This may come as a surprise, but I was talking football with a friend who happens to be a Packers fan. We were talking back and forth somewhat respectfully. I, of course had to point out the super human accomplishments of Adrian Peterson, and she replied back with, "yeah, that guy is frigging awesome, but he's like the only good player you guys have." Of course, that just got me started spouting off names and statistics and so on. Though, reading recent articles and speaking with others of late; I actually came across a few other point of views of non Vikings fans similar on the Vikings. Now, I know most fans are not well versed on the majority of average or slightly above average players that are not on their favorite teams, but the whole, "well, you take away AP and you don't have much," perspective of Minnesota is pretty ridiculous to me. I know Minnesota gets overlooked to say the least quite a bit and maybe I've just been exposed to too much negativity of late, and I am quite a bit more optimistic (though, I like to think of my analysis more of a logical standpoint), but when I look outside of AP; Minnesota potentially has some of the best and most weapons on their roster than every other team in the league, which sounds crazy because Rick Spielman traded arguably the second best non quarter back player in the league in Percy Harvin.
So, what is this guy delusion-ally and far too positive talking about now? First, I am still one of the strong believers in a Mr. Joe Webb; who I personally think should have been used on kick returns, as a running back and yes a wide receiver from the very start of his pro career. Now, even with the multi-year delay of not getting that chance and being used at and practicing at a position it is painfully obvious he would never have any substantial or consistent success he is being given the chance and I think he is going to surprise the vast majority. And there is huge amount of just Vikings' fans that don't want him even given a chance even though he is still under a very cheap contract for one more year while caressing the natural athletic gifts even most pros dream of.
Number two: Cordarrelle Patterson, touted as one the most explosive players to enter the draft in some time. Well, up until the Vikings traded back into the first round to grab their third player in the first round, then the hype seemed to go away as it wasn't a Dallas Cowboys or Green Bay Packers or some other media favorite team, but make no mistake about it; this does not change Patterson's rare talents one bit. In fact, it would be hard to believe he is not driven more to strive to do the very best he can; which with his talents will be extremely dangerous for opposing teams. This kid has the entire package; all the tangibles and yes the intangibles; the "it" factor. This kid, in my opinion, is going to be a star right out of the gate.
Staying in the wide receiving core, Jarius Wright revealed his impressive skill set in the second half of last season and there's no reason to think he will not improve as also on top of him becoming more acclimated with his teammates and the pro game; he will not get near the attention as last year as eyes will have to take note of Patterson, Peterson and Rudolph and Jennings; the next two on the list outside of Adrian Peterson. Greg Jennings brings with him not only the savvy leadership and experience of a well seasoned pro, but also seems to be healed up very well while taking on a bigger leadership role that with his type of personality and attitude is sure to shine in.
Kyle Rudolph got to open some eyes outside of Minnesota in the most recent Pro Bowl as many thought last year would be his break out year, and in some ways such as scoring and route running; it was, but lacked the yards to go along with his Pro Bowl season. Rudolph still finished the year with nearly 500 yards, but for his caliber of play; not nearly enough. Many, including myself are looking for Rudolph to get close to or actually double those yardage numbers and he is too as he will be striving to break the one thousand yard mark in 2013. Will he do it? I don't know, especially with the biggest upgrade to the Minnesota Vikings wide receiving core I have ever witnessed by far, but I do expect to see at least a seven or eight hundred yard season this year.
Minnesota looks to be quite impressive with a seemingly legitimate arsenal at an improving Christian Ponder's disposal. So, who will pull away from the rest to throw their name up to the weekly headlines? One or most or all of the previous mentioned receiving targets or could even a now healthy, sometimes overlooked Jerome Simpson finally live up to the hype and transition his practice and preseason performances to the regular season. Or could one of the other dark horse candidates like a much improving in OTAs Stephen Burton or undrafted, yet promising Rodney Smith rise up out of nowhere to steal the eventual accolades of a seemingly destined season for at least one, if not two or three receivers on the Vikings roster.
There seems to be just too many variables, and if that weren't enough; I'm sure Greg Childs would have a thing or two to say about which Minnesota Vikings receiver(s) will be stepping up big in 2013. With so much potential in guys like Webb and Patterson, you don't have to look very much farther to see a player that if he indeed has a successful recovery to a devastating injury could live up to the projections of a number one wide receiver that was in the same conversation as Julios Jones and A.J. Greene as far as the most talented wide outs to be drafted until injuries began to plague his young career. Odds are against him, but I won't bet against him and certainly am rooting for him. Also, in the past few months what little word any of us hear on his recovery is always surprisingly positive news, but hopefully for good reason as the Vikings' brass seems to be keeping a tight lid on Childs' progress.
So, how dangerous are or could the Vikings' offensive playmakers be? And are most as optimistic as me? Probably not, but none the less many are quietly paying a lot closer attention to this year as many parts of this machine are much improved and of course the most flashy or as most of the media would rather put it; sexy, as that would be the offensive playmakers. And this team is loaded with potential in that department, maybe more potential than thirty or so other teams in the league, especially when starting from the top there stands Adrian Peterson, who all of Minnesota's playmakers must compete with for their share of time of actually getting their hands on the ball. So, what do think, and who is your favorite offensive weapon beyond Peterson?