NFL teams are in the midst of training camp and the preseason has begun. What do we expect from the Minnesota Vikings in 2017?

It’s safe to say we’re not shy when it comes to getting you ready for the upcoming NFL season. Since March, we have strung together four different series in preparation for the fall. We just concluded looking at all 32 teams’ most improved area. That was preceded by pieces on a club’s best offseason addition, some facts, figures and feats for each squad, as well as an up-and-coming player for each roster.

So call this one for the thumb. With the regular-season rapidly approaching, we’ll take a look at what we could expect from each team. Every team wants to win the Super Bowl. However, 31 teams will obviously be disappointed. So we have been taking a look at all 32 clubs (in original 2017 draft order) and doing a little analysis. You can play catch up right here. So what are we really expecting from the Minnesota Vikings in 2017?

Busier than usual during free agency, the Minnesota Vikings have worked hard this offseason to rid themselves of that horrible 3-8 close a year ago. A season that began with the team primed to defend a NFC North title saw quarterback Teddy Bridgewater go down in August and franchise rushing leader Adrian Peterson (now with the New Orleans Saints) limited to three games.

No team in the NFL ran for fewer yards than Mike Zimmer’s squad in 2016. While Peterson’s limited ability hurt, the offensive line underperformed. There are two new veteran tackles in strong side blocker Riley Reiff (Detroit Lions), flanked by Mike Remmers (Carolina Panthers). But the news-making additions of rookie running back Dalvin Cook (2-Florida State) and free-agent Latavius Murray (Oakland Raiders) are big reasons for optimism. But quarterback Sam Bradford could use more big plays from wide receivers not named Adam Thielen or Stefon Diggs.

Minnesota’s defense remains very formidable. But the lack of offensive support and a complimentary ground attack wore this unit down by year’s end. But a front four featuring ends Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen as well as interior studs Linval Joseph and Tom Johnson makes life easier for cornerback Xavier Rhodes and the rest of the secondary.

Summation:

A lot of things went from for the Minnesota Vikings before the 2016 season even started. But Zimmer got the most out of his players for as long as he could, hence that 5-0 start. Still, there’s a lot of talent on the defense and the additions of Cook and Murray will make an enormous difference. The Purple Gang is the one team that has been able to ruffle Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ feathers on occasion.

This is a team that should push for a playoff berth. But they also need a number of things to go right this fall. It’s a club capable 10-plus wins but the offense must be much more efficient.

Russell S. Baxter is the NFL lead columnist for EndZoneScore.com and the founder of ProFootballGuru.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BaxFootballGuru.

 

 

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