There are not a whole lot of positives to talk about with the Minnesota Vikings’ 2013 season.
The Vikings began the year with one win at the midway point of the season. The one win came against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Wembley Stadium in London and three of the losses came after allowing the go-ahead score in the final minute of the fourth quarter.
Despite the 1-7 record through nine weeks, the Vikings still had a chance to win the NFC North Division because of the Detroit Lions being the Lions and the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears suffering huge injuries.
The Vikings (5-10-1) opened the second half of the season with a Thursday win over the Washington Redskins. Over the final eight games of the year, the Vikings did not lose back-to-back games. They did not win consecutive games either. They backed up home wins with road losses. They finished with a 5-3 record as the designated home team and 0-7-1 record on the road.
Here are the best of the Vikings 2013 season.
Offensive Player of the Year
RB Adrian Peterson
The reigning MVP missed two of the last three games of the season, but still finished in the top five in the league in rushing. He had five games this season in which he topped the 100-yard mark, including a 200-yard performance against the Bears at Mall of America Field. From a statistical standpoint it was one of Peterson’s worst years. He had the third fewest carries (279), second fewest yards (1,266), second worst yards-per-carry average (4.5), tied for fewest rushing touchdowns (10) and had the third most fumbles (five) in a season. Despite the low marks, he still was the best player on the Vikings offense.
Honorable Mention: WR Greg Jennings, OT Phil Loadholt
Defensive Player of the Year
LB Chad Greenway
The veteran outside linebacker finished 10th in the NFL in tackles with 134 total stops. That number led the Vikings. He also led the team in solo tackles and assisted tackles. The Vikings were abysmal on defense this season. Greenway contributed to that early in the season, but was a big part of the team’s more successful second half of the season
Honorable Mention: DE Jared Allen, CB Xavier Rhodes, DE Brian Robison
Special Teams Player of the Year
KR Cordarrelle Patterson
The rookie wide receiver proved to be the most dangerous kick returner in the league. He led the league with a 32.4 yard average. He tied the league’s record for the longest play with a 109-yard kick return for a touchdown on the opening kick of the game against the Green Bay Packers at Mall of America Field. He also returned the opening kick for a touchdown in the team’s Week 2 showdown at Soldier Field against the Bears. He is the only player in the league with two kickoff returns for touchdowns this season.
Honorable Mention: LS Cullen Loeffler, PR Marcus Sherels
Rookie of the Year
CB Xavier Rhodes
The second of the team’s three first round draft picks took some time to adjust to the NFL. But, when he did he was really good. He took over as a full time starter when Josh Robinson was injured. Then quickly supplanted Chris Cook as a starter. He became the shutdown corner the Vikings needed. He really didn’t fit the Tampa-2 scheme that the coaching staff liked to run. But toward the end of the season, he was allowed to be more physical with receivers and play in man coverage. That is when he started to excel.
Honorable Mention: DT Sharrif Floyd, LB Michael Mauti, WR Cordarrelle Patterson