Readers and friends, the greatest time of the year is quickly approaching. Okay, I’ve wrote that statement many times before, but now it’s damn true! We are less than 3 weeks away from the start of training camp, and the long wait for having football is at the beginning of the end. The season for our favorite team is gonna be super interesting, considering we blew chunks last year and HC and GM jobs could be on the line. The preseason is definitely going to be interesting this year. With a lot of new faces and all that in mind, I wanted to discuss the 5 key players that will make or break the Vikings season.
Patrick PetersonWatching the cornerbacks last year is much like what I would imagine managing a Burger King would be like. No one knows what they’re doing at first, but they figure it out eventually and get the job done. The lack of a #1 corner last year was obvious right away. Davante Adams shredded us for 156 yards and 2 tuddys, next time we saw him he only put up 63 yards but had 3 touchdowns! Pat Pete might be past his elite form, but the man still has wheels like a Ferrari. He didn’t fare the best against guys like D.K Metcalf and Amari Cooper, but now that he’s with a savvy defensive coach I’d imagine Peterson will hold up much better against receivers this season.
This one might be a name you didn’t see coming right away, but if you’ve watched our run defense the past 2 years it should almost be a no-brainer. Michael Pierce was supposed to be the best signing the Vikings made last offseason. But he opted out of the 2020 season due to the fact that he has asthma (same bro). But earlier this year at his intro press conference he said he felt at times he could have been out there helping us not get absolutely destroyed. For that reason, I think big 97 will have a huge year in the middle for the defense.
How well he’ll performs right out the gate will give a big indication if he was worth the money spent.
Dalvin CookThis may be a confusing route to go on this list, but I have a hunch. Dalvin was arguably the best player last season and undoubtedly is the best coming into the new season. His health has always been a concern, but last year was his best health-wise and the offense reaped the benefits, to the tune of being the 3rd most efficient in franchise history. During the middle of the season he was a playmaking machine, like in week 8 against Green Bay. That screen he took to the house was the most electric play of last season. If Dalvin can continue on his superstar trajectory and put together a 2012-like Adrain Peterson MVP season, we might be doing some cooking in Los Angeles in February.
Much of the same criticism towards the Vikings the last few years has really stemmed from one single issue: the offensive line. It’s an issue known all too well, but for some reason the front office hasn’t been able to get it right. But some of the draft picks are starting to come to fruition: Brian O’Neill is better than expected, especially since most experts said it would take him a while to develop. The same can’t entirely be said for Bradbury, who has struggled at the center position. There’s still time, and being able to have more stability next to and around him should lead to better results. But for a first round pick, you would love to see him start to grow into a cornerstone player.
Danielle HunterThe biggest name gone due to injury last year, the absence of Danielle Hunter was glaring right away. We were so bad at sacking the quarterback a man that only played 5 games led the team in sacks all year. Pitiful. Earlier on I said Dalvin Cook was the best player on this Vikings team. However the most important player at this point in time has to be Danielle. When this man is healthy he is a different beast. A true alpha defensive end is what every great teams needs, and i’m so damn excited to see what 99 can do for the defense this year again.
Professional Driver. Lover of all things sports. I once cut meat for Paul Allen and Mark Rosen. I talk on a podcast about men hugging each other aggressively.