Vikings camp preview: The offense

  • Updated: July 25, 2013 - 12:20 AM

Coordinator Bill Musgrave

FRESH FACE

The Vikings gambled $47.5 million over five years that Greg Jennings can do as much for them as he has done against them since 2006. In 15 meetings over seven seasons, Jennings and his Packers were 11-4 as Jennings racked up 68 catches for 1,018 yards (15.0 yards per catch) and 10 touchdowns. Maybe that’s why a smiling Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said, “It’s a great day for the Minnesota Vikings” when Jennings was signed in March. Although Jennings is a savvy veteran, excellent route runner and high-character addition, he also turns 30 in September and has missed 11 games because of knee and core muscle injuries the past two seasons. Soon, we will find out if General Manager Rick Spielman’s risk is rewarded. The Vikings do have a knack of squeezing a few more excellent seasons out of former star Packers (see: Favre, B.; Longwell, R.; Sharper, D.).

TIME TO PROVE IT

Duh. For roughly the 3,245,678th time in the past couple of years, let it be known that Christian Ponder needs to prove himself as an NFL quarterback. Spielman likes to say it takes three years to judge a draft pick. Well, Welcome to Year No. 3, Christian. No pressure, other than the fact Adrian Peterson isn’t getting any younger and the Vikings now have a legitimate backup quarterback in Matt Cassel. It’s Ponder’s team, but don’t think for a moment that won’t change with another one of Ponder’s prolonged skids. Is Ponder the slump-shouldered guy who threw away a winnable game with two interceptions at Green Bay a year ago? Or can he consistently be the confident guy who passed for three touchdowns with no picks and a career-high 120.1 passer rating in the playoff-clinching victory over the Packers at the Metrodome only 28 days later? One way or the other, it’s time to decide.

ROOKIE WATCH

The Vikings thought enough of Cordarrelle Patterson to trade four picks to move back into the first round and select the Tennessee receiver to fill a desperate need. By all accounts, the dynamic Patterson is considered a solid pick and potential triple-threat star along the lines of Percy Harvin, only in a bigger body. The Vikings expect Patterson to fill the kick return threat immediately. As for receiver, well, the word on Patterson is he’s still raw. As in real raw. He might need a year to develop, but the Vikings are sure to at least find a way to take advantage of his deep-ball speed and skills. The Vikings also drafted two guards, Jeff Baca in the sixth round and Travis Bond in the seventh round. Baca will most likely be a backup at left guard. Bond’s nickname at North Carolina was “Tree Top.” Why? Because he’s 6-6, 329 pounds. That’s why. He’ll be in the mix as a backup right guard or left tackle.

COORDINATOR QUEST

Once again, Bill Musgrave has to strive to balance a lopsided offense. Although Peterson is the greatest running back of his generation and defenses stack the line of scrimmage to stop him, Ponder has remained consistently inconsistent since becoming a starter seven games into his rookie season. In a quarterback-driven league, that’s a problem no matter how many yards Peterson piles up. Losing Harvin hurts, obviously, but the addition of Jennings and Patterson, the evolution of tight end Kyle Rudolph and, oh yeah, Peterson in his prime should give Musgrave and Ponder enough tools to improve the league’s 31st-ranked passing attack.

CAMP BATTLE

At 28, Peterson isn’t old. But there should be an urgency to improve at every other position to maximize one of the best running back careers in NFL history. Using that line of thinking, one has a hard time accepting a depth chart that lists Jerome Simpson ahead of Patterson. Yes, Patterson is raw. We have heard that a few thousand times, no doubt said a few thousand times to alleviate pressure from the youngster. But the Vikings traded a lot to move up and nab him in the first round. In one year of major college football, he broke Tennessee’s record for all-purpose yards (1,858). He is big, fast and talented. Simpson was a disappointment a year ago, catching 26 passes with no touchdowns during a season marred by injuries and a suspension.

MARK CRAIG









  • related content

  • Jennings still stalks success with Vikings

    Thursday July 25, 2013

    After years as a foe, new Vikings wideout Greg Jennings has his sights set on proving to his teammates and the NFL that he can still torture secondaries.

  • Mythbusters: McHale's late moves plant positive seeds

    Thursday July 25, 2013

    Was Kevin McHale the general manager of the Wolves really that bad?

  • Wide receiver Greg Jennings

  • Running back Adrian Peterson came within 9 yards of breaking the NFL single-season rushing record and won MVP honors in 2012. What will he do for an encore?

  • Quarterback Christian Ponder

  • Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson

  • Vikings Adrian Peterson ran with the ball during the 3rd day of Vikings minicamp at Winter Park on 6/20/13.] Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune bbisping@startribune.com Adrian Peterson/roster.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: B. McCarthy 3 FINAL
Toronto - WP: J. Happ 4
Philadelphia - LP: A. Burnett 5 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: D. Gee 6
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Hughes 2
Minnesota - LP: R. Nolasco 8 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 12
Boston - WP: C. Buchholz 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: A. Cobb 0
Detroit - LP: R. Porcello 2 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Quintana 6
Texas - LP: N. Cotts 2 FINAL
Houston - WP: J. Veras 3
Chicago Cubs - LP: C. Villanueva 6 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: P. Neshek 9
Oakland - LP: S. Kazmir 1 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: M. Shoemaker 8
Milwaukee - LP: K. Lohse 5 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 15
Los Angeles - WP: H. Ryu 7 FINAL
San Diego - LP: E. Stults 1
Washington - LP: T. Roark 3 FINAL
Seattle - WP: H. Iwakuma 5
Colorado - LP: J. De La Rosa 2 FINAL
Arizona - WP: C. Anderson 6
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 0 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: A. Wood 1
Cleveland 4 Suspended
Kansas City 2
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 FINAL
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 FINAL
Texas 38
(1) Florida State 37 FINAL
Oklahoma State 31
(14) Wisconsin 24 FINAL
(13) LSU 28
Idaho 0 Postponed
Florida 0
South Dakota 13 FINAL
(3) Oregon 62
(25) Washington 17 FINAL
Hawaii 16
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
SMU 0 FINAL
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Red Bull New York 0 FINAL
D.C. 2
Los Angeles 3 FINAL
Chivas USA 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 30 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Toronto 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 3:30 PM
Calgary
Phoenix 77 FINAL
Minnesota 82
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many fantasy football teams do you draft?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close