The Vikings will be a long-shot to win the brutal NFC North Division in 2014, but possess the talent to do some damage if all of the pieces fall into place under the new coaching regime.
Minnesota will be learning hard-nosed defensive that corresponds with a run-and-gun type offense. Typically it takes a team under a new system at least a season to adapt, but the Vikings have young players that could make next season very fun to watch.
Here are three players that must have career seasons for the Vikings to do damage in the NFC North:
1. Greg Jennings
Norv Turner will be running the show now as offensive coordinator, so hopefully Jennings will be utilized better in the Vikings’ offense. Last season, Jennings had 68 receptions for 804 yards and four touchdowns last season. That’s not a terrible season, but for a team’s number one receiver those numbers are a little pathetic. Jennings needs 10 touchdowns and 85 catches to solidify himself as a dangerous receiver again in the NFL. The Vikings desperately need a top-receiver to compete with the rest of the NFC North.
2. Matt Cassel
This one is obvious. While a ‘career year’ might be a bit of a stretch for Cassel, he still needs to be solid. Cassel was alright for the Vikings in limited play, but struggled on the road. 20-25 touchdown passes and limited interceptions would be ideal, but Minnesota needs Cassel to be efficient. make the proper throws, and limit the turnovers. The Vikings haven’t had a QB capable of managing a effective game on a consistent basis since Brett Favre.
3. Captain Munnerlyn
The Vikings had one of the worst passing defenses in the NFL last season and Munnerlyn will be expected to help reverse that trend in 2014. Munnerlyn recorded 74 tackles and two interceptions with Carolina next season, but the Vikings will need more from him than that. Munnerlyn is a young 25-year-old, speedy cornerback capable of making game changing plays. The Vikings need him to lead the NFC North in interceptions, shut down prime-time receivers like Calvin Johnson, and make the quarterback’s think twice before throwing his way.
If these three guys can have monster seasons, there may be hope for the Vikings in 2014.