The Minnesota Vikings go into the 2017-18 season as outsiders for a playoff spot. The Vikings find themselves in the all too familiar position of chasing both the Packers and Lions. The offense of the Vikings has plenty of holes that are top priority in Minnesota. That said, Viking fans have reason to be hopeful. The Vikings started off blazing hot last season before falling off (largely due to injury). This year, the team is hoping their great defense from previous seasons continues to improve and is able to slow down offenses like Green Bay or Detroit.
So, we went to Vikings camp to see how the team is fairing heading into this year. What we were able to observe at camp showed both reason for concern and celebration to Viking fans. The Vikings are obviously behind the eight-ball on offense. With Sam Bradford still the starter at QB and Teddy Bridgewater still getting fully healthy, the offense seemed predictable and stale. At practice, the lack of variety in the plays called was obvious. The Vikings like to run it and then roll-out to capitalize on the play action. The running game looked decent in practice, and could be the best part of the offense this year. However, the team never attempted to really spread the field at all. Every pass play was a crossing route or simple dump pass, with TE Kyle Rudolph and WR Stefon Diggs being the only real dangers there. That said, Rudolph and Diggs were both very impressive in person, and could be major fantasy targets to keep in mind this season.
On offense though, the biggest liability is the line for the Vikings. Each lineman we saw practice had several occasions where they were straight-up embarrassed by the defense. The line last season was an area of concern in Minnesota, and it hasn’t seemed to improve. Fans always point out that Bradford’s completion percentage last season is largely due to rarely passing downfield, but it’s hard to call those kind of plays when he doesn’t have time. Especially on a team where the health of the QB is such a question mark, this line is a huge roadblock for success.
The Vikings defense, on the other hand, didn’t disappoint. The secondary and linebacker core especially looked sharp in drills. Stars like Rhodes and Barr led the charge, but perhaps the depth of the defense was most impressive. There were no areas of huge concern to derail this unit. A very solid group across the board for the Vikings could be the secret for a playoff run, but it’s a defense that may have to pitch some shutouts to really carry their offense this season.
How do you think the Vikings will finish in the NFC North? Let us know on the Discuss page or comments below!
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