The Minnesota Vikings: 2014 Final Report Card
Teddy Bridgewater had a rough start to his rookie season, but picked it up towards the end. Bridgewater finished the year with 14 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and passer rating of 85.2. His final eight games would project to 24 touchdowns and 14 interceptions over a full season, numbers similar to that of Joe Flacco, Matthew Stafford, and Ryan Tannehill.
The receivers did not have a great year, with Greg Jennings being the lone receiver to top 50 receptions, 600 yards, or three touchdowns. Jennings led the team in all three areas with 59 receptions for 742 yards and six touchdowns. Jarius Wright finished second on the squad with 588 yards while breakout candidate Cordarrelle Patterson recorded just 501 yards from scrimmage, 128 of which came from Week 1.
With Adrian Peterson gone for the entire year the Vikings struggled to run the ball. Matt Asiata made a good goal line back, scoring nine touchdowns, but he was not able to get much yardage, averaging 3.5 a carry. Third-round pick Jerick McKinnon showed some promise but was far too inconsistent and later sustained an injury.
The Vikings' offense struggled on the stat sheet and in games, as all of their supposed playmakers were either out of the league or sitting on the bench for half of the year. The Vikings finished the season 20th in scoring, averaging 20.3 points per game.
With a high-draft pick in Anthony Barr and upcoming stars like Harrison Smith and Everson Griffin, the Vikings defense was expected to take a big step in 2014.
A area in which the Vikings did really well was pass defense, finishing seventh allowing just 223.2 yards per game. Smith led the team in picks with five while Griffin had a solid year with 12 sacks.
However, the Vikings had trouble stopping the run all year, allowing 4.3 yards per carry and finishing the year ranked 25th with 121.4 yards per game. On the bright side, they were able to contain the big play, allowing just six rushes of 20 yards or more and just two of 40 yards or more.
The Vikings were 11th in scoring allowing 21.4 points per game and their defense is getting better each year. While they do not compare to the likes of Seattle and Detroit, they were among the more productive groups in the league.
Of the qualifying kickers, Blair Walsh finished last with a field goal percentage of 74.3. After going 10-for-10 outside of the 50 in his rookie season, Walsh has really struggled. This year, Walsh missed three within the 39, two in the 40s, and four outside of 50.
Jeff Locke was below average, finishing with an average net yardage of 38.7, which is good for 21st in the league. Locke also finished just 24th in punts landing in the 20 despite recording the 14th most punts.
Cordarrelle Patterson averaged 25.6 yards per kick return while Marcus Sherels averaged 11.0 yards per punt return, so the Vikings had one of the league's most productive return units.
The Vikings improved from last year and look to compete for a wild card spot next year. With so much young talent starting no one expected them to make a run for the playoffs, it was just a year to develop their players.