It's late June, and that means that all is quiet on the NFL front.
It's the one month of the year where American football players are relegated to the second and third pages of your local newspaper. The summer of 2014 sees the world stage filled with different footballers like Lionel Messi, Neymar and Thomas Mueller.
Oh sure, we'll all probably get constant updates from the world-wide leader on what Johnny Football does over the Fourth of July weekend, but beyond that, there won't be any news from NFL practice fields for another three weeks.
But as NFL fans, you have to chew on something don't you? Hopes are high for all 32 NFL teams at this point of the year. New acquisitions and draft picks have every fanbase in the league thinking that 2014 will be their year.
And one of the very best things about the NFL is that at this point in the year, everybody is right. July and August will bring an interminable amount of predictions and analysis, with fantasy "sleepers" and projected busts.
The truth is that almost every season in the NFL yields two or three playoff teams that nobody saw coming. Who guessed that the Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs would make the playoffs in 2013? Those three teams won 13 games combined the previous season.
On the other side of the coin, the 2012 season saw the Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans combine for 35 wins and three division titles. That trio tumbled to just nine total wins last year.
The NFL is an up-and-down league; that's part of the reason so many people love it so much. You're never that far out of it. The success of a 16-game season depends so much on momentum, which can turn on a dime with injuries, breakout stars and things nobody sees coming.
Having said all of that, spirits are definitely high in Minnesota. A new coaching regime has ushered in a sense of urgency that seemed to be lacking in the Leslie Frazier era. The Vikings have seemingly given up on expecting Christian Ponder to lead them at quarterback, which is a relief to a vast majority of the fanbase.
Like every other team in the league, Minnesota's hopes are pinned to several new arrivals. Obviously, the maturation of many young players on the Vikings roster is crucial to their success. But in late June, the easiest, most tangible thing to point to, regarding improvements, is in the new blood.
Here we take a look at some of Minnesota's offseason additions and project who might be under and overrated as the 2014 NFL season approaches.