In addition to our new stadium, this upcoming season offers a lot of excitement for Vikings fans. For starters, rookie Laquon Treadwell is bursting with promise and enthusiasm. Ranked by Mike Mayock as the second best wide receiver in college ball in 2015, Treadwell skipped his senior season at Ole Miss to go right into the draft in April. The first round pick was the first player to report to Vikings training camp this year and has earned a reputation for trying to improve his already considerable skills as much as he can.
World-reigning rushing champion Adrian Peterson is determined to break Emmitt Smith’s career rushing record this year. Running back Peterson deserves it after the grueling training regimen he’s been on, a daily three and a half hour combination of sprinting, heavy lifting, swimming, boxing and more which if administered as a punishment would probably violate the Geneva Conventions.
Harrison Smith may just be the most effective and adaptable safety in the league, and on June 6th, Smith signed a five-year contract extension worth $51.25 million making him the highest-paid safety in the NFL. Despite missing Weeks 12, 14, and 15 last year due to a knee injury, the juggernaut still recorded 66 tackles, 2 interceptions, and a touchdown. He was the interception leader the year before as well.
“Really, the number one thing is helping the Vikings win and get to the Super Bowl,” said Smith in a 2013 interview. That’s a well-held priority for a man playing at his level.
Of course the gravest concern on the minds of those who cheer “Skol!” is Teddy Bridgewater’s tragic injury. When our quarterback dislocated his knee and suffered a complete tear of his ACL in August, it effectively ended his entire 2016 season. Fortunately, Bridgewater is expected to make a full recovery, but his absence puts the spotlight on quarterback Sam Bradford who was only just acquired from the Eagles. Bradford has the pedigree of a great, having won the Heisman Trophy in 2008 after throwing for 4,720 years and 50 touchdowns, making him one of only eight players to do so in addition to being first draft pick. Bradford will have some familiar faces around him in Minnesota, having played with Peterson for the University of Oklahoma in 2008. He was also backed by up our quarterback Shaun Hill when they played together for the Rams in 2014.
No matter what triumph or tragedy befalls our team, we do not root for them because they win — we hope they win because we root for them. Despite the devastating blow that is our star’s injury, the great men, and spirit of the Vikings will always bear us through the season. The Vikings’ interception defense rate is ranked third in the NFL, their offense fourth. In terms of pure points scored per game, we are tied for fifth in the league with 21.3 per game. Promising statistics like these, combined with our newfound home field advantage, may all very well add up to finally see us through to a Super Bowl.
By David Scheller