Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 9/7/13
The 2013 NFL season is underway. The league opened the season with the Broncos and Ravens Thursday night. The rest of the NFL action begins Sunday afternoon. The Minnesota Vikings look to start the season on a positive note against the Detroit Lions Sunday at 1 PM ET. The Vikings are looking to make the playoffs on consecutive seasons and hope to improve on a surprising turnaround to the end of the 2012 season. Not only do they want to make the playoffs, but they want to make a deep playoff run this season. In order for this success Adrian Peterson and Christian Ponder will need to keep the offense moving down the field without turning the ball over. On the other side of the ball the defense needs to restrict opposing offenses on making big plays down the field. First of all, Christian Ponder in my opinion is the biggest catalyst for the Vikings 2013 success. When Ponder is able to make big plays with his feet and in the play-action passing game the offense has no problem driving down the field. I expect Ponder to spread the ball not only to Kyle Rudolph but more importantly newly acquired Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson. It will be interesting to see how Mr. Ponder’s third season plays out. Greg Jennings making a play on the ball. (Pioneer Press: Ben Garvin) I think the receiving core has improved significantly in the offseason. The ill-fortuned Percy Harvin is gone and another playmaker takes his place with the addition of Patterson via 1st round draft pick. Perhaps the largest impact will come with the veteran presence of Greg Jennings. Jennings has already been meshing well with the Vikings staff and has provided guidance to the younger receivers. The only question comes with his age and health. I believe if Jennings can stay healthy the entire season Ponder will have a great season. The Vikings receiving core is shaping up to be an electric group compared to the past few seasons of mediocre receiver play. As you would expect, Adrian Peterson will have another fantastic season. I expect Peterson to give the single-season rushing record a run for it’s money. For the Vikings to have any success in the passing game, the run game has to be in full force especially if Ponder wants to spread the field when defenses load up the box to stop AP. On the defensive side of the ball the secondary has improved with the addition of CB Xavier Rhodes. The secondary improved throughout the past season with the emergence of Harrison Smith’s uncanny ability to always be around the ball in pass defense as well as coming up to lay the wood on backs and receivers. It’s important that Xavier Rhodes and Chris Cook stay healthy the entire season. Rhodes was a standout corner for Florida State and brings youth to a position plagued by injury in the past. Vikings 2013 Schedule Breakdown @ Detroit Lions W @ Chicago Bears W vs Cleveland Browns W vs Pittsburgh Steelers L BYE vs Carolina Panthers W @ New York Giants L vs Green Bay Packers L @ Dallas Cowboys W vs Washington Redskins L @ Seattle Seahawks L @ Green Bay Packers L vs Chicago Bears L @ Baltimore Ravens W vs Philadelphia Eagles W @ Cincinnati Bengals W vs Detroit Lions W Projected regular season record: 9-7 Take Our Poll  

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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