Prediction #5: Cordarrelle Patterson wins rookie of the year.
Vikings rookie receiver Cordarrelle Patterson has a lot to prove in the NFL, but all of the skills and talent needed to do so. With his unbelievable speed and quickness, good hands, and return capabilities, He should be able to become a big time receiver in this league. The only huge knock on him is his lack of experience in Division I football, having only played one year at Tennessee. The Vikings traded back into the first round for a reason; They knew talent when they saw it. Patterson has had an okay preseason thus far, although I am a little upset about Jerome Simpson playing ahead of him. I definitely think that will change throughout the course of the season, if not week one. Patterson almost took the opening kickoff of the preseason for a touchdown as well.
No matter where his spot ends up being when we open up against Detroit, I expect Patterson to emerge quickly. His route running still needs some work, and I really feel Ponder and Patterson needed to develop more in-game chemistry over the course of the preseason, but there’s no doubt in my mind that chemistry will develop quickly. I think Patterson will finish in the area of 60 catches, 760 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 2 kick return touchdowns. He is going to be a very fun player to watch this year, and I have a feeling we’ll see some spectacular plays.
Prediction #4: Bobby Felder makes the squad; beats out Sherels for punt return spot.
I wrote this prediction in July, and in all honesty wish I would have released it sooner, because all signs are pointing to Felder making the final 53 man roster. I have been a fan of Felder since last preseason, where I felt he made enough plays to make the final 53 even back then. I think Felder would make the perfect situational nickel or dime back, but may be able to beat out Sherels for the punt return spot. We have only seen a handful of punt returns from Felder this preseason, but one of them just happened to be a 37 yarder against the Bills. Not only that, but coach Frazier has told special teams coordinator Mike Priefer that he wants to see Felder have more opportunities in the return game. It’s never a bad thing to have the head coach on your side.
I think Felder’s shot of making the final 53 is legitimate to say the least. He has stood out and been a bright spot for us during this unexpected 0-3 preseason, and should be able to contribute in the secondary and return game throughout the course of the regular season. I look forward to having the man with the longest dreads in the NFL still in purple once the preaseason is over.
Prediction #3: Vikings defense records 20 interceptions.
Go ahead and call me crazy. I wouldn’t blame you. However, I think we are going to witness one of the best Viking defenses over the last 15 years in 2013. It’s hard to think of an area of weakness when thinking of the Vikings defense (not including Kevin William’s injury). There are certainly question marks; Will Desmond Bishop win the starting OLB spot? How quick Will Josh Robinson and Xavier Rhodes step into their roles? The question I’ve been asking myself is how many turnovers are we going to be able to create? With a revamped secondary and playmakers at other spots, I don’t think 20 is out of the question.
I think Xavier Rhodes is going to play even bigger than we are expecting. I could see him having 4-5 interceptions his rookie year, long with Harrison Smith getting around the same number. Josh Robinson is going to snag a few as well, along with others, and hopefully we see our first interception from the suddenly “veteran leader” of our secondary, Chris Cook. When you take into account the few interceptions we could see from our linebackers and defensive line, and maybe some luck, I think the Vikings end up with 20 interceptions. It certainly would be nice, considering the lack of interceptions we’ve seen over the last several years.
Prediction #2: Adrian Peterson breaks Eric Dickerson’s record.
The second time will be a charm for Adrian Peterson in 2013. Last year, the MVP of the league finished just nine yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record. Quite frankly, If Peterson hadn’t been benched in the final quarter of the Houston Texans game in week 16, he would have had the record without a doubt. I think Peterson wants the record this year even more than he did last year.
A few months ago, Peterson told NFL Network he was going to get 2,500 yards in 2013. I’m not sure if he’s going to get quite that much, but at the same time, I know that Peterson feels 100% that he’s going to accomplish that goal. Breaking 2,000 yards again would be a challenge for anybody, but if there’s anybody that could repeat a 2k yard season, I feel like Peterson would have to be the guy. Even with a better wide receiving corps and (hopefully) improved quarterback play to go along with better weapons, this is still Peterson’s team. He is simply a monster for defenses to face, much like last year, I don’t think anybody will be able to stop AP from acheiving his goals this year. I’m guessing Peterson finishes 50-100 yards over Dickerson’s record.
Prediction #1: Vikings win division; go 11-5.
Here you have it folks; my number one bold prediction. This division will be a two way race in December between the Vikings and Packers, and I think the Vikings win it by a hair. I have the Vikings going 11-5, the Packers going 10-6, Chicago going 8-8, and Detroit going 6-10.
Games Vikings Win: @Lions, Browns, Steelers, Panthers, Packers, @Cowboys, Redskins, Bears, Eagles, @Bengals, Lions
I have the Vikings going 8-0 at home. The Vikings year in and year out are a much better team at home, and our opponents at home this year vs the opponents we face on the road are a much easier bunch. Obviously, I’d really like to see more road wins.
Games Vikings Lose: @Bears, @Giants, @Seahawks, @Packers, @Ravens
The toughest places the Vikings play each year are at Soldier and Lambeau Field. Things just don’t seem to end up going how we’d like them two in those two stadiums. Over the last decade or so, Eli Manning has struggled against us in the Meadowlands, but I have us losing that away game. Seattle and the 12th man will be a challenge, as well as playing on the road against the defending Superbowl champions in Baltimore.