This offseason has seen the Minnesota Vikings try to upgrade their less than stellar secondary and offensive line units. The Vikings, coming off of a 3 win season, had plenty of room for upgrades across the board. Another key area the Vikings addressed on the offensive was at tight end, adding John Carlson. Carlson should add solid blocking in the running game while adding another pass catching option alongside second year tight end Kyle Rudolph.
While the Vikings addressed the tight end spot through free agency and added weapons through the draft with a pair of Arkansas receivers (Jarius Wright and Greg Childs), one gaping hole remains. With Adrian Peterson coming off season-ending knee surgery, the backfield seems a bit thin. Toby Gerhart filled in well for Peterson following the injury, but lacks the explosion needed in otherwise lackluster offense. What if Peterson is unable to return at the beginning of the season?
Will the Vikings rely on Gerhart as the primary runner? Perhaps an even bigger concern is the lack of receiving ability out of the backfield. Gerhart and Peterson combined for just 41 catches out of the backfield a season ago. Neither back is an exceptionally skilled receiver. In fact, Minnesota has lacked a receiving threat out of the backfield since Chester Taylor departed. This is a concern on 3rd down when defenses have to pay little attention to either back in passing situations. It also seems that a pass catcher out of the backfield would be another security blanket for young Christian Ponder.
While I understand the Vikings are a long way from contending for an NFL championship, I wonder where the explosive plays will come from in 2012-2013. Aside from Peterson and Percy Harvin, no one scares opposing defenses. Perhaps Wright and Childs will be able to add some playmaking ability on the outside while Rudolph and Carlson work the middle of the field. This season should provide a stage for several young players to make their mark on an unproven Vikings squad.