Vikings Set to Head to Camp
On July 25th the Minnesota Vikings will report to the campus of Minnesota State University-Mankato to kick off the 2015-2016 NFL season. With the return of Adrian Peterson, after an almost year long suspension for assaulting his child, there is sure to be a whole lot of buzz and controversy surrounding this year's training camp. Peterson will surely be the talk of camp but there are a lot of other guys and a lot of other things that Vikings fans should be excited for in the coming weeks.
It's year two for quarterback and 2014 first round pick, Teddy Bridgewater. After such a promising start to his NFL career, there are very high expectations for the 22-year-old out of Louisville. Last season, Bridgewater started 12 games and threw for 2,919 yards, 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He has given Vikings fans hope that they finally have a franchise quarterback, after the disappointment that was former first round pick Christian Ponder. Bridgewater will be counted on to take another step forward this season, and he has a couple exciting new targets to throw to.
In March, the Vikings acquired speedy wide receiver Mike Wallace from the Miami Dolphins via trade. Wallace is coming off a 862 yard, 10 touchdown year, and will provide a much needed deep threat that Bridgewater did not consistently have last season. After cutting Greg Jennings, the 28-year-old Wallace will most likely take over as the number one receiver for the time being.
In the fifth round of the NFL draft the Vikings took Maryland receiver Stefon Diggs. Diggs ran a 4.46 40-yard dash at the combine, and excels as an athlete. NFL.com had him projected a third or fourth round pick, so he could truly be one of the steals of the draft class. Diggs had three very productive years as a Terp. Diggs had 2,227 yards receiving on 150 catches, and 14 touchdowns in his three-year collegiate career. He is sure to get playing time this season and Minnesota hopes that he can prove that he should have been taken a lot higher than the 5th round.
On the defensive side of the ball the Vikings are looking like one of the more promising defenses for years to come. With their first pick in this April's draft, the Vikings selected Michigan State cornerback, Trae Waynes, who has the chance to be a lock down man-to-man corner at the next level. Waynes is pretty long for a corner at 6'0", and had one of the strongest combines of any prospect. Waynes ran a 4.31 40, which was the fastest of any 2015 corner. As long as he can keep his penalties down and continues to grow, the Vikings will have a scary duo of young corners with Waynes and Xavier Rhodes for years to come.
In the second round the Vikings took linebacker Eric Kendricks from UCLA. It worked out last season so why not take another linebacker from UCLA? With Chad Greenway on the downward slope of his career the Vikings added to the linebacker core early in the draft. Kendricks is said to have great football instincts and knows the game well. Combine that with his great leadership ability and he could be starting week one. Kendricks has been a popular candidate for experts projecting defensive rookie of the year, because he looks to be so NFL ready. He again will be teaming up with second year linebacker Anthony Barr, and it will be exciting to see them playing and growing side by side.
With all the speculation surrounding Adrian Peterson there is already a great amount of buzz surrounding the Vikings training camp which starts July 25th. On top of the Peterson buzz, the young talent should make for an exciting year of Viking football, and will be a very entertaining couple weeks of training camp.