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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Do the Vikings have the best ‘future roster’ in the NFL?

By Andrew Krammer

Safety T.J. Ward couldn’t understand why many media outlets sided with the Carolina Panthers prior to the Denver Broncos’ Super Bowl victory this month.

Speaking on ESPN Radio’s Russillo & Kanell recently, Ward’s main point was the Broncos knew they had the upper hand on Carolina before kickoff because — “who did they play?” Ward and teammate Bradley Roby ran through the Panthers’ playoff opponents on air.

Arizona?

“Overrated,” Roby said.

Seattle?

“They should’ve lost to Minnesota,” Ward said.

The Vikings emerged quickly in an 11-win season capped with a NFC North title and a narrow first-round playoff exit. They started to realize some of the potential on a roster foundation laid with eight first-round picks in the last four years. This time last year, they were gaining national steam as a potential breakout team. Now, they were selected No. 1 overall in a draft of the NFL’s ‘best future rosters,’ with former scout and NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks making the pick.

“I believe the Minnesota Vikings are positioned to be a team that’s going to be a bully in the NFC for a long time,” Brooks said on NFL Network. “When you look at the building blocks that they have in place, all that young and dynamic [talent], but you still have the veteran presence in Adrian Peterson.”

In a fun offseason segment, Brooks and Daniel Jeremiah chose 10 teams from a pool of 12, with the picks going Vikings first overall, followed by the Buccaneers, Rams, Jaguars, Raiders, Panthers, Steelers, Seahawks, Cowboys and Cardinals.

Do the Vikings measure up to their draft status?

Of the eight first-round picks since 2012, five have come on the defensive side of the football where head coach Mike Zimmer has led the turnaround. Before last season, the franchise hadn’t seen a top-five scoring defense in 27 seasons. And of the projected defensive starters for 2016, which includes cornerback Trae Waynes, all but two players are 28 years old or younger. Three of those cornerstones — Anthony Barr, Linval Joseph and Harrison Smith — received All-Pro votes.

Offensively, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has strong belief inside team headquarters that he can be more than a ‘game manager.’ The emergence of receiver Stefon Diggs and running back Jerick McKinnon also give the Vikings some promise outside of Peterson, the league’s reigning rushing champion.

There’s no right answer, which makes this a good conversation starter. It’s hard to argue against picking the Carolina Panthers after a 15-1 season led by a MVP quarterback in Cam Newton and a stellar defense of their own. Teams like the Jaguars, Raiders and Buccaneers are also intriguing options with potential franchise quarterbacks in place. Veteran groups with an influx of youth like the Seahawks, Steelers and Cardinals should also remain contenders for years to come.

The post Do the Vikings have the best ‘future roster’ in the NFL? appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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