The Rise and Fall of the 2016 Minnesota Vikings

The 2016 Minnesota Vikings are a classic example of the old saying “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.” They started out hot and went 5-0 without starting QB Teddy Bridgewater and RB Adrian Peterson. They relied on a great Mike Zimmer defense against NFC powers the Packers, Panthers and Giants. People began to see them as a serious contender because backup QB Sam Bradford was taking care of the football and the defense was shutting down opposing offenses. Coming out of a week 6 bye week, the Vikings looked dangerous but then they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles and a rookie QB in Carson Wentz 21-10. After a 5-0 start, the Vikings dropped 4 straight games including games against their divisional rivals in the Lions and Bears. They looked back on track after defeating a very talented Arizona Cardinals team 30-24. It proved to be insignificant as they have only won one game since then.

The Vikings started out 5-0, but have lost 8 of their last 10 games. They have been hampered by injuries to key players like WR Stefon Diggs, and once star RB Adrian Peterson does not even have 100 yards or a rushing TD on the season. The offense regressed over the course of the year which put a lot more pressure on the defense to keep them in games. The defense did a good job of keeping games close, but without a capable offense the Vikings continued to lose games. This season will be remembered as an epic collapse, but there is room for optimism. The Vikings will get a healthy Teddy Bridgewater back next year, so he should help improve their downfield passing.

The Vikings cannot blame all of their offensive woes on injuries though, as they used their first round draft pick on in our opinion the best WR in his class. Laquon Treadwell is an explosive WR who uses his big frame and physicality to high point the football and fight for tough yards. They drafted him to have an impact, yet he has only one catch on the year. We do not understand why the Vikings used his talent so sparingly, unless he was just not ready to play for whatever reason.

We think the Vikings will be a contender in 2017, because this collapse will haunt them all offseason so they will be determined to not allow it to happen again and they will be fully healthy.

Analysis by NFL Artificial Intelligence at ff-winners.com

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