Timbuk 3 The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear... von Celtiemama
That song's almost 30 years old. . .which makes it significantly older than most of the Minnesota Vikings' roster.
From the vast reaches beyond the great E$PN In$ider paywall, we have another set of rankings to look at as we prepare for the 2015 NFL season. The folks from Bristol have looked at each team in the NFL and given their projections for how well they're set up for not just this season, but for the next three.
Much like when Pro Football Focus put out their list of the most talented rosters in the NFL, the Vikings made a significant leap up the ESPN rankings. The Vikings made a big jump of 19 spots in the rankings, moving from 26th last year all the way to 7th this season. Only the Dallas Cowboys made a bigger leap, moving from 28th to 6th, just ahead of the Vikings.
Here's what the folks from ESPN said about Minnesota's rankings:
The overview: The Vikings climbed 19 spots in the overall rankings as voters' initial optimism for coach Mike Zimmer firmed up following a successful initial season. That included a league-best, 14-spot climb to 15th in quarterback outlook thanks to Teddy Bridgewater's strong rookie campaign. Recent first-round picks Anthony Barr and Xavier Rhodes also look like good fits. The organization appears squared away in key spots with a defensive-minded head coach, a strong offensive coordinator who is unlikely to bolt for another job (Norv Turner), a workhorse running back and a young quarterback. These developments reflect well on general manager Rick Spielman, which is why Minnesota jumped from 23rd to 11th among front offices. --Mike Sando
The dilemma: Zimmer must find a way to successfully repair the relationship between Adrian Peterson and Vikings management to the point where Peterson again becomes an irreplaceable asset through the remainder of his contract (expires after 2017). The positive effect this will have on the continued development of Bridgewater is immeasurable. It will open throwing windows on the second and third level, which, in turn, will directly benefit tight end Kyle Rudolph and newly acquired wide receiver Mike Wallace. As I said a year ago, making sure that Bridgewater has everything he needs to be successful is in everyone's best interest, and the key to that going forward rests on Peterson's shoulders. --Louis Riddick
The youth movement: Spielman built his roster, which ranked sixth overall in this project, the old-fashioned way: through the draft. His 2012 and 2013 classes netted impact players in the secondary, Harrison Smith, Josh Robinson, Robert Blanton and Rhodes. Left tackle Matt Kalil, the fourth overall pick in 2013, had offseason surgery on both his knees, but if he can make a full recovery, the homegrown offensive line has good potential. Bridgewater could be the real deal at quarterback. And the defense, led by Trae Waynes, Barr, Smith, Rhodes and others, has the look of a young, exciting unit that could make the Vikings playoff contenders for the foreseeable future. --John Clayton
The way the rankings were put together gives 30% weight to a team's roster, 20% to their quarterback, 20% to their coaching, and 15% to both the front office and the team's drafting ability. The Vikings made a significant jump in all five of those categories from last season.
While the one-man band from Green Bay managed to grab the top spot in these rankings, the Vikings actually compare quite favorably to the other two teams in the NFC North. The Detroit Lions don't appear on the list until number 12, while the Chicago Bears are down at number 25.
Things are really going the right direction in Minnesota, folks. It's going to be exciting to see how it all comes together in 2015 and beyond.