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Rebuilding the Vikings: Season in Review

Christian Ponder (Hannah Foslien / Getty Images)

After a 2010-11 season filled with great potential that ended with disappointment, the Vikings hoped to get back to prominence in 2011-12. Most of the core of the team was back, with veterans such as Antoine Winfield, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Steve Hutchinson as well as franchise player Adrian Peterson, the team that went to the NFC Championship game two years ago was still mostly intact.

The Vikings used their first round draft pick to select quarterback Christian Ponder, with hopes of him stepping in as the team’s first long term answer at quarterback since Daunte Culpepper was traded. Due to the belief that the team could still compete for a playoff spot and to ensure Ponder was given ample time to digest the playbook, veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb was brought in to start until Ponder was ready.

But after a frustrating 1-4 start in which the team couldn’t hold leads of 10, 17 and 20 points, McNabb was lifted for Ponder after proving to be pedestrian at best with his contributions to the offense. Ponder came in and gave the fans reason to cheer when he almost lead the Vikings to a win against the then undefeated Green Bay Packers.

Ponder did get his first win the following week against the Carolina Panthers, but the team’s next win wouldn’t come until its 14th game, in which Joe Webb filled in for an injured Ponder. Ponder showed flashes of greatness during his starts, but also showed the tendency for rookie mistakes in many of the teams losses.

Overall on the season, the Vikings finished with a 3-13 record and the third overall pick in the coming NFL draft. Among the issues the team needs to address the defense in general needs major amounts of work. There are holes in the secondary, strong and free safety, defensive line and linebacker. The team also needs wide receiver help and a major overhaul on the offensive line. They can’t hope to address all of these issues in the draft and even in free agency, but the next couple offseasons will be pivotal if the Vikings want to return to the form they showed in the 2009-10 season.

Stay tuned as I will be taking a position-by-position look at the Vikings as they head into the draft and free agency.

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