As the Chicago Bears prepare for the upcoming season, we’re taking a look at what the other teams in the NFC North did this offseason to bolster their chances of grabbing a playoff berth.
Today, we finish our swing around the division by examining the offseason moves of the up-and-coming Minnesota Vikings.
Obviously the biggest addition for the Vikings wasn’t really an addition at all, but rather the retention of a player that it seemed they would lose, as running back Adrian Peterson returns to the team after a tumultuous 2014 season. The running back was originally suspended and then placed on leave after child abuse charges, and although rumblings were strong that he wanted a trade out of the city, the team kept him and re-worked his contract for the coming years.
Having Peterson back is a big boost to the Vikings’ offense, and Teddy Bridgewater will get another asset to use on that side of the ball with the addition of wide receiver Mike Wallace. Wallace signed a big contract in Miami after a successful stint in Pittsburgh, and he will be looking to prove that his struggles on South Beach are a thing of the past.
The Vikings also made a couple of additions on defense, with veteran cornerback Terence Newman, safety Taylor Mays, and linebacker Casey Matthews all signing with the team. The Vikings also made a huge splash at the NFL Draft by selecting cornerback Trae Waynes in the first round and interior linebacker Eric Kendricks in the second round.
The Vikings’ quarterback derby has been fascinating to watch over the past few years, but with Bridgewater ascending to the starter’s job it appears that period of tumult is over as Christian Ponder headed west to join the Oakland Raiders. Wide receiver Greg Jennings also left town as he signed a deal with the Miami Dolphins.
What It Means:
The Vikings showed some signs of life last year, and their additions on the defensive side of the ball have to be worrisome to Bears fans. They do still have work to do in that department, but they’re putting together a young group of talent that could potentially grow and flourish together, and that’s an achievable goal for this group.
On offense, the addition of Peterson back into the proceedings definitely makes them a more dangerous group, especially to a poor run defending team like the Bears. The temptation to use weapons like Cordarrelle Patterson and Wallace against the Bears’ secondary will certainly be there, but with the way that Peterson has torched the Bears in the past, one would assume that Bridgewater will just hand him the ball repeatedly.
Games vs. Bears: Week 8 (Nov. 1) and Week 15 (Dec. 20)