The 2012 season for the Minnesota Vikings was full of bright spots. Adrian Peterson miraculously returned from a torn ACL suffered in the final game of the 2011 season, to play all of 2012.
Peterson fell just nine yards short of the single-season rushing record held by Eric Dickerson.
Quarterback Christian Ponder was able to turn Kyle Rudolph into a Pro-Bowl MVP tight end, as well as manage the Vikings to the playoffs, after suffering through a 3-13 season in 2011.
While the Vikings didn’t make it past the Wild Card round, there is hope in Minnesota. It all may rely on the health of Adrian Peterson, but there is still hope.
The Vikings finished 2012 with a 10-6 record and an appearance in the Playoffs. A surprising season considering they went 3-13 just one season prior.
Positions of Need
Looking ahead to the 2013 season, the Vikings have a few needs across the board. The most pressing need for Minnesota is at wide receiver. Rumors have begun circulating that the team is shopping veteran wide out Percy Harvin.
Losing Harvin would leave a gaping hole in the Vikings' passing attack, and would become their most pressing need heading into the NFL Draft. If Minnesota elects to pass on wide receiver in the first round, they could look to address their need at cornerback.
While Antoine Winfield is still a valuable asset in the secondary, he isn’t getting any younger, and could do well with younger competition that he could also mentor to eventually be his replacement.
If the Vikings aren’t sold at quarterback with Christian Ponder, or with Toby Gerhart as Adrian Peterson’s backup, they could look to address those needs later in the Draft. As always, depth along the interior lines is always a need for every team, as you can never have too much protection for your highly priced skill players.
First Round Strategy
The Vikings are selecting 23rd overall in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. If they do indeed trade Harvin, they could look to replace him with a similar talent in West Virginia wide receiver, Tavon Austin.
However, if Austin is either gone, or the Vikings aren’t as high on him as expected, they could look to fill a need at cornerback with a rising prospect in Washington State’s Desmond Trufant. Both prospects would be immediate starters in Minnesota, and would contribute immediately.
The Vikings could also look to trade out of the 23rd spot and pick up more picks later in the Draft, as the best prospects are going to be found in the middle rounds.
Teams To Keep An Eye On
Each year divisional rivals keep a close on each other’s drafts. This year will be no different, as each NFC North team has glaring needs that they need to address in order to stay competitive within the division.
One team outside of the division that the Vikings should keep a close eye on is the Indianapolis Colts, who select just before them with the 22nd overall pick. The Colts could be in the market for a young wide receiver, much like the Vikings if they no longer have Harvin on the roster.
If the Vikings are sold on grabbing themselves a receiver in round one, look for teams like the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, and Seattle Seahawks to be looking to move their way around the Draft. Another team to look out for is the Pittsburgh Steelers, as they could end up losing veteran wide receiver Mike Wallace to free agency.
2012 – Matt Kalil, OT, USC (4th Overall) & Harrison Smith S Notre Dame (29th Overall)
2011 – Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State (12th Overall)
2010 – Traded to Detroit Lions
2009 – Percy Harvin, WR, Florida (22nd Overall)
2008 – Traded to Kansas City Chiefs