It took about a whole two, maybe three, hours before the disappointment from getting our butts handed to us via the Green Bay Packers vanished and the excitement for the offseason completely consumed me. Free agents? The draft?! Possible trades? Veterans leaving? New talent?

I love it.

Don’t get me wrong, I was as bummed about the loss as the next hardcore Vikings fan (well, maybe not as much as this guy…) but the postseason letdown didn’t feel as bad this time. Maybe it was because deep down I knew once it was announced Christian Ponder wouldn’t be starting that we would lose the game and then the next three to four hours was just a realization of that fact. Maybe it’s because nothing could have happened in the playoffs that would take away from what an amazing season 2012 was. (And, folks, it was an amazing football season.) Who knows, really.

What I do know is that I was, and am, at peace with what the Vikings did this year and what I think they’ll do in the near future.

There’s a lot to be excited about with this team. There’s a ton to look forward to this offseason and some great stories to look out for.

Here are five of the biggest stories headed into the offseason. Stories that we will be covering in [exhausting] detail here at Vikings Territory, I’m sure. Of course, there will always be a few (maybe more) developments that catch us all by surprise. You can be sure we’ll have those, too.

(Note: These do not include general things like “the draft” or “free agency.” It’s a given those will be huge. I tried to think of specific storylines that will provide intrigue, mystery and excitement.)

5. The New Stadium

I almost didn’t include the stadium on the list because it seems that, now that we’ve got our stadium, it’s more of a “I don’t care how it happens, just get it here” type thing. But, after Adam mentioned it to me when I queried the inner-workings of his very knowledgeable Vikings mind, I started to see why it could become something we talk about frequently during the offseason.

It shouldn’t be long until we start seeing a real design for this thing.  And that will be pretty dang cool. We’ll finally get to see what this thing will look like. What features it will have. Does it have a retractable roof? Seat warmers? Does it have a mammoth monitor floating eerily above the ant-sized players a hundred or so feet below? Who knows.

It will be something tangible at that point. Something we can look at and say, “Okay. So that’s going to be where I take my children to watch my Minnesota Vikings a few years from now.” (Maybe more if you’re me).

It’s been an idea up until this point. A finalized design that we can see is a big step to it becoming a real, real reality. (A real one.)

4. Backup Quarterback Backup Plan

Christian Ponder’s late season surge (and potentially even his absence from the playoff game at Lambeau) solidified his role as the Vikings starter at quarterback next season. Head coach Leslie Frazier has even already made it public. That’s all good and fine, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Vikings still need to figure some things out at the quarterback position during the offseason.

I’m not going to torch Joe Webb too much because I honestly feel like he’s better than what he showed Saturday in Green Bay. The guy was thrown into an incredibly difficult situation under an offensive coordinator who remained steadfast in his stubborn ways and refused to adjust his game plan to increase the likelihood of success for Webb. Nevertheless, I don’t think Joe Webb is somebody who can really threaten Ponder for the starting position and light a fire under his butt, so to speak.

I think Ponder is going to be a good quarterback with a little more development. I take a lot of heat for that position but I’ve held it since he was drafted and I still hold it today. But I’ll be the first one to tell you that it is not a sure thing. He is not a sure thing. And the Vikings need to have a Plan B just in case it doesn’t pan out with #7.

Personally, I’d like Spielman and Co. to do some superb scouting and find a quarterback in the middle rounds who has a lot of upside. It’s also possible the team could just to go the free agent route. (Also, let’s not kid ourselves, it’s entirely possible the Vikings could not address it at all…)

Nevertheless, I think how the roster shapes up behind Ponder is something to keep an eye on.

3. Wide Receivers, Please.

I’ll be honest with you. I think the Vikings wide receiver corps in 2013 is going to look very, very different. And if it doesn’t, I think there’s something wrong here.

When I look at the Vikings receivers, I think there are three guys that are worth retaining. Maybe four. Percy Harvin, Jarius Wright, Greg Childs (if he’s healthy) and maaaaybe Jerome Simpson. It’s nothing personal against the other guys. I just think that this team needs to get younger at the position and find some guys out there who have some high upside and can provide some excitement at the position.

