The future looks bright for the Minnesota Vikings, at least, according to a few "experts" over at ESPN.
ESPN Insiders has ranked the Vikings at No. 8 in their NFL Future Power Rankings, giving them an overall score of 77.1. The experts gave the Vikings their highest marks for head coach Mike Zimmer an 81.7.
The overall roster, drafting and the front office also generated high marks.
So where didn't Minnesota rank as high? Quarterback.
While it wasn't all negative on Teddy Bridgewater, ESPN's Louis Riddick thinks a lot of the Vikings' success hinges on their young signal caller.
"The Vikings are a trendy pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl this season. I'm on the bandwagon so long as Teddy Bridgewater is given the opportunity to make more big plays in the passing game, and Teddy himself is willing to pull the trigger and execute. He ranked 29th overall in yards per attempt on passes of 25-plus yards in 2015, and that needs to improve significantly if he is to compete with guys like Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and Carson Palmer for supremacy in the NFC. If he can take his game to the next level, then this franchise has what it takes to make some serious noise for the first time in a long time.
The network graded the Vikings quarterback situation at 65.0 – only nine NFL teams were given a lower marks at the position. So there are still clearly some doubts about Bridgewater, outside of Minnesota.
The Star Tribune's Michael Rand notes that six teams – Oakland, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Philadelphia and the L.A. Rams – who, like the Vikings have drafted quarterbacks high in 2014 or later – all are rated higher than Minnesota at quarterback.
Bridgewater hasn't been asked to do too much during his two NFL seasons, largely because he has Adrian Peterson in the backfield.
But while AP won his third rushing title last season, and by all accounts continues to work very hard during the offseason, is he likely to be nearly as dominant, or even on the roster three years from now?
Only time will tell. But without Peterson in the mix, Bridgewater will have to carry more of the load.