Any Minnesota Vikings fan can tell you this last season was a classic Minnesota Vikings season. It all started with unbelievable optimism among fans with a 5-0 start to the year and was the last undefeated team in the NFL.
For the most part, it was the injury bug that ended up dooming the Vikings. Losing the team’s starting tackles and then the rest off the offensive line starting dropping like flies. The losses of the team’s starting quarterback and All-Pro running back did not help matters either, which resulted in an 8-8 finish.
That’s where the majority of the question marks begin for the team this offseason. After Teddy Bridgewater went down with a brutal knee injury, the team traded a first round pick to trade for former Eagles QB Sam Bradford. Bridgewater’s knee injury was a lot worse than people had originally thought. According to the most recent reports, the Pro Bowl QB is no where near returning to football related activities, and may not play next year.
With one year left on Bradford’s deal the Vikings need to decide if they are going to extend his contract as there are some fears that Bridgewater might not ever be able to play football again. Bradford played very well despite the constant pressure that he faced all year due to the poor play of the offensive line, more than likely the team will extend the quarterback’s contract, but may wait to see how the next season plays out.
Then there is the questions surrounding that of running back Adrian Peterson. Peterson has worn a purple and gold uniform for his entire career, but after injuries plagued him last year, and with his salary set to be $18 million next season, his future with the club has been in doubt.
The team has yet to contact Peterson or his agent about possibly restructuring the running back’s contract.
There are some other teams that have been linked to Peterson if he does hit free agency. One team that has been strongly linked to the Vikings’ all time leading rusher is the New York Giants, back on February 15 Peterson tweeted, “The Giants been making some interesting moves.”
The Giants have already released their starting running back Rashad Jennings, saving the team around $3 million in cap space. They also have released wide receiver Victor Cruz, saving the club an additional $3 million.
Other teams Peterson has been linked to are NFC North division rivals Green Bay and Detroit, who both have running back issues of their own.
ESPN’s Josina Anderson spoke with Peterson recently, regarding people’s concerns for his down year, in which he responded that he was, “perplexed” by people continuing to question if he has anything left in the tank. A lot of the reason Peterson, and the other Vikings running backs struggled this year has to do with the most pressing need the Vikings must fix this offseason – the offensive line.
The Vikings offensive line was awful last season, giving up lots of pressure to Bradford and not backing teams off the line of scrimmage in the run game by not being able to create any running lanes. Issues were a big reason why, but the offensive line needs to be addressed this offseason.
With no first round pick to use in April’s NFL draft, it only makes it that much harder for the team to address these questions.