So, that begs the question, who do the Vikings bring in? Make no doubt about it, that will be one of the biggest stories this offseason. Will the Vikings finally spend some money (we have more cap space than all our NFC rivals) in free agency to bring in a #1 receiver? Will they use the first pick of the 2013 draft to find someone who can stretch the field? Will they trade for someone?

There’s a lot that could happen here. But I have to believe that what happens at the wide receiver position will be something of particular interest through the down months.

2. The Defensive End Situation

Towards the end of the year, defensive end Brian Robison suffered an injury that allowed backup Everson Griffen to start. In his place, Everson Griffen was a monster. He wreaked havoc in the backfield, played with a ton of intensity and finished the season with the same amount of sacks as Brian Robison and only four less than Jared Allen (8).

I think the Vikings are again in a position where they need to figure out what they are going to do with Griffen because he’s shown he has too much talent to be warming up the bench. They’ve already (unsuccessfully) experimented with moving him to outside linebacker to get him on the field more. And with two other solid defensive ends in Jared Allen and Brian Robison, it isn’t clear what the best course of action is. Should the Vikings trade Jared Allen to make room for Griffen? Allen is nearing the end of his contract, is getting older, his sack numbers dropped significantly this year and he is scheduled to have the first surgery of his career during the offseason. Would it be smart to part ways while he still has a good amount of value and may be worth something in a trade?

To be honest, I don’t know the best answer at this point. I know that it would be difficult to trade Allen who has become the gritty face of this franchise away.

But the fact remains, Griffen needs to find his way onto the field. How the Vikings do that before next August will be something to watch.

1. The Percy Harvin Story

Finally, we end with what will undoubtedly be the most talked about (forseen) Vikings storyline of the offseason. Will the Vikings hold on to one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the NFL? Will they trade Harvin for draft picks or another receiver? Will he hold out for a new contract?

There’s a lot of drama and intrigue here which will make this a great story throughout the next eight months or so. Percy Harvin is a valuable offensive playmaker. But will the Vikings ultimately decide that he isn’t worth the drama he can sometimes cause? Will they want to pick up the large bill Harvin is going to expect to remain on the team?

Only time will tell. And, as it is now the offseason, we have all the time in the world.

Stick around for an exciting offseason, folks.

42 COMMENTS

  1. 5. The drawings look awesome, i just hope it doesn’t end up boring and plain like Indy/Dallas/az/ny ect… All nice facilities but plain i want something like Seattle or Ohio state.
    4. I agree and would like to see a qb taken in rounds 3-5. Lance Jones, Glennon, Bray, Barkley ect… Someone should slide.
    3. Id like to see a solid wr drafted but not in the first round, along with a free agent (BOWE!!!)
    2. I think we should stay with what we have and go into a rotation. If we dump one we will be thin at DE again and need to draft one
    And 1. Pay the man! Percy is our best receiver and we can’t afford to lose him. He has attitude problems? Fix them this staffs salary is probably 20 million + combined somebody can figure it out.

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  2. 5. I really think some of the early drawings look awesome, but i also don’t hope they make it too simple and boring..
    4. I think we should bring in matt moore from the dolphins, are decent QB. won’t cost much, and neither any draft picks.
    3. I don’t know if FA is the way to go, but should look at the draft for some. especially in the early rounds + hope for Greg childs.. he has potential, hopefully his injury will be in the past.
    2. I really like everson, but you sotta gotta have 3 DE.. look at how the giants always stock up the D-line.. it’s not like he is just riding the bench, he has plenty of opportunities at the interior to rush from in nickle packages
    1. we can’t afford to lose him, but neither can we afford him being trouble if he gets his contract and doesn’t perform / doesn’t give a shit.. trick situation

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  3. Agreed,
    5. The drawing were great.I think Zugi and Company will handle this fine.
    4. I like Matt Moore myself… As long as it is a proven Vet.
    3.Bowe sounds Intriguing for sure!
    2. Gotta have rotation, Giants is the perfect example for sure.
    1. Really want to see this cleared up and getting Percy signed.
    Brett,
    The kid is right, Rogers needs to move out of the division!

