The Minnesota Vikings have had an unusual philosophy for the last few years. It’s called the “Let’s run Adrian Peterson” scheme. And it’s worked. Never was the value of a great running back more evident than last season when the Vikings won 10 games with that type of thinking. And here’s how great Peterson is. Opposing defenses stacked their defense to stop him. Everyone in the stadium knew who was going to get the ball. Yet Peterson, who was coming off major knee surgery, carried the Minnesota Vikings time and again.
Imagine how effective Peterson could be if defenses couldn’t defend only against him. What if the Viking had, gasp, an actual passing game to keep the defenders back and allow Peterson some running room. Vikings ticket holders may have that in their future as Minnesota spent the offseason working some new elements into their passing game, elements that could be productive enough to free Adrian Peterson from his sole status as the Vikings only effective weapon. Element #1 is Greg Jennings, who came over after a very productive career in Green Bay. Jennings give Christian Ponder a seasoned and shifty veteran who can find the open spaces. In the draft came Element #2, Cordarrelle Patterson out of Tennessee. Patterson is far from experienced but he has the athletic ability and plenty of upside. If he absorbs lessons from Jennings he’ll grow to be a high caliber NFL receiver.
What the Vikings do need to make this offense much more effective is some better play from Christian Ponder. He had his highs and lows in 2012. The Vikings will need some consistency and the ability to manage the game, not make mistakes, and get the ball into the hands of his playmakers. If he can do that, Ponder can be successful in this system.
The Minnesota Vikings have their work cut out for them in the NFC North. If the offense improves they can manage a playoff spot. But with the Packers standing in the way Minnesota is going to need some help to win the division.