As the Vikings get ready to take on the 49ers in San Francisco on Sunday night only one thing is clear; Minnesota has not looked good during the first two weeks of the preseason. Their offense has been especially inept, though to be fair, Adrian Peterson has yet to suit up. The Niners however, have looked really good during the NFL’s warm up. Yes, Sunday night’s match-up features teams with very different outlooks. San Francisco is coming off a Super Bowl appearance and many pundits expect them to return to the big game this season. They have a ferocious defense, a stout running game, and a cannon-armed quarterback that can run faster than many wide receivers. Minnesota is coming off a playoff appearance that surprised pretty much everybody, except Adrian Peterson. The Vikings rode AP and his 2k+ yards to the postseason, but then proceeded to get blown out by Green Bay in the wild card round, and nobody is picking Minny to make the playoffs this season. This team has some real questions going in to the regular season, the biggest of which is whether or not Christian Ponder is a legitimate NFL quarterback.
2012 was the year of Adrian Peterson. The NFL MVP came within just a few yards of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single season record, and was simply a man possessed. And this was AD coming off of major knee surgery. He says his goal this season is 2500 yards. Peterson is not the guy to doubt, but that goal is unrealistic, even for him. The reality is that if Ponder doesn’t elevate his game, AP won’t get close to 2,000 again. The Viking’s QB has got to find a way to get the ball downfield and get his wideouts to be a bigger part of the offense. Once Percy Harvin went down to injury in 2012, the Vikings’ offense became very predictable. They did however, get a breakout season from TE Kyle Rudolph, who not only went to the Pro Bowl, but was named the game’s MVP. GM Rick Spielman has added some pieces for Ponder. The team signed free agent WR Greg Jennings from Green Bay, and spent a 1st round pick on WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson out of Tennessee. Patterson has looked good in the preseason so far and should develop in to a multiple threat guy, similar to Harvin. Sunday’s game in San Fran will be the first time Adrian Peterson will suit up, so this will be the first time that Viking fans will get to see the complete package as far as the offensive unit. Of course, if the O-line plays like it did the last two weeks, it won’t matter who is ready to catch or run with the ball. Minnesota’s offensive line looked like they were still in a walk-through last week against the Bills. It didn’t matter if it was Ponder, or new back-up Matt Cassel, the QB was under siege.
Questions. The Vikings do have a lot. They are working through questions on a revamped defense as well, but Sunday in San Francisco all eyes will be on Christian Ponder and the offense. They are going up against one of the best defenses in the league and the 49ers are going to lay some hits on people, preseason or not. Week 3 of the preseason is usually the game that most closely resembles the regular season, and this game feels important even though it won’t really count in the big picture. Being nationally televised on Sunday night doesn’t hurt either. Tune in to NBC tomorrow night Viking fans, what you see might be what your team really is.
About the Author
Written by Sean Eckhardt
Univ of Alabama alumni. Born and raised outside Chicago, IL. Currently live in Florida. Some of my favorite teams include the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Heat, and the Florida Panthers. My interests outside of sports include music, outdoor activities, and anything with a motor(cars, bikes, boats, etc...).