After being swept up (and understandably so) by Adrian Peterson‘s dominant march to the playoffs, the bookmakers and public perhaps have soured a bit on the Minnesota Vikings over the course of this offseason. Percy Harvin, who virtually comprised the entire offense early last season as AD rounded into form, was sent off to the Pacific Northwest and only fielded future value in the form of draft picks. The biggest free agent the Vikes landed was a relatively small splash in receiver Greg Jennings, which hardly fills the Harvin void.
Yet, I haven’t even touched on the most colossal reason why it’s hard to jump on the Vikes in 2013, as the drop in their Super Bowl odds this summer shows.
(The first number is from Aug. 23; the second in parenthesis from roughly three months ago.)
Super Bowl Odds: 40-to-1 (25-to-1)
Season Win Total Line: 7.5 (7.5)
The elephant standing in the corner of the room, staring at anyone so bold to hit over-7.5 on Minnesota’s season win total, is Christian Ponder. I imagine smirking like Prince, standing behind equally terrible Matt Cassel.
Ponder attempted the fewest passes over 20 yards among quarterbacks who started 16 games last season, and by a large margin. To boot, the pass offense was terrible and Ponder put together stretches of games where he wasn’t even reliably topping the century mark. Throwing for 50-80 yards on a Sunday afternoon is not a sustainable model for winning.
Failing to make much happen deep is also something eventually catches up with offenses and quarterbacks no matter how strong the completion percentage is, just ask Alex Smith. This could also make things a bit more difficult for Peterson in 2013, forcing a regression from “inhuman destroyer of fantasy football worlds” to just “awesome mortal.” In tough NFC North, the Vikes just can’t afford that.