Some aren’t giving the Vikings a chance in 2014.  Some think they immediately make the jump back into contention.  Regardless of how you think they will do, the fact of the matter is that their first order of business has to be winning football games in the NFC North.  Here is our weekly look (after taking a week off) around the net at our greatest foes.

GREEN BAY PACKERS

There is no doubt that the Packers want to retain their ultra-productive wide receiver Jordy Nelson.  Nelson is 29 years old, entering a contract year, set to make only $2.55 million in 2014, and is clearly a favorite target for Aaron Rodgers on a weekly basis.  The running theory seems to be that Green Bay would like to extend Nelson this season, instead of waiting until next offseason, as they also have to get deals done with others such as Randall Cobb.  Nelson is likely the first domino that needs to fall before Ted Thompson can start working on the rest of his list of pending free agents for 2015.  Vikings fans (and defensive backs), of course, wouldn’t mind seeing Nelson’s extension hit a snag or ten between now and next March.

DETROIT LIONS

Detroit’s backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky thinks that his team has a Darren Sproles on their roster who will catch 50 balls in 2014.  It isn’t Reggie Bush that he’s talking about, either.  Theo Riddick is the guy to watch for according to Orlovsky.

“I mean this kid, he wasn’t covered a single time in OTAs and minicamp. He was not covered,” Orlovsky said. “And I think it’s even going to be easier when he gets pads on because once linebackers just try to start colliding him, and that’s what teams started to do with Sproles sometimes, you hit the home run one out of every 10 plays. And then nine out of 10 times, Sproles wins. And that’s what I think Theo’s going to do that for us.”

The Vikings have had struggles, in recent years, matching up with athletic backs that can catch passes out of the backfield.  The hope here is that Mike Zimmer and the new defensive front will help keep guys like Riddick from being too successful on Sundays.

If that doesn’t interest you, click this link anyways, as you’ll enjoy his explanation of the time Jared Allen embarrassed him in front of the world.

CHICAGO BEARS

The Bears don’t have an iron-clad roster, by most accounts, and aren’t widely regarded as one of the NFL’s elite teams (yet).  One thing they can boast with little argument, however, is that they own the top wide out duo in the league.  The combination of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jefferey is about as good as it gets.  Chicago has some competent quarterback play and an excellent coaching staff in the house, so their duo of pass catchers should feast all season long, and the passing attack alone could be enough to land them a post-season matchup or two.  Xavier Rhodes and Captain Munnerlyn will have their work cut out for them the two weeks we play against Chicago.