NFL Media columnist Adam Schein wrote, as the NBA Finals opened Thursday with Golden State claiming Game 1, that the Warriors' first appearance in the championship series in 40 years had him "thinking about another young sports team on the rise, another **thrilling outfit** that hasn't been to the championship round in nearly four decades."
Now, let's get one thing straight: I'm not predicting that the 2015 Vikings are a Super Bowl team. (In a related story, though, I didn't think Golden State would make the NBA Finals back in the preseason ...) But I do think Minnesota is an up-and-coming bunch that oozes youth and likeability, akin to the Warriors. And yes, the Vikings could surprise many people with how good they are this season.
Schein thinks defending NFC North champ Green Bay is still the team to beat, but also believes Minnesota can make a move past Detroit because he liked the draft selections of Trae Waynes in Round 1, Eric Kendricks in Round 2 and T.J. Clemmings in Round 4 and several recent drafts led by General Manager Rick Spielman that have landed "a fine job of talent collection, creating a strong young core to build around."
The return of Adrian Peterson this week for three impressive practices in his first action with the team since September could "push the Vikings from young and exciting *to *contender," Schein wrote, later adding that Peterson has an opportunity to regain his spot as a "top-five running back in the NFL."
Truthfully, he has a golden opportunity to reclaim his title as the league's best runner and establish himself as a legit MVP candidate," Schein wrote.* "That's not hyperbole — it's actually my legit expectation for Peterson in 2015. He'll get back to being Adrian "All Day" Peterson, a peerless presence in the ground game. And the domino effect in Minnesota will be huge."*
Schein also noted Head Coach Mike Zimmer, whom he called a "stud" that was long deserving of his first opportunity to lead an entire team after guiding top defenses for years as a coordinator. He closed by saying:
I'm not predicting a Warriors-type run for 2015. But when the Vikings open their new stadium in 2016, this team should be ready for prime time. And in the meantime, the Vikings can add some sizzle and spice to their league.
Dave Campbell of the *Associated Press *wrote about Kyle Rudolph's new "**menacing tattoo**" and noted the tight end was excited to talk about Peterson's return.
"Just in the three days that he's been here, our practices have been pretty crisp, a little bit more upbeat, and that's what great players do," Rudolph said. "They elevate the game of, not only themselves, but the guys around them."
Tom Pelissero with USA Today caught up with receiver Mike Wallace for a Q&A. Here's one topic they covered, or click **here** for the full conversation:
Q: OK, you're entering your seventh year. It's June, and you just spent about 20 minutes catching balls after practice. What makes you go through that kind of extra work?
*A: We've got to grind. We (receivers) run the most on the field, so we've got to work. We've got to continue to work and just don't forget the little things, man. That's how we got here, so we can't ever forget that. And then when you do it, it makes younger guys do it, and they want to do it. When it started off, it was just me. Then the next day, it was me and C.J. (Charles Johnson). Then it was me, C.J. and (rookie Jordan) Leslie. Now we have (rookie Stefon) Diggs. The whole crew is out there, but we only have one JUGS (machine). It just makes everybody want to get better, and that's our whole goal.*