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Former 1st round pick Bridgewater had a good follow up to his rookie campaign last year. In fact, in many ways his numbers were near identical to his 2014 campaign. He completed 65.3% of his throws last year and 64.4% as a rookie. His yards per attempt stayed near identical (7.23 to 7.26) and his passing touchdowns were 14 in each year. While it is not a bad thing that his numbers stayed constant as many were already solid, the 14 passing touchdowns is a huge concern. I believe that the lack of touchdown production though is attributed to suspect receiver talent. The passing game has been conservative and the Vikings need to open it up in his third season. He has very good timing on his throws and plays the game with a swagger many young quarterbacks do not possess.I Expect 3500+ passing yards and 20+ touchdowns from him in his 3rd season.
Shaun Hill brings plenty of experience to the table and his career touchdown to interception ratio of 49 to 30 is quite good. He will only see the field if Bridgewater suffers injuries but if called upon, Hill can deliver.
After missing most of the 2014 season, Peterson returned with a vengeance last year, rushing for 1485 yards on 327 carries and scored 11 touchdowns. He runs angry and his combination of power, agility and speed appears at a high level still despite turning 31-years old this season. If any running back can hold off father time it is Peterson. He has 11684 career rushing yards. I am betting he will be passed the 13000 yard mark by season end.
There is a lot to like about this former 3rd round pick from Georgia Southern. Jerick McKinnon is explosive and dynamic, often making a defender miss the first tackle. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry last year after averaging 4.8 yards in his rookie season. That is not a fluke. He is a difficult man to bring down in space. He also has caught 48 total passes in his first two seasons. He will spend another season in behind Peterson but if he gets a chance, watch out.
Asiata was the touchdown maker for the Vikings in 2014, scoring ten times but followed that up with zero last year. He is a good short yardage back if needed but clearly the third option in this talented backfield.
Stefon Diggs, a 5th round rookie from Maryland last season emerged as the best receiving option in his first year. He has great football instincts, decent quickness, runs good routes and he is a special player once the ball is in his hands. His strength and ability to get off press coverage may need improvement but he caught 52 passes for 720 yards and 4 touchdowns last year. This is not a very good group of receivers in Minnesota but Diggs is likely the best of the bunch.
Eventually I believe rookie 1st round pick Laquon Treadmill will emerge as WR1 for the Vikings. He is an athletic, tenacious, runs good routes and is tough in traffic. The only reason he wasn't top ten was his poor 40-time but the NFL is not played in a straight line and he will be another example of how the 40-time actually means very little. At 6'2 and 221 pounds, he will add a new dimension to the Vikings passing game.
Jarius Wright has had some moments in his four-year career but he has just 7 career receiving touchdowns and his best season saw only 588 receiving yards. He has nice quickness and deceptive speed but appears more of a roleplayer than a difference maker.
Charles Johnson was a nice little story in 2014 but completely vanished in 2015. He has good size and some potential but for now should not be in your radar.
Patterson was the Vikings first round draft pick in the 2013 draft but the former Tennessee Volunteer has not
lived up to his 1st round pick as of yet and really fell apart last year after two decent seasons. He caught a miserable 2 passes last year as the forgotten man in the offense.
MyCole Pruitt, David Morgan, Rhett Ellison
Rudolph, the former 2nd round pick from Notre Damn finally put the injury bug behind him last year, playing in all sixteen games after missing 15 total games in his previous two seasons. He caught 49 passes for 495 yards and 5 scores last season and finished as the 14th best fantasy tight end. He has great size and good hands and is capable of 60+ receptions and 7+ touchdowns.
MyCole Pruitt didn't do too much as a rookie last year but does have potential to improve going forward and Rhett Ellison has had some moments in his four seasons and has good size and hands. Will be an interesting battle in training camp between these two players along with rookie David Morgan to back up Rudolph.
Projected Starters: LT Matt Kalil, LG Alex Boone, C John Sullivan, RG Brandon Fusco, RT Andre Smith
Key Backups: Phil Loadholt, T.J. Clemmings, Mike Harris, Willie Beavers - rookie, Joe Berger
I love the Vikings moves to shore up the offensive line this offseason and it could move this unit from a good group to a great one. Matt Kahil finally reached his potential last year, looking terrific manning the left tackle slot. The former 4th overall pick is now playing at a level he was supposed to be at coming out of USC. John Sullivan is injury prone but when healthy is a top-ten center in the league. The team needs him to stay healthy and lead from his center position. As a 4th round pick last year, T.J. Clemmings was not supposed to start at right tackle but a serious injury to Phil Loadholt forced him into the lineup and he did a decent job considered his surprise start. I gave the starting nod to free agent signee Andre Smith but without question, Clemmings is in the running for the job. Both Alex Boone, brought in from the 49ers and Brandon Fusco are very good guards. When you put it all together, this starting group can be super this year if the parts come together.
Walsh hit 34 of 39 field goals last year and if he can overcome the devastating missed field goal in the playoffs against Seattle, he should have another strong season.