The Vikings were a mess in 2011, both on and off the field;
the single worst season in franchise history.
By my numbers – based on my power rating of each of their opponents on
the week the game was played – Minnesota faced the single toughest schedule in
the NFL. They did not fare well against
that imposing slate, just 3-13 SU, 6-8-2 ATS.
The Vikings overall stats didn’t look too bad for a 3-13 team
that faced the toughest schedule in the league with a rookie QB behind center
for most of the campaign. They were
outgained by a relatively modest 0.4 yards per play and finished -3 in
turnovers. Minnesota was an Over team
last year, cashing Overs at a 10-6 clip.
Let’s start with the coaching staff. Head coach Leslie Frazier and offensive
coordinator Bill Musgrave are already on the hot seat in only their second full
season on the job – right there with Norv Turner in San Diego as the hottest
seat in the NFL right now.
On offense, the Vikings are hoping that star running back
Adrian Peterson will be fully recovered from his ACL surgery to start on
opening day. First round draft choice
Matt Kalil is expected to shore up the left tackle position on what looks like
a decent offensive line.
But the biggest offensive concern for Minnesota is at the QB
position, where Christian Ponder was inconsistent at best in his rookie
season. With the Vikings in rebuilding
mode and all three other teams in their division shooting for the Super Bowl
this year, expect Ponder to have a fairly long leash if he struggles
early. The Vikings are not likely to
give up on their anointed ‘quarterback for the future’ quickly.
New defensive coordinator Alan Williams has installed
Frazier’s preferred defense; relying on Tampa-2 style zones from the back seven
and pressure from the front four, without much blitzing. Defensive end Jared Allen provides the pass
rush, but much of the back seven is coming off ineffective or injury plagued
Minnesota isn’t getting much love, lined three full wins
behind everyone else in the division.
Despite facing a much easier slate of opponents compared to last year,
the Vikings have been installed as a six win team by the betting markets. They’ve taken very little action either Over
or Under 6 thusfar.