The Minnesota Vikings are a team on the rise in the National Football League, but here are 12 reasons the franchise will be hoisting a Lombardi trophy soon.
Unlike the 2015 Minnesota Vikings team, this 2016 squad will not be sneaking up on anybody. This young team on the rise is officially on the NFL contenders radar.
The NFL offseason usually marks that time of year when writers start making their proverbial lists, and the Vikings, both as a team and individually, are on a lot of them.
There hasn’t been this much excitement and anticipation going into a season since Brett Favre rolled into town. The 2016 Minnesota Vikings have lofty expectations, and why shouldn’t they?
Here are a dozen reasons the 2016 Minnesota Vikings win the Super Bowl:
1. Mike Zimmer
It appears coach Zimmer knows what he is doing. In two seasons he has managed to turn a struggling team with no identity into a defensive stalwart with legitimate title aspirations. He’s widely considered one of the leagues best defensive minds, both in scheme and calling plays.
2. Rick Spielman
You have to give him credit for hiring Zimmer when team after team went in another direction. It was the break both Zimmer and Spielman needed. In case you haven’t noticed Spielman is also becoming quite the draft guru. After making some early mistakes in his tenure he has manged to stockpile talent and draft picks over the last few years. (including an additional third and fourth round pick in next years draft)
3. Teddy Bridgewater
Bridgewater has his struggles but being a great game manager and leader are not one of them. Only two seasons into his career Teddy is nowhere near a finished product, will his throwing stats start to climb, most likely. Teddy led the Vikings to an 11-5 record and snatched the NFC North title away from the Green Bay Packers. Bridgewater will get better, he’s already off to a great start.
4. Minnesota Vikings assistant coaches
George Edwards, Jerry Gray, Tony Sparano, Norv Turner, Mike Priefer, the list could go on and on. Mike Zimmer is not afraid to bring in the best coaching available, as a few are even former head coaches themselves. Edwards is on the right trajectory to land a head coaching job of his own in the very near future.
5. Playoff loss to Seattle
“The kick missed round’ the lakes”, Blair Walsh’s epic fail left the team feeling bitter. They will get a chance at redemption come playoff time. Although the Vikings playoff experience ended in a loss, it’s still experience none the less.
6. U.S. Bank Stadium
The Vikings play with pride and they will defend their billion dollar beauty. Having gone 6-2 at home last season the Vikings will look to keep their home winning ways rolling. The Vikings will christen their new ship September 18th against the Packers.
7. Minnesota Viking veteran players
This includes players like Adrian Peterson, Chad Greenway, Terence Newman, Joe Berger, Captain Munnerlyn, Brian Robison, and company. Players that can think like coaches on the field are invaluable and the Vikings have some of the best. Whether having to fill in for injury or flat-out winning the position in camp, the Viking veterans are up to the task.
8. Adrian Peterson
Coming off of an NFL rushing title Peterson is not looking to slow down anytime soon. With an upgraded offensive line another big year may be in store for the ageless Peterson. Adrian has been talking about winning a championship all summer, and is seeking like-minded teammates going into training camp.
9. Offensive line upgrades
Welcome to Minnesota Alex Boone. This might be one of the best moves Rick Spielman has made in free agency. Boone should help lift the play of fellow lineman Matt Kalil, who has struggled since putting in a fantastic rookie campaign.. There will be some intriguing battles to watch this preseason on the offensive line. Competition for playing time will make everyone better. Teddy Bridgewater will not be sacked 44 times in 2016.
10. Harrison Smith
With a long-term contract wrapped up the Minnesota Vikings have the leagues best safety until 2021. The versatile Notre Dame alum does everything well, defending the pass, stopping the run, and blitzing. With another season in Zimmer’s system this should be an exciting and productive year for Smith. Another Pro Bowl may be in the works for 2016, which Harrison may have to skip due to Super Bowl obligations.
11. Minnesota Viking defense as a whole
Defense wins championships and Minnesota will have one of the best. This entire list could have been just on the defensive side of the ball. At every level the Vikings are stacked with talent. Linval Joseph was mentioned as one of Pro Football Focus unstoppable forces. Anthony Barr is already one of the top linebackers in the NFL and his running mate Eric Kendricks is turning into a tackling machine.
Everson Griffen will have a double-digit sack season and youngster Danielle Hunter won’t be far behind. Xavier Rhodes seems to be catching the eye of coach Zimmer this summer, citing his progress in not having to “re-learn” certain things. .
12. Intangibles and Wild Cards
We have yet to see the progress of Trae Waynes since receiving considerably more snaps towards the end of last season and into the playoffs. Speaking of young cornerbacks, how well can Mackensie Alexander perform in pads? What can free agents Emmanuel Lamur, Andre Smith, and Michael Griffin add to an already impressive team.
With the exception of the Lynx, Minnesota’s major sports teams (Wild, Twins, Wolves, and Vikings) have been in a bit of a championship drought in recent history. I remember skipping school back in 1991 to attend the Minnesota Twins World Series fan rally at the dome, 25 years ago. We are due, SKOL!