Antoine Winfield is gone, leaving a leadership void in the secondary. The younger cornerbacks and safeties seem to have talent, but none are proven commodities.
The defense played pretty well last year, but going into the season without an established middle linebacker should cause some angst. Whether it’s Erin Henderson or newcomer Desmond Bishop, that will be an area that teams attack early in the season.
The way the Vikings are built is always going to be a cause for concern. The Vikings don’t have the firepower to consistently blow out the opponent, meaning each game will come down to the fourth quarter. At that point, an unlucky bounce or untimely penalty can turn a potential victory into a frustrating loss.
Another 10-6 season? Maybe.
How about 8-8? More likely.
It’s tough to get a feel for this team’s potential, based on who’s coming back and who is new to the team. Maybe, there will be more data after three weeks of training camp, watching these players go through hours of drills.
Fans should be more optimistic than they were at this time last season, but perhaps it’s better to have low expectations and have the Vikings exceed them. That’s what happened last season, but it seems lowering optimism at this time of the year is pretty tough.
Chad Courrier is a Free Press staff writer. To contact him, call 507-344-6353, e-mail at email@example.com, or follow his Twitter feed @ChadCourrier.