EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — SiriusXM NFL Radio's James Lofton and Bruce Murray were at Winter Park on Tuesday as part of their training camp tour.
Murray asked Lofton, a Hall of Fame and eight-time Pro Bowl receiver, for his thoughts on the state of the Vikings heading into 2016.
Lofton said he's been impressed by the first two seasons turned in by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, the 2014 Pepsi Rookie of the Year who is 17-11 in his first 28 starts.
"Watching Teddy Bridgewater, he seemed so calm, so collected, you know in his rookie year, he avoids the sophomore slump, wins the division," Lofton said. "You can't minimize that, 11 wins. You win 11 games as a second-year quarterback, that's pretty impressive, so take the next step, become a guy who can control football games, dominate games. He played real well on third down last year, so increase that, do a little more on first down."
Lofton, the sixth overall pick by Green Bay in 1978 who posted 46 catches, 818 yards and six scores to make the Pro Bowl as a rookie, said he can see a scenario in which the Vikings don't have to turn to 2016 first-round pick Laquon Treadwell as frequently as the Packers called Lofton's number in his debut season because of Charles Johnson and Stefon Diggs.
"You look at Charles Johnson, who was banged up all of last year, never really got healthy, never got back into the flow. He showed a lot [in 2014]," Lofton said. "Norv Turner is like a guy squeezing lemonade. He's going to get all of the talent out of those three guys."
Lofton said the Vikings defense is "loaded."
Minnesota returned all 11 defensive starters from a team that ranked fifth in the NFL in points allowed last season (18.9 points per game).
"Championship-caliber defense," Lofton said. "I know it hurts me with the Green Bay Packer inside me, but this is a championship-caliber team."