Last week we talked all about defense, so you can guess where we’re headed this week …
Which Offensive Player will Have the Most Standout Season for the Vikings in 2015?
Lindsey: Teddy Bridgewater
From Day 1, I’ve been a Bridgewater believer. I was pumped when we drafted him, and last season just affirmed his potential. Bridgewater got thrown into the fire last year when Cassel got injured, and the AP fiasco didn’t make things any easier. However, the QB still finished with incredibly solid numbers for a rookie: 2,919 passing yards, a 64.4 percent completion rate and only three fumbles. Bridgewater has a quiet confidence about him, and he’s not easily rattled. He grew his confidence in a rocky 2014 situation, and I expect him to come out ready to rock for 2015.
Andy: Kyle Rudolph
People always talk about how Norv’s offense being so “tight end friendly.” If Rudy can stay healthy for a full season, I think he and Teddy will do some good things together and he’ll make his extension look like a bargain. A lot of variables, but we all believe Rudolph has the ability to be a top-five tight end in the league. It’s just a matter of putting it all together. Plus, we know Teddy loves his tight ends. #Reisner
Brent: Teddy Bridgewater
When I first read the question, my gut was: Teddy Bridgewater. I thought that was too obvious, but after sitting on it for a few hours, I can’t help but circle back to Bridgewater. I can’t wait to see what a full offseason will do for him mentally and physically in terms of development. I think getting Mike Wallace via trade with Miami was a great move because it will ensure that defenses respect our ability to go deep. Not only will that open up the mid-range passes, where Bridgewater excels, but it will also let Adrian Peterson run wild. That’s only if the Vikings remain true to the current narrative of keeping Peterson on the roster. An argument can be made about the season Peterson will seemingly have and his impact on the offense, but ultimately, I think this is Bridgewater’s team and he will be given every opportunity to capitalize on a break-out year.
Carl: Teddy Bridgewater
No surprise here—Teddy Bridgewater is my pick. Bridgewater’s accuracy and pocket awareness is something you just can’t coach.
Bridgewater finished 2014 with a terrific 75.2% Accuracy Percentage under pressure. It was the top mark set by a rookie since Pro Football Focus began recording it in 2007. Despite being pressured on 39.9% of his pass attempts, Bridgewater lead the league in hitting his target when the pocket crumbled. He can’t do it all on his own; he will need a quick strike go-to target to step up. So, my honorable mention answer to this question is, Jarius Wright.
OC Norv Turner suggests Jarius Wright could play a bigger role in the Vikings’ offense following Greg Jennings’ release, per KFAN 103. Turner sees Wright as the potential go-to slot receiver. Wright saw 60 targets last season, a number that is sure to be on the rise in 2015. His 70% completion mark ranked 19th in the NFL among receivers with 500 or more snaps. Wright might have a limited route tree, but he is slippery good with the ball in his hands. His YAC (yards after catch) average of 8.0 ranked 9th in the league last year.
Over the last five games of the season, Wright and Charles Johnson were neck and neck in the stats department. Wright caught 16 receptions for 233 yards and 2 TDs, while Johnson caught 16 balls for 276 yards and 1 TD. If all goes well for Bridgewater, the Vikings could have four or more guys catch 50 plus receptions this year; and that hasn’t happened since 2009 when Brett Favre was slinging it all over the field.
Wow, this makes me want to re-think taking a wide receiver with the 11th pick…
Austin: Kyle Rudolph
In his second season under Norv Turner, Rudolph will finally become the tight end fans have been clamoring for since he signed a 5-year, $40 million contract in 2014. The Vikings added weapons this offseason, and a slimmer, faster Rudolph will have a chance to match or exceed his Pro Bowl numbers in Turner’s tight end-friendly system next season. If he can avoid injury, Rudolph will becomes Teddy Bridgewater’s favorite red zone target and haul in a healthy dose of touchdown catches.
Adam: Teddy Bridgewater
I think there is really only one option when you eliminate any and all running backs, including Adrian Peterson, based off of uncertainty. That one option is, of course, Teddy Bridgewater. The hope is that Teddy’s rookie season is just the beginning of a long and decorated career, and the expectations are now quite high. For that reason, all eyes will be on Bridgewater in 2015, and he has given us know reason to doubt his ability to play at a high level and continue to improve.