Minnesota Vikings: 2016 NFC North Favorites

Jun 15, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) answers questions after practice at mini camp. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 15, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) answers questions after practice at mini camp. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Vikings were one of the NFL’s biggest surprises last season. Coach Mike Zimmer is well aware of the lofty expectations, and the work it takes to reach them. The noise coming from outside the organization is not important to him, winning is.

Who could forget the energy in downtown Minneapolis when Target Field first opened. The Twins were coming off a division title and opening their state-of-the-art ballpark in the Warehouse District. Fans were literally arriving by the train full. Smiling faces were abundant during every home game.

Minnesota didn’t disappoint either, advancing to the ALDS that year. You could not have scripted a season as exciting as 2010 for any franchise, or could you?

Welcome to a new era of Minnesota Vikings football.

The Minnesota Vikings are coming off a surprising division title, snatching the crown from the vaunted Green Bay Packers. Mike Zimmer has led the club to a swift turnaround in just two short seasons. In the process Zimmer has also managed to build a defensive juggernaut that is scarily capable of getting even better.

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings, Teddy Bridgewater, Training Camp
Jan 10, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer in the first half of a NFC Wild Card playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

The city is about to unleash U.S. Bank Stadium to the world, and Mike Zimmer is creating a winning atmosphere. It feels to good to be true… but every dog has its day.

How could you not be excited as a fan of the Minnesota Vikings in 2016?

Winning is the best remedy to making people forget about the rough patches, and the Vikings organization has turned the corner faster than anyone could have thought. Local sports fanatics usually take a “wait and see” approach before getting to invested in our home teams. Always afraid of the dramatic end of the season let down, myself included.

Not this year my fellow Minnesotan’s. We’ve survived Gary Anderson and Blai… and another kicker’s miss. (Not wanting to jinx anyone) We have hit rock bottom emotionally as Viking’ fans, nothing should frighten us.

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I’m all in for a number of reasons, Zimmer can slow play his team all he wants. Drawing in his players, and making his opponents think he only has a pair of deuces in his game of football poker. That’s the way a smart coach should play it, raking in every chip on the table.

My instincts on this team are telling me to show every opponent my hand, glare into my rivals eyes, and dare them to try and beat me. Here are a few reasons why my confidence is as high on this team than ever before.

Defense and veteran leadership-

Harrison Smith just inked an extension that would allow him to purchase any vehicle on the planet. So what did the leagues best safety show up to training camp in, a team bus with an assigned bicycle.

Terence Newman is creeping up on forty, yet he still puts the work in to compete with athletes half his age. It’s not about the money for him either.

Chad Greenway just wanted one more season, wanting to christen U.S. Bank Stadium properly.

Adrian Peterson built his own gym in Houston. Nothing Eddie Lacy like about that. (For Packer fans, yes that was a knock on Lacy’s conditioning)

Everson Griffen achieved double digit sack totals in Zimmer’s first and second year as head coach. Danielle Hunter is in good hands.

Next: Minnesota Vikings: News, Updates from training camp

Don’t think the young guys haven’t noticed their veteran leadership. The Vikings are on the verge of something special. Whether that’s a Super Bowl win this year or next is unimportant, I’m just excited for the ride this time around.