The Vikings are without a doubt being considered a team on a bit of a fast track to success under second-year head coach Mike Zimmer.
Minnesota went 7-9 in Zimmer's first season, which was better than many expected after the suspension of Adrian Peterson and season-ending injuries to starting quarterback Matt Cassel, guard Brandon Fusco and tight end Kyle Rudolph – not to mention the disappearing act pulled off by wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
Now, after getting those injured players back, drafting two potential starters on defense – cornerback Trae Waynes and linebacker Eric Kendricks – and adding Mike Wallace to the receiving corp and Peterson to the backfield, the Vikings could vie for a trip to the playoffs in 2015.
In an interview with Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune, Zimmer said the excitement level in the locker room is "light years" ahead of last year.
"But I’ll say this, the atmosphere with the players around here, the excitement of the football team, is light years ahead of where it was last year.
"I think the coaches feel that way, the players feel that way, the fans feel that way. Now it’s up to us to go play better. I do feel the continuity now, with these guys hearing me say what I’m looking for and the kinds of players I like. You come out here now and we can rattle off some things that we hadn’t even gone over that they can do because we did it last year."
Minnesota's defense could be the best its been in years next season. Bleacher Report, at this point of the offseason, ranked the purple's defense ninth-best in the NFL.
It's way too early to tell just how good the Vikings will be under Zimmer in his second year, but all signs seem to be pointing in the right direction.