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Minnesota Vikings exit interview

The Minnesota Vikings were surprise winners of the NFC North after they defeated the Green Bay Packers in Week 17. Head coach Mike Zimmer was able to rally his troops despite a tumultuous offseason.

It was an offseason that mainly involved Adrian Peterson who was back playing football after he physically abused his child. The Vikings managed to be a consistent football team all year, and they won games that they were supposed to against lesser competition.

Mike Zimmer is a defensive minded coach who has built a solid defense, he also has Adrian Peterson to hand the ball off to. Adrian Peterson rushed for nearly 1,500 yards with teams stacking the box against him, the Vikings didn’t have a very intimidating receiving corps to help out.

Minnesota was one missed kick away from beating the Seattle Seahawks. The Vikings had dominated for three quarters which makes Blair Walsh’s missed field goal even worse. The Vikings are on pace to give Aaron Rodgers and the Packers a lot of trouble in the future.

STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

STRENGTHS:

Running back, defense, special teams

Running back:

Adrian Peterson is the engine that helps drive the Minnesota Vikings. Peterson averaged around eight yards per carry in the 4th quarter this season. He is so physical and strong that he continues to wear defenses down.

The Vikings will always have the chance to go to the playoffs when you have a running back like Adrian Peterson. When he gets the ball in his hands, good things happen for the franchise. AD “All Day” should continue to have success with the Vikings next year.

 Defense:

The Minnesota Vikings have addressed their defense through the draft and free agency over the last couple of years. Anthony Barr looks like he could become a star, Shariff Floyd and Linval Joseph are monsters inside.

Harrison Smith has been a leader in the secondary, with Captain Munnerlyn, Xavier Rhodes and last year’s first round pick Trae Waynes. They only finished 13th in total defense this year but they should only improve next year.

Special teams:

Cordarrelle Patterson might not have all the tools to be a great receiver yet but he’s already a great return man. In an era where kickoff returns rarely happen, Patterson led the league in average yards per return with 31.8 and touchdowns with two.

Patterson is the type of player who can flip field position in an instant and he can become a crucial weapon for this team.

WEAKNESSES:

Wide receivers

Wide receivers:

Teddy Bridgewater managed to finish 9th in the NFL in completion percentage but 31st in the NFL in passing yards.

Despite Mike Wallace and Stefon Diggs making timely plays, they failed at throwing the ball downfield consistently.

Mike Wallace continues to get paid a lot of money but he hasn’t produced since his days in Pittsburgh.

Diggs had a four game stretch with great numbers but faltered quickly. The team expected a lot out of Cordarrelle Patterson and Charles Johnson but neither had a breakout season.

The Vikings have used a lot of draft picks on wide receivers and most of them haven’t worked out. It may be time to take a look at the free agent pool at wide receiver.

TEAM NEEDS

PLAYERS TO RE-SIGN:

CB Terrance Newman

LB Chad Greenway

RB Matt Asiata

2016 FREE AGENT TARGETS ($24.5 MILLION PROJECTED CAP SPACE)

OT Russell Okung

OT Jermon Bushrod

OT Will Beaty

WR Alshon Jeffery

WR Travis Benjamin

2016 NFL DRAFT FIRST ROUND TARGETS (NO. 23 PICK)

OT Ronnie Stanley (Notre Dame)

OT Jack Conklin (Michigan State)

WR Tyler Boyd (Pittsburgh)

WR Corey Coleman (Baylor)

S Deon Bush (Miami)

Read Salute Magazine‘s other NFL exit interviews:

AFC East: Buffalo Bills | Miami Dolphins | New York Jets | New England Patriots

AFC North: Baltimore Ravens | Cleveland Browns | Cincinnati Bengals | Pittsburgh Steelers

AFC South: Tennessee Titans | Jacksonville Jaguars | Indianapolis Colts | Houston Texans

AFC West: San Diego Chargers | Oakland Raiders | Kansas City Chiefs

NFC East: Dallas Cowboys | Philadelphia Eagles | New York Giants

NFC North: Detroit Lions | Chicago Bears

NFC West: San Francisco 49ers | Los Angeles Rams

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