Coming off a 3-13 season in 2011, the team’s worst record since 1984, little was expected of the 2012 Minnesota Vikings. Behind an improved defense and a historic season by Adrian Peterson, the 2012 Vikings surpassed everyone’s expectations with a 10-6 record and a playoff berth. This year’s team was expected to drop off a bit and the parity of the NFL has reared its ugly head in the Twin Cities.
More than any other professional league, things can change quickly for teams in the NFL. The 2008 Dolphins went 11-5 after going 1-15 in 2007, and the 2012 Colts went 11-5 after a 2-14 season. These are just two examples of how teams like the 2013 Vikings can quickly go from promise to dissatisfaction.
After last season, Vikings’ fan were excited about the potential of the young players that the team was putting around Peterson. These same fans are questioning several aspects of the team less than a year later. A surprise performance by Minnesota’s defense was a catalyst for the team’s playoff appearance, but the unit has come back to earth this season and is one of the worst in the league. Peterson is still playing at an elite level, but it’s impossible to ask for a player, especially a running back, to carry an entire team on his back for than a season. The quarterback position has continued to be a problem for the Vikings and has hindered the franchise’s development. No one expected Christian Ponder to be an elite quarterback this season, but his play down the stretch last season led many to believe that the Florida State product was showing significant improvement.
Although this season has been disappointing for the team and the fans, let’s not freak out about the future of the Minnesota Vikings. This is still one of the younger teams in the NFL and after a disappointing season like this, every player and position will be evaluated closely this offseason. There have been several teams over the past decade that have gone from boom to bust. If the Vikings can find their quarterback and improve the defense, we might see this team back in the playoffs of 2014.