8 Things Minnesota Vikings Fans Would Love to See This Season
With the training camps open and the preseason underway, Minnesota Vikings fans are getting a glimpse of their team in action.
As things begin to unfold, the question now becomes, "What would fans love to see happen this season?"
While everyone's list might be slightly different, when it comes down to it, there are certain things we can all agree on. From the development and growth of the younger players to new faces proving they belong here, Vikings fans are prepared for one grueling year.
As the old saying goes, there's strength in numbers. So without further hesitation, start the slideshow below and together let's check out eight things Vikings fans would love to see this season.
*All stats courtesy of ESPN unless noted otherwise.
The Arrival of Christian Ponder
While there are tons of things Vikings fans want to see transpire this season, perhaps the most important is the arrival of starting quarterback Christian Ponder.
If there's one thing we can all agree on about Ponder, it's that the constant back-and-forth talk about his looming season has been exhausting. It seems like every time you jump on the Internet, there are 10 million articles floating around talking about Ponder's "make-or-break season."
Throwing away his abrupt appearance in the preseason opener—way too small of a sample size—Vikings fans everywhere will be crossing their fingers and praying to the purple gods that this former first-round pick turns into the franchise quarterback this talented team so desperately needs.
With an abundance of new weapons at his disposal, nothing aside from his own skill set can get in Ponder's way of turning this season into a memorable one.
If he can piece together a quality campaign while leading the Vikings deep into the playoffs, all of these Ponder articles will fade far, far away.
Cordarrelle Patterson as a Starter
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But as impressive as that was, Patterson's 54 yards receiving on four receptions were what really stole the show.
Aside from exciting the fanbase, according to Chris Wesseling of NFL.com, Patterson's teammates raved about his performance.
There's no question this young man is a threat to score whenever he gets the ball in his hands. While Jerome Simpson seems to have his health back, one thing Vikings fans want to see this season is their first-round draft choice start opposite of Greg Jennings sooner rather than later.
If he continues to shine in camp and make plays like he did against the Texans last week, Simpson may lose his job before the regular season even gets underway.
Greg Jennings Torch the Green Bay Packers
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October 27, 2013 is the exact date when newly acquired Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings will get his first chance to battle his former employers, the Green Bay Packers.
For those without a calendar in front of them, that's an epic clash taking place on NBC's nationally televised Sunday Night Football.
With all of the drama and "brain-washing" talk coming out of Jennings these last few weeks, you can bet both franchises will be ready for all-out war.
Since this is the Vikings section of Bleacher Report, it's safe to say we are all rooting for Jennings to put on a clinic when he steps in front of that hometown Vikings crowd. Just picture horns blowing and fans roaring as the Metrodome shakes to the very foundation it was built on in 1982 when No. 15 hauls in a beautifully thrown deep ball from Christian Ponder for six points.
More of Sharrif Floyd
Outside of Cordarrelle Patterson, another first-round pick who came to play in the preseason opener was Sharrif Floyd.
When he got on the field, the big, powerful Floyd gave the Texans' second line a lot of problems—something he is supposed to do. Deflecting a pass and recording a tackle for loss, Floyd has been showing out ever since he arrived in camp.
As fellow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Arif Hasan noted, Floyd has looking amazing in drills. That trend continued in pads last week.
Although he left the game with a knee injury, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, an MRI revealed Floyd had no ligament damage.
That's great news for a young player ready to make his presence felt in 2013.
Even though he will be starting behind All-Pro defensive tackle Kevin Williams, if Floyd continues to elevate his play, he will be pushing to steal extra snaps from Williams by midseason.
Dominant Offensive Line Play
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At their core, the Vikings have a bulldozing, brilliant offensive line.
With Matt Kalil, John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt serving as the anchors, one thing fans want to witness this season is the growth and steady improvement of an already fantastic line.
The only question mark heading into the year is the play at both guard positions.
Shielded by the legendary play of Adrian Peterson, statistically speaking, Johnson was a huge liability for this line—especially when talking about pass protection.
On the other side of the line, right guard Brandon Fusco struggled as well. Grading out as the 73rd-best guard last season—according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required)—Fusco will need to improve if this line has any hopes of reaching the next level of dominance.
While some fans will give Fusco the benefit of the doubt due to his inexperience, all that matters in the end is that both of these guys pick up the slack this season and help this team improve.
Dominant line play is something every Vikings fan wants to see transpire this season.
Everson Griffen Turn into the Next Big Thing
For a guy who weighs 270 pounds, Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen moves like a cheetah in a tornado.
According to Ben Goessling of Twincities.com, when defensive coordinator Alan Williams first watched tape on Griffen in 2012, he "had to rewind it."
Since then, No. 97 has been one of the brightest up-and-coming players on this talented Vikings defense.
In a big contract year for not only Griffen but fellow defensive ends Brian Robison and Jared Allen, this former USC Trojan is going to have to continue to shine if he wants to land a long-term deal with the franchise.
Outside of his supreme physical skill set, when talking to Goessling of Twincities.com, head coach Leslie Frazier said this:
He's showing he is deserving of that, so, as he continues to develop, we have got to make sure that we have a plan to get him on the field and give him an opportunity to make plays. That is part of our conversation during the preseason, but we'll see if he can remain consistent. Right now, he is off to a great start.
Trying to build on last year's eight-sack campaign, Vikings fans are dying to see if this young man can continue to terrorize opposing offenses as he lines up all over the field.
Answers at the Nose Tackle Position
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With such a deep and talented defensive line, the only real question mark this season comes at the nose tackle position.
With rookie Sharrif Floyd set to back up Kevin Williams and get his own series of snaps from the under tackle spot, it's a race between Fred Evans and Letroy Guion to earn that starting spot.
All in all, regardless of who ends up winning that starting job, what Vikings fans really want to see is some productive play out of the position. One thing we can't have is a repeat performance of last season, when Guion graded out as the worst 4-3 nose tackle in all of football according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
The Vikings Win a Playoff Game
Last year's loss to the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs left Vikings fans with a bitter taste in their mouths. With Christian Ponder out because of an injury, former Vikings-QB-turned-wide-receiver Joe Webb just couldn't get it done.
This season, with hopes soaring high like a silky-smooth G4 private jet, securing a playoff win would set this great Vikings nation ablaze.
While climbing that vintage Nickelodeon Aggro Crag and winning the Super Bowl is the ultimate goal, a playoff win would prove that this team is for real and that it will be contending in the NFC for a long time.
So what else do Vikings fans want to see happen this season? Drop a comment below and share your thoughts!