Minnesota Vikings: Top 5 Players Facing Make-or-Break 2014 Season

5 Minnesota Vikings Facing Make-or-Break Seasons in 2014

Top 5 Minnesota Vikings Facing Make-or-Break Seasons in 2014
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings had a dismal 2013 season, but with a new head coach in Mike Zimmer, expectations are high for 2014. The Vikings made plenty of personnel and player changes during the offseason, but the following five players are entering make-or-break seasons in 2014 and must perform to keep their job.

5. Derek Cox

Derek Cox
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

5. Derek Cox

Derek Cox
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Cox is entering his first season with the Vikings, but the talented cornerback is getting his third, and possibly last chance to be a starter. Cox (#22 above) has shown his playmaking ability in the past --13 career interceptions -- but if he can’t get back on track with Mike Zimmer as his head coach this will likely be a quick stop for Cox, who signed a one-year 0,000 deal this offseason.

4. Kyle Rudolph

Kyle Rudolph
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

4. Kyle Rudolph

Kyle Rudolph
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Rudolph is a valuable piece of the Vikings' offense, but he recently proclaimed himself the best tight end in the league, this after playing in just eight games last season because of a fractured foot. Rudolph is immensely talented, but he’s in the last year of his rookie deal and now must back up his words to prove he’s one of the best tight ends in the NFL.

3. Chad Greenway

Chad Greenway
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

3. Chad Greenway

Chad Greenway
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Although Chad Greenway finished the 2013 season with 134 combined tackles and the team defensive MVP award, he clearly took a step back from a talent perspective. Greenway was considerably slower in 2013, and Pro Football Focus had him rated as the Vikings’ worst defensive player. NFL contracts aren’t guaranteed, and with a million salary in 2015, the Vikings could elect to cut Greenway if he continues to regress.

2. Jamarca Sanford

Jamarca Sanford
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

2. Jamarca Sanford

Jamarca Sanford
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Jamarca Sanford split time between free and strong safety last season, but he was rather unimpressive, and is now one of the eight safeties on the Vikings’ roster. The strong safety position will likely be one of the more closely watched position battles in camp. If Sanford doesn’t get the nod to start he will likely be employed elsewhere in 2015.

1. Christian Ponder

Christian Ponder
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

1. Christian Ponder

Christian Ponder
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Ponder is entering his fourth NFL season, and after the 2014 campaign concludes the Vikings will have the decision of signing him to a long-term contract or exercising his 2015 option for a hefty sum. Ponder appears to be the second-string quarterback at the moment, but if he hopes to keep his job he’ll likely have to win the starting spot sometime during the season.

Nick Baker is a contributing writer for Rant Sports and you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and add him to your network on Google.


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