For Vikings, now it counts

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 2, 2013 - 12:47 PM

As we turn the page on the preseason (thankfully), we’ll finally have a chance to gain some clarity on the Vikings’ various unknowns.

Whew, thankfully that’s over, so now we can move on to football games that actually matter.

It’s safe to put away the NoDoz that came in handy during preseason games. No more evaluation of backups and long shots who might never wear an NFL uniform again.

As we turn the page on the calendar and send the kids back to school, we’re reminded that summer is over and so is the tedious analysis of training camp position battles.

In other words, it’s time for Adrian Peterson to get back to work in his quest to rush for a million yards in a single season.

The Vikings reconvene at Winter Park on Monday to being preparation for Sunday’s season opener in Detroit. Their 1-3 preseason record is meaningless as an indicator of future performance, but it’s fair to ask what, if anything, can be gleaned from those exhibitions.

In truth, it’s difficult to say, at least offensively, because Peterson played only two snaps in the preseason and didn’t touch the ball once. A passing game that benefits from the attention Peterson receives never really clicked, which did nothing to allay concerns about Christian Ponder’s development.

Ponder played only 73 snaps in three preseason games, according to ProFootballFocus. That small sample size made it impossible to gauge Ponder’s chemistry with his new targets, Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson.

Even their supposed dress rehearsal against San Francisco in the third game didn’t present a true picture because the team removed Peterson after only two plays. Sunday’s opener will provide the first true glimpse of how their offense can function.

The Vikings enter the season with a few other unknowns. Will veteran defensive tackle Kevin Williams be ready for the opener after suffering a knee injury on a cheap shot against San Francisco? How will the three-game suspension of Pro Bowl fullback Jerome Felton affect Peterson and the running game? Can the young cornerbacks perform sufficiently in a pass-happy league?

The good news is that the Vikings return 19 of 22 position starters from a team that won 10 games and earned a playoff berth. This isn’t a team filled with new faces.

The 53-man roster announced on Saturday included 12 players who weren’t on the 2012 final roster, a relatively low number compared with other seasons. The group of newcomers includes eight rookies, seven of them draft picks.

The Vikings continued to tweak their roster Sunday by claiming former Chicago Bears tackle J’Marcus Webb off waivers to serve as a backup to Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt. The team released Troy Kropog to make room for Webb and also signed seven players to the practice squad.

General Manager Rick Spielman formulated a plan after a tumultuous 2010 season to build a youthful roster and turn the draft into an organizational bedrock. Of the 53 players on the active roster, 15 were selected in the two most recent drafts.

The Vikings have overseen so much roster turnover in recent years that team should have required players to wear name tags. To fully appreciate their extreme makeover in a league known for its fluidity, just go back to the end of the 2010 season.

The Vikings began that ensuing offseason with 69 players in the organization. Only 18 are still with the team.

They had nine wide receivers; none of them remain. Only three of the 11 offensive linemen and three of the 14 defensive backs still call Winter Park home.

In this case, change was necessary, and all the maneuvering injected the roster with some promising young talent that helped the Vikings orchestrate the largest single-season turnaround in team history in 2012.

And now for the encore.

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San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 7 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 1
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Houston 85 FINAL
Miami 90
Indiana 89 FINAL
Minnesota 107
Utah 105 FINAL
Oklahoma City 91
Portland 93 FINAL
Denver 75
Phoenix 114 FINAL
LA Lakers 108
LA Clippers 107 FINAL
Golden State 125
San Jose 3 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Rangers 4 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 3
Toronto 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Detroit 1 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 2
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
Carolina 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Dallas 6
Florida 4 FINAL(OT)
Colorado 3
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(OT)
Calgary 1
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
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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 NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
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

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