Each changing year brings a time for reflection and resolution. The 2014 season brought the temporary return of outdoor football games, the beginning of the Mike Zimmer era as head coach and opportunities to develop a young nucleus of players.
There are some things that Zimmer will want to change in his second year at the helm and some elements that worked well that he will want to build on. Here are 10 Vikings New Year's resolutions that are more about reinforcing ongoing commitments to progress:
1. Make a Positive Impact in the CommunityIn reflecting back on 2014 and looking ahead to 2015, the Vikings commitment to the Minnesota community is stronger than ever. From addressing key issues such as childhood obesity through the NFL Play 60 platform to forming strategic partnerships with charitable organizations, the Vikings goal is to make a meaningful impact and create positive changes throughout the community.
2. Bring Championships to MinnesotaThe ultimate goal of the organization is to win Super Bowls, and every decision made by the franchise is with that in mind. Leading the team on the field is Head Coach Mike Zimmer, a man who has won a Super Bowl and knows what it will take to get back to that point.
3. Reclaim NFC North SupremacySince their inception in 1961, the Vikings have more division championships than the Bears, Lions and Packers, having claimed 16 division titles. The Vikings last division championship was in 2009, but with a talented young nucleus of players plus quality veteran leadership this team looks to be a contender in 2015.
4. Strive to be a Tough, Smart, Passionate and Aggressive Ball Club"I want Vikings football to be a tough, smart and aggressive team that plays with passion and that works relentlessly for one common goal." – Mike Zimmer
5. Build Around BridgewaterQuarterback is unlike any other position, and it's immensely important to have the right player in the spot. Teddy Bridgewater's play that exceeded rookie classmates gave the Vikings a well-developed picture of what he can do for a long period of time. Minnesota can approach this offseason with the idea of building around Bridgewater.
6. Remain ResilientThe Vikings faced some challenges like injuries that all teams encounter in 2014 and also went through the non-injury in-season loss of Adrian Peterson, who had been a central part of Minnesota's offensive plan for the season. Zimmer didn't accept losses of a player as an excuse and expected the next players in line to deliver for teammates. That kind of resolve is important every year.
7. Continue to Make Good on Stadium PromisesAside from providing a world-class venue in which to host football games, the Vikings promised that passage of new stadium legislation would create thousands of jobs, spur economic development in the area and attract premier entertainment and sporting events. Already more than 210 Minnesota businesses have participated in the project and while 750 Minnesotans are working on the site daily. Underway directly next to the stadium is a $400 million development that will include office space, retail and housing, and the new venue has already secured two of the world's premier sporting events – Super Bowl LII (in 2018) and the 2019 NCAA Final Four.
View exclusive images shot by the team photographer from the 16th game of 2014 as the Vikings took on the Bears at TCF Bank Stadium.
8. Provide New ViewsThe building of the new Vikings stadium is occurring at a time when technology enables chronicling the largest construction project in state history from multiple viewpoints with advanced web cameras from EarthCam. Cameras that are mounted on the Guthrie Theater and U.S. Bank Building provide overviews of the site, and a camera was recently installed on the upper bowl of the stadium to document the project. The live camera is being repositioned and scheduled to be streaming in mid-January, and plans are in place to add more views as the project progresses.
9. Find Talented Players in the NFL DraftDraft picks are the NFL's currency and drafted players are the bloodlines of the NFL – they give franchises new life. Under GM Rick Spielman, the Vikings goal has been to build a championship roster using the draft as the primary method of acquiring talent. As of the 2014 regular season finale, 27 of the team's 53 active players were drafted by the Vikings, including all nine 1st-round picks and 21 players who were drafted in the past three years.
10. Spend Wisely in Free Agency to Supplement the RosterThe draft is where a team builds its foundation, but it's also important to fortify that base with talented free agents when the opportunity arises. The Vikings did that a season ago with key additions such as Linval Joseph, Tom Johnson and Captain Munnerlyn. You can be sure the Vikings talent evaluators will have their eyes open on this year's free agent class, as well.