5. Matt Kalil: Offensive Lineman (R)
The highest rated offensive lineman in this years NFL Draft, Matt Kalil is coming off of a phenomenal year at the University of Southern California. The 6 foot 6, 300 pounder was the fourth overall pick in the entire draft which shows his value, as he was selected before many skill players. He will look to add to an already impressive O-line that posted the fourth best rushing attack in the NFL last season and will likely see time moving around the line but predominantly should be at his coveted left tackle position.
4. Percy Harvin: Wide Receiver/Runningback
Percy Harvin is, when healthy, one of the most explosive players in professional football. He is extremely versatile playing both as a receiver and back as well as returning punts and kicks. Unfortunately, he has been plagued by chronic migranes throughout his career which has resulted in his missing games, however when he is on the field he is a guaranteed fireball and big play threat. Look for him to eclipe 1,000 yards receiving this year coming into his second season as the #1 receiving option with the departure of Sidney Rice in 2011.
3. Jared Allen: Defensive End
One of the most feared defensive lineman in the game today, Jared Allen has made offensive coordinators cringe the past few seasons when having to prepare for Minnesota. Allen led the NFL in sacks last season with 22.0, only .5 less than the current record held by Michael Strahan. Allen also added 66 tackles, 48 of which were solo. Simply put, the 6 foot 6 270 pound Allen is an unstoppable force and if he is not met by an immoveable object this season look for him to make NFL history and set the all-time single season sack record.
2. Christian Ponder: Quarterback
One of the 2011 NFL Draft classes hidden gems was Christian Ponder from Florida State University. Stepping into a starting role mid-season that he never gave back, Ponder had an outstanding rookie year for the Vikings. He completed 54.3% of his passes for 1,853 yards and 13 touchdowns including a highlight worthy 72 yard throw. Most impressive though was his 70.1 QB rating which, considering the Viking’s last season struggles, is very commendable and has the Minnesota coaching staff feeling optimistic about the 2012 season.
1. Adrian Peterson: Runningback
Arguably the best runningback in football, Adrian Peterson is entering a season full of question marks for the first time in his 6 year career. Peterson is one of the NFL’s most consistent running backs and unfortunately tore his ACL in his knee in last season’s finale. However, Viking’s camp is reporting that he is making a speedy recovery and with an improved offensive line and a much more comfortable second year quarterback, look for “All Day” to once again compete for the league lead in rushing yards.
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