Offseason Playbook: Vikings

A look at Minnesota's philosophy, team needs and a key free-agent move

Originally Published: February 28, 2013
By Gary Horton and Field Yates | ESPN Insider
Percy HarvinTom Dahlin/Getty ImagesWill the Vikings have Percy Harvin on their roster come training camp?

In a new offseason series, Insider takes an in-depth look at NFL teams before free agency begins March 12. What is each team's philosophy on offense and defense, biggest needs and one player who could make for an ideal signing in free agency?

Team philosophies

Offense -- With Adrian Peterson this will always be a run-first offense, but this run game has evolved with some creative plays and formations, blocking schemes and personnel groupings. The Vikings have made the transition from a zone-blocking offensive line to more of a man power scheme, but Peterson can run behind both looks. They will line up wide receivers in the backfield, they will flex their fullback, they will go to unbalanced and two-tight end formations, they will pull and trap and use the wham block -- all to take attention away from Peterson and open up more blocking room.

Christian Ponder will move around a lot in this West Coast passing game with bootlegs and half-rolls, and a lot of passes off play-action. The Vikings are not very good at attacking the edges and most of their throwing success comes on inside routes. They use Percy Harvin in a variety of roles, even in the backfield, and they love him out of the slot and on bubble screens. In the red zone, they like TE Kyle Rudolph on bootlegs and they will show some "bone" (three-back formations) looks, where they use their FB, Jerome Felton, as a lead blocker.


To see the rest of the file on the philosophy and offseason needs for the Minnesota Vikings, you must be an ESPN Insider.

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.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.