As the Minnesota Vikings watch the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens get ready to play in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, they have to be asking themselves the same question the other 29 non-participants this Sunday are: How can we become a participant?
The most optimistic of Vikings fans can look at it this way: Minnesota finished with the same number of wins as the Ravens and only one less than the 49ers, who they beat handily during the season.
To the more rational of purple loyalists, the gap between the current Vikings squad and a Super Bowl appearance is more than just a tweak or two.
For the Vikings, 2012 was a year of great improvement, jumping from three wins in 2011 to 10 wins and a playoff appearance this past season. Minnesota is still clearly a work in progress though, and more personnel additions (along with the necessary subtractions) will be needed for the Vikings to become a legitimate Super Bowl contender next season.
In the following slides, we take a look at the biggest question marks surrounding the Minnesota Vikings this offseason.