The Minnesota Vikings are not going to win the NFC North in 2012.
The Vikings have question marks on offense following the injury to Adrian Peterson, and the defensive secondary is a liability.
They have no shot at winning the division in 2012.
Josh Katzowitz of CBSsports.com (h/t SI.com) reports are that Peterson’s surgery and rehabilitation are going strong, and he is expecting to return for the season opener.
As encouraging as the reports are, they must be taken with a grain of salt. The odds of him returning without any noticeable effect are minuscule.
Peterson absorbs a lot of contact through his running style, and it remains to be seen if his knee will be able to hold up. Peterson also has some speed, and it is a possibility that the injury will affect that as well.
Peterson is the best player on the Vikings, and his injury was a major blow to the franchise. It remains to be seen whether he will return at 100 percent.
He will need to be at his best if the Vikings are to have any shot of winning the NFC North.
The Minnesota Vikings offense has question marks all over the field.
Christian Ponder regressed as the season went on, and he only had three games with a quarterback rating over 90. Ponder also suffered multiple injuries during the final games when he was finally pulled for the healthier and more mobile Joe Webb.
Ponder had four multiple-interception games, and the Vikings only won twice during the 11 games he played.
The Vikings receiving corps is also a huge liability. Percy Harvin had a solid season in 2011, but he is a health risk every game due to his issues with migraines. The rest of the receiving corps was pathetic with no one gaining over 500 yards.
Between the aforementioned problems with Adrian Peterson and the issues at the other skill positions, the Minnesota Vikings offense isn’t good enough to win the NFC North.
The Minnesota Vikings defense is the strong suit of the team. However, it is another reason that the Vikings can’t win the NFC North.
Jared Allen and Chad Greenway are studs. Both guys turned in impressive seasons and are clearly the best guys on the defense. The defensive line is pretty good, and the linebackers are solid. The Minnesota Vikings actually finished 11th against the run in 2011.
It is the secondary that is the Achilles heel of the defense. The pass defense was very bad in 2011, finishing 26th in the league.
Both of the starting cornerbacks from season's end are gone, and Chris Cook and Antoine Winfield are expected to regain their starting roles. However, each player poses a significant risk. Cook was charged with a felony and sat 10 games in 2011, and Winfield missed 11 games to injury.
Without clear cut improvements in the secondary, the Vikings will continue to get torched by the NFC North’s elite offenses.
The biggest reason the Minnesota Vikings can’t win the NFC North is because the rest of the teams are stacked.
The Green Bay Packers, arguably the best team in football, are bona fide Super Bowl contenders with the reigning MVP in Aaron Rodgers. The Packers offense is incredible, and the defense is sure to improve after a disappointing season in 2011. The Vikings are not as good as the Packers.
The Detroit Lions are coming off a playoff season in 2011. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson dominated, and the defense was solid. The Lions are a team on the rise and are a potential Super Bowl contender.
The Chicago Bears are two years removed from an appearance in the NFC Championship game. After adding Brandon Marshall in the offseason, the Bears offense will improve with Matt Forte and Jay Cutler healthy. The defense is always good with Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher leading the way.
The Vikings can’t compete with the rest of the NFC North. The other teams are much too good, and the Vikings have no shot at winning the NFC North in 2012.
The Minnesota Vikings are improving following a solid draft in 2012. However, the Vikings aren't close to competing in the NFC North.
The offense has question marks, and the defensive secondary can't compete with the offenses of the NFC North.
The Vikings will finish last in the NFC North in 2012.