The Minnesota Vikings offense will have its first year without Adrian Peterson since 2007, so what’s the next step for this unit?
“Purple Jesus” defined the Minnesota Vikings offense for 10 years, with an exception for when Brett Favre took the reigns for his two-year stint. Minnesota’s offensive passing attack was a distant memory under signal callers Tarvaris Jackson, Christian Ponder, Donovan McNabb and Teddy Bridgewater.
Minnesota didn’t know any better and didn’t seem to care much about how dismal their aerial attack was. It was simple reasoning: Go wherever Adrian Peterson takes us.
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Vikings fans watched the NFL evolve into an entire different beast, with most using efficient passing attacks to succeed in the league. Minnesota couldn’t garner any yardage through the air, with most of those seasons resulting in passing yardage performances below 3,000 yards on the season. In this league of today, that is just completely unacceptable.
Teddy Bridgewater provided a glimmer of hope with his 3,000-plus-yard passing performance throughout the 2015-16 season. Even though the touchdowns didn’t come in abundance it was at least something. Then again, the following season Sam Bradford (acquired via trade from the Philadelphia Eagles before the season started) Threw for 3,800+ yards and 20 touchdowns through 15 games. Minnesota hadn’t seen that kind of production since Brett Favre.
Now with Peterson set to move on to another team, does Minnesota ride the proverbial Bradford train through thick and thin, or do they hope to find another work-horse back and continue to be one of the few throwback teams in the league? Vikings must become more diverse in all phases, which must lead to Peterson’s departure.
With Pat Shurmur’s west coast style of offense, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see the Vikings offense ran out of the gun more often than not. Latavius Murray three down experience and McKinnon’s change of pace should be enough to carry the run game along with a rookie if Minnesota chooses to draft another running back.
Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs should thrive in the short and intermediate routes, while this offense will need someone like Laquon Treadwell to become a play making target in the red zone with tight end Kyle Rudolph. A wide receiver or two should be expected to be picked in the draft while another tight end may be on the radar as well.
As this team shifts its focus on improving their offense, none of it will fruition if their offensive line is as dreadful as it was last season. Injuries, inexperience, and players playing out of position just didn’t suite the front five, leading to one of their worst seasons in team history at running the football.
Without a future Hall of Famer toting the rock anymore, the whole dimension of this team has shifted. Whether if it’ll be for the better or worse has yet to be seen, lets just hoping the beginning of a new era leads to some sustained success.