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The Vikings don’t have many bounce-back candidates on offense. That’s because the team’s offense was so good in 2020.
Really, the group just has to stay healthy for 2021, and surely they will be at least decent. The special teams, on the other hand, were horrendous.
The Vikings struggled in pretty much every aspect of special teams in 2020. They gave up blocked punts, they had fumbles on returns, they had costly missed field goals. You name it, the Vikings did it wrong on special teams at times.
This offseason, Minnesota did not renew the contract of special teams coordinator Marwan Maalouf. The new special teams coordinator, Ryan Ficken, has a lot of work to do.
Here are some possible bounce-back candidates on special teams and offense:
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 8: Dalvin Cook #33 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates with teammate Garrett Bradbury #56 after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter of the game against the Atlanta Falcons at U.S. Bank Stadium on September 8, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Bradbury has shown flashes of promise throughout his early NFL career. But has he lived up to the hype of a first-round pick? Not with pass blocking. The Vikings center posted a PFF pass blocking grade of 38.8 in 2020. Bradbury is a good run blocker, but the mistakes he makes in pass blocking have to change. If he can put it together in 2021, the Minnesota offensive line may improve.
WR Bisi Johnson
Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Bisi Johnson (81) after the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
As a rookie in 2019, Johnson was solid while filling in for Adam Thielen. In 2020, he didn't do anything to make huge strides. This past season, he finished with less receiving yards and touchdown receptions than he did in 2019. Some of that can be chalked up to less injuries at wideout in 2020, but some of it is Johnson not showing clear improvement. Once again this offseason, the Vikings don't have a stellar wide receiver three. Could Johnson fulfill that role? He'll have to bounce back.
P Britton Colquitt
Minnesota Vikings punter Britton Colquitt punts during the first half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Colquitt had a bit of a down year for the Vikings in 2020. Colquitt’s 45.1 net average in 2020 needs to be better. Maybe he can improve.
PR K.J. Osborn
Jun 9, 2021; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) catches a pass in drills at OTA at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Osborn struggled in his rookie year. Osborn's 3.9 punt return average needs to get better. He also couldn't hang onto the ball while returning at times. That needs to change. For Osborn, this could be a make-or-break year. Let's see if he proves some people wrong.