By Andrew Fisher @AndrewFisherRS on July 10, 2014
The Minnesota Vikings are coming off a disappointing five-win season in 2013. Given that the team had made the playoffs the season prior, last year's failures were exceptionally hard for fans to swallow.
But things should be much different in 2014. Here are 10 reasons why Vikings fans should be excited for the upcoming season:
Even though he's getting closer to 30-years of age, a dreaded number for most running backs, there's still no doubt that AP is the best in the league. If healthy, he should easily surpass 2,000 yards from scrimmage in 2014.
Sure, playing outside in December isn't the greatest thing in the world, but at least the Vikings' old home is a thing of the past. TCF Bank Stadium is an upgrade, even though it doesn't hold as many fans.
Even though the Vikings only managed to win five games last season, the bulk of the roster was still solid. Those who weren't holding up their end up the bargain (Chris Cook), have been shown the door. Overall, the Vikings have a well-above average roster of talent.
Fans have not seen the best of Rudolph yet, not by a long shot. Injury derailed him in 2013, but he'll be back and better than ever in 2014. This could even be the year where he enters the 'best NFL TEs' discussion.
Some fans will groan at this one, but there's no doubt that Matt Cassel is the man for the Vikings' starting QB job. He's experienced, the coaching staff likes him and he's played at a Pro Bowl level before in his career. He can do it again with the group of playmakers around him in Minnesota.
Smith has the potential to become an All-Pro safety. His sophomore season was greatly altered by injury, but he's now fully healthy and ready to help lead the Vikings' secondary back to respectability.
Minnesota's defense was woeful at times in 2013. But with a revamped d-line and the additions of Anthony Barr and Captain Munnerlyn, there's no way the Vikings' D will be as bad in 2014.
Many have pegged Patterson as the next big star in the NFL. He's got all the physical tools, a year of experience under his belt and plenty of helpful people around him. It would be completely shocking to not see him improve by leaps and bounds in 2014.
Turner is about as proven as it gets when it comes to offensive success in the NFL. He's been ripping opposing defenses for two decades, and that won't change in Minnesota with the wide array of weapons at his disposal.
Of all the offseason changes in Minnesota, you can argue that the hiring of Mike Zimmer as head coach was the biggest one. Just like Turner on offense, Zimmer is as proven as it gets on the defensive side of the ball. He'll whip the Vikings' defense into shape, and then some.
All of these factors should lead to 3-4 more wins for the purple and gold in 2014.
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