the Vikings did miss the playoffs with a 7-9 record, what the team did do, though, was laying the groundwork for a dominant 2015 season. NFL experts and others around the league are starting to realize that Minnesota is not joking around this season and has the tools to push their NFC North rivals to the max. Let's take a look at the upcoming season for the Vikings and what can be expected from the purple people eaters. 

Offense:

This season's offense is one of the best that Minnesota has ever seen in recent history. Last seasons Pepsi Offensive Rookie of the Year, Teddy Bridgewater, is ready and excited to make a bigger impact with the offense. The biggest boost of all is Adrian Peterson joining the team again after his off-field issues kept him out last season. Mix in Mike Wallace, Charles Johnson, and Kyle Rudolph, and Minnesota holds a dangerous arsenal of weapons. 

A word of advice for all the Johnson fans out there, be careful how much pressure you place on him. Just because he finished the second half of last season on a high-note, does not mean he will be an immediate game-changer. Let's not forget he was originally drafted by the Green Bay Packers two years ago, then cut. Traditionally, Green Bay is fantastic when it comes to evaluating Wide Receiver talent and seeing Johnson get cut make some wonder if either the Packers got it right or if Minnesota is more hopeful than knowledgeable on Johnson. 

The big question mark for Minnesota's offense this year is how the team responds to losing Phil Loadholt on the offensive line. Loadholt was a massive cog in the well-oiled machine of the Vikings line. With Loadholt out, fourth round draft pick, T.J. Clemmings is the next man up. Traditionally, rookie lineman are hit or miss in the NFL, so Clemmings will be watched very closely my Mike Zimmer and the Vikings coaching staff. As the saying goes "there is no better time than the present to learn" and that is exactly what Clemmings is going to do and in a hurry. 

Defense:

Last season the Vikings defense ranked 11th in the league in points allowed (343) according to Pro-football-reference.com. For a reference point, the league average for points allowed was 361 points, so the Vikings did a good job of keeping opponents at bay. Minnesota snagged 13 interceptions last season, which actually tied the Seattle Seahawks legendary secondary. Going along with defensive accomplishments, the Vikings recorded 41 sacks, ranking ninth best in the league. 

Along the front line for the Vikings stand three talented players, Brian Robison, Everson Griffin and Sharrif Floyd. Each player deserves respect for their playing style and work ethic. Opposing lineman fear both Vikings lineman and know how hard it is to keep them out of the opposing backfield. It's no secret that the Vikings miss having Jared Allen running around the outside edge, but that is how the world of sports at times. 

The linebackers and secondary are incredibly talented and hold the keys to how far Minnesota want's to go this season. Anthony Barr and veteran Chad Greenway anchor the outside linebacker spots this season. Greenway is running out of gas and might think of retiring in the next two or three seasons. His career has been great, however, the life of an NFL linebacker is brutal and not pleasant on your body after multiple hard-hitting seasons. 

Xavier Rhodes, Terence NewmanTrae Waynes, Harrison Smith and the rest of the Vikings secondary carry multiple talented and explosive players. Rhodes and Smith look for continued growth but also will be called upon to anchor the protection against opponents deep passing attacks. If anyone drafted or plans to draft the Vikings defense in Fantasy Football, this group could be a dark horse candidate for best secondary of the season. 

Overall:

Minnesota will surprise many NFL fans and experts this season. Based off their schedule, there is a great chance the team can go 11-5 or even 12-4. This, of course, goes off the notion that all the important players stay healthy and produce at or above their expectations. The Vikings can make the playoffs this season, it just comes down to how Green Bay and Detroit do, but if the Vikings can grab a win against both teams, they will go a long way to a possible new division champion. If given the chance, try to catch a Vikings game or two this season, the level of play is going to surprise you and maybe even make you a closet fan of the Vikings. 

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