5 Minnesota Vikings Who Must Step Up In 2016

By Brad Berreman

The Minnesota Vikings dethroned the Green Bay Packers as NFC North champions last season, and they’re looking for bigger things in 2016. For the Vikings to have a better chance to repeat as division champions, and possibly win a playoff game or two, these five players have to step up.

5 Minnesota Vikings Who Must Step Up In 2016
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5. S Andrew Sendejo

S Andrew Sendejo Credit: Getty Images
After signing him to a four-year deal in March, the Vikings are inexplicably paying Sendejo like a starter now. With plenty of competition for playing time alongside Harrison Smith, Sendejo has to show he's more than a high-level special teamer.

5. S Andrew Sendejo

After signing him to a four-year deal in March, the Vikings are inexplicably paying Sendejo like a starter now. With plenty of competition for playing time alongside Harrison Smith, Sendejo has to show he's more than a high-level special teamer.

4. WR Cordarrelle Patterson

WR Cordarrelle Patterson Credit: Getty Images
As expected, Patterson's fifth-year option for 2017 was declined by the Vikings. After becoming a return man and nothing else last year, Patterson needs to show signs he can be a functional wide receiver in 2016.

4. WR Cordarrelle Patterson

As expected, Patterson's fifth-year option for 2017 was declined by the Vikings. After becoming a return man and nothing else last year, Patterson needs to show signs he can be a functional wide receiver in 2016.

3. CB Trae Waynes

CB Trae Waynes Credit: Getty Images
Waynes had a minimal role in 2015 after being drafted No. 11 overall, and the Vikings added another corner (Mackensie Alexander) in this year's draft. It's far too soon to write him off, but Waynes needs to gain the coaching staff's faith this year.

3. CB Trae Waynes

Waynes had a minimal role in 2015 after being drafted No. 11 overall, and the Vikings added another corner (Mackensie Alexander) in this year's draft. It's far too soon to write him off, but Waynes needs to gain the coaching staff's faith this year.

2. LT Matt Kalil

LT Matt Kalil Credit: Mark J. Rebilas USA TODAY Sports
Kalil has never recaptured the Pro Bowl form from his 2012 rookie season, and he's entering the final year of his contract. 2016 is the definition of a make-or-break campaign for Kalil, whether he ends up back with the Vikings in 2017 or not.

2. LT Matt Kalil

Kalil has never recaptured the Pro Bowl form from his 2012 rookie season, and he's entering the final year of his contract. 2016 is the definition of a make-or-break campaign for Kalil, whether he ends up back with the Vikings in 2017 or not.

1. QB Teddy Bridgewater

QB Teddy Bridgewater Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn USA TODAY Sports
The Vikings had a winning formula last year, but Bridgewater's shortcomings held the offense back far too often. As Adrian Peterson winds down, and with upgrades in key areas, Bridgewater has to take a big step in his third season.

1. QB Teddy Bridgewater

The Vikings had a winning formula last year, but Bridgewater's shortcomings held the offense back far too often. As Adrian Peterson winds down, and with upgrades in key areas, Bridgewater has to take a big step in his third season.

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