5 No-Name Minnesota Vikings Players Who Could Explode In 2013
5 No-Name Players Who Could Explode In 2013 For Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings surprised many fans when they finished the 2012 campaign with a 10-6 record and playoff appearance. Their season ended soon after, as they lost to the Green Bay Packers in the first round of the playoffs. However, they have their eyes set high this season, and a trip back to the postseason is within reach.
The man pictured above, Adrian Peterson, is not one of the no-namers who could breakout this year, considering he is arguably the most well known player in the NFL, and is coming off a season in which he rushed for over 2,000 yards and won the MVP award. While Peterson will be a big part of the Vikings' offense this upcoming season, there are a few lesser-known players who have the opportunity to get snaps and make an impact as well.
These lesser-known players may not ring a bell inside your head right now, but remember their names, and don’t be surprised if they have a breakout game sometime during the season. The Vikings already have many well-known players on the offensive side of the ball, including newcomer Greg Jennings, who figures to play a huge role in the team’s passing game. However, there are other receivers, excluding first round pick Cordarrelle Patterson, who will be catching passes from Christian Ponder and making an impact on offense.
As far as the defense goes, the Vikings are routinely one of the better run stopping teams in the league, and the addition of Sharrif Floyd will only help the team going forward. Most of the guys on this list are playing at the second or third level of the defense, and will be in charge of improving the lack-luster pass defense of the Vikings.
Jarius Wright was the most explosive and productive rookie wide receiver for the Vikings last season. As a little known fourth round pick, Wright wasn't expected to make much of an impact. However, the 5-foot-10, 180 pound receiver had the two longest players of any receiver on the team, and averaged just over 14 yards per reception. This season, Wright will start out as a fourth or fifth option for Ponder; if he is able to build upon his rookie year as I expect, he could become a dangerous across the middle option for this improving offense.
Everson Griffen is on the verge of becoming one of the most well-known, up and coming defensive ends in the entire league. Last season Griffen started just one game, yet totaled eight sacks in his limited role. On the season, Griffen accumulated just 26 total tackles, making his sack numbers even more impressive. This year will be Griffen's opportunity to show he can step-in and take over for Jared Allen if the team decides not to resign him after the season. Griffen will look to get into the backfield a lot this season and will be given plenty of playing time, considering his future role on this team.
Erin Henderson is currently listed as the teams starting middle linebacker on the Vikings' official website. However, word was when the team signed Desmond Bishop that he would be given the first shot at winning the starting job. With no further indication as to whom the starter will be once the season starts, it is hard to predict how many snaps Henderson will get. The bottom line, however, is that Henderson totaled a career high 80 tackles last season, playing the weak side linebacker position even though he started only 10 games and appeared in just 14. His older brother, E.J., was a former linebacker for the Vikings, and if the younger Henderson can play anything like his brother, he will be an impact player for the Vikings for years to come.
Chris Cook is one of the highest drafted cornerbacks in Vikings' history, and so far in his three years he has been plagued by injury and has failed to play in more than 10 regular season games. Hopefully 2013 is a healthy year for the former standout, and standing at 6-foot-2, Cook has the size to match up with the bigger receivers in the NFC North. Currently listed as a starter, Cook will once again have a shot at making an impact on the Vikings' defense. Entering his fourth season, he now has the experience to go along with the talent to be a longtime starter for the Vikings.
While Harrison Smith is better known than most of the other guys on this list, the second year player out of Notre Dame is ready to become an enforcer on an improving Vikings secondary. Smith was known for his hard hitting his rookies season for the Vikings and even amassed an incredible 104 total tackles in 2012. Smith is close to a finished product at safety as he also batted 11 balls and intercepted three on his way to setting up a Pro-Bowl caliber season. 2013 should be the year in which Smith is recognized around the league as one of the better safeties and in a division that has some of the best receivers in the league his talents will not go to waste on this defense.