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Minnesota Vikings Have Few Bright Spots, Many Underachievers

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By Joseph Gunther

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 22:  Christian Ponder #7 of the Minnesota Vikings reacts to a tackle by Phillip Taylor #98 of the Cleveland Browns on September 22, 2013 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

Christian Ponder #7 of the Minnesota Vikings reacts to a tackle by Phillip Taylor #98 of the Cleveland Browns (Credit, Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Vikings have as many wins (one) this season as they had losses (one) last season through the first four games.

The Vikings, fresh off a Week 4 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in London, have had some good performers but the majority of the team is underachieving.

The Bright Spots

Cordarrelle Patterson (WR) – Patterson was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September. He joins Percy Harvin as the only Vikings return men to earn the honor. He also joins kicker Blair Walsh as the only Vikings rookies to earn the honor. Patterson leads the NFL in kickoff return average with 33.8 yards per return. He also has a Vikings team record with a 105-yard touchdown, scored in Week 2 against the Chicago Bears.

Xavier Rhodes (CB) – The Vikings defense has struggled, but Xavier Rhodes has played well at the left cornerback spot. He is big and fast with the ability to be physical with big receivers. He is still adjusting to the NFL, but has shown the ability to quickly learn and adapt. He has nine tackles and one pass defensed in the first four games of the season.

Marcus Sherels (CB) – Sherels has been pressed into duty as a cornerback in addition to his punt return duties due to injuries. When Chris Cook and A.J. Jefferson went out during the Week 3 loss to the Cleveland Browns, Sherels stepped in and did all right. He is not a guy the Vikings want to play at cornerback for much of the season, but the former University of Minnesota star needs to be able to provide something other than just punt return duties. He showed that he can in small spurts.

The Underachievers

The Vikings have a whole lot of underachievers through four games this season, most of which are on defense.

Chad Greenway (LB) – Greenway leads the team in tackles with 35, but he has looked lost and out of position numerous times this season. He may be trying to do too much and do two jobs with Erin Henderson moving from weak side to middle linebacker.

Erin Henderson (LB) – Henderson is not immune to the criticism. The fifth-year veteran has been one of the worst players on the team this season. He has been out of place both in run support and pass coverage.

Josh Robinson (CB) – The secondary has been shredded this season and Josh Robinson is the primary culprit. The second-year corner is tied for the team in solo tackles. That is all because he has had to tackle the receiver he was suppose to cover.

O-Line – On the offense, the entire line has struggled to open holes for Adrian Peterson and give the quarterback time.

Christian Ponder (QB) – The Vikings hoped Christian Ponder had turned the corner with his performance in the final four games of last season, but the third-year quarterback makes the same mistakes. He is hesitant to make throws and too quick to scramble. His future with the Vikings, and maybe in the NFL, hinges on his ability to correct his mistakes while rehabbing his injured ribs. He is on the verge of handing over the starter spot permanently to Matt Cassel.

For more Vikings news and updates, visit Vikings Central.

Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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