Xavier Rhodes, year three.
I trust Mike Zimmer to find a way to fit CB Trae Waynes into his scheme; something he's done so many times before with average DBs in Cincinnati/Dallas.
Terrence Newman's only played well WITH Mike Zimmer, and now they're back together again. My opinion is Newman's washed up, but we'll see. When you have Harrison Smith at one safety spot, I can deal with a Robert Blanton (who PFF loved)/Terrence Newman rotation and hope something comes out of that.
Eric Kendricks learning MLB from Chad Greenway, who only has a year or two left.
Everson Griffen was exactly what Zimmer needed him to be last year, and he performed up to the $ that Minnesota took a risk on paying him before the production came. Excited to see what year two brings.
Sharrif Floyd was GREAT in the second half of last year. Vikings got him in the 20s, and he was mocked in the Top-5 for most of the offseason in 2013 before he fell for having "gator arms." Didn't seem to affect him at the end of last year.
Linval Joseph and Brian Robison are both extremely dependable veterans, even if Robison didn't have the same type of impact last year that he had in 2013.
The starting offensive line will be LT Matt Kalil, LG Brandon Fusco, C John Sullivan, RG T.J. Clemmings (just watch), RT Phil Loadholt. Sullivan's really excited about Clemmings falling for an injury weirdly popping up at the combine even though he's always had it. Vikings swooped a first-round talent in the fourth because of it. I guess the offensive line looks tremendous with Fusco at LG because he was out all of last year and he was a big reason Kalil sucked, who was playing next to LG corpses in 2014.
And then the "ascension" of Teddy Bridgewater, who was good last year... WITHOUT Adrian Peterson as a threat in the backfield. I'm really interested to see Teddy's deep ball accuracy to Mike Wallace/Charles Johnson without the pocket collapsing due to AP's presence like it too often did in 2014.
Can't wait man. I'm not one to get up on a team unless they deserve it, but the pieces are all coming into place.
I think the rise can happen as soon as 2015, but I'm preparing for it to be in 2016 after a 8-8/9-7 record in 2015.