Are the surprising Vikings for real?

Peterson, Harvin and defense are legit, but tough remaining schedule looms

Originally Published: October 25, 2012
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.
Minnesota VikingsAP Photo/Kiichiro SatoThe Vikings are in good shape when Christian Ponder hands it to Adrian Peterson.

When I watched film of the Minnesota Vikings in the offseason, I thought their proverbial window had closed. With aging players on the downsides of their careers, it looked like a team with a major rebuilding job in front of it. Well, at least to this point of the season, the Vikings have surprised a lot of people with a 5-2 record. Now we are all asking ourselves if they are for real or just a nice little early-season story that will fade into the sunset. Let's examine six areas of this team to see if it can sustain its early success as the season moves forward.

1. Pass offense

This is a passing game with limited weapons. The Vikings have a young quarterback who was good early but has come back to reality in recent weeks. They may have the most conservative play calling of any pass offense in the NFL. No coaching staff asks less of its quarterback, in terms of big plays, and yet Christian Ponder has really been mistake-prone in the past three games.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.