Friday, September 7, 2012
2012 SEASON OUTLOOK
The 2012 Minnesota Vikings season most likely will not feature the playoffs -- but there is still reason for a bit of optimism. Besides returning All-Pros like Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson, the squad has some solid youngsters coming through the ranks. The 2012 draft was kind to the Vikings. They picked up Matt Kalil and Harrison Smith, both in the first round. These two picks addressed two of the biggest problems facing the Vikings last season, offensive line and the secondary.
While Kalil is pretty much slated to become a perennial Pro Bowler and franchise Left Tackle, there is a gamble with Smith. But I like the kid. He's a good run stopper, he's working hard to gain NFL respect, and he's already a huge improvement over what the team fielded at the position last season. It should be fun to see them possibly develop into Pro Bowlers.
Adrian Peterson should be carrying the rock Week 1 vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars. The man is as ready as it gets, he said it himself. Sure he recovered extremely quick from the knee surgery, much faster than normal -- but... have you seen this man? Beast-mode has a picture of him next to it in the dictionary. He's passed all the tests the team required for him to be declared ready. He's 100%, as strong and healthy as he can be. Worried about another injury? Any carry could be his last. You can't leave this thoroughbred on the sideline in a game you need to win.
Best case scenario for this 2012 squad is hovering around an 8-8 record. But if we want that, beating inferior teams is a must. With the Vikings schedule, they need to be at least 6-2 or 5-3 to be respectable. The first eight games only feature two foes where the Vikings are drastically overmatched -- the San Francisco 49ers and the Detroit Lions (and the 3-13 Vikings last year fought to the wire with the Detroit).
Starting that strong is a possibility. Finishing strong really is not. The next eight games feature the bulk of the divisional matchups and the Houston Texans (Super Bowl contenders), games the Vikings are more likely to lose. But, as I said, the terrible 2011 team led by Joe Webb was a goal line stop away from winning in Detroit. And let's find out where the Chicago Bears defense stands if their most important piece, their MLB Brian Urlacher isn't ready to be dominant like usual.
Of course all this hinges on strong play from hungry guys. Our team has a strong mix of young talent and experienced vets. This definitely won't be our year, but it would be nice to see the Vikings throw some hay-makers and spoil the playoff plans for a couple NFC North teams.