Season Preview: Minnesota Vikings

Season Preview: Minnesota Vikings
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Sports Mole previews the Minnesota Vikings' chances in the upcoming NFL campaign as they look to reach the post-season for a second consecutive year.

The Minnesota Vikings will aim to continue their improvement from last season in the upcoming campaign, having reached the playoffs as wildcards in 2012.

They will be looking to reigning NFL MVP Adrian Peterson to help them achieve that as he tries to become the first player in history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in consecutive NFL seasons.

It will be the Vikings' last season playing at the Hubert H Humphrey Metrodome as they ready to leave their home of more than 30 years at the end of the campaign ahead of their move into a new stadium in 2016.

Here, Sports Mole takes a look at their chances in the upcoming campaign.

Head Coach: Leslie Frazier

Last Season: 10-6

Review: Having finished the 2011 season with a 3-13 record, expectations for the Vikings in 2012 were not high. However, their season got off to a good start with a 26-23 overtime win against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the opening match.

The next game saw a narrow defeat at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts, but three consecutive wins after that ensured that the Vikings had surpassed their 2011 total of wins by week five.

Their strong start hit a bumpy patch in October and November as they won just two of their next six matches to leave themselves with a 6-6 record by week 13.

However, Leslie Frazier's side rallied at the end of the season, stringing together four consecutive wins to scrape second place in the NFC North and a spot in the playoffs by virtue of a wildcard.

Their time in the post-season was short-lived as they were beaten by the Green Bay Packers 24-10 in the wildcard round, but it was a bonus to have even reached that stage.

Notable Ins

Greg Jennings: Having spent seven season with NFC North rivals the Green Bay Packers, wide receiver Jennings joined the Vikings during the off-season looking for a new lease of life. The 29-year-old only managed eight appearances last season due to injury, and he will be hoping to avoid further time on the sidelines this season.

Sharrif Floyd: Floyd was the first player picked by the Vikings in this year's NFL Draft, and the defensive tackle was widely regarded as being the best player available in his position. He will be keen to prove that this season.

Xavier Rhodes: Shortly after Floyd was chosen in the Draft, the Vikings also went for Rhodes with another of their first-round picks. The cornerback was the fourth player in his position selected in the Draft.

Notable Outs

Percy Harvin: Having had one of the most impressive rookie seasons in franchise history, Harvin had gone on to carve a successful career out at the Vikings. However, the 25-year-old was traded to the Seattle Seahawks during the off-season in return for a first-round Draft pick.

Antoine Winfield: Three-time Pro Bowler Antoine Winfield called time on a stellar career in during the off-season having been released by the Vikings. He spent nine season with the franchise and established a reputation as one of the most physical cornerbacks in NFL history.

Chris Kluwe: Kluwe arrived at the Vikings in 2005 with little fanfare surrounding him, but his departure this season sees the franchise lose one of the greatest punters in its history. Kluwe hold numerous records for the Vikings, including the highest career punt average (44.4) and most punts in a single season (93).

Key Player Offence: Adrian Peterson

Key Player Defence: Jared Allen

Rookie to watch: Sharrif Floyd

Pre-season form: 1-3

Prediction: 6-10. Adrian Peterson so nearly broke the single-season NFL rushing record last season, but it is unlikely that he will be able to match those achievements this season. If the league's reigning MVP does not have as good a season this time around then the Vikings could struggle. They will do well to avoid finishing bottom of the NFC North, and a second consecutive post-season appearance would be a shock.

Minnesota Vikings first round draft pick Sharrif Floyd holds up his new jersey on April 25, 2013
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