Each offseason, every NFL team focuses on at least one area in need of an upgrade. So what aspect of the Minnesota Vikings is looking better these days?
Training camp begins later this month for all 32 NFL teams. So that means another preview series from End Zone Score. Dating back to early March, we have taken time to look at each club’s best offseason addition. We even dabbled into some pertinent and historical numbers and previewed an up-and-coming player for each franchise.
Contrary to popular opinions, no team in the league is perfect. That’s why there’s a constant search for talent when it comes to this game. Each club has done its best to bolster its roster. So in this instance, we are going to take a glance at each franchise and pinpoint the department in which it made the most strides this offseason. We have already looked at the AFC East, NFC East and AFC North. Now we are doing the NFC North and have already previewed the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. Time to glance at the Minnesota Vikings.
When you finish with the fewest rushing yards in the league and see seven running backs in the league gain more yards on the ground than your entire team, there are going to be changes.
In 2015, Adrian Peterson led the NFL with 1,485 rushing yards. One year later, the Minnesota Vikings ran for a dismal 1,205 yards – an average of 75.3 yards per contest. This offseason, the franchise made the decision to go in a different direction with the seven-time Pro Bowler. He played in just three games this past season. The 10-year pro is now a member of the New Orleans Saints. Backup Matt Asiata is also gone, signing with the Detroit Lions.
This offseason, general manager Rick Spielman went out and got two servings of fresh legs. He signed Latavius Murray away from the Oakland Raiders. He then used a second-round pick in the draft on Florida State running back Dalvin Cook.
This past season, Murray ran for 788 yards and 12touchdowns in 14 games with the Silver and Black. In three seasons in Oakland, the 2013 sixth-round pick from Central Florida has gained 2,917 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns in 45 contests. Meanwhile, Cook was a versatile weapon for Jimbo Fisher’s Seminoles. In 38 outings with FSU, he rolled up an astonishing 5,399 scrimmage yards and 48 scores. This duo is supplemented by three-year pro Jerick McKinnon and one-time Tennessee Titans’ running back Bishop Sankey.
It’s also no secret that the Minnesota Vikings need better play from their offensive line. Hence the veteran additions of tackle Reilly Reiff (Lions) and Mike Remmers (Carolina Panthers). Still, it’s the arrival of Murray and Cook that will give Mike Zimmer’s club a tremendous 1-2 punch out of the backfield.