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  4. Guess I’ll follow Skol’s format too;
    5 Just hire some REALLY good Roofers, that’s all I ask.
    4. I think we saw what happens when you don’t have a backup QB. To me, it’s absolutely unforgivable to have had Webb on the roster for 3 YEARS and be so unprepared to play the QB position. Johnny was right; We should have kept Sage.
    3. I think when Childs went down with his injury, it all went downhill from there. I had high hopes for him and still do but he’s going to have to get lucky to come back from that injury. Either address in FA or with our first pick. How about we trade Harvin to Arizona for Fitzgerald and a #3?
    2. I say keep all 3 DE’s. If we are going to trade anyone, it should be Robison. Although we could sure get some value with a Jared Allen trade. . .
    1. If we could trade Harvin for a pick in the first 5 and maybe another player or two at any position for depth, I’d say we would have to consider it. Or the Fitzgerald trade.

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      • Well then, what about AD? just think what we could get for him! That make better sense to you?
        You also broke format Tomb. Skol had a good thing going, then you and Cal come along, post outside of the format for this thread (A format that was working very well until you two screwed it all up) and just act like its nothing.
        And now you want to trade Coach?? WTH is going on around here?

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        • I’m honored you like my format Fran. But why trade our stars? Every time the Vikings trade a big name it always bites us in the ass.

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          • I’m just (Barely) kidding about AD. You have to know this; I’m an old guy who has watched the Vikings lose 4 SB’s and haven’t been to another one in what, 35 years?
            I’m scared to death I’m going to die before I see them win a Championship.
            At this point in my life, I’d welcome Saddam Hussein as the new owner and be happy if he traded the whole damn team for a bunch of Muslim terrorists, as long as they could play football and win the Super Bowl!

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            • Wow that escalated quickly. And I hoped you were kidding about AD. I was talking about Percy and Jared, we can’t trade superstars for Napoleon Harrises and Troy Williamsons and expect to win a superbowl.

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            • Fran,
              Take a deep breath there guy! I would Love to see a Super Bowl Minnesota Vikings.
              I share the old guy thing and do understand.
              Heck, 2009 Championship game… I was so disappointed i went for a walk every day and thought about it for Weeks!
              I watched 101 way to lose a game… Not worth it
              Wow, I guess i just relived it :)

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              • Charlie, I’ve seen some horible losses but that 2009 game is right up there with the worst ever. With about 3 minutes to go, I went out on my deck and screamed at the top of my lungs; “The Vikings are going to the SUPER BOWL!” (My neighbor is a Packers fan and I’m sure he heard me) 2 minutes later, I’m sitting in my chair, head between my legs, almost in tears, as Farve throws the INT. . .

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      • Ok, I’ll agree to keep the headcase (Harvin) if you’ll agree to do whatever it takes to get Larry Fitzgerald in Purple (And no, I’m not talking your purple tights)

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  5. an innovative trick new stadium would be cool, but i remember a year ago and being humble, just asking that it be built in mn is all. smart move to make the roof movable, tho

    a vet fa qb, and develop mbt

    plan for childs not to return. buy a FA, draft, kidnap, ransom, trade for, whatever, but get a couple of quality WRs on this team. we have to know if ponder can do it, and we need to remove any excuses for him to fail

    keep JA unless there was a great return for him, draft a big fat NT

    keep percy and deal with it. he’s that good

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    • Even tho you broke tradition here on this particular thread and didn’t use the correct format, I’ll still respond to your post;

      Great Post Cal!
      I think your right about Childs unfortunately and agree we need to give Ponder the weapons he needs to prove himself and keeping Harvin is a step in the right direction too.
      It’s going to be an interesting offseason, that’s for sure.

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  6. yep, i’m a tradition breaking maverick all right

    i think we’re all feeling a bit relieved after the trough we’ve been through

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  7. We have 3 very good DE’s and only one decent LB.

