Looking at the enemy: Minnesota Vikings

Looking at the enemy: Minnesota Vikings
May 21, 2013, 11:00 pm
Share This Post

Now that the schedule is set and the draft is over, CSNBaltimore.com is taking a chronological look at each of the Ravens 2013 opponents.

Week 14: Minnesota Vikings

Date: Sunday, Dec. 8, 1 p.m., M&T Bank Stadium

2012 Record: 10-6; NFC wild-card; lost to Green Bay, 24-10, in Wild-Card Round playoff game

Key offseason losses: LB Jasper Brinkley (to Arizona); WR Percy Harvin (traded to Seattle); P Chris Kluwe (to Oakland); CB Antoine Winfield (to Seattle);

Key additions: QB Matt Cassel (from Kansas City); WR Greg Jennings (from Green Bay)

Top 5 draft picks: DT Sharif Floyd (1st round, Florida); CB Xavier Rhodes (1st round, Florida State); WR Cordarrelle Patterson (1st round, Tennessee); LB Gerald Hodges (4th round, Penn State); P Jeff Locke (UCLA, 5th round)

Overview: The Ravens run defense was suspect last season, but it will need to be on its game when reigning NFL MVP Adrian Peterson comes to M&T Bank Stadium.

Peterson ran for 2,097 yards last season, ending up just eight yards shy of Eric Dickerson's single-season NFL record.

That was the main reason the Vikings ranked No. 2 in the league in rushing last season. The Vikings, though, were the 31st-ranked passing offense under second-year quarterback Christian Ponder. He ranked 21st in the league with a quarterback rating of 81.2 with 2,935 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

And Ponder has lost his main passing weapon, as receiver and return star Percy Harvin was traded to Seattle. Harvin missed almost half the season last year with an ankle injury, but still led the Vikings with 62 catches for 677 yards. He also had a kickoff return touchdown.

To fill the void left by Harvin, the Vikings picked up former Packers receiver Greg Jennings. Then, with one of their three first-round draft picks -- they picked up one from Seattle and another from New England in a trade -- they drafted Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. It also appears they Vikings are moving former quarterback Joe Webb to receiver this spring.

The Vikings defense ranked 16th overall last season and still features ferocious pass rusher Jared Allen. He isn't getting any younger, but the 31-year-old Allen still had 12 sacks last season.

The Vikings went defensive with their first two draft picks, taking Florida down lineman Sharrif Floyd and then cornerback Xavier Rhodes two picks later. Rhodes could be a plug-and-play starter for the Vikings, who totalled 10 interceptions last year, tied for the fourth-fewest in the league.

Starting middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley is gone to Arizona, and the Vikings have reportedly kicked the tires on current free agent and longtime Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher. If they don't sign him, though, one favorite to at middle linebacker is former Terps linebacker Erin Henderson, who had 79 tackles and three sacks last season.

This game will feature two of the brightest young kickers in the league in Justin Tucker and the Vikings' Blair Walsh. Walsh was 35-for-38 last year, including 10-for-10 from 50 yards and out.