Nov 7, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) celebrates his touchdown with tight end John Carlson (89) during the third quarter against the Washington Redskins at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Redskins 34-27. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
It’s no secret that this year has been disappointing for the Minnesota Vikings. Last year, they were a playoff team with a bright looking future. This year, they are a 2-7 team that already has a large portion of their fan base looking forward to the NFL Draft.
Here are some grades for each position on offense:
- Quarterbacks – Grade: D-
Nov 3, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (7) throws in the pocket against the Dallas Cowboys at AT
One of the biggest problems on offense come from the play at the quarterback position. Whether it is Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman, or Matt Cassel, the inconsistency and constant rotation of players has been both frustrating and confusing at times. There have been a couple occasions where the quarterbacks looked competent, but they have been very rare and very infrequent. Minnesota will be looking for a solution at quarterback during the offseason.
- Offensive Line – Grade C-
Nov 3, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan (65) in action against the Dallas Cowboys at AT
Although many expected the quarterbacks to struggle this year, the problems on the offensive line are a bit more of a surprise. With Matt Kalil being sick during the offseason and dealing with back issues, it is expected that he would struggle. Phil Loadholt played fairly well prior to his concussion when backup J’Marcus Webb had to take over the starting duties. Center John Sullivan has been his normal, solid self after dealing with a microfracture during his offseason. It has been the play of the guards that has been the biggest problem. Brandon Fusco and Charlie Johnson are both players that Minnesota was hoping could be long term answers for the organization at guard, but just haven’t been able to pan out. This unit has struggled to both make holes for Adrian Peterson and contain the pass rush. Improvement is needed.
- Running Backs – Grade A-
Nov 7, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) breaks away from Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher (59) during the fourth quarter at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Redskins 34-27. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Any time you have Adrian Peterson on your team, the running back position will most likely be the strongest spot on the roster. Through 9 games, Peterson has rushed for 9 touchdowns and 786 yards despite the struggling offensive line that was blocking for him and being without fullback Jerome Felton during his suspension. His backups, however, have not been stellar. Toby Gerhart only has four rushes this year, but has one touchdown and 28 rushing yards when giving last year’s NFL MVP a rest. This grade could easily have been an A+ if Peterson had some better blocking for him.
- Wide Receivers – Grade: B-
Sep 29, 2013; London, UNITED KINGDOM; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson (81) runs between Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen (28) and safety Robert Golden (21) during the NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Martin-USA TODAY Sports
The Vikings have a much improved receiving group from last year. They paid a LOT of money to bring in former Green Bay Packer Greg Jennings, traded up in the draft to get Cordarrelle Patterson, and signed back Jerome Simpson. Strangely enough, through 9 games Jerome Simpson is the team’s leading receiver with 491 yards with Greg Jennings gaining on him with 410 receiving yards. Patterson got the first touchdown of his career in week 9 and should be more involved in the offense going forward.
- Tight Ends – Grade: C+
Nov 11, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) celebrates his touchdown with running back Toby Gerhart (32) and tight end John Carlson (89) during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at the Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Lions 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
While Kyle Rudolph hasn’t had the explosive kind of season that he had last year, he has been a very serviceable part of an offense that needs him to pick up first downs on a regular basis. Since his ankle injury, John Carlson has stepped it up and played like the guy he was in Seattle, but the team will need him to maintain this kind of play on a more consistent basis. Rhett Ellison has been inactive most of the year due to injury and has yet to be a factor. Meanwhile, who can forget Chase Ford picking up Adrian Peterson from nearly touching the ground and carrying him into the end zone?