It was hard to watch last night's loss and I usually get down after a loss, which I am a little, but I am very optimistic of the Vikings next year. There were some things I took from last night's loss that have me confident bout Minnesota for the coming years.
First of all the the 2012 rookies IMO are only going to continue to get better. H Smith, M Kalil and B Walsh are pro bowl caliber players, as well as J Wright, J Robinson and R Ellison look to to be solid at minimum moving forward and Wright has a ton of potential. The other rookies may develop and be solid depth, we"ll have to see what comes of Childs. Unfortunately, I'm not holding my breath, but hope for the best. I believe Spielman will do well with the upcoming draft. He has been solid at the very least the past 3 years and I don't look for that to change even though the 2013 draft doesn't look as strong.
I was very critical of Ponder in the middle of the season, but to watch this team play without him illustrated the chemistry that had developed especially in the last quarter of the season. It did seem as though things started to slow down for him. I believe Ponder can be our QBOTF or at the very least a solid back up, but with Peterson and Harvin he should work out as the starter and hopefully as more reliable WRs are plugged in his passing yards will increase.
Now Joe Webb, I'm sorry to say Joe, you are not an NFL QB or even a back up, an emergency back up yes. I am of the opinion that he should have never been converted back into a QB. The guy is 6'4" and runs a 4.4, and is very dynamic; perfect ingredients for a WR. If placed as a WR three years ago, who knows? Would really like to see him used as a KR, RB and a WR if he is in Minnesota next year, after all this is a team in dire need of WRs. MBT looks to continue to develop as a 2nd or 3rd string QB as a veteran QB looks to be brought in with his experience to help with the further development of Ponder and MBT.
It looks like there will be more off season moves made this year than last. Minnesota will probably cut their losses with Carlson and move on. Most think the only WRs to remain will be Harvin and Wright, but wouldn't be surprised to see Jenkins and Simpson in training camp next year if not the entire season. There will be WRs, OL, LBs, DL and DBs brought in and some of the questionable starters such as Sanford, Brinkley and a couple others should be kept for depth.
This team as a whole played well throughout the year in spite of some questionable play calling. I think that speaks volumes of the talent this team has on the roster. I am not a fan of Musgrave and do think he should be replaced. this may be the most important off season move made this year. Allen Williams has not been terrible, but not great either; whether you like him or not if there is someone out there that will do more to improve this team so be it. A few of the lower rung coaches IMO should be changed out as well. I think Frazier has done alright, i do not think he is coach of the year though. He has some tough choices to make this year, but that's what he gets paid to do. I look for him to continue improving as a HC.
I am expecting at least a couple of the veterans to be traded or let go in the next few months. The names I keep hearing are J Allen, K Williams, J Webb, T Gerhart and P Harvin. I do not want to see any of these guys go, but it is a business. It would be a huge mistake not to wrap Harvin up with an overdue contract extension. With Griffen, Robison and Allen; one of them will not be back next year and they will keep Griffen. K Williams will more than likely return with reduced pay. E Henderson will likely not be back and Brinkley likely will resign a small contract, but likely will not be a starter. He adds good depth though. I expect Toby to be starting for another team next year. Whatever moves Spielman makes, I would be surprised if at least a couple more draft picks were not added on to this years draft and maybe next year's as well.
As great a season as AP had, I am looking for 2013 to be his best year as a pro. Ponder looks to slowly but steadily get more comfortable and better and I think the WR core will be better, as will the offensive line and am looking forward to seeing Rudolph and Ellison next season. I think the defense did much better and will be even more solid in 2013. I would have loved for the Vikings to have made it all the way to the Super Bowl and won this year, it didn't happen though; I am confident and like our chances next year and really the next several years.