Since 2001, HBO has given football fans a unique chance to pull back the curtains and watch their favorite NFL teams, coaches and players in action.
Hard Knocks the hit sports reality show has taken on a life of it's own in recent years. Now with the news that the Cincinnati Bengals will be returning as the featured team for 2013, it got me thinking:
"How fantastic would it have been if the Minnesota Vikings were being profiled instead?"
With so many intriguing offseason storylines to explore, this exclusive look into the Vikings franchise would have given us all a healthy dose of "must-watch TV".
Now without further delay, start the slideshow below and check out five reasons why the Minnesota Vikings should have been on HBO's Hard Knocks this season.
You can't emphasize it enough, current Vikings starting quarterback Christian Ponder has been the most talked about and fiercely debated player on this Vikings roster by a mile.
Whether you hate Ponder or are one of those people who believe he's destined for greatness, the one thing we all can agree on is that getting an all-access pass to watch his journey behind those lush HBO camera lenses would have been an absolute joy to witness.
Picture the epic HBO-like build up highlighting the addition Matt Cassel and how he was brought in to put pressure on Ponder kicking things off. From that we could watch Ponder interact with offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and try to develop a relationship with new Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings.
All of these possible story angles would make sure that the purple and gold QB was one of the main focuses of Hard Knocks.
While it may not have been the best thing for Ponder to have a camera crew following him around all summer while prepping for the biggest season of his career, it sure would have lit the fuse and sparked some feverish debate among Vikings fans about his progress.
All we can say is that, in a make-or-break season, there's no doubt Christian Ponder's story would have been riveting to watch on a weekly basis.
Look, everyone knows the reigning NFL MVP Adrian Peterson—arguably the most popular Vikings player to come along in years—is the heart and soul of this franchise.
If the Vikings had ended up on Hard Knocks, the storylines surrounding AP would have been endless.
From the recap of his near record-breaking season coming off a catastrophic knee injury, to his more recent comments about gay marriage, a behind-the-scenes look at Peterson would not only humanize this bigger-than-life superstar but also give us more of a perspective into what drives him as a person and a player.
Now close your eyes for a second and try to imagine watching Peterson's intense work ethic and leadership qualities on full display. Okay, open them. Pretty amazing, right?
As we all sit here waiting anxiously waiting for the NFL season to kick off, we understand that nothing would have been better than watching Adrian Peterson tear it up in front of the Hard Knocks cameras.
One of the most exciting things the Vikings did this offseason was draft three high-profile rookies in the first round of the NFL draft.
Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes and Cordarrelle Patterson's time spent on camera would have given Vikings fans a chance to not only get to know their superstar rookie class better, but a chance to appreciate each player's unique journey to the NFL.
From a potential rookie talent show (like the Ravens did back in 2001), to getting a more in-depth look into each one of these players as a person, the humanization of these young men would have given Vikings fans a chance to develop a more personal connection to them.
Hard Knocks, known for their thrilling dramatic footage could have had the faithful Vikings congregation standing in front of their TV's roaring with excitement as they watched Patterson streak downfield and snag a perfectly thrown deep ball from Ponder on his way to the end zone.
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has been developing this New England Patriots-era Scott Pioli reputation.
From his fantastic draft choices to the perceived stability he has helped bring to the organization, Spielman has become a person Vikings fans want to get to know better.
For some fans, watching the work a general manager puts in to better his team can be just as fascinating as watching the players perform on-field.
Crafting the best roster possible, it would have been incredibly intriguing to watch Spielman and head coach Leslie Frazier interact as they got this team ready for the new season.
Think about the pinnacle moment of last season's Hard Knocks, when Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin sat down Chad Ochocinco and told him he was being released. Off-field drama like that is a driving force to creating great television.
Spielman's growth as a leader and a team builder being put on display could have stole the show if the Vikings ended up on HBO instead of the Bengals this summer.
If having Greg Jennings leave Green Bay for Minnesota wasn't satisfying enough for you, can you imagine getting to hear him talk about his former employer the Packers on-camera?
Jennings, the highly-skilled wide receiver made a splash when he jumped ship and joined the Vikings this past offseason. Outside of his departure from Green Bay, Jennings' on-field ability and off-field leadership qualities would have resulted in some compelling television.
Watching him mentor the younger guys on the club while cementing himself as top option in an improved Vikings passing attack would just be the tip of the iceberg.
Picture the in-depth, behind-the-scenes conversations detailing his knowledge of the Packers offense, what his former quarterback Aaron Rodgers is comfortable doing and his overall pleasure to be in Minnesota.
I think it's safe to say those moments would create another thick layer of displeasure between Vikings and Packers faithful this season.
Sadly the Vikings won't be on Hard Knocks this season and for all intents and purposes that might be a good thing. But as the season nears and we bask in the hot waters of excitement, I ask, can you imagine how amazing it would have been to turn on the tube every week and watch our beloved Vikings tear it up on HBO in front of the world?
Now it's your turn. Name some other reasons why the Vikings should have been on Hard Knocks this season. Share your thoughts below in the comment section!