There are three sure things in life: Death, taxes and Adrian Peterson being great. He's not going to repeat 2012 any time soon, when he dragged a team with a spotty QB, no deep receiving threats, Percy Harvin deciding to take most of the year off and an average defense into the playoffs, but you can mark him down for over at least 1,300 yards with ten touchdowns just like any other year.
Cassel was respectable in his nine games last year, posting a 60% completion percentage and throwing more touchdowns (11) than picks (9). He'll be a solid gap filler.
Now here's a reason to be excited. While Johnny Manziel has been busy flipping people off and receiving attention, there hasn't been any doubt who the better quarterback's been so far. After his rocky first start in Oakland, Bridgewater hasn't had any problems other than having a first name that starts with T, making Paul Allen think he should refer to every game he plays as "Teddy take ____" It gets annoying fast. The last few games he looked poised the entire time. He has a great touch on his throws, he doesn't get spooked from the pocket whenever he sees a different jersey like Ponder and the Vikings got him with the 32nd pick because scouts ignored all that at Louisville and decided he wasn't good because he didn't do well in a situation that's somewhat like a football game. I'm feeling optimistic.
The Vikings rewarded Everson Griffin with a five year, 42.5 million dollar contract for a very good performance in a short amount of time. The best athlete comparison I can come up with is Eduardo Escobar. For the last few years he raked at the plate, but the Twins weren't sure he could play full time. It's the same situation with Griffin. He's had 17.5 sacks in the last three years in limited playing time behind Allen. Let's hope it works out as well as Escobar. The other big defensive move was signing Captain Munnerlyn. He brings some much needed aggression to a secondary that could be way too passive last year, but most importantly, he allows me to regularly write the words, "Captain Munnerlyn."
Worst Case scenario
Cassel struggles in the tough early part of the schedule, followed by him being replaced by Bridgewater, who isn't ready and has his confidence killed. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball a shaky secondary continues to cough up big leads and have an inability to cover anyone, as they take a step back on a promising end of last year and go 5-11.
Best case scenario
Griffin has the year Spielman's expecting him to, Bridgewater eventually steps in for Cassel and has a good rookie season, Peterson has his typical great year, Jerome Simpson gets his head on straight after his suspension, Patterson continues being Harvin without the baggage and the Vikes sneak into the playoffs at 10-6.
Prediction: I'll say 8-8, narrowly missing the playoffs. It won't be great, but it'll be a huge step forward.