Best is yet to come if Vikes make the right moves
Mike Zimmer is to be congratulated for the rugged defense he has built. When Zimmer took over in 2014 the Minnesota Vikings had a defense that ranked dead last in the NFL. This year, as they built a 11-5 record, the Vikes had the fifth-ranked def...
Mike Zimmer is to be congratulated for the rugged defense he has built. When Zimmer took over in 2014 the Minnesota Vikings had a defense that ranked dead last in the NFL. This year, as they built a 11-5 record, the Vikes had the fifth-ranked defensive unit in the NFL. Since 2013 the Vikes have spent most of their higher round picks on defenders like Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes, Anthony Barr, Trae Waynes, Danielle Hunter, Eric Kendricks and Scott Crichton. It now feels like the right time to spend some those high-round picks on offensive talent.
The Vikings would be well-served if their brain trust went after offensive linemen in the free agency market or the 2016 college draft that have the potential to be great players. There is a difference between good and great. One gets you to the playoffs but the other can help you win that big game in February. Replacing Jeff Davidson with Tony Sparano as offensive line coach could be a step in that direction.
Blair Walsh had a chance to win the game against Seattle and what an upset it would have been. There is no denying he really shanked it. What no one wants to admit is that without Walsh, the Vikings would not have scored a point. The Seahawks held superstar Adrian Peterson to 45 yards on 23 rushing attempts. Minnesota's top receiver was Stefon Diggs who caught four passes for 26 yards. The Vikes were 3-for-13 on third down conversions. If one of those Walsh field goals would have been a touchdown the Vikes would have won despite Seattle's fourth quarter busted play that set up the game's only TD.
The Vikings finished the regular NFL season averaging 22.8 points a game offensively. They ranked 16th in the 32-team NFL. Despite having the league's fifth-ranked defense this was never supposed to be their year. "Their" year is still in front of the Vikings.
It will be interesting now exactly how the Vikings go about preparing for the 2016 season. The Vikes know they need an offense with more zip and a greater range of scoring weapons, they know they have a starting quarterback with two years of playing experience behind him, they know the offensive line was not at full strength this season, they know their best deep receiving threat is a rookie, they know they have a No. 1 draft pick running back kicks, they know they have a 30-year-old running back who led the NFL in rushing (and might make great trade bait), they know they have 15 free agents and they know they have some needs on defense.
Call the NFC North champions a "work in progress" at this point and fix your attention on what is to come.