Mister Obvious Says – Adrian Peterson’s return from his suspension last year for all but one game makes the Vikings NFC North contenders … if quarterback Teddy Bridgewater makes great strides in his second season. The acquisition of speedy, sure-handed wide receiver Mike Wallace from Miami will keep opposing defenses honest. They can’t crowd the box trying to stop Peterson while leaving Wallace on an island covered by only a cornerback. The difference obviously will be whether Bridgewater can improve upon his touchdown-to-interception ratio from his rookie season. He threw 14 touchdown passes with 12 interceptions last year.
Biggest Additions – Wallace is a big-play receiver who tied his career-high of 10 touchdown receptions with Miami last year. The former Steelers standout, in his seventh year, averages 62.5 receptions for 972 yards a season.
Biggest Losses – Minnesota’s release of veteran WR Greg Jennings made room for Wallace to come over from Miami. Jennings, in turn, signed with the Dolphins.
Rookie To Watch – Former UCLA LB Eric Kendricks is touted as a defensive rookie of the year candidate by Minnesota because of his instinct, speed and tackling ability.
Marquee Match-up – Seattle comes to town in Week 13 in the Vikings’ biggest non-divisional game at home all season.
Game Most Likely to Win – In Week 16, the Vikings host the New York Giants before traveling to Green Bay for the regular-season finale the following week.
Game Most Likely To Lose – The schedule-makers were not kind having Minnesota play at Arizona in Week 14 on a Thursday night four days after the Vikings host Seattle.
Overall Thoughts – An improving young defense with an offense that features Peterson and Wallace is enough to make Minnesota think of a NFC North title this year. Much of how coach Mike Zimmer’s team fares this year will be based on its offensive consistency and execution with Bridgewater at quarterback. The good news is Bridgewater has 12 starts to his credit from last year and had one of his better games late in the year at Miami. The not-so-good news is that the Vikings’ offensive line that allowed 39 sacks last year mostly returns. Ouch.