    I think we scrap our 4-3 technique, and unveil a 5-2, or even 6-1 technique.

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    • 6-1 is a little extreme, i wouldn’t be opposed to switching to a hybrid defense and running a 5-2 and nickel most of the time. With how athletic or d linemen are(Allen, Robison, Griffin, k will, and Ballard are above average athletically) a 5-2 could work randomly doing d linemen into short coverages once in a while (see rams game).

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  8. After seeing Coach’s pro Packer sentiments in an earlier thread, we may want to shop him around a little, see what kind of value he has in the market…not saying to trade him, mind you…just see what’s up out there, y’know…

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    • You know, I think I remember back in the old Evil Access Vikings days, if I remember right, Coach was one of the last to leave ‘Ol Zulgads evil site. . .We all know Zulgad is a Pucker fan, so maybe things are starting to makes sense; The Coach is a plant from the hated Green Bay Packers? Could it be? Stay tuned, I’m on the case.

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      • Fran,
        I remember that! That site wouldn’t let me post. I would read it all the time. Bud would talk to Some Mouthy Packer fan… If i would have ever met him, I would have… I won’t go there…

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        • Are you sure you didn’t mean; “Bud would talk LIKE some mouthy Packer fan”
          Ha!

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          • Watch it Fran….accusing someone of being a Packer fan can stir some pretty ugly responses in some folks.

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            • I just knew that might get a response out of you, maybe even a cuss word or two. Hey, anyone who goes by the handle, B. Grant, HAS to be a Viking fan! Just joshing you.

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  9. Here is my $0.02:

    5. The new stadium no matter what it looks like, is sure to help draw some good free agents to this team if Ricky wants to spend the money,and it doesn’t hurt the Vikes make the playoffs. Just one request, make the sure the stadium is designed to be very loud, like the Dome.

    4.Spider is a great athlete but not a reliable backup QB. He sucked in preseason and it wasn’t any better this last game. Need to upgrade this position.

    3. No need to overstate the obvious. The WR corps need to be overhauled. Nuf said.

    2. Keep all 3 DE’s. Jared Allen played all year with an injury. So of course his production will be down. His leadership on the defense can not be replaced. It took us a long time to get quality DE depth. Why blow it up now. Besides, he is willing to restructure his contract which will add cap space.

    1. Harvin has turned into a primadonna. Hopefully Frazier can haul him back to earth. He is a very good player but not irreplaceable and not at the expense of the team and for the future.

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    • Hey Norse, good to see you around. Can’t argue with anything you said.
      Good news is, we got options.

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  10. FINE. I’ll follow the format:

    5. New stadium = good. Just make sure it’s indoor. Better football for the spectator.
    4. We needs to do something. Competition for the starting job, veteran presence for backup.
    3. We needs to do something to help out PERCY HARVIN.
    2. Keep 3 DE’s.
    1. God damn it Fran, get Percy re-signed.

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    • I want a retractable roof for sure, this stadium will be around for years to come. I want atleast one winter game a year.

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  11. 5. I have a no trade clause.
    4. I ain’t no Packer lover! Never was or will be.
    3. I don’t send Christmas cards to Judd Z! Never have or will.
    2. I’m glad Spielman and Frazier are making these decisions rather than you guys.
    1. Tomb should stop swearing.

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    • You have a no trade clause? Fine what is your buyout set at, I’m sure tomb would front the money.
      But what decisions are you happy Frazier/Speilman are making and not us? You don’t want to keep all 3 d ends?

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      • “But what decisions are you happy Frazier/Speilman are making and not us?”

        ALL of them.

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        • So you think leaving Webb in on Saturday was the right call? I would have pulled him after that second blind throw away into the defense.

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    • I sent Tomb a private email, with a bar of soap Coach. He’ll know what to do with it.

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  12. Another story line…. Kevin Williams may not be back. Vikings have a two year option on him, but at a huge payday. Will the Vikings want pay the huge contract? I doubt it. May try redoing contract. But K.Will maybe gone.

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